Should I continue bedtime feeding? (7 months)

I am confused about bedtime feeding. I keep hearing that I shouldn't put my baby to sleep while eating.

My daughter is 7 months old and she goes to sleep around 8:30 pm and wakes around 7:00 am. My problem is that if I didn't feed her right before she went to sleep: 1) she wouldn't fall asleep; and 2) she would certainly wake up in the middle of the night or early morning to be fed. She weighs about 16 lbs and is about 26".

I breastfeed her at 7 am (I don't think I have much milk - she only eats for about 5-8 min total) and right before she goes to sleep (plus about 1-2 oz formula). In the middle of the day, she eats around 9, 12, 3 and 6. She eats about 16 oz. of formula, 1/4 cup of cereal, and 1 jar of vege/fruit a day.

I know that she is eating plenty because she keeps gaining weight. When should skip this bedtime meal?

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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

Dear Anita,

The bedtime meal is generally one of the last to go. Even older kids sometimes need a bedtime snack if it has been a long time since dinner. I find myself often having a small bowl of cereal with milk before going to bed. The point is, a bedtime meal is very normal, and will continue to be necessary for you baby for a while.

Perhaps you are confusing the recommendation to not put your baby to bed with a bottle or to fall asleep feeding. This is in order to prevent the potential rotting of teeth that can occur if formula or breastmilk is not swallowed and pools in the mouth, bathing the teeth with lots of food for bacteria to feed off of. These bacteria then produce acid as a waste product, and that acid can cause damage to baby's teeth.

I suggest that once you notice your little one starting to fall asleep in your arms, you discontinue the feeding and finish off with a gentle rocking. This will help to ensure that she has swallowed the last drop.

Thank you for writing, and happy rocking.

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