Night feeding 6 month old

(25 Posts)
ScaredToBeHonest Mon 17-Feb-14 13:01:37

DS is nearly 6 months old and is forumula fed.

During the day he feeds at roughly 8am, 12pm and then 4pm. During those feeds he doesn't take much, between 90-150ml.

After his bath, at around 6.30pm he takes around 300ml. He then usually wakes at sometime around 9.30-11pm for a feed and then a further 2 times during the night where he takes a full 210ml each time.

Because of the amounts he takes at night, I think he must be hungry, rather than comfort feeding. Last night, he woke an hour after a feed and I was able to settle him without milk and he also goes down for his naps without milk so I don't think he relies on milk to fall asleep.

It seems the reason he eats so much at night is because he isn't taking enough during the day. I have very recently started weaning him (doing BLW) but I always make sure that I offer him food a little while after his milk so it isn't that he is filling up on food so has no room for milk. He isn't really eating a great deal yet anyway, mostly playing with and sucking the food!

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can reverse his eating habits?

Eletheomel Mon 17-Feb-14 14:59:20

'They' say that all babies can physically sleep through the night from 6 months (in that they don't need any nightime milk) but to be honest, I think that is one of the many generalisations 'they' say about babies and some babies will still want/need milk during the night at that age and for several months longer.

If it was me (mother of 8.5 month DS2 who wakes randomly during the night for milk feeds e.g. sometimes twice a night, sometimes more..) I'd give him another couple of months and reasess at 8-9 months. Right now the solids he's eating are negligible compared to his milk requirements (e.g. they're not going to fill him up) in 2-3 months he may well be eating more solids and will naturally reduce his milk intake at night accordingly.

Maybe not what you want to hear if you're looking for a good nights sleep soon (I sympathise!) and I'm bfeeding so not sure if there are tricks you can pull with bottle feeders that might reduce their night wakenings (e.g. offer them less and less each night they wake? Just guessing here :-) but I think you just need to give him a little more time to sort it out, as it sounds like your current approach regarding weaning to be perfectly fine.

ScaredToBeHonest Mon 17-Feb-14 15:25:33

It's not the fact that he wakes for milk that's bothering me, although I'd obviously like it if he didn't, but more the fact that he seems to do the majority of his feeding at night when I would expect him to need less, although perhaps still some, as he is asleep. It seems that he doesn't take enough during the day so is then hungry at night but because he's had loads at night, isn't hungry during the day. It just seems to be a vicious circle.

It's like his feeding is topsy turvy and I don't know how, or even if I should try, to put this right.

ScaredToBeHonest Wed 19-Feb-14 08:50:31

Anyone?

feesh Wed 19-Feb-14 08:54:45

Mum of twins here and an expert in trying to claim precious sleep! At that age mine were fed at 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm and 6pm (I think we had dropped the dream feed around 5 months?). I think you can wean him off the night feeds uh gradually cutting them down. He will slowly start to take more in the day but only do it gradually so he doesn't get upset. Mine were downing full bottles (240ml) at every feed at that point, so 1.25l in total per day.

It should be fairly straightforward to do - another twin mum friend of mine did the same after a period of illness flipped their day/night schedule the wrong way. Good luck!

toomuchtooold Wed 19-Feb-14 09:01:19

Hi another mum of twins here! Not that we're sleep obsessed but...

yeah I would say try and cut the bottles by say 30ml a night and see how he does - sounds like he's just getting most of his nutrition in the night and not so hungry in the day. Bit of a vicious circle.

Would also second the idea of reassessing at about 8 months-ish. I've read that up till about 8-9 months some of them, while physically capable of going without a feed for 12 hours, are still more comfortable with a feed in the night. (We kind of let it go on too long with our DT2 though and she was still taking a night feed at 13 months. God, we faffed around for ages with a bottle that was 1 scoop of powder and 60ml of water till my DH was like, put your earplugs in, I'm not feeding her tonight! She whinged a bit but didn't even properly cry and was fast asleep 45mins later...)

lockie1983 Wed 19-Feb-14 09:05:40

What happens if you cut down the last night milk feed by a little and up the first one of the day? How much "food" is he trying? He doesn't really need to eat three times a day yet.

It's all trial and error I suppose ... Does he wake at 8? If he woke a bit earlier could you fit another milk feed in the day?

