My 11 month old still wakes up to eat

by Kolby
(Lexington, South Carolina)

Question: My daughter is 11 months old and is still waking up every night at least once to eat. Her doctor says to not feed her in the middle of the night but I don't know what else to do. How do I get her to not want that bottle in the middle of the night?

Heidi's Answer: Dear Kolby,

A good first step will be to reduce gradually the amount she takes during that night feeding. At this age, she does not "need" this feeding really, but she may be truly hungry.

That is because she has taken to this habit, and so developed a true hunger feeling at night. Same thing would happen to us if we had a snack each night at say 2am, we'd quickly get hungry each night around that time.

Anyway, don't worry too much about it, many babies still do this at this age. And gradually decreasing the amount is usually very effective.

So start with diluting the formula you offer at night: add a little less formula for the same amount of water. Dilute a tiny bit more every 2 days.

Also only let her drink as little as possible and needed to settle her.

This will help reduce her hunger feeling and avoid her waking up. Give the whole process at least 2-3 weeks.

You don't mention how she goes down at naps and to start the night. If she goes down awake and self soothes that is fine. Once she then does not need the feed anymore but still wakes, put her down exactly the same way as at those other times.

If she does not usually settle herself, work with the gentle self soothiing method to help her with that. Do that at naps and night bedtime, and also when waking during the night.

That will give you the tools to guide her back to sleep even when she does not feed anymore.

Good luck,

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Eating in the middle of the NIGHT
by: Madeline

My 9 month old takes an hour nap around 11am or noon, then another 1 to 2 hour nap around 4pm. he wakes up around 7 am plays for about an hour eats an entire jar of fruit with rice cereal then drinks a 5 oz bottle two hours later. He falls asleep for naps with me rocking him for naps. He eats 3 meals a day with me when I eat my meals. Whatever I am eating that i can break up and give to him he eats that as well as a jar of fruits or veggies mixed with two oz of formula and rice cereal, and drinks a 5 oz bottle 2 hours after each meal. At night starting at 7 after he is done eating he takes a bath, we read a book, and then he drinks an 8ozbottle while rocking and singing him to sleep by 9pm. I do not wish to stop rocking him to sleep I enjoy it. he will wake up sometimes 5 or 6 times at night and whine for less than 2 min and puts himself back to sleep. But around 2am he screams relentlessly until I give him at least 8 oz of bottle. I've tried diluting the bottle and weaning him off, I've tried CIO, Ive tried rocking him back to sleep, Ive tried patting him soothing him literally everything. Is it possible that he is actually hungry at 2 am?

by: Heidi

Hi Madeline,

From everything that you write, that is indeed possible. Your little boy seems to have a really good appetite. His sleeping skills also seem fine with him self soothing several times a night, and he is otherwise healthy, right?

So at that 2am waking he can definitely be hungry. Diluting the bottle very very gradually (changes of just a really tiny bit less formula every couple of nights for the same amount of water) is still a good idea to help reduce that hunger feeling.

From what you write he does eat plenty (and then some) during the day so not much room to top up there is there? Any room for increasing not amounts but calories of what he eats? Could your health adviser provide any specific nutritional advice? Otherwise you are welcome to e-mail me if you want to discuss further.

All the best,

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