Feeding FAQ: 4-6 months – Formula Feeding

At 20 weeks my son still wakes every night despite eating and feeding well

Although I have been following CLB for 6 weeks and have also started to wean my 20 week son using the weaning guide for 4-5 months he is still waking every night and taking a feed.
He is doing really well on the weaning timetable so I think he is taking all the milk he needs in the day. But every night he wakes between 2.30/4am. I have started to reduce the milk he takes in the night, at present I am offering him 3ozs, but he then wakes again around 5.40/6am very hungry. Feeding him at 6am then affects the rest of the day.
His present feeding schedule is: 7.15am 8ozs, 11am 7ozs and 2 cubes of vegetable or fruit, 2pm 5ozs, 6pm 8ozs and 3/4 tsp baby rice with 1 cube fruit, 10pm 5ozs. At present he weighs 17lbs.
He settles well at 7pm, and at 10pm is difficult to wake so has a “dream feed”. During the day his napping is more erratic. Some days he will only have three 30 min naps, other days he will manage 3 hrs worth.
At lunchtime he may settle for 1 1/2 hrs but usually 30-45 minutes. It is never for 2 full hours. He will sleep 30 minutes at 9am and again from 3.30-4pm.
He has had a difficult start; severe colic, reflux and tongue tie but now he is well in himself. I am getting very disheartened that despite following the CLB routine and weaning plan, he is still nowhere near sleeping from 7pm to 7am.
I am not sure what to do next and am suffering from post natal depression, so the constant night waking is adding to my exhaustion. He is a lovely little boy but often grumpy from being so tired.

Trying to get a baby settled in a routine when he has had a difficult start in life is not easy. He has begun to associate waking in the night with being fed, which will take a while for you to crack.
As he is waking hungry at 5.40/6am, despite having had 3ozs in the night, it is better to feed him then and resettle him back to sleep. Wake him at 7.30am and offer him a small top up of 2-3ozs. This will then see him through to 11am when his next feed is due.
Using the “core night” as explained in The New Contented Little Baby p148 will help you begin to drop the middle of night feed. It is not going to happen overnight as he now associates waking with being fed, but this will help you get your son to learn to fall back to sleep without needing a feed, as he begins to go longer without feeding in the night.
The 10pm feed can be difficult, as you know it needs to be a full feed to help your baby get through the night. Many mothers find it takes at least twenty minutes for their baby to really wake at this time. Try beginning at 10pm by putting on the lights and some kind of background noise as a CD or radio. Take off any covers over him or undo his sleeping bag so that he can feel air to his skin. If you can get him to be awake at this feed for 3/4 hr to an hour, you may find it will help him go a little longer at night. As his daytime sleep can be a little erratic he will often be in a deep sleep at this time.
If you begin to work on his daytime naps, and getting him to settle better at lunchtime, you may find that actually waking him at 10pm rather than “dream feeding” him will become easier.
During the daytime he also needs to learn how to settle to sleep alone and how to get back to sleep once he has stirred himself at lunchtime. Look at the article on the site about this nap at http://www.contentedbaby.com/members-only/Lunchtimenap.php
To get him into the habit of being settled for 2hrs at this time may mean you have to walk him in his pram at first so he adapts to a longer sleep time. Other mothers find a car ride or even lying with their babies gets them used to sleeping longer at this time of day. Again it won’t happen instantly but if you keep trying consistently on a daily basis, things will begin to fall into place and you will see that his day is beginning to resemble the routines in the book.
Keeping a brief daily record can really help. Jot down feedings, wakings and nap times, also how he settled he is, and you should begin to see each day becoming more consistent.
Your son will need you to help him at first so he becomes better about settling to sleep. In the New Contented Baby book, look at the earlier routines and see how a younger baby is settled. You need to have a “wind down” time before he is overtired so he learns to fall asleep alone. This will help develop the skill to settle himself back to sleep when he comes into a light sleep after 30-45 minutes.
Getting the combinations right when introducing vegetables and fruit, will help to satisfy your baby. At lunchtime balance the vegetable with a carbohydrate. Use one cube of a starchy vegetable such as sweet potato to mix with a vegetable such as courgette. Using a carbohydrate such as baby rice or sweet potato will help satisfy your baby’s hunger. The weaning guide has very detailed plans to help you do this.