Convincing baby to eat during the day instead of at night
August 25, 2018 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Our nine month old is awesome but he’s also not sleeping well. One of the problems is that he reverse cycles/eats more at night than during the day. Any suggestions for reversing this?

Baby banana is an awesome baby but he doesn’t want to eat during the day and eats at night instead.

For instance, he ate 280 ml (about 9.25 ounces) of formula between when he was up for the day yesterday morning and bedtime last night. (Plus one solids meal and one snack during the day.)

He ate 415 ml (about 13.75 ounces) of formula between bedtime last night and up for the day this morning.

Not only was that lots of wakeups, he also needed two diaper changes and an outfit change because of how much he was eating, and he presumably had to deal with gas/digestion while trying to sleep instead of while awake and playing.

Part of this is probably distraction on his part. He’s a super alert baby and doesn’t want to slow down his exploration enough to eat during the day!

He also has a history of many (thankfully minor) health issues like ear infections (eight so far!) and GI issues (reflux, milk protein intolerance, and constipation) so for awhile he was refusing to eat during the day and we were getting him his calories and liquids during dream feeds. The ear infections seem to be under control now (yay tubes!!!). He’s on Nexium, Zantac, and Miralax, plus Alimentum and a dairy-free diet, and doing better with the GI stuff. It’s hard to tell how much of this might be current issues and how much might be just learned behavior over time.

Other possibly relevant stuff:
* We cosleep.
* He gets 90% of his calories from Alimentum, plus comfort nursing on demand (I’m on a dairy-free diet too) and some solids (purees only for now because of texture and possible intolerance issues). We’re behind most 9 month olds in terms of solids volume and range I think.
* He gets two naps (or three on a bad day) during the day that range from 30 minutes to two hours.
* We offer lots (and lots and lots) of bottles during the day. We pretty much always have a bottle going. He’ll snack but won’t really eat unless he’s about to sleep or actually sleeping/dream feeding.
* His growth percentiles are fine - around the 40th percentile, following his own curve, pediatrician isn't worried.

We are just really tired at this point. We’d love resources, ideas, tips, anecdata - whatever you’ve got, please throw it our way! Thank you!
posted by bananacabana to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This all sounds familiar, we went thru the exact same thing with our now 14 month old son, except ours was also not gaining weight and fell off the growth chart, so we were double tired and stressed. Just keep in mind that this too shall pass.

What sort of worked for us was to go 4 hours between meals/milk during the day, so that he was actually hungry, instead of snacking all day. It took all my willpower to stop trying to get him to take a sip here and there.. Eventually he started drinking more milk during the day and we were able to get a bit more purees into him. We still do 1 dream feed just to try to get extra calories in him, but its before midnight with the hope that he'll be hungry by 9am.

He's still behind on food because of texture and gastro issues, but we're working on that.

I'll be following this thread to see if I can get some useful tips that might still be applicable for my son. Good luck!
posted by at 11:52 AM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've blanked most of the reverse-cycling period from my mind, but I remember that we had to eliminate night nursing (I still nursed during daytime, if I was home). For us, this meant that baby & dad co-slept in a different room for a while, to help give baby the message that the all-night milk bar was closed. I think we also tried to get baby to have a good meal (bottle or food) not long before bed & also did a dream feed before the adults went to sleep, to try to keep that tummy full for as long as possible.
posted by belladonna at 12:06 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

I also wanted to suggest letting him get hungry and having full feeds during the day. Snacking all day probably isn’t helping... I was going to suggest cereal as the last meal before bed and then a dream feed at 11 but I see you have many diet needs to consider.
posted by catspajammies at 2:49 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

It helped us to do all feeds in the dark, in the nursery, with noise machine on. Minimizes distraction. Also +1 on the letting him get hungry advice.
posted by ethorson at 6:12 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

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