Feeding FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Formula Feeding

What can I expect with a 6 week old baby?

My baby who is now 6 weeks is waking earlier in the night. It is nearer 2.30/3am rather than 3.30/4am. He then also wakes at 6.15/6.30am. Should I be trying to get him back to sleep with a feed, cooled water or a dummy? I try to hold out feeding him until 7am but then he is too tired to stay awake until 9am. He always fights this nap, even if I take him to his room at 8.30am. He eventually settles but often wakes and moans throughout the nap. I wake him at 10am but cannot get him to wait for a feed. He is ready by 10.15/10.20am. He becomes hysterical if I try to get him to wait to 10.30am onwards. He is settled and asleep by 11.45 for his midday nap and I wake him at 2pm. The afternoon goes to the plan, having a 45 min nap between 4.15 and 5pm, but he is usually asleep by 6.45pm.
Is he getting too much daytime sleep and therefore waking earlier and needing to go to bed earlier? Why does he fight sleep at 9am?
When he is given formula by my husband at 10.30pm and 2.30am, is a size 1 teat too small? (Avent bottles). We felt it might take him longer to drink, so he would stay awake longer and therefore sleep longer in the night.
If I begin to offer cooled boiled water in the night, how do I do this? Can it be prepared in the evening and left out at room temperature?
When fed at 10.30pm, my husband finds it hard to keep the baby awake beyond 11pm. Should we wake him at 10pm and bring him downstairs to see if he will stay awake longer at this time and so sleep a longer stretch at night?
I am breast feeding my son at 7am, 10.15am, 2.20pm, 5pm and 6.15pm. He takes 5-6ozs formula at 10.30pm and 3-4ozs at 2.30am.
I express 2-3 ozs at 7am before giving him the second breast and then try to express 4-6ozs from both breasts at 8pm to be frozen. I am very tired and so then go to bed so there is no expressing at 10pm. Does this matter?
My son weighed 7lbs 15ozs at birth and at 6 weeks weighs 10lbs. He sleeps in a sleeping bag and his room is fully blacked out.

The age at which a baby is able to stretch longer in the night varies a lot. At six weeks a growth spurt is often in place, and therefore a baby will want to feed every 31/2 to 4 hrs throughout the night and day. Knowing when they are capable of going longer depends on several things.
Your son needs to be over 10lbs in weight and also gaining regularly 6-8ozs a week.
Losing interest or taking less at his 7am feed is another sign he is ready to go longer and take a little less at night. As your son is still waking at 6.15/6.30am and is ready to feed, this is clearly not happening yet.
Further on is an explanation of keeping him awake longer at 10.30pm. This could help him stretch past 3am, providing he takes enough milk.
If you decide he is ready to go longer or he manages to do so for a few nights in a row, then begin to use the “core night” as described in The Contented Baby Book p 148 or Sleeping Guide p42.
To use boiled water at night, prepare a bottle in the evening; 4ozs will be plenty. As it contains water and not formula, it is quite safe to leave it at room temperature until needed.
Once your son is sleeping nearer to 7am, you will find he will stretch out towards 9am. Many young babies are ready to settle within an hour and half of waking and it is important not to let him get overtired and so go on to fight sleep. Try taking him to his room at 8.20am and have a good 20min wind down time of quiet talking, followed by a change, and then darken the room and get him ready to go down by 8.45am. Even if he takes 10 minutes to settle alone, he will still be having the right amount of sleep for himself. All babies are different and some need a little more sleep than others in the early days.
Equally, encourage him gradually to wait for his feed beyond 10.15am. Try getting him to wait an extra 5 minutes for a few days and then increase the time by another 5mins for few days, providing he is not getting too worked up. Many babies of this age still need to be fed by 10.30am, especially if he is feeding before 7am.
Again at 6.45pm you can try to encourage him on little by little, but as he is not waking early in the evening for a feed, accept he is a baby who needs a little more sleep.
It is a good idea to “split” the feed between 10pm and 11.15pm. Getting him to stay awake at this time, especially as he is asleep by 6.45pm often has the effect of going a bit longer in the night. Make sure he is really awake before feeding him at least 2/3rds of his feed, then let him have a kick on the floor until 11.15pm Offering him the rest of the feed in a dimmed room should help him settle back quickly.
Moving up teat sizes can be trial and error. If he begins to take a much longer time to take his feeds, or grows tired and sleepy before finishing his bottle, then a next size is advisable. Try with a no2 and see if he is able to cope. If the flow is too fast for him he will dribble milk out the side of his mouth, unable to swallow enough to keep up with the amount he has sucked. On average it should take a baby about 20 minutes to take a bottle feed.
As you are breast feeding your son at 5/6pm, it would help if you could rest and eat a good meal before expressing and going to bed. If you are finding it hard to get 4-6ozs at 8pm, wait until 9/9.30pm. The early weeks of motherhood are very tiring so trying to rest/sleep before expressing should make it easier for you.
You have done very well to get your son into such a good routine by six weeks. Sometimes small babies need a little bit of “tweaking” with their sleeping and feeding times before they seem to coincide with the routine set for their age. Being aware of his needs, as well as what you would like to happen, all go towards having a contented little baby.