Snack feeding, also known as grazing, refers to small, frequent feeds. If your bottle-fed baby has developed an eating pattern where they want a few ounces of baby formula every hour or two during the day and night, it may be because they do not take enough baby formula to enable them to feel satisfied.
If your little one is snack feeding it may be time to reevaluate bottle habits and to make a change for the health and happiness of both you and your baby.
It is important to note that the snack feeding pattern of bottle feeding is not harmful to babies. Snack feeding differs from underfeeding in that the baby consumes enough formula over a 24-hour period to maintain healthy growth.
Even though the form of baby bottle feeding is technically not a problem, parents often find it time consuming, frustrating, and costly as there is a lot of formula wasted.
The good news - with a little consistency and a few changes, bottle feeding grazing can easily be changed.
Reasons for snack feeding
Snack feeding in bottle fed babies usually occurs because infant reflexes and behavioral cues are often mistaken as signs of hunger.
When a baby is offered a bottle of formula every hour or two, they soon will become accustomed to taking only enough to last for an hour or two.
Common reasons for snack feeding include:
X Sleep deprivation
A tired baby can become too weary to complete the feed. If your baby goes to sleep during a feed, put the baby over your shoulder, rub their back, and stroke their head, legs, and tummy. This can help to wake your baby up and complete the feeding.
X Feeding-Sleep Association
When a baby develops a feeding-sleep association she learns to rely on feeding to fall asleep. She may want to feed not only when she is hungry but also when she is tired. This means more feeding and the more often a baby feeds, the less your baby will need to take from each bottle.
X Baby Bottle
If the baby bottle ring is screwed on too tightly or the baby bottle nipple size is incorrect your baby will have to work too hard at feeding.
Built up pressure within the bottle due to problems can make it increasingly hard for your baby to eat and can easily make your little one tired or frustrated and they will give up before being completely full.
X Over Stimulation
It is exceedingly difficult to feed a hungry, overstimulated baby, because many times they are inconsolable and crying.
Baby Bottle Feeding
As your baby grows, he or she can eat more at each feeding and may go for longer stretches between feedings. You will also notice that your baby is starting to sleep longer at night.
When you are ready to move away from snack feeding consider the following strategies:
✓ Promote Healthy Sleep Habits
Enabling your baby to get the amount of sleep needed for proper growth and development will ensure a healthy appetite when the baby is awake.
✓ Bottle Feeding Awake
Not allowing your baby to fall asleep during feeding and waking them up, if necessary, will prevent the need for the baby to be sucking on a baby bottle of formula to drop off to sleep. Instead, this promotes healthy eating habits and sets the foundation for later sleep schedules.
✓ Perfect Baby Bottle
The perfect baby bottle feeding begins with making sure the baby bottle of formula is prepared properly and all baby bottle pieces are in perfect working order. Only then can you feel confident to encourage your baby to take as much milk as possible within a 45-minute period.
Stop as soon as your baby is not interested in the bottle of baby formula. Do not try to make your infant take more than the amount needed to fill their tummies. The aim is for better habits, not overeating.
✓ Infant Environment
To extend the time between feeds, it is best to try to introduce as little other changes as possible and make any extensions gradually over a number of days. Try distractions that do not overstimulate but gently engage. Do not push your baby to the point where they become upset.
As your baby adjust to going a little longer between feeds, she will gradually take more baby formula and you can continue to extend the time until achieving a three to four hourly feeding pattern.
The Perfect Bottle of Baby Formula
Increasing the amount your baby eats at each setting is a little easier when offered the best tasting baby formulas available.