Today, I’m providing an answer for a question comes from Francine, and she writes,
“my daughter is five months old, and wakes to eat two or three ounces every two hours. Is it OK to not feed her?”
Well, the short answer, Francine, is yes. It is OK not to feed her. When we look at this, eating two or three ounces every two hours, that is similar to what a newborn would need.
With her being five months old, there’s really no reason why, unless shes having some serious health issues or weight issues. But apart from that, theres really no reason why she is needing to wake up every two hours for a small feed. What I really want you to look at is how she gets to sleep at bedtime.
I always tell people, the first place to look is bedtime. What is going on there? My guess is that she’s bottle feeding herself to sleep at bedtime, and then you transfer her to the cot. I bet you are nodding, because i’m right, aren’t I?
What happens then is that a baby believes that a bottle is the fastest and best way to get into sleep. It’s not a matter of hunger. It’s more a strategy for getting to sleep, if that makes sense. When she has a wake up in the night, her response is to cry, mostly like, have you come, and recreate the sequence of events that happen to get her to sleep in the first place. The fact that she’s eating such a small amount really tells me that this is not a hunger issue at all.
She’s using that bottle through the night to get herself back to sleep. The good news around all of this, is that this is a fairly easy fix. If we get her sleeping independently at bedtime, not allowing her to fall asleep on the bottle, thats going to solve a lot of these night wakings because shes going to learn how to get to sleep.
If she has any kind of wake up in the night, she should be able to start handling this more herself, and relying less and less on this bottle. I would encourage you to start there. Lets get this baby sleeping through the night, because really, given her age, theres no reason why she can’t be sleeping a solid 10 to 12 hours a night. Thats the good news there.