Feeding FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Formula Feeding

My seven-week-old son takes a full feed at 5.20am, but is not hungry for his next feed

My son follows the routines perfectly during the day and sleeps from the 10:30pm feed until 5:20am. But after taking 4oz at 5.20am, I try to top him up when he wakes again at 7am, but he refuses. This has a knock-on effect, both on the rest of day and his milk intake.
At present he feeds at 7.30am 0-3oz, 11am 5-6oz, 2.30pm 4oz, 5pm 3oz, 6pm 3oz, 10.30pm 3-5.5oz and 5.20am 4oz. He weighs between 11 and 12lbs. He naps from 9-9.45am, 10am-2.30pm and 3.40-4pm. He settles at 6pm.

It would appear from your notes that you have only just started to follow the routines. Your son has adapted very well to the feeding times and seems to nap well during the day. Using the routines as a guide, and allowing for your son’s individual needs, will help ensure that your baby has the right amount of milk for his age.

It is very common when a baby begins to sleep longer at night that they take a full feed when they wake, followed by a very small top-up at 7/7.30am to get them through to 10.30/11am. This can be just 1-2oz of milk. To get him to go the full stretch between 11pm and 7am you need to very gradually cut back on the amount of milk you give him at 5am. Try to see if he is happy to settle with 2-3oz of milk at this time and he may then begin to increase the amount he takes at 7am. Look at p149 in The Contented Little Baby Book to read more about this.

Providing he has been gaining 6-8oz weekly, his daily milk intake, although slightly low for his expected weight, is acceptable. If, however, he is not putting on this amount of weight weekly, you should try to increase his daily intake a little. You could do this by giving him 2-3oz followed by a 20 minute break mid-feed, letting him sit quietly in his chair once winded. Then offer him another 2-3oz, which he should be happier to take. This will help to increase his daily total. Using this method at 10pm may mean you have less of a struggle getting him to take a full feed. Wake him at 10pm and offer him 2-3oz, then allow him a break of around 20 minutes before offering him the second 2-3oz. Make sure he is fully awake before you start to feed him.

By always starting the day at 7am and fitting in a feed, bath, feed and bed between 5-7pm, you will begin to see that your son is better able to keep to the routines. This may take a while, as some babies can be quite sleepy when young. As he is having an earlier nap in the afternoon, he will be ready for bed by 6pm. Day by day as he grows bigger and becomes more interested in his surroundings, you will find he will want to stay awake longer in the afternoon before needing a short nap. At this stage his bedtime will move nearer to 7pm.