Feeding FAQ: 8-12 weeks – Formula Feeding

My 12 week baby is uninterested in her milk and is slow to gain weight

My daughter has never been a great feeder and is quite inconsistent with the amount of milk that she takes at each feed. I have followed the CLB advice and continued to split the 5pm feed which works well. I also give her half her feeds and a good 15-20 minutes inbetween before giving her the rest, however she is still only able to take 4 or 5oz maximum per feed. Her weight gain has not been great since she started on formula at 2-weeks-old and she has only been putting on between 2-4 oz per week. During the day however, she is a contented baby and is sleeping well at nap times and usually settles well at 7pm. Today she cut her lunchtime nap short, but usually she sleeps for 30-45 minutes in the morning, 2 1/4 at lunch and 1/2 hour in the afternoon.
Olivia doesn’t appear to be in any pain during feeding, so I don’t think reflux is the reason for the small feeds. My main concern is that she has now started to sleep through from the 10pm feed until 7am, but does she still need the night feed that she has now dropped? When she awakes at 7am I can still only get her to take 3-4 oz after 8 hours without a feed! She only takes a small feed of 3-4 oz at 10pm, but is awake for a full hour. On average she takes between 22 and 26oz in 24 hours, so I would have thought she should still be waking at night to make up the shortfall in milk she hasn’t taken during the day?
At present she weighs 11lbs 8ozs and feeds at 7am 3.5ozs, 10.30am 4ozs, 11.45am 1oz top up, 2.30pm 4.5ozs, 5pm 3ozs, 6.20pm 4ozs, 10pm 3ozs.

As your daughter has dropped her night feed by herself and is contented and sleeping well in the day she may have a smallish appetite. Look at yourself and your partner; either one of you may be small in build which means she is inheriting your characteristics. Have your health visitor or doctor ever expressed concern at her weight gain? If they have, what suggestions have they made to help you? Splitting her feeds and waiting 20 minutes are both a good way to help a baby who finds taking the full amount needed for her weight a bit of a struggle. But even the tables for the amounts of milk needed by body weights are very much “average” and so some babies may need slightly more and some slightly less than the suggested amount. At her present weight, your daughter could be taking 28ozs in 24 hours. Making up the ozs by dropping the night feed can be done by encouraging her to take even 1/2 oz extra at each daytime feed.

When she wakes at 7am, let her have a short kick before feeding her rather than offering her milk straight away. She may be happier feeding to nearer 7.20am and then would begin to push her next feed on a little. Continue to offer her a small top-up before going down for her lunchtime nap, as this will help her have a good sleep before her next feed.

Have you tried a different kind of teat? Avent variflow are sometimes better than the numbered ones, in that a baby can regulate the flow better. They are suitable from three months onwards. Experiment with these or a size bigger or smaller to see what really suits your daughter best.