Feeding FAQ: 4-6 months – Weaning

I am concerned my 5 month daughter will start to wake up in the night, as her milk intake has been going down since starting nursery.

My daughter, who is just over five months and weighs 5.8 kilos, has just started day care. She seems happy there, but her routine is not always followed, and her milk intake is going down. I am planning to introduce solids this weekend, which means we will probably take out the 10pm feed. My main fear is that she won’t sleep through the night once I do that, because of not eating or napping well at nursery. My other concern is how will she cope at nursery once I introduce solids if she doesn’t drink enough formula? Her present feeding and sleeping is what she does at home, but it changing now as a result of the broken naps at nursery.

  • 7.15am – 140/180mls

  • 9.00 – 9.45am nap11am – 100/120mls (at home up to 170mls)

  • 12noon – 2pm nap

  • 2.30pm – 160/180mls; 6pm – 150mls

  • 4.00pm – 4.15pm

  • 6.45pm – 50/70mls (split feed after bath)

  • 10pm – 60/100mls

The first week or two of solids are about introducing your baby to different tastes and textures. The amounts given are small and just tasters and fillers. The weaning guidelines recommend that, before starting to wean, your baby is taking four to five full feeds a day (240mls) and is showing signs of being hungry well before the next feed is due.

As your daughter is over five months old and is still not on full feeds, ask the advice of your doctor or health visitor as to the best time to begin. Although on the small side, she is taking more than the recommended minimum daily amount of 600mls, so your health visitor may suggest you begin now in readiness for her being given protein at six months. When you do decide to begin weaning, make sure that your daughter does not cut back further on her milk intake. Her main nutritional supply is still her milk. Ask the staff at nursery to ensure she takes a minimum of 130-140mls at each feed. Explain that not enough milk will result in her being a less settled and happy baby. She may need a short break while feeding, especially if she is distracted by what is going on in the room, but this is not an unrealistic expectation on your part.

Once you begin to wean, it would be sensible to keep the 10pm feed in place for a short while. Even if your daughter only takes around 60mls at this time, she will need it to get her through the night, especially if her daytime intake is lower. Once she is better established on solids, and the late feed is only ever 60mls with no signs of her waking early, then you can cut it out. Remember, at this age solids are given as an addition to milk rather than a replacement, so she must be offered her milk feed first before being given solid food. This will prevent her from cutting back on her milk too soon, having filled herself up with solids. You must also make this point clear to nursery staff.

It may be difficult to get your point across about sleeping issues, as the nursery are coping with a number of small children, but you are well within your rights as a customer to ask them to follow your routine for feeding and weaning. If you are aware that your daughter has not had her full amount of sleep on nursery days, then put her down 15 minutes earlier in the evenings. At weekends you may have to allow her another nap in the afternoon before 5pm to make up for the disturbed lunchtime sleep.