Is my daughter of 15 weeks having enough milk in the day for hunger not to be the reason for her early mornings?
I am struggling to get my 15 week old daughter to take more milk during the day. I might be wrong but I think that she is waking early morning genuinely needing to feed. She has never slept through from 10/11pm. About a month ago she was waking as early as 2:30am, but then I was still breastfeeding and knew that I had problems with my milk supply. I was already topping her up with formula.
Since she’s now fully formula fed I have noticed her intake varies a lot each day, and I’m wondering whether she’s still not taking enough in the day.
The last 24hrs she fed : 5am 4oz, 7:30am 5oz; 10am 5oz; 11am 1oz; 11:45 3oz; 2:30pm 2 oz; 3:10 2oz; 5:10 6oz; 6:20pm 1oz; 10:30pm 7:oz
She woke again at 4:30am – I offered water ( she took 2oz) and she had 3oz. At 7:30 she took 7oz.
Is her waking due to hunger? Usually if she feeds at night before 4/5am she takes a full feed at 6:30am, although the last two days we have had to wake her at 7:30am for her feed. I normally offer water first, but she has only ever settled with that once (when she had taken 12oz between 10pm and midnight!!!). However the water/core night methods did seem to deal with the 2:30am waking, which is another reason I think that she may still be hungry.
I have tried split feeding at 10/11am, 5/6pm and 10/11pm. Sometimes she takes the first part of the feed and refuses the second. I use the faster teat when it seems she’s losing interest. When she’s very hungry the variflo teat is too fast for her – she chokes and spits and gets upset. I always try not to feed after the times per the book, but that doesn’t always work if I am offering a top-up.
She sleeps 9-9:30; 11:50-1:50; 4-4:20 (in buggy).
I allow 30mins max in the morning because she wakes during her lunchtime nap. I found that she sleeps better then, if she had 20-30min in the morning rather than longer.
I put her to bed at 6:45/50pm. She had been waking at 9:45pm but that has stopped in the last week or so and we now wake her at 10:30pm.
My questions are:
– how much should she be taking during the day? I thought for her weight it should be around 35oz? She weighs 14.6lbs.
– If I split the feeds is there a way of knowing how much to give as the first part, so that she’s still hungry enough to take the second?
– should I (try to!) increase the 2:30pm feed? What is the biggest that feed should be? The top-up at lunch time seems to affect her appetite at 2:30? Should I give her less at 11:45am?
– I’m aware that the 10pm feed should be getting smaller – but should I still increase this, given the waking?
– What else can I do to get her to take more at each feed?
Or is all this just because I may need to wean her soon?
Although you may feel that your daughter should be sleeping through the night by now, the way you are dealing with the night feeds will help her drop them once she is ready. When you know she is able to get to 4.30/5am, because she has done so for several nights in a row, make that your core night time. If she wakes before then only offer water and settle her back, even if she wakes again in an hour or two’s time. At 4.30/5am offer her water first, as you have been doing, and then give her milk to settle her back to sleep. Giving the water first will fill her a little so she takes less milk before settling. This, in turn, should help her take a bigger feed at 7/7.30am.
You are right in thinking her total amount in 24 hours should be around 35ozs and, by the figures given here, she does achieve that. The problem being that she is still needing the early morning feed in order to achieve that amount.
Rightly, you have tried the split feeds at certain times and, although this is fiddly, it is a way to get enough milk into a baby who is not quite able to take enough at one feed for her daily needs.
One thing you could try at the 7am feed is to wake her at 7am rather than 7.30am and offer her 3-4ozs, then give her a 20-30minute break until 7.30am and then offer her another 2-3ozs. If you could sneak in an extra ounce here and there during the day it should help her not need the 4-5oz feed she has been having at 5am. By having a slightly bigger feed at 7/7.30am she may be able to get through to 10.30am. This feed is a good one to split but, by starting later, you may be able to give it to her in two parts rather than the three. So, 4-5ozs at 10.30am and then another 3-4ozs at 11.30am. This would then replace the top up at 11.45am before her lunchtime nap.
As you have noticed, she is not so hungry at 2.30pm which is quite normal; this feed is often not as big as others in the day. By giving her the 10.30am feed in two parts she may be a little hungrier at 2.30pm but the 4ozs spread over the time you are giving it should be sufficient to get her through to 5pm.
The 5/6pm feed could be the one which needs adjusting as she seems reluctant to feed well at 6.30pm. She is obviously tired by then. Try feeding her 3–4 ozs at 4.45pm and bath her at 5.45pm. By 6.10/6.15pm she should be able to take another 3-4ozs which should help her settle well until 10.30pm. If you need to put her down at 6.30pm then do so. Again, you are right in thinking that the 10pm feed does not normally get any bigger than 6-7ozs. If you can help her balance the feed before 5/6pm so she is not taking the majority of this feed at 5pm, this should help her be able to manage with the 7ozs at 10pm. Some mothers make this last feed of the day with the “hungrier babies” formula. It may help a baby settle for longer through the night. Make sure she is really awake for the beginning of this feed, and during the break that you are giving her, before feeding her the second half. Let her have a kick on the floor. Although you don’t want to stimulate her too much, it is a good idea for her to be in a light room with some background noise. Have you tried the split feed from 10pm -11.15pm described on page138 of the Contented Little Baby Book? By making sure she is awake by 10pm and allowing her to stay up until 11.15pm before receiving the second part of the feed, she could well begin to stretch her sleep for longer in the night.
A baby should be taking full feeds, which are 8ozs, before needing to wean. The other indications would be showing signs of hunger long before a feed is due or as soon as it is over. It would be better if you work towards her taking better feeds during the day, and sleeping through to 6.30/7am, before considering this option.