Feeding FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Formula Feeding

6-week-old Michael can’t last from his 6.15pm feed to his 10.30pm feed

My 6-week-old baby, Michael, does not last from the 6:15pm feed to 10:30pm. He is formula fed and weighs 13lb 5oz. He will not settle at 7pm, even after feeding well during the day. He wakes up wanting a feed at 7:30 and 8:30 and often then drinks 125 mls. He screams a lot at these feeds, bringing up a lot of wind and being in a lot of pain. He then settles at 9, but often only if held, sometimes only if held lying on his tummy.
His morning nap is an hour or more and his lunchtime nap can be up to two and three quarter hours, with a wake for a feed at about 2pm. Sometimes he needs another half an hour in the afternoon. He feeds at 6am (90mls), 7.30am (70 mls), 10.30am (125mls) 2pm (160mls), 5pm (125mls) and 6.30 (60mls) but can then wake twice more, hungry, before his 10.30pm feed.

Michael is sleeping quite a bit in the morning which is having the effect of him not being really tired in the evenings so more likely to be unsettled. If he wakes at 6am and then settles back easily to 7.30am, try to keep him up until nearer 9am. Then he will have a short sleep of 45 mins and be ready to feed at 10.15/ 10.30am. Again he needs to be encouraged to stay awake until at least 11.30am so he is more likely to sleep for a longer period over lunchtime.
It is not always easy to keep small babies awake but keep trying to push him a little bit longer in the day. Change his position often as he will stay more alert if there is something new to look at. Time kicking on his change mat often keeps a young baby awake just for another 15 minutes or so which can mean they begin to go down nearer the times stated in the routines.
Allow him at least 20 mins for a wind-down time, so he gets used to becoming calm and then falling asleep on his own. If he begins to cry having been awake for more than hour and a half don’t always assume that he is hungry, as some babies do cry when they are tired.
In the two days information you gave us about the afternoon and evening it would seem that on one day Michael was probably overtired, having woken at 3.30pm and not settling until 6.45pm so he was up over three hours and the result was a restless evening. On the other day he had had a very early midday nap and then needed two naps, one after 5pm which left him not so ready to sleep in the evening. Getting him into a more regular pattern every day should go a long way to eliminating his unsettled evenings. It can be hard work but keep trying every day to get his naps into place and lasting about the right length. If he is sleeping well between feeds in the night he will need a 45 min nap in the morning, a longer one of no more than two and a half hours at lunch time and another half hour or even two catnaps in the afternoon before 5pm.

You don’t mention the size teat you are using, but Omneo formula, being thicker does need a teat with larger holes. Michael could be taking his feeds too quickly which is meaning he is drinking too much before feeling satisfied. Once he has taken half of his feed, wind him and let him sit in his chair for 15-20mins. Some babies will take a dummy at this time which allows them to fulfill their sucking needs without over feeding themselves. Finish his feed off and see if he is less windy and uncomfortable as a result. By giving him a slightly longer time at each feed, you may find that he does not take quite so much and is more settled content afterwards.