Feeding FAQ: 8-12 weeks – Formula Feeding

At 9 weeks my baby is drinking excessive amounts of milk

JJ is a very good baby, however he is a hungry one. Since birth he has always had more formula than the amount given on the tin. He takes 100-150mls extra a day. At present he is already drinking 200mls at most feeds and his intake is still increasing.
I have two problems I would like to solve. Firstly, his 10pm feed, at which he is awake for 1 hour, is his smallest feed of the day. He would take no more than 160mls and was then regularly sleeping through to 3.30am when I would give him a quick feed. So I tried to phase that feed out. Now he wakes at about 2.30am, when I just turn him onto his tummy and give him his dummy. He sleeps until about 5.30am when I do the same thing to settle him again. Should I continue to do this, or give him a feed, or give him water?
JJ starts the day at 7am and every day has his nap from 9.00-9.45am. I then can’t seem to stretch him to 11am. He is always ready to feed by 10am. What do you suggest?
At birth JJ weighed 2.710kgs, at 9 weeks he weighs 5.35kg. He feeds at 7am 220mls, 10.00am 200mls, 2pm 200mls, 6pm 200-240mls, 10pm 140-160mls. JJ takes 110mls of very diluted apple juice at 4.15pm. He naps well in the day, at 9-9.45am, 12-2pm and 15 minutes at 4pm. He settles at 7pm until woken for his feed at 10pm.

The problem with babies who put on weight quickly as JJ has done, is they begin to demand more feeds in 24 hours to consume enough for their weight. As the present guidelines suggest that weaning does not take place until nearer six months, you could find yourself in a difficult situation if JJ continues to drink such large amounts of milk. He could well go back to needing feeds in the night.
In order to avoid this you must begin to slow down JJ’s intake at each feed. He needs to gain about 200g a week. Some babies are inclined to take their feeds fast. Their stomachs don’t register how full they are, so they continue to drink. Making each feed last longer can prevent this.
As you having trouble encouraging JJ on towards 10.45/11am, let’s use this time as an example. When he wakes and wants his feed at 10am, let him have half (100mls) the amount he usually would take. Then wind him and let him sit in his chair or have a kick on the floor for at least 20 minutes. If he is not happy and demanding more food offer him a dummy to suck on. This “sucking time” will give him the comfort he needs without taking in excessive amounts of milk. It will also help his stomach to begin to register that it is almost full. Then change JJ and offer him the remains of his feed. He may well not want it all, having had some time for the first half of his feed to begin to digest.
At his present weight he should be taking about 150mls at a feed. If this extra time of sucking begins to work, very gradually cut back the amount you put in his bottles. Offering him his dummy for 10 minutes after a feed should help him get used to having smaller feeds if he still appears to want more.
Between feeds JJ could be offered cool, boiled water. Offer it to him at least an hour before the next feed is due. Give some at 9am to see if he would begin to wait longer when he wakes for his next feed.
Throughout the day and especially at the 10pm feed let JJ have these sucking breaks. It might mean longer feed times for a while but that is preferable to a baby who gains weight too rapidly.
As he settles himself back to sleep at night with a little help from you, don’t begin to offer him milk. With the amount he is consuming in the day he doesn’t need any extra added. Giving him some water could help, but it seems you manage to settle him quite quickly, with what you are already doing.
Be aware that his dummy could become a “prop” which he uses to help him sleep, and the result there could be further night wakings when he becomes aware of having lost it. By 4 months he should be able to settle himself without the need of a dummy. He may find his thumb or begin to use a “comforter” such as a muslin or blanket to help himself settle, which should limit the times you have to get up to him. Try to leave him for 10 to 15 minutes at present to see if he is able to settle alone rather than going straight into him.
Has JJ always slept on his tummy? We are sure you are aware of the dangers which have been sited in babies of this age for S.I.D.S. Until the age of six months it is advised that babies sleep on their backs to minimize the risk of S.I.D.S. After that, providing they are able to roll from back to front and back again it is not considered to be quite such a risk. If JJ is sleeping on his back during the night it would be safer for him to remain this way rather than turning him over.