Author Topic: 4 hrs btwn feeds help with NWs?  (Read 398 times)

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Offline lepetitmatin

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4 hrs btwn feeds help with NWs?
« on: July 22, 2015, 17:45:41 pm »
I have a question about a baby going 4 hours between feedings during the day. I've heard and read that doing this may help a baby wake up less at night to eat, when compared to a baby who's being fed every 2-3 hours during the day. Can someone explain the reasoning behind this?

A little background on my EBF now-6-month-old... when she was around 3 months, she started sleeping longer stretches at night. A good 5 hour chunk at first, then up every 3 hours or so thereafter. Around 4 months old, I noticed she started spacing out her day feedings, but she also started waking at night more. I chalked the NWs up to the 4mo sleep regression. I also had a weird worry that she wasn't getting enough during the day (her weight gain was fine, this was just a hunch). So I started dreamfeeding her and feeding her whenever she'd wake, whereas I used to settle her in other ways for NWs before. When she was 5 mo, I went back to work and started pumping during the day. I get on average 12 or 13 ounces for the 10 hours I'm away from her. At that point, we also extended her A times to help her nap better, which totally worked. But her caregiver during the day essentially was giving her bottles every 2-3 hours (instead of what I'd been doing when I was home) because she thought that feeding her before her naps would help her sleep. We also just last week when she turned 6 mo started experimenting with solids, and also added in 2 ounces of formula before bed which she usually happily drinks dry.

So since the 4mo mark, her NWs have been terrible. More than a sleep regression I now wonder if it is because a) I fed her at most wakings to get her to get some more calories in and to get her to go back down easily, thereby creating a horrible habit, and b) we are feeding her more often than she needs during the day. Now that I'm pumping during the day and can see how much she's actually getting during most of the day, I feel more ready to try to follow her lead more and space her out to eating every 4 hours, by consolidating the 3 bottles she's been getting into 2. I think she'd drink it all that way, and honestly at this point I'm ready to try anything that will help her nights. I just want to better understand the reasoning behind moving to 4 hours between feeds helping NWs. Will consolidating her bottles really help? If so, why? Is the idea that her tummy will expand and be able to hold more, or that she'll full and be able to go longer? Why won't she just end up waking every 4 hours to eat at night?

TIA!

[also posted in breastfeeding forum]

Offline newkidontheblock

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Re: 4 hrs btwn feeds help with NWs?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2015, 04:23:27 am »
I have a question about a baby going 4 hours between feedings during the day. I've heard and read that doing this may help a baby wake up less at night to eat, when compared to a baby who's being fed every 2-3 hours during the day. Can someone explain the reasoning behind this?
Basically, if feeds are spaced out, then your baby is hungry enough to take a full feed rather than just a snack to take the edge off. This doesn't mean denying the baby a feed if they ask, simply planning it so that there is a good-sized gap between feeds. You want them taking in most of their calories during the day, and not at night. Not all babies can go that long between feeds though. With mine, we got into a routine of nursing on WU from naps and in the morning, and then I would give her a 'top up' nurse around 30-45 minutes before the next nap. Also, at your DD's age, a NF or two are very normal. In fact, Tracy suggests moving to a 4 hour EASY at 4 months, in order to cope with the changes that happen at that age.

At what times is your DD getting a bottle now?