Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/baby feed/sleep schedule


QUESTION: My son is 4 months old (17 weeks). He is 23 inches 13 pounds 3 oz as of two days ago. I feel like my son eating and sleeping schedule aren't right for a baby his age and size.

He eats 3 ounces every 2 hours from 7am until 7pm.  At 9:30 - 10pm I give him his last bottle before he goes to sleep. He wakes up at least 3 times from 10pm to 7am to eat. He eats about 3 ounces each time.

I have tried to get him to eat at least 4 ounces at each feeding, but he refuses to eat more then 3 ounces at a time.  My doctor wants me to hold off on solid foods until he is eating at least 6 ounces at each feeding.

Another issue I having is his sleep schedule. Since he refuses to eat more then 3 ounces at a time, means he has to eat more often, and sleeping left. From 7am - 10pm His sleep schedule is not too bad. He has 7  - 1 hour naps. The real problem is at night time. My son will wake up for his feeding and will take up to an hour sometimes for him to go back to sleep, and he will wake up 1  - 1 1.5 hours later to eat again. He probably gets about 13 hours of sleep a day max. I don't feel this is normal.

ANSWER: Hello Natalie,
Your son is only four months of age. And I take it you are not breast-feeding him, right? If you were, a child of this age would be taking breast milk whenever he was hungry and that could be every two hours. Two to four hours between feedings is not all that unusual for infants. The long-term goal may be to reduce feedings by the time he sleeps through the night. By age one, it is hoped he may be at about three or four feedings a day.
His sleep schedule isn't bad for his age. The average for a child his age may be more like 16 hours a day, but there is variation among children. I'm sure that as he eats more as this first year goes on, he will sleep more at night. I know it's hard on you for the first year, but it gets better.
Any questions?
James Windell

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: When would be a good time to start solids. I have a lot of people say I can start giving rice cereal right now. But my doctor said to wait until he is eating 6 ounces in every bottle and when he does start to with one teaspoon of rice cereal mixed in with 5 teaspoons of formula once a day (in the morning) for the first few weeks. I know babies two weeks after starting solids eating a couple teaspoons of (rice cereal, baby food) 2 or 3 times a day.

At three to six months, you can also offer juice along with the milk or formula. After four months, you can begin offering baby cereal, rice, or baby foods from a jar.
There is nothing wrong with your doctor's advice. Presumably by five or six months, your son should be taking in more milk.
In order to bring about greater intake of milk, you could delay feeding him as soon as he awakens or starts crying. By delaying it for a while, you may begin to slightly reduce the "every two hours" feedings.
James Windell


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James Windell


I can answer questions related to normal child development, disturbed behavior and how to provide appropriate guidance and discipline.


I've been a clinical psychologist in a juvenile court, worked in school settings, been a child psychotherapist in a private psychiatric clinic and consulted with schools, courts, hospitals and daycare centers.

American Psychological Association
Michigan Psychological Association

I have been a columnist with the Oakland Press (Oakland County, MI) for 21 years writing a weekly column called Coping With Kids, which is also published weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been a mental health columnist with the Detroit Free Press and a columnist for Working Mother Magazine. In addition, I have published articles in professional journals. I have published 16 books, among them are "8 Weeks to a Well-Behaved Child" (IDG Books), "Discipline: A Sourcebook of 50 Failsafe Techniques for Parents" (IDG Books); "Children Who Say No When You Want Them to Say Yes" (IDG Books), "What You Need to Know About Ritalin" (Bantam Books) "6 Steps to an Emotionally Intelligent Teenagers" (John Wiley & Sons), "The Fatherstyle Advantage" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) and "Defusing High Conflict Divorce" (Impact Publishers). My latest parenting book (2012) is "The Everything Child Psychology and Development Book." Articles about my work with parents has appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Sun Times, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. My website at includes more information about me, my books and includes many columns I've written.

B.A. in Psychology from Wayne State University
M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University

Awards and Honors
Best Educational Program by Juvenile and Family Court Judges Association (National award for the development of a parent training program for parents of delinquent teenagers. Beth Clark Service Award from the Michigan Psychological Association.

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