Feeding FAQ: 8-12 Weeks – Formula Feeding

My son of 10.5 weeks is still waking in the night and needing a feed. What can I do to push this on?

My 10.5 week old son is still waking around 4ish and taking about 4oz.
Should I use ‘hungry baby milk’ at 22.30 feed?

My son is fussing a bit over his 5pm milk only taking 2ozs, is this alright or should I reduce his 5-6ozs at 2.30pm? He then takes 3/4ozs at 6.15pm.

My son feeds at 7.15am, 5ozs, 10.40am 6ozs, 2.30pm, 5-6ozs, 5pm 2-3ozs, 6.15pm 3-4ozs, 10.30pm 5-6ozs, 4am 4ozs.

He naps at 9-9.45am, 11.50-2.15pm and 4.30-5pm.

If you have to wake your son at 7am and he is beginning to lose interest in his 7.15am feed you will know that he is ready to begin to cut back on his 4am feed.

As you want your son to sleep through from 11pm to 7am without waking it is important you don’t try to cut back on his 4am too quickly or before he is ready to go with out it. Have a look at the advice given on pages 149 and 153 of The Contented Little Baby Book about getting a baby through the night.

The split feed at 5pm/6.15pm should stay in place until your baby sleeps through from 11pm -7am. The reason is that, having already fed at 5pm, he will take a smaller feed at 6.15pm and so be really hungry for his 10pm feed. If you feel that your son is not really hungry at 5pm try offering him 1oz less at 2.30pm and see if this encourages him to take 3ozs easily at 5pm and still feed again at 6.15pm.

Your notes indicate that your son is awake from 10.15pm to 11.25pm starting his late feed at 10.30pm. As your baby will fall into a deep sleep after 10pm and be harder to wake, try starting the waking up process at 9.45pm. You may find it is easier to bring him round and fully wake him at this slightly earlier time, before offering him his feed. Use the split method for this feed as described in the bottom question and answer on page 86 in The Contented Little Baby Book. Give him 3-4ozs once he is fully awake and then let him have a time of quiet kicking. Offer the rest of his feed once you have changed him and taken him into his room at 11.15pm.

Most babies under the age of 4 months need a spell of time awake between 7pm and 7am. Giving your son a split feed in late evening, encouraging him to be awake for over an hour, may help him take a good feed and push him on a little longer in the night.

The use of milk for “Hungrier Babies” has been discussed on the message boards. Look at the message posted by the Team in the thread “SMA White, hungry baby food, any thoughts” which can be found in the Feeding section.

Feeding FAQ: 8-12 Weeks – Formula Feeding

My 10 week old baby who is formula fed and weighs 12lbs 5ozs is still waking for a full feed at 3.00am. She is now losing interest in her 7am feed. I let her wake herself for the 10 pm feed so it can be at 11pm. Do I persist in giving water before her 3.00am feed and should she now be having 6oz feeds in the day?

My 10 week old baby who is formula fed and weighs 12lbs 5ozs is still waking for a full feed at 3.00am. She is now losing interest in her 7am feed. I let her wake naturally for the late feed so it can be at 11pm. Do I persist in giving water before her 3.00am feed and should she now be having 6oz feeds in the day?

We thought she may be too tired to feed properly if woken for the late feed but should we be waking her at 10pm? I now find it is a struggle to get her to take 3/4ozs at 7am.

Feeding details

3.00am: 5ozs formula
7.00am: 5ozs formula
10.30am: 5ozs formula
2.15pm: 5ozs formula
5.00pm: 1oz water
6.00pm: 5ozs formula
10.30pm: 5ozs formula

Daily milk intake 30ozs

My daughter naps at 8.45-9.30am, 11.45-2.00pm and 4-4.30pm. She settles at 7pm.

Most babies under the age of 4 months need a spell of time awake between 7pm and 7am. By keeping your daughter up for over an hour at the late evening feed, and using the split feed method at this time, she may begin to stretch herself in the night. Many parents do find that this method is effective after it has been in place for several nights.

