Feeding FAQ: 3-4 months – Formula Feeding

My 3.5-month-old son is difficult to feed, windy, and is waking in the night again

My son is 16 weeks old. Over the last two weeks has become increasingly difficult to feed, and has started to wake in the night again, although he doesn’t appear to be hungry when he wakes. He dropped the night feed at around 11 weeks old yet, despite not feeding after 10.30pm, he is fairly disinterested in his 7am feed, taking around 100ml. Until recently, though, he has fed well at the other feeds. He has always had a problem with wind and has released a lot from his bottom since he was just a few weeks old. He has also started to regularly wake in the night again, between 3.30 and 5.00am and will chat in his cot for up to half an hour before crying. He does not seem hungry, and will settle when I soothe him, usually with a dummy, and will then sleep until 7am. This week, however, he is taking as little as 60ml at the 7am feed and then cannot go to 11am for the next feed. He then struggles with all the other feeds taking between 60ml and 150ml, depending on how well he fed at the last feed, but he struggles with each one. This week, he has taken as little as 780ml in 24 hours when I believe he should be nearer 1,100ml. He starts the feed well, but then pushes the bottle away and screams as though he is full of wind. I thought as babies got older the wind problem decreased – could it actually be getting worse? I moved him to Avent size 3 teats about 3 weeks ago, but have changed him back to size 2 thinking this might be the problem, however, it doesn’t appear to have solved it. I have used Infacol since he was a week old, and more recently also tried Gripe Water, but I find it very difficult to get him to swallow this. Please help!
At present he sleeps at 9.15-9.55am, 12-2pm and 4-4.20pm.
He takes SMA Gold formula at 7am 90mls, 10.45am 170mls,2.15pm 110mls, 5.00pm 70mls,6.15pm 40mls, 7.10pm 100mls, 10.30pm 140mls.

To get your son more interested in his 7am feed try cutting back on his 10pm. Although he will need a small feed at this time, probably until he is weaned onto solids, try making it 90-120mls and see if he is more interested at 7am. If this helps his overall daily intake then continue to give this small feed until he shows he no longer needs it.

Until he is feeding better at 7am split his 11am feed, giving him about half at 10.15/10.30am and the rest at 11/11.15am. As he appears to be struggling with taking a full feed at most feeds and not being comfortable, consider giving him a 20 minute break mid-feed. This can really help a baby take a better feed, especially if he is troubled by wind. Let him sit in a fairly upright position in his chair to help him begin to digest his milk and also help with any wind that may be trapped.

From your notes it appeared that your son has three feeds between 5pm and 7.30pm. Try to get this down to 2. Feed him 70 ml at 5pm then wait until nearer 6.45pm before offering a larger feed [120-140mls]. Settle him for his sleep by 7pm but notice if he falls straight asleep or takes 15-20 minutes to settle. A baby who goes down exhausted at this time could well wake early in the morning. If he is falling straight to sleep you may have to bring his whole bath and bedtime routine earlier by 15-20 minutes so he drifts off to sleep after a spell of chatting to himself. Make sure he is really awake for at least 45 minutes at 10.30pm, rather than being sleepy, as this can also affect early morning wakings.

Be sure he is not waking through coming untucked from his covers; a baby of this age may still be disturbed by his Moro reflex. If he is in a sleeping bag make sure it is not cold or warmth waking him and check his room is pitch black in the early morning light. All these things can disturb a baby from his light sleep in the early morning.
If he continues to appear very distressed by wind ask your Dr or HV about changing his formula. There is also a product on the market called Colief which helps break down the lactose in milk. Some babies can find this hard to digest. Again ask your Dr or HV about using this in his bottles.