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Is he waking because breastmilk alone is not sustaining him?

Hello,
My son is 5 months old and weighs 8kgs - he has been exclusively breastfed since birth. I manage to feed him every 3-4hr during the day - his bedtime is at 6.30pm and then through the night he wakes for feeding approx every 3.5hrs. Should a 5month old be waking for night feeds? Is he waking because breastmilk alone is not sustaining him? I am unsure if he nutritionally needs the milk so frequently at night. I was under the assumption that babies should be doing longer stretches of sleep by this age.

Can you please offer any feeding routine information and advice.
Cheers, Rene

Leann...
Answer: Hi Rene, You tend to find that breastfed bubs will need more frequent feeds. Just how many feeds over 24 hours varies hugely from one baby to another. There is no one way that is the ‘best way’, what is best for you and your bub is determined ultimately by you both. Just to reassure you though, babies and young children have about 3-4 hours of energy stores in their body, so few will go longer than this between meals. So you can see 3.5 hours is very normal. Yes, ideally baby will go for longer during the night and most do in their own time. I am no sleep expert, but, there can be times when some bubs are waking more from habit than necessity. Personally, I would wait till you have a good month of solids under your belt before you make any big changes. When you feel baby is ready for solids, give yourself a good few weeks to work up to some decent foods and quantities and see if this changes patterns. Most often each time you change or do something new, routines shift somewhat. If you would like to see a bit of a check list of solids I have some tip sheets on Huggies on starting solids and also a book, the links are: Solids Which foods when and fridge chart In terms of routine, I found the Karitane one great, so I have copied it below for you. It relates to bubs on solids 6-9 months, so you can see where you are heading:
  • Early morning milk feed (baby may return to bed)
  • Up time 2 ½ to 3 hours. Solids. Play. Sleep (1.5 to 2 hrs).
  • Up time 2 ½ to 3 hours. B`feed. Solids. Play. Sleep (1.5 to 2 hrs).
  • Up time 2 ½ to 3 hours. B`feed. Solids. Play. Bath. Milk feed (or delay until just before bed). Quiet time. Sleep.
As to the exact time these schedules fall into depends on you and bub. To me it sounds like you are pretty much on track and solids will start anytime soon. I hope that helps, let your baby be your guide and do what works best for you and your family! All the best, Leanne
Answered: 08 Jul 2009