My 4 month old still gets up every 3 hours in the nighttime to eat. However, during the day he has no interest in eating!

I read that I should feed him as much as he'll take during the day in the hopes that he'll be full enough and eat less throughout the night, but he won't take much and I obviously can't force him....

In Canada's Baby Guide, it explains how to wean your child off of night feedings, by feeding half an ounce less per bottle every night until you're down to nothing.

Has anyone tried this method or knows of someone who has? What was your experience / does it work??

asked 07 Dec '09, 20:28

DazedandConfused's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

edited 20 Jan '10, 22:42

Artemis's gravatar image


At 4 months (or 11 lbs) babies are physiologically ready to sleep through the night without feeds, and most babies wake during the night to feed for comfort reasons, rather than nutritional

Some tips for filling up your baby before the big night sleep from the WTETFY bible:

Make sure your baby finishes her last feeding of the evening before dropping off to sleep, and that she's getting enough to eat throughout the day too. You might even try gently waking her just before you go to bed for an extra feeding. (Yes, you should let sleeping babies — and dogs — lie but drastic times call for drastic measures!) The idea is to maximize the number of calories she takes in during your waking hours, so she doesn't need to interrupt your sleep — and hers — for more food. If she continues waking, chances are at this stage, she's searching for comfort. So instead of offering the breast or bottle right away, attend to her in other loving ways: pat her, cuddle her, or — better yet — send Daddy in to soothe her to disassociate nighttime with mealtime altogether. Another disincentive to those night feedings: Make those undesired night feedings, well, undesirable, by shortening nursing sessions or cutting back the formula in her bottle.

Other things the same site suggests:

  1. Help your baby get days and nights straight by keeping daytime naps no longer than three or four hours each. And keep your baby's room bright during the day and dark at night.
  2. Establish a bedtime routine - we use bath, feed, story, sleep
  3. Don't change your baby's nappy overnight unless it's absolutely necessary - we use nappies one size bigger than the daytime nappies for the added absorbency
  4. Don't keep your baby as close anymore. Try moving your baby into their own room our their own bed. The very nearness of you might be why your baby is waking so often. Of course, if you're still committed to co-sleeping (like we are), skip this piece of advice!
  5. DON'T put cereal in your baby's bottle - adding cereal to the bottle derails the natural mechanism your baby uses to know how much food he needs by forcing them to ingest larger amounts of calories than they normally would.

answered 08 Dec '09, 02:02

Lin's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

edited 10 Dec '09, 06:41

Those are great, thanks! And as per the first line, I'll let you know my baby is 4 months old and over 16 lbs!!! I really feel he should be able to sleep longer- I like the tip about the extra-size diaper!

(08 Dec '09, 13:16) DazedandConfused

Has anyone seen info on the variability? I'm guessing it's not so exact that a 10 pound, 15 ounce baby is unable to skip night feedings, or that a 11 pound 1 ounce baby is guaranteed to be ready.

(08 Dec '09, 18:54) ceejayoz

@ceejayoz: with everything, it would be a guide, but not an exact science

(09 Dec '09, 00:42) Lin

Our daughter was 7 months old when we finally decided to stop the night feeds. First we stopped feeding her before 5am, 2 weeks later moved it to 7am. So when she was waking up and crying for the breast, I took her on my hands, cuddled her, put her back to bed, etc. At the beginning it took more than an hour of crying, but she started to adapt pretty quickly. She started eating more during the day, the cries were down to 15-30 min, then even shorter. After 3 weeks she didn't even think about eating during the night.

The most difficult but most important thing at the same time is that you need to be very consistent, and it is very difficult to withstand all this crying. However it is not going to work if you feed him/her "sometimes".


answered 09 Dec '09, 10:34

Gandrusz's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

We are actually in the process of trying to do away with nighttime feedings, too. My husband is off of work for the holiday for 17 days, so we're taking advantage of the time he doesn't have to get up and go to work in the morning.

It's especially challenging for us because we're sort of combining night-weaning with not-nursing-to-sleep anymore... She has pretty much always nursed to sleep (with my lying down next to her), but honestly, after 9 months of this I am really OVER having to lie down next to her for many hours a day to get her to go to sleep (for naps and bedtime).

I honestly can't remember back when she was 4 months old, but I cannot imagine that she'd have been ready to sleep "through the night" without food... She's always been a small-burst eater. Wake up, nibble, conk out. Ad nauseum.

Our strategy over the past 4 days has been to basically put sleeping into dad's hands -- and teach our daughter that she can fall asleep without a breast in her mouth. She doesn't like it at all, it makes her really mad and frustrated. But she DOES fall asleep.

The staying asleep is a little trickier. I've been sleeping in the guest room (while baby's cosleeping with dad), and she's basically been doing a 9:30 bedtime, eating again at 2:00am, again at 5:00am and waking up for the day at 8:30 or 9am. This is a HUGE improvement over the eating-every-2-hours-all-night we'd been doing, so I've been indulging her at those hours overnight so far. (Basically when she wakes up and won't be consoled back to sleep, I really believe that she IS hungry.)

If I could cut it down to just one feeding overnight, it would make me SO SO happy. I can't imagine her sleeping for 12 hours straight, really, for a while... And my pediatrician says that some babies (and even some adults) really can't comfortably go 12 hours without eating. So for now, I'm just grateful that the overarching sleep period is a good 11-12 hours, and we'll work on the interruptions from here.

