Feeding FAQ: 4-6 months – Formula Feeding

My 5.5 month son will drink from a beaker but is not taking enough

Having had to return to work I have introduced Wilfred to drinking from an “AnyWay Up” beaker. This took him some time to adjust to but he will drink from it. However after nearly three weeks, he is still not taking enough formula through the day and is roughly one feed down. He was weaned at 4 months following the weaning book. He presently weighs 10kg.
After no sleep problems since he was 10 weeks old, I am now experiencing Wilfred waking at 5am. Today it was 3.30am and 5am. He will go back to sleep but only by sleeping with me. I tried giving him some milk in a beaker this morning to see if he was hungry or thirsty, but he refused.
I am concerned that he is in nursery and still not getting all the milk he needs by day. Should I try re-introducing the 10pm feed to ensure he gets enough?
Wilfred is having a breast feed at 7.30am and 6pm. During the day he is taking 90-120mls of formula at 11.30am, although this is the feed most likely to be refused. At 2.30pm he takes 150mls formula, most of which I get down him, but it takes ages.
His solids are 4 tsps porridge cereal mixed with formula and 2 cubes of peach; 2 cubes sweet potato, 2 cubes parsnip and 2 cubes courgette; 4 tsp of baby rice with 2 cubes pear.

In order for Wilfred to take more milk, try using a softer spouted beaker. There are plenty available on the market with spouts which are more like a nipple or teat. They are marketed as “bottle to cup” trainers and even though Wilfred probably has not had a bottle, he should find them easier to cope with. Sometimes it can be a bit of trial and error finding the right beaker for your baby.
The cup you mention is fitted with a valve to prevent spills, but he needs to have quite a strong sucking technique to get the milk out. Many babies older than Wilfred have difficulty with these valves when first using a beaker.
It may help Wilfred to have half his milk at 11am, a short break before his solids at 11.30am, and then be offered the rest of the milk. This “tier” method is used to get him ready to drop this feed when protein is introduced. He should begin to cut back a little on the milk as his solids increase at this time.
Now that you have returned to work and are only feeding Wilfred two feeds a day, be aware that your supply may have gone down. This is not uncommon when only two feeds are being given. Your days must be busy and you will have no time to rest during the day. If you feel your supply is not good, check after the 6pm feed by offering him a top up with 1-2ozs of either expressed milk or formula. If he readily accepts this you will know that your supply is low.
As Wilfred has begun to wake in the night and not always taking his minimum requirement of 20zs a day, you could try waking him for a feed at 10pm. By breast feeding him then, you will help boost your supply. If it is possible to express whilst at work, that also will help your supply to satisfy Wilfred’s needs in the morning and evening.
Once you are confident that your supply is still alright and Wilfred is taking more milk by day, decrease the 10pm feed by 5 minutes every few nights. Once he has begun to sleep through again for several nights in a row, you can stop this feed altogether.
When he wakes in the night try offering him water to settle him. This with a cuddle may help him settle back alone. Again we are sympathetic that you need your nights sleep if you are working by day, but it is worth trying to get him to settle alone rather than with you at night. This could quickly become a habit.
As Wilfred has also been weaned, it is important to get the balance of milk feeds and solids. He must not cut back too much on his milk yet. Structuring his increase of solids correctly is crucial as some babies will take more solid food than needed, and as a result cut down on their milk intake. Look at the case study of Polly in The Contented Childs Food Bible p78 which explains further ways to help you breast feed whilst returning to work, and also the introduction of solids in the right amounts.