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My son will be 5 months old next week and since about 3 months old (when he entered the ‘wakeful’ period) has gotten into the bad habit of snacking and catnapping, as well as feeding to sleep.

He’ll only eat a few ounces at a time, and then has to be fed in order to go to sleep (feeding seems to be the only way to even make him drowsy). He will typically only nap for 40-45 minutes and then can only stay awake for an hour and a half or so, which is very frustrating as his naps always seem to coincide with his feeding!

Like I mentioned, he’s gotten into the habit of snacking – he eats a few ounces when first up and then has a few more before going down for a nap. I feel like I spend ALL day either feeding him or putting him down for a nap.

Bedtime isn’t as bad – he usually goes to sleep between 6:30-7:30pm and has gotten better at going down ‘drowsy but awake’, although we’re still having several night wakings in which he is awake (we always check to make sure he’s not just fussing in his sleep) and requires a quick sip of a bottle to go back to sleep.

I’d like to get him on some sort of routine/schedule, but I have no idea where to even begin. I’m about to just put him down wide awake and let him CIO, but I wondered if anyone had any advice to put an end to the snacking and the short naps.

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1 Answer 1

A few things are going to happen if they haven't already with your infant.

First off, you're going to start feeding him solid foods. That will change some of his dependence on breastfeeding to 'feel full'. It won't happen immediately, but it will change as you feed him more. It also will allow you to ease him into a schedule, if you are careful; you can feed him solids at particular regular time points (8am breakfast, 12pm lunch, 6pm dinner, sort of thing) which will help get him used to sleeping.

Second off, as he grows, his stomach should expand and be ready to eat more at once. You should by now be able to modify his eating schedule simply by holding out on food for a little while - ie, don't just feed him when he asks. Feed him when he asks plus 30 minutes. Start moving him towards a bottle feeding schedule, where he eats every 3 or so hours (this 'or so' depends on the infant). This will encourage him to eat until he is full, which is going to be a larger amount of food, and help with some of the sleep issues.

Finally, make sure you don't have health issues that are making this worse. Make sure he doesn't have acid reflux, for example. Check with your pediatrician regularly about this, and see what they think.

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Gosh, I couldn't disagree more. It's entirely normal for an infant to eat little and often. This doesn't mean there is anything wrong with them, that they need solids, that you should force them to ignore their bodily signals which moderate their appetite or that you should leave them to cry instead of answering their basic needs. –  jemjabella Apr 14 at 9:22
    
A five month old shouldn't be eating a few ounces at a time. Further, I wasn't saying that the infant should begin eating solid foods because of that. A five month old should begin eating solid foods because that's around when you begin feeding infants solid foods. –  Joe Apr 14 at 11:51
    
Do you have a reference for your suggestion that it's wrong for a 5 month old to be eating little and often? That forcing a child to wait to 'eat' is better (if we define better as for the infant, rather than for the convenience of parents)? The WHO, AAP, DoH (UK) etc all recommend solids be introduced at around 6 months old, not around 5 months old. –  jemjabella Apr 14 at 12:02
    
A child eating 2 oz at a time, who needs to eat around 30-40 oz a day, is going to eat fifteen to twenty times a day. That child isn't sleeping enough nor is the parent sleeping enough to be healthy. A five month old is well within the range of eating solid foods; depending on the child, it should be anywhere from four months to six months, and six months is 'soon'. –  Joe Apr 14 at 12:14
    
I up voted this answer because I think it is solid advice. Even if the OP doesn't want to start solids ( we are all free to take or leave all or part of any advice here) the rest of the answer about gradually adjusting the schedule is right on. I would like add that babies (and many adults!) eat for reasons other than hunger, such as comfort, and you aren't starving the kid by making him wait a half an hour. –  Jax Apr 17 at 1:57
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