26 answers

How Many Times Should 5 Mo. Old Be Eating

I have a 5 month old son who is now about 12.5 pounds. Early on he had issues gaining weight (he has acid reflux and spits up quite a bit). He is slowly, but steadily gaining weight, and the doctor is happy with his growth. Now that he sleeps through the night (8 pm- 7 am most nights), that's one less feeding he gets. He is breastfed, and I'm wondering about how many feedings a 5 month/12.5 lb. baby should be getting. I have a hard time getting in 6 feedings a day as it is. In the morning, he eats every 2 1/2-3 hours, and in the afternoon and evening I'm feeding him every 1 1/2-2 hours to get in as many feedings as possible. He eats on both sides for a total of 30-50 minutes each time. Also, we'll be starting solids in the next week or so. Can a serving of rice cereal take the place of one breastfeeding session? This is probably one of those things that I just need to try and see how it goes, but if anyone has any advice, I'd love to hear it. Thanks!

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Featured Answers

Hey there, just went thru all this. :) As far as I understand it, solids shouldn't take the place of breastfeeding at this stage, only to supplement it. Their digestive system isn't developed enough to pull enough nutrition out of solids just yet, so breastfeeding is still essential for getting their nutritional needs met. I'd also consider introducing formula into his diet, all the proteins can help pack on some weight. I wouldn't go all formula, but a 4-6oz bottle a day might help weight gain. And it would give you (it sounds like) a much needed boob-break from all that breastfeeding. :)
Hope this us helpful! -L. s.

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More Answers

First and foremost, don't replace nursings with solid food feedings. You add the solid food to your feeding schedule and still continue nursing as usual. Here is a great and useful guide I used with my first son (now 2 yrs old) and now my second son (now 7 months old). It is the best and easiest feeding guide I could find, and I researched A LOT (if the link does not come through, search Google for "babycenter feeding guide". There is an infant guide to 1yr old and a toddler guide to 3 yrs old):

http://www.babycenter.com/0_age-by-age-guide-to-feeding-y...

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Jen,

I have a 5 1/2 month old son who weighs the same as your little guy. He recently started sleeping through the night most nights. Sleeping through the night for us is around 7:00 pm - anywhere between 5:30 and 6:30 am for now. I had the same concerns you did about eating. My son is formula fed rather than breastfed. He gets 4-5 feedings per day, and sometimes only 4 if he wakes up on the later side. This comes out to every 3-4 hours. I increased the amount of his formula in a feeding when he dropped the middle of the night feeding. I would imagine that as long as you are feeding him on demand every 2-4 hours he is fine.

I just started my son on solid foods. For now, cereal should not be replacing your son's milk intake. It is in addition to his breastfeeding. I have heard that not until they are about 9-10 months old does their milk intake start to change.

Hope this helps!

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Hi,
If you intend on nursing for a longer period of time, I would not replace a nursing session with food. This can and will slow down your milk production. Remember milk production is on a supply and demand. If you stop one feeding it will slow down. I would nurse first then 1 hour later then introduce cereal. I always gave cereal at night. I would sit down around 6-7pm give cereal, top that off with a warm bath(you know they get messy), let them play for a small time after and then nurse to sleep. You should have a happy camper all night. I nursed all 4 kids, 9 year old twins for 4 months, and the last 2 6, and 1 for 1 year. Always offered the breastmilk before any food. Breast is best, but I would definately start the solids soon.
Good luck

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Hi Jen,

Sounds like he's getting enough milk if he's eating 6 times a day. My son(s) pediatrician says that's how many meals a day they should eat anyway. When you start your rice cereal, start with only 1-2 tsp.s and still give breastmilk afterwards. You never want to substitute that! The more vitamins you can give him the more pounds he will start to gain. Sounds to me that your doing everything you can. Just give him some time, every baby is different and as long as he's healthy, don't worry! He's going to be just fine. Good luck with all you do. I'm sure your a great mother to him!!!!

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My son is 6.5 months old and he eats approximately every 4 hours. With the solid food, you still want him to have the breastmilk at every feeding. What we did was feed our son the solid food first and then follow it up with the breastfeeding or a bottle. For example: 1st feeding is around 8 a.m. with cereal and a bottle, 2nd feeding around Noon (bottle only), 3rd feeding around 330 or 4 (bottle only), and then 4th feeding around 630 or 7 with vegies and then followed up with a bottle. Remember, your son will indicate to you when he is hungry and when he is full. It is really trial and error but you guys will figure it out! Good luck!
T.

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Hi Jen,

In my experience the feeding could change from week to week. A "normal" schedule might be: 1. feed when wake up 2. feed before morning nap 3. feed around lunch time 4. feed before afternoon nap 5. feed evening snack 6. feed before bed.

However, as they get older some feedings are skipped simply because the baby is not hungry and does not let you know that they want to eat. Other times they seem more hungry than normal and get an extra feeding. I would follow his cues, he may be perfectly happy on 5 feedings per day.

As far as solids go, yes it can replace a breastfeeding, or at least it did for me. However, I mixed my rice cereal with breastmilk, so they were still getting some breastmilk and at first you need to make the cereal really milky.
I started off with 1 solid feeding a day. I chose the time of day when my little one seemed the most hungry. Once they mastered the very milky cereal, I slowly let it get thicker. Then, once the baby was able to eat a thicker cereal, I would introduce a fruit or veggie to go with it (remember only 1 new thing for a week). Then I would introduce solids at an additional meal. By the time they were 8 months, they were eating 3 meals a day of solids with breastmilk in between and whenever they wanted. That system worked really well for both my girls. They both breastfed for 1 year, but by the time they were a year, they were not nursing very often, and I had introduced formula to them for their cereal and for bottles if I was out (formula started about 8 months). That made it incredibly easy to wean them. It came naturally with virtually no effort.
I hope this was helpful.

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I nurse my 9 month old every 2 hours from about 7:30 am to 7:30 pm. That's a total of approximately 6 feedings. She's always been on the lean side so when she started to sleep through the night at 6 months, I worried that she would lose weight. In fact she's gained steadily and yours probably will too. A good way to tell if he's getting enough to eat is if he has 6 - 8 wet diapers a day. Trust me, he will let you know if he's hungry! My daughter is eating solids now too so I nurse her and then wait about 30 minutes and then feed her the solids (cereal + veggies mixed with breastmilk). She gets two solid meals a day. But like I said, he would let you know if he wants more. And if you're still anxious, consult a lactation consultant or La Leche League. Kaiser (S.F.) has a great lactation department free for members too. They helped me a lot!
Easier said than done but try not to worry.

1 mom found this helpful

Congratulations on your new little baby. The fact that he is gaining weight shows that he is eating appropriately. However, he is old enough to start eating some rice cereal which will help him sleep through the night {if you feed him with his last meal of the night} and should help him to gain some more weight.Start with small amounts at first and increase slowly. When he is tolerating his feedings at night then you can introduce cereal in the morning too. Your breastfeeding is adequate and successful, so don't worry about exactly how many times a day or for how long he should be feeding. You're doing fine. Every baby is different. Just sit back and enjoy that beauiful little baby. charlottef

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