At 14 weeks my daughter has begun to need an early morning feed again
My daughter Niamh, who is now 14-weeks-old, was following the routines both with sleeping and feeding until just over 12 weeks. She then began waking again and needing a feed at 3/4am having slept through previously. I fed her for three nights then managed to settle her with water for a few nights but she is demanding a feed again, taking 5ozs which means her daytime routine is now not so good. She seems unwilling to settle for her daytime naps at all, and often wakes again after 20 minutes. She is then too tired to take a full feed, falls asleep, then wakes again because she is still hungry.
At present I breast feed her at 7am and 6.30pm, with bottles at 10.30am:4oz, 12.15pm:2oz, 2.30pm:2oz, 5.00pm:6oz and 10pm:4oz. I find it impossible to keep her awake longer than half an hour at this last feed.
During the day I find it hard to encourage her to take more of a feed when I think she hasn’t taken enough, or to keep her awake when she is tired. Her present weight is 13lbs 6ozs. Until recently she was napping and feeding so well so why has it all gone wrong?
At her present weight, your daughter needs about 33ozs of milk over 24hrs. Even with the two breast feeds you are still giving her, it would seem she is still not taking enough during the day to see her through the night. Taking such a large feed at 3/4am shows this.
Keeping babies awake at 10pm is not always easy, but it is worth the effort as this can affect how well they sleep through the night. Since your husband is often away working, it means you have to do this feed when you are tired as well, which can be difficult. Wake Niamh at 10pm but don’t begin feeding her until nearer 10.30pm. This will ensure she is properly awake and she should take a bigger feed. Another way to cope with this problem, is to wake her nearer 10.30pm and feed her at 10.50pm. Letting her have a kick mid-feed for 20 minutes will also help. Keep the lights on and possibly the TV or radio until the second half of the feed, at which time you lower them so she settles back to sleep easily. Taking nearer 6ozs at this time should help her get through the night without feeding.
By day, keep working towards her settling for a longer lunch time nap. Give her the opportunity to spend plenty of time kicking on her mat after her feed at 10.30am. You could try splitting this feed slightly by giving her a 20min break after 3ozs, with some kicking time, then seeing if she will take another 2-3ozs, which should help her settle for a longer time. Taking her out in her pram at this time may also help her sleep for longer, which means that she might take a slightly bigger feed at 2.30pm.
Some babies of this age do still need an afternoon nap, but it should really be quite short so they will sleep well in the evening and wake up ready for a feed at 10pm.
If Niamh begins to take bigger feeds by day you can begin to cut down on her early morning feed ounce by ounce, so she will wake hungry at 7am.