Begin to wake your daughter at 9.45pm by putting on the lights and removing her covers. To make sure she is fully awake before feeding, take her to a well lit room with plenty of background noise. Offer her a full feed and then keep her awake until 11.15pm. Take her back to her room and change her nappy before offering her a small top up feed in dimmed light.  Once you have laid her in her cot, make sure she is well tucked in using a cotton sheet lengthways across her and tucked well in under the mattress. Secure this using two rolled towels tucked down the sides of the cot bars.

If your daughter continues to wake at 3am despite having a slightly larger feed at 10pm/11.15pm, offer her cool boiled water and a cuddle to see if she will settle back for a time. Use the “core method” which is explained in the CLB and CSG books to push her on slowly.

Once your daughter is sleeping a longer stretch she may still need a full feed when she first wakes but then can be given a smaller top up feed at 7am/7.30am to help her through to 10.30/11am.

If your daughter is waking early from her daytime naps due to hunger, or is draining all her bottles and looking for more food, then increase the feeds at 7am, 10.30am and 6.15pm first. This may also help her drop the need for a middle of the night feed but only if she continues to sleep until nearer 7am.

Feeding FAQ: 0-8 Weeks – Formula Feeding

How can I get my 7week old son to stretch out his feeds in the night?

As you can see my son was a big baby. He is a very hungry baby and has been since birth, which is why I have changed to complete formula feeding. I am unable to stretch out any of the feeding times and he cries for a bottle the minute that he wakes during the day and has to be full of food to sit happily or lie on his gym, so I feel that I constantly have to have a bottle at the ready. I have tried a dummy but he spits it out every time. The main problem that we have is that he seems unable to go longer than 2am at night. My husband does the 10pm feed and, as you have suggested elsewhere, we have been keeping him up for longer than one hour – waking him at 9.45 and putting him back down at 11.15pm. This is a really difficult time to keep him awake even lying on the floor in just his vest. The first time we did this he didn’t wake until 4.30, but this has got earlier again every night so that after only five days we are now back to 1.30 – 2am waking and then again at 5.30am. I have tried leaving him as he doesn’t really cry but is awake and fidgeting, but he is very hungry when I go in and usually drinks between 140 and 180ml. He then has about 100ml at 5.30am, he won’t settle with any less. I followed the same routines and had very similar problems during the day with his brother who was a similar birth weight, but was better at night and slept 10.30pm to 7am at 10 weeks.

He weighs 12lbs. My son feeds at 7.30am 120mls, 10am 180mls, 2pm 150mls, 5pm 60mls, 6.30pm 180mls, 10.30pm 180mls, 2am 160mls, and 5 am 100mls.

He naps at 9-9.45am, 12-2.30pm, 3.30-3.45pm and 4.30-4.45pm. He is settled by 7pm.

Your son will move on in the routines when he is ready to do so. It is not unusual for a young baby to wake and immediately need to be fed. If you find that he takes his feeds very fast you could try stopping him mid-feed and seeing if he will suck on a dummy for 10-15minutes. This will mean he has a longer sucking time overall, which may help him feel more satisfied after his feed. It may take him a while to get used to holding a dummy in his mouth but, if given regularly mid feed, he may accept it more readily than if you offer him a dummy whilst he is waiting for his feed.

It can be hard to keep a baby awake at 10pm but it is worth trying to do so. Offer him two thirds of his feed at 10pm, in a well-lit room where there is some background noise, and give him the rest of the feed in his own quiet, dimly-lit room at 11.15pm.

You can gradually get your son to sleep for a longer stretch in the night by not offering him a feed when he wakes but by going in to him and helping him to resettle. When your son wakes at 1am, try to settle him back to sleep with a cuddle. This may mean sitting with him for 10-15minutes. Even if he only settles for another hour before needing a feed it will stop him getting used to waking and feeding every three hours. Look at page 148 of The Contented Little Baby Book for a full description of the “core night” and how it works.

As your son is not so hungry at 7am you could begin to cut back very slowly on his early morning feed by 10-20mls every few nights and see if he is able to settle back to sleep until nearer 7am. This would mean he is more likely to take a full feed at 7am.

