My 6.2-month-old son is refusing his milk feeds but is unhappy and waking early
For the last month, my son has started refusing almost all milk feeds. He is offered a 7oz bottle at 7am and will only drink 4 to 5oz. I will then use the remaining milk to mix with his breakfast which is a whole weetabix. At 11.45am he will eat lunch ( I use all the recipes in CLB of Weaning). He will take 5 cubes of a savoury such as chicken risotto. He is offered another 5oz bottle at 2.30pm and will refuse the entire bottle. I give him his at 5pm; he eats half of it (I offer him five cubes of cauliflower cheese). He is then offered a bedtime bottle from which he will only drink 2-3ozs. At present he weighs 18lbs 5ozs.
By day he sleeps for 1 hour at 8.30-9.30am and another hour at lunchtime, between 12 and 1pm.
All this has resulted in early wakings and a very unhappy, unsettled baby. And I really do not know what to do next.
Your son’s early waking could be due to both not enough milk by day but also through falling asleep exhausted at 6.45pm. As he is not seeming that hungry for his breakfast milk he may also be taking in slightly too much solid food against his milk needs. Obviously when a baby seems to be uninterested in milk you begin to use milk to mix with his foods or offer cheese and sauces to help his intake. If he prefers solids to milk he will cut back on how much he drinks when offered formula. To get this balance right again you will need to make some adjustments to his solid intake. The effects of this are felt right through the day so adjusting each meal should help his intake overall.
As you have noticed a decrease in the amount of milk given at 7am and used the rest to mix up cereal, your son will be having quite a big breakfast which could be one of the reasons that he is cutting down on his milk later in the day. Offer him his milk and then half a weetabix mixed with some of the milk and maybe some grated fruit to help sweeten it.
Also cut down how much he eats at lunch by one cube and see if this makes him hungrier for his next feed. You could try giving this nearer to 3pm to see if he will take more.
Again decrease the amount of solids you offer at tea. Try dishes such as jacket potato and vegetable soups as well as cheese based sauces. Overfeeding at teatime is the usual reason for cutting down milk at bedtime.
With this slight decrease in solid food overall, your son should begin to enjoy three good milk feeds a day. Once he is taking better feeds by day, his total amount of milk needing to be about 20ozs, which includes milk used in mixing and cooking. Begin to increase the amount of solids offered but do so very gradually so he doesn’t begin to cut back on his milk again.
Also be aware of overtiredness as this can make a baby not want to feed properly. By evening your son will be very tired as he wakes at 1pm and is only sleeping two hours throughout the day. Giving him a small catnap of 10-15 minutes in the afternoon whilst out in his pram may help this, if he is not sleeping nearer to two hours at lunchtime. He may fall into an exhausted sleep by 6.45pm which is resulting also in the early mornings.