Sleep situation - is formula the answer?!

I'm in a dilemma and hoping some of you lovely ladies might be able to help!

LO is 15 weeks old, exclusively BF and still wakes roughly every three hours in the night, sometimes more. I'm shattered!!!! Sometimes in the day she can go up to 4 hours between feeds and even this would be better at night - although the longer the better obviously! Last night I was determined she would go longer. She fed at 7pm after her bath and then went down in her cot. She woke at 10.15 and I went to her, put her dummy back in and put my hand on her tummy and she went back to sleep (wasn't expecting that!) and woke again at 11.15 crying and wanting a feed. She then woke again at 2.15am and I tried the dummy and hand on her tummy and she went back to sleep but woke half an hour later. So she fed at 2.45, went back down to sleep afterwards but then woke again at 3.45!!! She wouldn't go back to sleep in her cot but as soon as I took her out she went back to sleep on me and slept until 5.45 when she fed and we got up for the day. She then usually has a sleep about an hour and a half after getting up.

I'd like to make her bedtime a bit later but she just won't stay awake and if we leave it longer to bath her she just falls asleep before we get the chance. The only time she has ever gone a long time at night was Christmas Eve when she got completely over tired, had a screaming fit for an hour and then slept from 11pm to 4am and she hadn't fed since 8pm! An 8 hour stretch every night would be perfect (obviously without the screaming fit!)!!

My hubby and my mum both think that we should try giving a bottle of formula at bedtime to see if this will help her sleep longer. I'm quite reluctant though. Although I do feel like I've been in a daze for the last three and a half months so if it worked it could be a big help. Has anyone else tried this and if so did it work? I worry that if she has a bottle every evening it might effect her feeding the rest of the time as she may prefer the bottle. I would hate to have to stop breastfeeding her.

If anyone can offer any advice I would be very grateful. If I could just get a couple more hours sleep, or less broken sleep it would make such a difference.



  • Hi mrs s, sorry your having such a tiring time. My lo was exactly the same, he is 13weeks and ebf. I did try a bottle of formula 3 weeks ago. I fed him after his bath at 7.30 then dh gave him the formula when he woke at 8.30 he only took 1.5oz but slept till 4am and since has refused the bottle but cluster feeds between 6pm and 8pm but stll sleeps until 4am. I think he thought that he might as well sleep if all he is going to get is the formula haha!!!!

    I think all you can do is give it a try. I don't think it will affect bf during the day. But might be worth getting dh to give lo the formula to lo as he will smell your milk and might not want to take it.

    Hope things get better, I know plenty of mums who successfully combination feed so don't worry about it affecting bf.

    YC x
  • Hey Hon,

    I unfortunately couldnt BF due to unfortunate circumstances after the birth, so have FF all along. I think if you are OK about combination feeding then try feeding her formula as her lst feed before bed and then if she is anything like my son (now 6 months) she should only wake once in the night.

    Are you following any kind of routine at all? We loosely followed Gina Ford CLB for all sleep and feeding timings and had my son sleeping through the night (10.30pm till 7am) at around 12 weeks.

    I think the main advantage to formula feeds during the night is that you can measure how much they are taking and they seem to digest it slower than breast milk.

    At 12 weeks our feeding timings went roughly like this:

    7am - Feed

    Nap: 9-10am

    10am - Feed

    12-2pm Sleep

    2pm - Feed

    3-4pm sleep

    5pm Feed half bottle

    6pm Bath and bed routine

    7pm Feed remainder of bottle, put to bed

    10.30pm - Dream feed

    Hope that helps a bit xxx
  • Hiya - I couldn't breastfeed so no help on that front - but I would say give the formula a go and see if it helps (some babies it does some it makes no difference) One thing to consider though is it is good to give them a bottle to get them used to having this as when you eventually wean from breast to bottle you may have a massive battle on your hands (like some of my friends did!) as they had never had a bottle before and would refuse it for days and days !! It is so difficult at that age as well to know if they are waking for comfort / habit or they need more milk. I did what you did and starting comforting and dummy and only if that didn't work would I give in and feed her ! Although my HV thought I was mad as she said if you have to get out of bed you might as well feed them so you can get back to bed quicker to sleep........not sure how you ever get them dropping night feeds if you do this though ..! Hope some of this helps - good luck _ I too was in a daze for months as my DD had Reflux so know exactly how you feel.... S XX
  • The official answer would be no, formula is not the answer!

    Only, for us, it has been a lifesaver. My LO fed every 1.5-2 hours through the night up until 13 weeks when I gave in out of total exhaustion and gave him a bottle of formula. Instant improvement - it kept him going for 4 hours, now he gets a bottle at midnight/1am depending on when he wakes and this can keep him sleeping for 4-6 hours. We're both so much happier for having this chunk of sleep and thankfully my supply hasn't been affected and at 20 weeks he is still bf apart from that one bottle at night. Ds1 was more or less the same.
  • Hi hun

    To be completely honest with you, it did work for us. However, my LO was literally feeding hourly day and night and my milk was not up to scratch. The night time bottle did help us as it clearly filled her up more (and I don't know if I could have carried on BF as I was - LO is still mix fed now at nearly 7 months). But I have heard others say it didn't work for them, so I think it depends on whether your LO is waking out of hunger or routine.

    LOts of luck whatever you decide! xxx
  • Hey hun I combo fed for 3 months beacause ebf my dd was waking so much and I was a zombie and unhappy mummy. Why not try the formula and express at the same time to keep your supply up (when I combo fed I used to bf every feed then top up with formula so at least I was still stimulating milk production) it is worth a go and wont hurt to try. Although not recommended (but not done us any harm) I used to use hungry baby formula at night and it made a massive difference and I was then only doing the one night feed at about 4/5. buy a couple of cartons and give it a go- bf should be well established and if you leave it any later to try a bottle you might have a battle on your hands- baby will always prefer the breast but formula is more of a slow burner to digest. people say its a myth that formula fed babies go longer at night but I know that its not (when the case of them waking is for a feed)

  • Hi hun,

    I ebf (dd is now 23 weeks) and I had the same dilemma. It's so tiring, isn't it. I thought about formula but decided to express during the day and give dd a bottle for her midnight feed and she would then sleep until 6/7 am. It then got easy as she would feed from one side in the morning and I quickly was able to express a full feed from my other breast in the morning as I was full from a whole night of not feeding image. It was the best solution for us as we didn't have to introduce formula. I bought a cheap manual avent pump.

    A word of warning though: if you do start giving a bottle (whether formula or expressed milk) make sure you carry on doing it. Dd took a bottle no pb when she was about 3 weeks old, but when she stated sleeping better without the expressed milk I stopped and now she won't take it. It's not too much of a problem as she will take a cup, but stillimage
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