It is easy to want your second child to be the same as your first. Although both your sons have healthy appetites, your second son may not follow exactly in his brother’s footsteps and sleep through the night at exactly the same age. Continue trying to keep him awake at 10pm and this will stretch the length of time he sleeps during the night. He should then drop his feed during the night without too much trouble.

Feeding FAQ: 0-8 Weeks – Formula Feeding

I am not sure how to work out the amount of formula my 5 week baby needs at each feed

I am having problems working out how to split the amount of formula my 5 week son is due over his feeds during the day as his weight increases. Can you provide a table for weights 11lb and onwards like the one in your CLBB on page 63.

He weighs 11lbs at present.

He feeds at 7am 5ozs, 10.30am 5ozs, 2.30pm 4ozs, 5.00pm 3ozs, 6.15pm 3ozs, 10.30pm 5ozs, 2.30am 3ozs.

He naps at 8.15-10am, 11.30-2.15pm and 3.30-5pm.

The table shown on page 63 of The Contented Little Baby Book is given as an example of the feeding pattern you may expect from a small baby, but there is no specific table as each baby’s needs are different.

Using the guidelines of allowing 2.5ozs of milk per lb of body weight, you will be able to calculate about how much formula your son needs in a 24-hour period. This is then divided by the number of feeds your son is receiving in that time. This will give you a guide to work towards, allowing for your son’s own needs. Some babies may need an ounce more at some feeds but you can use the guidelines to work out how much he will probably take at each feed.

The feeds at 7.30am, 10.30am, 5pm/6.15pm and 10pm/11.15pm may be slightly larger than those at 2.30pm and his feed in the middle of the night. When your son goes through a growth spurt increase the feeds at 7am, 10.30am and 11pm first. This will mean making them 1oz more. He may not drink all the extra milk you have offered but you will have allowed him to take more should he want it.

It always seems better to have small amount of formula left in the bottom of the bottle once the feed has finished as you will then know your son has taken all he wants.

Your son will probably still need a feed in the night for another few weeks. Once he is sleeping through from after the middle of the night feed until 7am for at least a week you can begin to very gradually cut down the night feed. See page 149 of The Contented Baby Book. If you do cut back on his middle of the night feed too soon he may begin to wake earlier in the morning, which defeats what you are trying to achieve.

Your son’s weight gain should be about 6-8ozs each week. Providing he continues to gain weight at this steady rate you will know that he is receiving the right amount of milk for his needs.

Feeding FAQ: 0-8 Weeks – Formula Feeding

My son of 7 weeks does not want to stretch his night feed out beyond 3.30am

I have a very sucky, hungry 7 week old big baby who does not want to sleep longer in the night. My son is struggling to get past 3.30am in the night- it has been like this on and off for the past 4 weeks. He has 6 oz of SMA white at about 10.45pm, having been woken at 10pm. He then wakes at 3.30/3.45am and sometimes will settle with a dummy for half an hour or so but then wakes again screaming for a feed. He is taking slightly more than the amount of formula for his weight during the day, and does not seem to want more during the day. I see that you advise that not more than 6oz should be given at the 10pm feed – but should I increase this to make him go longer? When he does feed in the night he is currently taking about 3oz. I have just started to decrease it from 4 oz and he then wakes again at 7am for a feed. He is much more settled during the day and will generally take all his naps. Should I keep increasing his day feeds and the 10pm feed? As he is so big I do not want to overfeed him.

My son feeds at 7am 6ozs, 10.30am 6ozs, 11.45am 1oz top up, 2.30pm 5ozs, 5.15pm 3ozs, 6.30pm 4/5ozs, 10.45pm 6ozs, 3.30am 3ozs.

He weighs 13lbs.

He naps at 8.50-9.30am, 11.45-2.15pm and 4.15-4.45pm. He is settled by 6.50pm.

It may help your son push on in the night if you split the10pm feed a little differently. If your baby can be awake for over an hour in the late evening, it may help him sleep for a longer stretch.

Start to wake your baby at 9.45pm so he is well awake by 10pm/10.10pm. Once he is wide awake offer him 4ozs of his feed. Let him have time awake and kicking under his gym until 11.15pm. To keep him awake take him into a light room where there is some background noise. Change his nappy at 11.15pm and then offer him the second part of his feed in a dimly lit room. Try giving him 2-3ozs for the second part of his feed and see if this settles him for a longer stretch in the night. When splitting a feed in this way it is best to offer it in two bottles, each one given fresh, so there is no danger of stale milk tainting the teat. Look at page 138 of The Contented Little Baby for a description of this feed.

