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Four-month old eating less than before

(15 Posts)
CurrantBun Wed 27-Jun-07 09:01:27

My four-month old baby boy seems to have taken a step back with his feeding over the past week or so. He is formula-fed and was averaging 30-33oz per day. All of a sudden he seems to have dropped to 28-30oz per day. I'm not unduly worried as he's still gained weight this week (albeit less) and is following his growth curve well. But I'm just wondering why this might be?

He has feeds at 7am, 10-10:30am, 2-2:30pm, 5pm, 6:15pm and 10:45pm. I make up 6oz bottles for each feed and where he was finishing one or two of these per day he's now only taking 5-5.5oz max per feed. The 5pm and 6:15pm feeds are essentially one feed split into two but I make up 4oz bottles for these two and occasionally he takes all of it. We always struggle to get him to take much at 10:45pm. He had been sleeping through until around 5:30am but last night woke every hour. He hasn't been having a feed during the night.

I would have thought that as he has not fed all night he would be really hungry by morning and down his breakfast, but he just doesn't appear to be that hungry. This morning he took 5oz then just wasn't interested in having any more. I've tried using a faster-flow teat in case he was just losing interest because the milk flow was too slow, but it hasn't had any effect.

He does tend to go off his food a bit following any vaccinations and he had his 4-month jabs last week so perhaps that could be a factor. Or maybe he's teething and has gone off his food a bit for that reason? My health visitor said he may just not have the capacity for increased volume but he's taken more in the past than he's taking at present and has been fine. She said if he really can't take any more volume then he may be a candidate for early weaning. I don't really want to wean him just yet (he's 17 weeks) as my husband has a history of eczema and hayfever and as my baby is bottle-fed I'd like to avoid any other potential source of him developing allergies.

Has anyone else had experience of babies suddenly feeding less than they had done previously? Sorry for such a long post!

Seona1973 Wed 27-Jun-07 09:25:05

Appetites do vary week to week. My dd (now 3) and ds(8 months) have both done this. With ds especially, he would start draining bottles so I would increase the amount only for him to start leaving half of it again. If they are still having plenty milk (28-30oz is plenty) and are having wet/pooey nappies then I dont think there is anything the matter. Your lo could also have just gone through a growth spurt where they did feed more and now your lo has gone back down to his 'normal' intake.

I dont see how he is a candidate for early weaning just because he takes a little less in his bottles. Your hv would probably have also sad he was due early weaning if he had been taking loads in his bottles - it just doesnt make sense.

If he seems all right in himself then I wouldnt worry at all - his feeding will probably slowly start to increase again.

Hels67 Wed 27-Jun-07 09:33:42

Hi there,

I wrote almost the identical message to yours a few weeks ago, currantbun - DD had always feed regularly and was having 800ml-900ml (for some reason we're using metric, not sure why) per day - then suddenly a dramatic fall off. I did the same as you - increased the teat sizes and that did help for a bit. I also thought of early weaning, but to be honest that it is usually needed when LOs are drinking MORE not less than usual.
then suddenly, all went back to normal again
As Seona says, as long as the nappies continue to be wet/dirty regularly then you have little to worry about - just stick with it and he will go back to his normal routine soon.

notdoneyet Wed 27-Jun-07 09:38:39

my dd3 is 16 weeks, and had her second jabs last week and for a few days she was off her food, and very unsettled in the night, she usually takes 7oz at 8am, 12, 4pm, 8pm, then straight to bed, i was giving her a dream feed at about 11pm which she would take about 4 or 5 oz, but was waking a few times in the night and i remember my ds doing this, so on monday i started giving her a half tsp of baby rice at 4pm, and stopped giving the dream feed, and for the last two night she has settled during the night,

What milk is your ds on? Has his sleeping habits during the day changed? I know that they can go through growth spurts and need extra milk, and then slow down with milk. with regards to 'early' weaning its a personal choice and no-one should be forced, or judged if you choose to wean earlier. Its your baby and you know his daily patterns and you will know if/when he is really ready for his first tastes.

daisyhun Wed 27-Jun-07 10:32:09


Same here!

