Feeding 4 Week Old Baby

Received this email recently:

I am unable to breast feed due to having had surgery. I have been able to express small amounts which I have given my baby as well as using the bottle. I am now as of this week not expressing. But basically the reason I am emailing you is to get advice on bottle feeding. Baby (4 weeks old) will not take a full bottle without breaks and play time in between which can take up to an hour to get between 120ml and 140mls into her. Do you have any tips or advice on this one?? Is this normal?? And also she at times does not want the teat in her mouth and cries when Im putting it in her mouth then all of a sudden she starts drinking. Are you able to help me with any of this???

In the first instance, we would suggest that the mother tries everything possible to continue breastfeeding, or expressing breast milk for her baby.  But she has already stated that she has done that, and now given up expressing.  It must have been a very tough time, but from her email she has already made this decision.  So here is our reply based on our experiences as mothers.

About that age we’d expect baby to be feeding about 3-4 hourly during the day, cluster feeding in the evening, and about 4 hourly at night.

A feed of 120 to 140mLs sounds like quite a big volume for a young 4 week old. And if she is not focused on drinking it all at once, we suggest that maybe don’t offer her as much she’s probably struggling to get through it all. Maybe offer her the same amount but really only expect her to drink about 100mls at a feed.

Whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, around about 25-30 minutes for a feed is about the time I’d expect. Maybe you could feed her half the bottle (50mLs), then give her a break, wind, change nappy, and then feed her the other half after that.

The other things to watch for are plenty of wet nappies (at every change), content baby, weight gain of course.

Not too sure about the crying before the teat goes in.  Maybe that’s when your baby is just getting really hungry and frustrated.