It's so difficult as I strongly believe they have their own little rhythms ... Mine never goes four hours between feeds in the day, so feeds 5-6 times in day time.

Are you feeding him milk somewhere boring in the day? No tv, bright lights, distractions? This was when mine got a bit distracted with his milk.

I sympathise and personally would want to reverse his milk drinking habits so he was taking a bit less at night and the majority in the day.

Artandco Wed 19-Feb-14 09:06:22

I always fed every 2 hrs in the day, nothing at night from 12 ish weeks. So in your situation feed 8am, 10, 12, 2, 4, 6, 8pm. That's 7 feeds compared to current 3 you are giving. 4 hrs is a long time without anything, as an adult I drink far more often than that. Then they shouldn't need anything during the night

lockie1983 Wed 19-Feb-14 09:07:38

Cross posts grin I think the cutting down nighttime feeds little by little seems a theme

ScaredToBeHonest Wed 19-Feb-14 11:59:41

Thanks for all your replies.

I think I will try to gradually reduce the volume of his night feeds. He is definitely hungry at night and cannot be ignored - screams blue murder until he gets milk and then guzzles away at it! Hopefully slowly reducing the amount he gets at night, so he is still draining bottles, albeit smaller ones, will trick him into actually eating during the day.

It's so frustrating when I give him a bottle and he only takes 90ml! I just know it's going to mean I'm up loads in the night.

Although he is roughly fed every 4 hours during the day, this isn't set in stone. If he wants milk sooner, he has it. He rarely gives any indication of wanting milk sooner though. I have tried to get into roughly a 4 hour routine in order that he has decent naps and it has really helped in this regard - we've only been doing this for a few weeks. I don't want to get back into the habit of feeding him immediately before naps during the day, which is what would happen if I was to feed him every 2 hours.

Feesh If reducing the volume of night feeds doesn't work, I might try offering milk every 3.5 hours (if he hasn't asked for it sooner) and see if that helps.

Lockie his bedtime feed is the one he seems to need the most and I'm reluctant to cut that down as I live in hope that it will keep him going during the night. Besides with this feed, he often has a 240ml bottle and then actually cries for more and won't go to sleep until he's had it.

We tend to get up around 7.15am but by the time I've given him his medication and I'm then meant to wait a while before feeding him to allow it to work, he can be getting on for 8am when he has milk. He doesn't 'ask' for milk when we first get up, he's not bothered.

I'm offering him actual food generally just once or twice a day and he isn't actually eating much as he is BLW. He tends to just suck at and play with it so may eat a little bit but not much. There is a very small amount of evidence of food in his nappy.

I feed him (milk) in the living room but try to make sure that the TV isn't on so that he doesn't get distracted by it.

I'll start reducing the volume of his night time bottles and see how we get on.

Thanks again everyone

waterrat Wed 19-Feb-14 12:49:04

Re blw I think it's great but personally I wanted to get food in myself as well so I let him feed myself but also offered o help him get it in his mouth - he ate a lot more that way ....

Agree about 8/9 months being a point at which solids take over

I just think the blw thing can be taken too far !

lockie1983 Wed 19-Feb-14 13:40:18

Hiya OP, sorry I don't think I was clear ... I meant reduce the last over night bottle - 3 am or whenever it is - in order to make him hungrier for the first one.

My little one will guzzle his first and last feed of the day, this seems to be when he is at his hungriest. At about your LO's age he went totally off daytime milk and did start waking in the night again. A few weeks and it all worked itself out.

I agree with waterrat I blw as much as possible but do encouraged feeding too ... So will mix formula in with food (cereal, mashed veg etc) to get an extra ounce or two in him. Pretty quickly in to weaning he has dropped a feed and reduced his morning bottle, but those were always ones he wasn't fussed on anyway and was refusing many weeks before weaning began.

whatsgoinon Thu 20-Feb-14 05:07:02

Following with interest as although BF i am in a similar situation with my 6mo, being fed on demand can go hours in the day with small feeds but almost hourly at night <sob>

ZuleikaD Thu 20-Feb-14 06:55:29

I wouldn't bother trying to cut him down at night - at this age they're often a lot more interested in what's going on around them than in feeding during the day because they're becoming more aware of stuff, so they need the calories they take on overnight. Solids will help in a few months and he'll go back to getting more of his calories during daylight but not yet.

feesh Thu 20-Feb-14 09:50:38

Yes but Zuleika if he can go all night without feeding, he will be able to get better quality sleep which is better for his mood and overall health.

