Snack feeders want a little milk often. This can be confusing or frustrating for parents, who wonder whether their baby is getting enough nutrition and are forced to offer more feeds throughout the day.
A common reason for babies to begin snack feeding is because they are initially offered feeds too frequently. This usually occurs because infant reflexes and behavioural cues are mistaken as signs of hunger. When a baby is offered feeds every hour or two she soon becomes accustomed to taking only enough to sustain her for an hour or two.
Other reasons for snack feeding include:
- A tired baby can become too weary to complete the feed
- When a baby develops a feeding-sleep association she learns to rely on feeding as a means to fall asleep
- If the pressure is not right in the bottle because the teat is screwed on too tight, it can be hard for baby to suck against the pressure
- Also see Drinking less milk than you expect for more potential reasons.
If you are bottle-feeding a snack feeder, you can encourage better feeding habits by:
- Checking your baby's weight gain. Be sure that her milk intake is correct for her before you start to change her feeding schedule.
- Encourage a feed, play and sleep routine during the day to extend the period between feeds.
- Try to get your baby to take as much milk as possible in a 30 minute interval. Offer her the bottle a couple of times. If she's still not finished her bottle after this time, consider the feed finished and move on to other activities.
- When she wants to be fed again, try to extend the time between feeds by playing and distracting her. You are aiming for 3-4 hours between each feed. It may take you a couple of days to get there, but with this length of break between feeds she will be hungry and take more from the bottle each time.