Apparently, an effective tactic (we might try if we can get her to be a little more agreeable to going to bed with dad), is to shift from feeding during wakeful periods at night - to not feeding, and just consoling - to not consoling/reacting. A few days of each stage. But I'm not sure how hard that will be while cosleeping. :)


answered 24 Dec '09, 03:16

Melanie%201's gravatar image

Melanie 1
accept rate: 16%

We found that waking and feeding our kids before we went to bed really helped with cutting out the 10:00pm and 1:00am feedings. Ours were on the same 10-1-4 sked that your little one is. We would give them a small bottle if they woke at 10, then wake them around 11:30 (we varied the time so that wouldn't become habit), feed them and return them to bed asap. They dropped those feedings pretty quickly. The 4:00am fell off eventually, as did the 11:30pm.

Our pediatrician told us not to expect our babies to stop waking for night feedings until they were at least double their birth weight. Your son must be close to that, but I would not start to think about weaning until he is well past that, especially he is not eating so well in the day. Just enjoy the snuggles til then :) Have you talked to your doctor about concerns with daytime eating?


answered 09 Dec '09, 03:33

Krista's gravatar image

accept rate: 18%

When our son was 4 months old we were in the same boat - he was waking 3-4 times a night and we were feeding him at each, despite having the night time routine well set (bath, 8oz bottle+book, bed).

I forget where we got the advice originally, but we weaned off of night time feedings over a week by diluting the bottles. Our son would normally drink 4oz of formula at each feeding and every 2 days or so I would replace an ounce of formula with an ounce of water.

first 2 nights: 3oz formula, 1oz water, second 2 nights: 2oz each third set of nights: 1oz formula, 3oz of water

Our son was going through the night by the 1:3 phase and we didn't need to go "all water" with him. He slept a good 8 to 9 hours straight for the next three months when a cold broke the streak and we are just now getting back into solid nights.

Good luck!


answered 09 Dec '09, 18:05

Rob%20Allen's gravatar image

Rob Allen
accept rate: 12%

Wow, that's great- I wouldn't have thought of that!
Oh my, an 8-9 hour stretch would be a dream come true ;)

Did you check with your pediatrician before diluting the formula like that, or is water considered a-ok for babies?

(09 Dec '09, 20:19) DazedandConfused

It may have been our pediatrician who suggested it. I wasn't doing a ton of parenting book reading at that point (was too exhausted) and this site didn't exist then. There are concerns with giving water to younger babies. However, in this babyzone article it suggests starting a 4-month old with some water in a sippy cup: http://www.babyzone.com/baby/feeding_nutrition/article/water-sippy-cup. I cannot find anything specific and scientific that discusses dilution of formula, but this google search shows I didn't make it up :) http://tinyurl.com/ygx6r97

(09 Dec '09, 20:30) Rob Allen

We did similar but without adding water. We just reduced the amount of milk that we gave her over time until she was sleeping through.

(24 Dec '09, 16:08) nikjoyce

I have always read (there's a warning on the formula can, and I also read in What to Expect the First Year) never to dilute baby formula. Here is an article outlining potential dangers with comments from a physician:http://www.sanfordhealth.org/Newsroom/VideoLibrary/VideoStories/DangersofDilutingBabyFormula/index.cfm Of course if it's your physician who recommended it, perhaps there are more factors to consider.

(15 Jun '10, 19:57) Tammy ♦♦

Another thing to consider is that perhaps your child has the days and nights mixed up. That happenned with ours. Where does your child sleep and nap? It should be really dark at night and light in the day. If you adjust the lighting and offer less at night and more during the day things should turn around in the next week or two. Good luck!


answered 07 Dec '09, 20:56

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%


I'm not sure if he has his days/nights mixed up, as he sleeps 12 hours straight through the night- there is no problem with his sleeping, it's just that he wakes up at 10, 1 & 4a.m. to eat in the middle of it!

(08 Dec '09, 13:17) DazedandConfused

I also diluted the formula when my son was 8 months old. It absolutely worked. He used to wake and have only 1-2 ounces so I knew he was not hungry, just needed the bottle to get back to sleep. We used this method a little differently then the previous post. Over the course of 7 days we made the formula weaker each night. We always used 4 ounces of water and reduced the powder by a quarter scoop each night. The seventh night would be a bottle of pure water. We never got to this stage. Our son slept through the night on the seventh day for the first time ever! We even reused this method a few times during his first year, he relapsed 2 - 3 times after being sick with a cold. It worked each time. When he relapsed, we would only need to go couple of days and he would be back to sleeping through the night. He is now 4 years old and has no sleeping problems. Our daughter is 6 months old and still wakes up at least once (sometimes more) a night. She takes quite a bit of milk at the feedings so we really think she needs this midnight bottle, but we will try this method when we start noticing she is using it for comfort.


answered 15 Jun '10, 01:46

Suzy's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I have always read (there's a warning on the formula can, and I also read in What to Expect the First Year) never to dilute baby formula. Here is an article outlining potential dangers with comments from a physician: http://www.sanfordhealth.org/Newsroom/VideoLibrary/VideoStories/DangersofDilutingBabyFormula/index.cfm

(15 Jun '10, 12:41) Tammy ♦♦
Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text](http://url.com/ "Title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "Title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported



Asked: 07 Dec '09, 20:28

Seen: 16,801 times

Last updated: 15 Jun '10, 01:46