ZuleikaD Thu 20-Feb-14 11:33:11

Sorry feesh but that's complete nonsense. Babies are not only able to wake several times per night without it affecting their quality of sleep, but if they're going through a growth spurt or topping up their calories then they need to wake to feed several times per night. The length of time asleep is no indication of that sleep's quality. Adults are also perfectly able to wake several times per night without ill effects, as long as it's within normal sleep cycles.

feesh Thu 20-Feb-14 13:32:25

We will have to agree to disagree. My twins are much grumpier on nights when their sleep was disturbed.

lockie1983 Thu 20-Feb-14 13:41:08

But he isn't topping up at night. He is taking the majority of his food and calories overnight, I don't think that is a good thing.

If he were bf and feeding a lot overnight I would say growth spurt, encouraging supply etc. But it just seems like he's got his days and nights mixed up. If he were drinking what he does in the day over night, I would also see no problem with that.

OP if you want to try and change it, you are ok to

ZuleikaD Thu 20-Feb-14 15:01:56

Yes, hence my original point - babies who are starting to take an interest in their surroundings and be aware of what's going on frequently get massively distracted during daytime feeds and need to take in loads at night to top up to what they need. It's a phase, and it passes - just feed what he needs when he needs it.

feesh - twins may be slightly different because they're likely to disturb each other at different points of their sleep cycles and therefore be woken at unnatural points. A baby that's waking on its own natural cycle will be perfectly happy as long as its total amount of sleep is what's needed.

toomuchtooold Sun 23-Feb-14 14:01:53

Zulekia, my experience with my 22 month old twins would tend to contradict that - I have seen one sleeping like a stone while the other is bouncing up and down in her cot shouting "mummy!" at the top of her voice. Like kids who grow up next to railway lines they learn to screen out the background noise. And bloody sleep.

However, I seem to remember you were recommending frequent night visits to 6 month olds when mine were 6 month olds, so I suppose you won't be convinced by any of us now...

ZuleikaD Sun 23-Feb-14 17:28:33

I don't know about 'recommending'. Suggesting it was almost inevitable, and in many cases necessary, probably.

mymiraclebubba Mon 24-Feb-14 00:13:30

My 6 month old dd goes through phases of this! I can honestly say I have no idea why it switches it just does! This week she is taking loads of milk I'm the day last week bugger all and up and down all night for it.

Is he in his own room? I have found since putting dd in her own room that she now sleeps from 630/7 til 5 - she does stir but normally settles herself. She is also starting to get more active in the day so is feeding more

rallytog1 Mon 24-Feb-14 16:42:49

I'm just coming out of this with my 10mo dd. She was taking very little milk in the day and loads at night.

It sounds counterintuitive but I found that by feeding her less often in the day, she began to take more milk at each feed. This added up to more milk taken during the day and she started coping better at night. She is also eating more food in the day.

I will admit that we did some controlled crying alongside this, albeit in as gentle a way as possible. We had some difficult nights, but I think that also helped overall. I realise that option isn't for everyone and we only did it after doing a lot of research to help us decide whether it was the right option for us as a family.

Ive had this exact situation with my just turned 6mo although bf. but in the last 2 days she has had no night feeds and only one the day before. which was the day she turned 6 months.

she has read the book!

I agree with the first respondent who said to give it a few more months and see if it sorts itself out.

I hope it improves for you!

ScottishInSwitzerland Mon 24-Feb-14 20:46:29

Ah well I agree with Zuleika
I think it's totally normal for babies to eat less in the day when they start to be more interested in what's going on around them in the day.

I also think it's totally normal for six month old babies to wake a few times in the night. I think that's how babies evolved and if I remember rightly a few of the SIDS risks are around babies sleeping too deeply for too long (not suggesting op that you are putting yor dc at risk of SIDS. Just that shorter lighter sleeps are what human babies have evolved to do)

I also think that if you choose to do blw you do have to accept that you may need to give more milk feeds - and perhaps by extension more night milk feeds - than you would if you were spoon feeding in the day

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