My DD started to do this at about 4 months and is 22 weeks now and still doing it. She only takes around 4 oz per feed although we always offer 6 oz. And yes, morning feeds she's not hungry much even though she has just gone 11 or 12 hours without a feed - strange!

She's fine in herself and is still gaining weight so we are not worried - can't force it down her!

I think babies are clever and only take what they need to eat...

But we have started weaning and "hiding" some formula in her purees which is meaning she takes an ounce or so more at feeds... weaning has made no difference to her appetite though.

<<runs scared from all those who will tell Daisyhun off for weaning too early and using purees>>

CurrantBun Wed 27-Jun-07 13:40:42

Thank you all so much! What a relief to find this isn't unusual. As I said, he's gaining weight and seems happy and content in himself so I'm not overly worried on that score, but feeding times are just really unpleasant when he just doesn't seem to enjoy his milk or take the bottle with any enthusiasm.

I really don't want to wean him yet, and looking back over my records of his feeds I notice he did exactly the same after his second set of jabs so I'm guessing it might be that he's just a little out of sorts following the last ones he had last Thursday.

He's on Aptamil First and I haven't changed that. We did try him with the hungrier baby version for a couple of nights to see whether it helped him to sleep better seeing as he isn't taking a greater volume of milk throughout the day, but it didn't make any difference at all and seemed to upset his tummy so I stopped it.

His sleeping patterns in the day have always been a bit erratic. He consistently sleeps from 8:30-9:15 in the morning after 'getting up' at 7:00. In the last couple of days he's slept longer at this nap - an hour and a half yesterday and an hour and a quarter today - and he normally hardly sleeps at lunchtime, an hour at most, but he's asleep now. He's also been sleeping from 11pm when he has his last feed until about 5:30am, yet last night he woke practically every hour which is unusual.

It looks from my feeding records as though it took a good week with his last two lots of jabs for his feeding to get back to normal, so it may be it will be the same this time - especially as he had 3 jabs this time and only 2 on each of the previous occasions.

It's good to know this happens with other babies too - sometimes you can't help but wonder whether it's something you're doing wrong!

daisyhun Wed 27-Jun-07 19:41:53


Just to add my dd has also done the same with her naps the past 2 days too - strange isn't it!

She really doesn't enjoy her milk any more - no idea why, although today I found that leaving her 40 mins after her first go at the bottle and trying her again with the rest of it meant she finished the whole 6 ounces - so maybe give that a try?

(Although for her evening feed just now she only took 2 ounces

That's the thing with babies - they lull you into a false sense of security thinking you know what they want and when they will want it, then it all changes again

CurrantBun Thu 28-Jun-07 08:59:55

Daisyhun, I've tried doing that too - leaving him a while if he doesn't take much of his feed then trying him with the rest of it later. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

After reading all your messages yesterday I wondered if possibly his gums were sore and that was why he was rejecting the bottle. He certainly still seemed to be hungry as he'd push the bottle away but then continue to yell as if hungry. So I tried rubbing some Bonjela on his gums about 10 minutes before his lunchtime feed - and it was like feeding a different baby. He took the whole 6.5oz and didn't fuss at all. He also took all of his next two bottles with no fuss and managed 5.5oz at 11:20pm which is always a difficult feed. He then slept until nearly 6am this morning. Will continue with the Bonjela!

Of course, it could just be that the effect of the injections has finally worn off and he's getting back on track with his feeding anyway - will have to risk doing without the Bonjela at a couple of feeds to see how he gets on!

Thanks again for all the replies yesterday - it was just good to hear that other babies do the same!

daisyhun Thu 28-Jun-07 19:29:54

Aah - Currantbun - I may just give the teething gel a go - good tip! My dd loses interest after 4 oz and then pushes the teat round her gums like she is chewing it - maybe it is because her gums are sore.

Wouldn't it be so much easier if they could just tell us what's wrong!!

