Can you help newborn space out feeds?

My son is four weeks old and weighs 12 1/2 pounds. He was born weighing 10 pounds, 13 ounces. He is formula-fed and takes a bottle up to 15 times a day -- two to three ounces per feeding. We are sleepless. Isn't there some type of supplement we can give at this age that will allow him to go longer between feedings?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

This, too, shall pass! Very young infants seem to eat constantly, leaving their parents in a state of deep sleep deprivation. Your son's stomach capacity does not allow him to eat a lot of food at one time, this on top of the fact that he is a large baby, growing fast and so most likely has a higher energy demand than a smaller baby.

I would not change the formula you are giving him, nor would I try to supplement it in an attempt to get him to increase the time between feedings. If you switch to a formula with an increased caloric density, you risk overfeeding him. Those formulas were intended for low-birth-weight and premature infants, and your son is just the opposite. Your son is a big boy, is growing rapidly and has big demands. He will most likely challenge your patience and capacity to cope.

I suggest that you ask a friend or relative to come in for a few hours every few days so that you can get some uninterrupted sleep. As the weeks go by, your son will be able to eat more at one time and will begin to go longer between feedings. In the meantime, I hope it helps you to know that it is very normal. You can be pleased that your son is thriving.

Hang in there and enjoy this time as much as you can. He will never be this little again.

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