Although your son is big, it is not unusual for a baby of his age to still be waking for this middle of the night feed. Continue to give him 3ozs at this feed until you notice him being less interested in his feed at 7am, even if he begins to sleep until later in the night before needing his night feed. Once he becomes less interested in the 7am feed, then begin to very gradually cut back the night feed. See page 149 of The Contented Little Baby Book which explains this.

At his present weight your son is taking about the right amount of formula for his needs, but you are right in thinking that you don’t want him to put on weight too quickly. Providing he is gaining a steady 6-8ozs a week then continue with the amount of formula he is having in the daytime until he shows all the signs of needing more.

If your son takes his feed very quickly you could try to slow him down in the daytime. Give him half his feed and then sit him in his chair with a dummy for 15-20 minutes to give him some “sucking time”. After this “sucking time” let him finish his feed. This may help him feel more satisfied than if he finishes a full feed in 10-15minutes.

Feeding FAQ: 0-8 Weeks – Formula Feeding

My son is 5 weeks old and weighs 10lbs 5ozs. He had gradually begun to wake nearer to 3am for his feed, and then again between 6-7am. However, in the last few days he has been waking more frequently at night, despite having a split feed at 10pm, and staying awake for an hour. Could this be due to a growth spurt and how do I begin to encourage him to sleep for longer again?

Last night I gave him a 4oz feed at 2am since he seems to need this feed. I have tried to offer him less milk, or a more diluted feed, but he will not settle. He woke again at 4am and would only settle back to sleep when given 1oz at 5am.

I have increased some of the daytime feeds, but this does not seem to have had any effect on his nights.

Your son could well be going through the six-week growth spurt. He is taking the right amount of milk for his present weight, but during a growth spurt some babies do need to take a little more than the recommended amount, or require an extra feed.

The 10pm feed is still very important at this stage, and to ensure that your son takes a good feed at this time, it is important that he is hungry enough. Try offering him more at 5pm and less at 6.15pm to encourage a good feed at 10pm.

Although the book recommends that you give the late feed in the nursery, and the baby should be awake for no more than one hour, we would advise that you alter this slightly until your son is able to sleep longer in the night.

We suggest that you give your son a split feed at 10/11.15pm and keep him awake slightly longer at this time. Start to wake him around 9.45pm and take him out of the nursery to a brightly lit room to ensure that he is awake enough to feed really well. Let him take as much milk as he wants at this time and then give him a break, allowing him to kick quietly. Then at 11.15pm, take him back to the nursery, change his nappy, dim the lights and give him a top-up feed before settling him in his cot.

You should also look at other factors that may be contributing to his earlier/frequent waking in the night:

Check that he is well tucked in. Even if he is still swaddled, tuck him securely using a cotton sheet placed lengthways across him and tucked in at least six inches either side under the mattress. Use two towels rolled up and pushed down between the mattress and the spars of the cot to secure the sheet,

If, despite feeding well at the late feed, your son continues to wake around 3am, then wait for ten minutes to see if he will resettle himself. If you feel that he is not genuinely hungry, you can try offering him some cool boiled water to settle him back.  However, if he does not settle back within 15-20 minutes, it is best to assume that he is hungry and feed him. As his age it is important that when he does wake in the night that he settles back to sleep quickly, and water should never be offered as a substitute to a baby who still genuinely needs to feed in the night.  If your baby continues to feed in the night, but begins lose interest in his feed at 7am, you will know he is ready to begin to cut down on the milk offered to him during the night, and you can then use the core night method to eliminate the middle of the night feed.

Finally, a baby who is a sleepy feeder in the day can end up having too much daytime sleep, which will begin to affect his nights. Make sure that your baby is fully awake during his daytime feeds, and if you do find that he begins to fall asleep over his daytime feeds, rouse him by removing the bottle and laying him on his playmat for a short kick so he is more alert.