CurrantBun Fri 29-Jun-07 09:39:23

Daisyhun, wouldn't it just! Sadly they don't come with a manual ... and an 'off' switch would be useful at times too

My DS was doing exactly as you describe with the teat, just pushing it round his mouth, chewing on it and then spitting it out (grinning all the while!) Since I tried the teething gel it's been like feeding a different baby - this morning he took the entire bottle with no fussing at all, and the breakfast feed is normally one of the more 'difficult' ones, even though I'd expect him to be hungry having not eaten all night.

We now have another problem instead - he's started waking loads in the night. We haven't fed him at night since he started sleeping through from the dream feed at about 10 weeks, so he's not waking because he's expecting to be fed. Last night he woke at 3:30am, 4:00am, 5:00am and then several times between 5:30am and 6:15am. He then decided to go back to sleep until 7:30am (grrrr!) It started a few weeks ago when he had a cold and now seems to have become a pattern which we can't seem to break.

Have tried his dummy (which soothes him until he pulls it out of his mouth!); have tried putting a sheet over his sleeping bag to prevent him jerking himself awake (didn't work); have tried the usual soothing him back to sleep by stroking his forehead etc. He settles straight away so I don't necessarily think he's hungry (although as he's waking more and more frequently I'm beginning to suspect this might be the case) but won't stay asleep for very long.

Am thinking of not waking him for a dream feed, as he's always sound asleep at that time, and seeing how long he'll go then giving him a full feed - or will this just set us back into the pattern of night feeds? As I said in my first post he has not been feeding well in the day so it could be he just hasn't taken enough between 7am and 11pm to get him through the night, but I can't see what I can do about that as I can't force more down him than he wants/needs to take.

It's getting very wearing though ...

daisyhun Fri 29-Jun-07 17:24:50

I always just wait til dd wakes for a night feed - some nights she goes right through, others (most) she wakes for a big full bottle (last night took 8 ounces - unheard of during the day!) and then went through til 7am.

Sometimes she wakes at 3am, some times 12 or 1am - no pattern but whether i try to limit her night feeds or not it makes no difference to how hungry she is during the day so I have come to the conclusion that I am just going to give her as much as she wants if and when she wakes for her one night feed.

I am a bit sceptical about dream feeds (I know some people swear by them) as I think it takes away the opportunity for your baby to sleep the full 12 hours - why not just feed if and when he wakes once during the night?

CurrantBun Sat 30-Jun-07 12:27:22

Daisyhun, am tempted to try what you suggest. Was actually going to give it a go last night but the little fella woke at 10:50pm so thought I may as well just feed him as usual. He took a full bottle (6.5oz for him - he just can't seem to manage more than this at the moment) but then woke at 1:50am, 3:20am, 5:30am and 6:00am when I finally took him into bed with me (DH is away on a stag do this weekend so I'm on my own). He then fell asleep until I woke him at 7:20 for his breakfast feed.

How many feeds does your DD have per day? How much is she taking at each feed? Am worried that if he were to sleep through from 6:30pm right through the night (unlikely though that is!) he won't be getting enough food. He's averaging 30-33oz per day now that his feeding has improved again, but doesn't seem able to take more than about 6.5oz at any one sitting. I did read that until a baby is having a regular 35-40oz a day they're unlikely to go through the night. He did at one point, several times, but he weighs more now (13lb 11oz) but hasn't really increased his appetite to match his increased weight.

Am getting really fed up with getting up in the night. He used to just settle back to sleep straight away with his dummy but now he just keeps waking up. Could be hungry I guess but really don't want to go back to night feeds if at all possible. It's one thing to stumble into his room with my eyes closed, fumble for his mouth and shove the dummy in; quite another to have to fully wake up to administer a bottle!

