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Help! Problems with bottle feeding at night

  1. #1
    premama is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Help! Problems with bottle feeding at night


    I am having real problems with my 5 month old feeding from the bottle. He was exclusively breastfed until about 4 1/2 months when I introduced formula as I was returning to work. Initially, he refused to drink from the bottle (EBM or formula) and would cry for up to 30-45 minutes. Now, he drinks from the bottle during the day (still with a little protest) but refuses to drink from the bottles during the night feedings - which is causing a lot of problems for me as it means that I have to feed him 1-2 times a night and can't rest during the day as I'm back at work.

    His current schedule is:

    7am - BF
    10am - bottle (formula)
    1pm - bottle (formula)
    4pm - bottle (EBM)
    7pm - BF
    11pm - bottle (EBM/formula) - but only very little
    2-3am - BF
    4-5am - BF

    I've tried to ask my helper to feed him during the night feedings but as he refuses the bottle, he ends up crying for a long time and I end up waking up and feeding him anyway. I just feel so bad hearing him cry so much as I feel like he's calling for me. However, I know the current situation is unsustainable for me as I am so tired during the day.

    Just to add to the mix, when he cries a lot in the middle of the night, he ends up disturbing my 2.5 year old (they don't sleep in the same room but she can still hear him) which makes it very difficult for me (and my husband) to get any sleep at all!

    I would appreciate hearing from other working mums who've experienced something similar.


  2. #2
    plumtree is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Hong Kong
    I feel so badly for you, given your really tough schedule! How do you stay awake during the day?! Each child is different, but I've heard that it's the total amount they feed during the day which has some bearing on whether they wake during the night. You don't say how much he's getting at each day feed but perhaps give him more? Another option would be to up the 11pm feed even if it means waking him up more? That way, he might drop one night feed and so you sort of lessen the problem?

    My five month old is on roughly the same schedule, but he wakes at about 6-630am (touch wood), then feed at 10am, 2pm, 5pm, and then 8pm. He also has a feed at 11pm before I go to bed. He's on EBM, but we try to top up each feed in the day (if he's hungry) by offering some formula.

    Good luck and try to get some rest!

  3. #3
    StareBear is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Tai Tam
    Do you think he is definitely hungry? He is getting a lot of feeds so could it be a sleep problem rather than a feeding problem? Does he self-settle to sleep?

  4. #4
    Aava.Wong is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    have you introduced the dummy/pacifier to him?

  5. #5
    jvn is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Mid-Levels, Hong Kong
    I would probably try spreading the daytime feeds out a bit more so he gets used to going longer between feeds and is definitely hungry for the next one. All babies are different but at 5 months The Boy was easily going four hours between 200ml EBM feeds during the day.

    I would agree with the last two posters maybe he is waking out of habit and having trouble settling back to sleep rather than being hungry - it's worth trying a pacifier or just patting him gently to help him settle again. It could be that offering him a bottle he doesn't want is making it worse.

    Or, perhaps he is too hungry by the time he wakes up to concentrate on the bottle, sometimes I feel like they can get too agitated to do the thing that would help them the most whether it's sleeping or eating. If helping him get back to sleep doesn't work I'd try anticipating his waking and trying to feed him before he wakes himself up and gets himself too agitated to take the bottle.

    Two very different strategies - I'm finding so much of this parenting malarkey is trial and error!

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