Four to Six Months: A More Grown-up Eater
This is a stage of relative calm in the eating department—-that is. if you’ve got your baby on a structured routine. If not, you’re probably still experiencing some of the problems that come up at earlier stages;, except now they’re harder to manage. She’ll still cry for her meals, but, depending on her temperament (and how you respond to her), your baby will probably have a less desperate tone. Some babies will even play on their own in the morning, rather than wake their parents with a “Feed me!” wail.
These are the concerns that are often thrown at me at this stage. They might seem different from one another, but all three are solved by establishing or tweaking a routine and helping parents see that their little one is growing and changing.My baby never eats at the same time every day
My baby finishes her feeds so quickly, I’m afraid she’s not getting enough to eat. It also throws her off schedule.
My baby doesn’t seem interested in eating anymore. Mealtimes are a chore.
I bet you can guess the first question I ask when a client comes to me with any of the above concerns: Is your baby on a structured routine?
If the answer is “NO” it usually is when parents say their baby never eats at the same time every day—you can’t blame eating problems on the baby. Its the adults who have to get their act together. Of course, some variation in your daily routine is normal. But if your baby is always eating at random all the time, I’ll just bet he never gets a good sleep either. He needs to be on a structured routine. (See ~‘Starting EASY - http://www.index.php?
If a client insists that her baby has been on a routine, my next ques¬tion is: How long does your baby go between feeds?
If she’s feeding every two hours, I know it’s a snacking problem, because no four-month ¬old or older baby needs to eat that often. That was little Maura’s problem. At almost five months old, she was still feeding every two hours, even through the night. A friend had suggested putting cereal in Mauras bottle to help her get through the night”-—-an old wives’ tale if I ever heard one. As Maura had never had solids, all that did was constipate her, and she still woke up ~ for her mum’s breast. Instead, I advised her parents, Jessica and Bill, to tank Maura up at 6,8, 10, and then not feed her at night—no matter what.
After all, Maura was not an infant. She was an older baby whose parents bad accidentally taught her how to snack. The first night, she naturally woke up screaming several times between 10 and 5, but Jessica and Bill didn’t cave in. Dad used my pick-up/put-down method (chapter 6) to get Maura back to sleep each time. But it was a hard night for the three of them, especially Mum, who thought she was starving her baby. Jessica could tell the difference in the morning, though, because for the first time in a long time Maura took a full half—hour feed at 5 AM. For the rest of the day, Maura ate pretty efficiently every four hours, too. The second night was a little better. Maura woke up twice, Dad put her hack to sleep each time, and the next morning she lasted until six. She’s been on track ever since. I suggested that her parents keep her on the dream feed until six months, when they make the transition to solid food.
If a baby at this stage is still feeding every three hours, she might not be snacking, but I suspect that the parents are trying to keep her on an eating plan that’s meant for a younger child. They need to lengthen the feeds to every four hours. You have to do it gradually, though. it’s unfair to make a baby this young suddenly wait an hour more between feeds. So, you extend it by fifteen minutes a day over a four—day period (3 to 4hr transition - http://www.index.php?
topic=63161.0). The good thing about this age group, though, is that they’re easier to hold off. They can be amused with toys and silly faces, or a walk in the park, not just a dummy, which is what you’d have to use with a younger infant to delay a feeding.
In a similar vein, parents who are worried that their baby is finishing his feeds “too quickly” also may be forgetting that their baby is growing up, Babies become more efficient eaters at this age. So your baby may he getting plenty to eat but it just takes him less time to down it. This, of course, depends on whether he’s taking breast milk, which we measure in time, or formula, which is measured in ml/ounces.
If he’s on formula, it’s a simple matter to gauge whether he’s getting enough to eat, because you can actually measure in rnl/ounces what he’s drinking. Keep track for a few days. He should he taking between 150 and 250 ml (five and eight ounces) per feed, every four hours.
Including a dream feed at night, he will therefore be taking a total of 775 to 1100 ml (twenty-six to thirty-eight ounces) per day.
In any case, if your baby is nearing the six-month mark, it’s time to introduce solids as well, because as your baby begins to really move about, he needs more than iust liquid to sustain his activities (see chapter 4).
As for the baby who “doesn’t seem interested” in feeds anymore, I’m afraid that just goes with the territory. Between four and six months, babies take a developmental leap forward. Your baby is more curi¬ous and more mobile at this stage. Although she may be an efficient eater, sitting still for a feed is boring compared to all the new wonders of the world that surround her. Once, a breast or bottle was all your baby needed to be content. Perhaps she glanced at the little mobile over the cot during a feed, but all that is old hat by now. She can turn her head and reach for things, so eating is not necessarily a high priority. You may even have a week or two when she’s absolutely uncooperative and impossible. Take some proactive steps;Feed her in an area relatively free of distractions.
Tuck her little arm in under you, so she doesn’t start fiddling.
If your baby is very active, you can half-swaddle her to cut down on the squirming. Put a brightly coloured piece of cloth that has decorations on it over your shoulder so your baby has something novel to look at.
Some-times, I have to admit, the best you can do is ride it out—and watch in awe at what a little person your baby is becoming.BW solves all your problems P121