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Formula feeding at night instead of breastfeeding - will my 4 month old sleep longer?

(15 Posts)
Nickname1980 Mon 13-Feb-17 07:16:55

I'm sure this has been done to death, but I have started giving my 4 month old one bottle before bed to help him sleep longer. It works - he then goes four hours. (Was previously doing two). He's then up every one to two hours and I breastfeed him back to sleep.

If I formula feed him all night, do you think he'd sleep better? Any experiences?

I know his sleeping is normal for his age, I just have two other dc and am knackered.

But love bf'ing and fought a hard battle to get it established. I don't want to slowly say goodbye to it (quitting overnight makes me feel like I will)...

Would love to hear experiences!

riddles26 Mon 13-Feb-17 08:42:09

From everything I've read, it is a myth that they sleep longer on formula and it is luck whether your baby sleeps long stretches or not.

I ebf and my 3.5month daughter does 9-10 hour stretches at night. She's done this by herself - started with 5 hours at 6 weeks and then gradually got longer before she needed a feed. She does feed a lot during the day though - every hour to 2 hours. Perhaps if you feed frequently during the day, he could do longer stretches at night? Although sometimes they do just wake for the breast out of habit or wanting comfort so its also a case of breaking that habit to get the longer stretches out of them

Okite Mon 13-Feb-17 08:46:51

IME, no. I switched my DS to formula at 10 months because I couldn't cope with the constant night wakings any more. Made no difference, just more of a faff. Did realise quite how much he was drinking though, he used to have around 13oz before bed (had to make 2 bottles!) and two more 9oz bottles through the night plus another full one on waking (at 5 fucking 30 in the morning).
He just out-grew it eventually, he was a big baby and always preferred feeding at night to during the day.

Lovelilies Mon 13-Feb-17 09:35:06

I'd definitely try and BF more during the day if possible my 7mo is far too 'busy' now and snacks at the all night milk bar so I'm probably not the best person to ask
There's a massive benefit of BF during the night one of which is preventing SIDS, they don't sleep as deeply and therefore reduce the risk.
Would you consider co-sleeping? I do with DDd2 (dc3) and can just suffer a boob in her mouth without really waking up myself. It's saved my sanity, and I feel really close to her ☺

2014newme Mon 13-Feb-17 09:40:14

No I don't think so. But your partner can do some of the night feeds. Or you can express and partner do some of the night feeds

QuiteLikely5 Mon 13-Feb-17 09:41:03

Yes ime they do go longer if FF at night. I resorted to this and for us it was a success.

It is not something that will receive support though as most will tell you to stick to BF only, here, and health profession.

isupposeitsverynice Mon 13-Feb-17 09:44:30

Some do, some don't. Some breastfed babies have trouble digesting formula milk at first so it keeps them up with tummy ache. Others take to it like ducks to water and it's all fine. 4 months is a common age for sleep to go up the wall a bit - maybe try and stick it out for a few more days and see if he settles before you make the decision? It is hard when you've worked hard to get bf going and then you're on your knees with sleep deprivation! It's also worth remembering that breastmilk at night contains a hormone that helps you and baby go back to sleep. Good luck, whatever you decide flowers

wonkylegs Mon 13-Feb-17 09:47:34

They might but it's no guarantee the main advantage of switching to bottles is being a able to share feeding duties.
My first was mix fed (Breast, expressed & formula) til 7mths then just formula, my second is generally Breast fed with the occasional formula if being looked after by someone else he's currently 9mths.
Second child sleeps slightly better than the first one did, but I think that's more down to his character than his feeding. He's actually hungrier than his brother was but seems to settle better.
1st fed at night until he was 1, second still feeds at night but settles quicker than his brother did and often now doesn't even want a feed just a quick snuggle.

Nickname1980 Mon 13-Feb-17 11:16:09

Thank you so much for all this advice!

I think I will try and stuff him full up in the daytime first then try formula all night one time if that doesn't work! Though I know that some babies just wake every few hours no matter what and he may be one.

I have found that when I let him nap on me blush he latches back on and off through the sleep, which probably gets more in his belly. It's tricky to do with my other two kids around though! They soon get bored of me sitting down!

I do cosleep, lovelillies, but use a cosleeping cot. I've never managed to master the lying down feeding though... I will try!

reallyanotherone Mon 13-Feb-17 11:22:26

Bear in mind night feeds are the ones that stimulate your milk producing hormones.

There is a pretty big chance that if you stop night feeds your supply will tail off. Combined with bf is harder work, you could end up ff completely.

I suppose the question is is sleep more important than continuing bf, or vice versa?

littledinaco Mon 13-Feb-17 15:32:41

I think it's luck-some can sleep better with formula,others worse,others no different.

If you are co-sleeping already and can learn how to feed lying down (it might take a bit of practice at first) it will make things so much easier. Once you get used to it, you don't even notice how often baby wakes/feeds as you get used to barely waking and falling back to sleep straight away.

Lovelilies Mon 13-Feb-17 15:58:00

Definitely try and master feeding while lying down! I lie on my side with bottom arm straight out, baby facing me with head in armpit just about!
Good luck

2tiredtothinkofausername Thu 16-Feb-17 09:39:55

In my experience yes, but that's just my son. I think they are very individual with these things. We gave a bottle from 4 weeks and I'm still mix feeding at 10 months. He was happy to go from one to another and still is, boob or bottle he loves his milk! He's actually a massive foodie so I think he's just a laid back chap when it comes to food and drink, happy to have anything!

isupposeitsverynice Thu 16-Feb-17 09:47:40

Yes feeding lying down is a revelation - amazing stuff. I too lay on my side and lined baby up with nipple, honestly once you crack it's as easy as pie and makes night feeds so much more bearable. Make sure your bed set up is safe for baby if you nod off - the combination of lying down and sleep hormones will see you snoring in no time grin

Whattodo23 Thu 16-Feb-17 09:50:30

If you reduce night feeds your supply will certainly reduce then you will have to give formula so be weary it could result in stopping nursing altogether

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