Seona1973 Sat 30-Jun-07 13:31:13

CurrantBun, do you think the dummy might be causing the sleeping problems if your lo needs it put back in to get back to sleep? My ds had his dummy until roughly 5 months and then I took it away as he was waking several times a night looking for it and I got fed up having to get up to shove it back in. He now sleeps much better although he did have a night feed up until almost 8 months - some nights he wouldnt wake for one but most nights he did. He now consistently sleeps until around 6/6.30am but will still only take around 4 or 5 ounces in his morning bottle (last feed is around 7.30pm)

daisyhun Sat 30-Jun-07 20:29:58

Hi Currantbun - lots of similarities with your LO here:

MY dd has 5 feeds per day (including her night feed) so one every 4 to 5 hours but still only takes 4 or 5 ounces each feed. She's ravenous at night though - I have started making her an 8 ounce bottle for the night feed. So the average she will take in 24 hours is about 24-26 ounces.

Bear in mind she is 23 weeks now, so really not taking much for her age at all. She only weighs 13lb 10oz but following her centile line (just) and I am assured her weight and feeding is nothing to worry about (although I ask about it every time I see HV!). Starting weaning has made no difference at all.

Re the dummy - I took hers away from her at night a few weeks ago precisely because she would wake at about 2.30am then wake every 30 mins or so from then on to have it put back in. She still has it during the day for naps but we went cold turkey at night - she cried for 40 mins the first night before falling asleep, 15 mins the next night, 3 mins the third night and after that all smiles when we put her down for bed - so it was not too painful! It worked and she doesn't wake for it now - in fact, she didn't wake for it from night one (i.e. if she doesn't have it to fall asleep then she doesn't wake for it).

She does usually wake at about 5am ish but any mum I have talked to recently with LOs around this age says their LOs are doing the same - I think it's the light mornings (despite us have a blackout blind AND lining in her room). Sometimes I do stick a dummy in then to get another couple of hours and sometimes I even bring her into our bed and she will go through to about 7.30am that way.

Oh and if your LO sleeps right through the night he won't starve - he will just take more during the day to compensate. On the nights my DD sleeps through (about 1 in 14 nights!) she is hungrier in the morning.

At the end of the day a) we can't force any more feed down our poor LO's throats and b) if they were hungry and wanted more then they would soon let us know!!

Unfortunately I think you have to go with what your baby wants which at this stage is not sleeping through the night but there will come a time when he does sleep through the night... it just seems so far off at this stage!

Hope this helps and fingers crossed our LO's sleep through soon!!

CurrantBun Mon 02-Jul-07 19:37:25

God, its' so good to know I'm not alone. Have been really tearful about it all today - mainly because I've hardly had any sleep for the past four nights since he started his pattern of waking constantly.

Seona, yes - I do think the dummy is causing the problem as he can't seem to settle without it, either at night or during the day. We have tried to take it away for his daytime naps today (not that he naps much at the best of times) and have ended up with one very cross, overtired little lad. Feel SO guilty.

Daisyhun, was it really not that bad going cold turkey? I must admit I felt utterly evil allowing him to lie in his cot sobbing his little heart out, and getting so worked up and overwrought that he was unable to settle himself to sleep. He ended up hoarse, gasping for air and so distressed that we ended up giving him a drop of Calpol to calm him down and help him get to sleep.

This evening when I fed him he was so exhausted he fell asleep and I had to wake him a couple of times to take his bottle. Put the dummy in afterwards to calm him down while I rocked him in his sleeping bag (seems to have become his night time ritual) and he spat it out of his own accord before he'd fully dozed off or I'd put him in his cot.

On Saturday night, having got up at 1:50am to settle him, I realised that he wasn't actually crying, just making lots of noises. So when he stirred again I left him and after about 10 minutes of letting out loud yells and other sounds he went back to sleep. He did the same a couple more times during the night and went back to sleep on his own. Really thought I'd cracked it and planned to do the same last night. This time the noises escalated into full-on crying each time he woke up and in the end it took us 45 minutes to settle him as he got so worked up. Just worried about going cold turkey as not sure I could bear to listen to him in that much distress for 45 minutes or more ...

... that said, so many people seem to have taken this route and it DOES work, just don't know if I have the heart to do it.

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