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Do Formula-Fed Babies Sometimes Act Like Breastfed Babies?

Baby G, dreaming of her next bottle…

Suddenly, at 5 months old, G no longer sleeps at night. Instead, she prefers to eat…and eat…and eat… AND EAT.

Until about a week or two ago, G was a wonderful sleeper. We co-sleep, and once the two of us hit the sack together for the night, she would snuggle right up and head off to the Land of Nod, waking only to have the occasional 4 oz bottle, which I would give her lying down, just as if we were breastfeeding.

But all of a sudden, G has decided that the overnight hours are her favorite time to guzzle all the milk she apparently forgot to consume during the day; last night my tiny baby girl sucked down 16 ozs between 10 pm and 5am! This desire to eat all night is something I’ve experienced before – when I was separated all day from my breastfed baby, C (who is now 3), she would make up for having to take bottles while I was at work by remaining attached to my boob all night long.  This is called “reverse cycle” nursing, and it’s something that breastfeeding moms who work full time know very well.

But I am not breastfeeding Baby G at all (backstory on this issue HERE), and she takes her bottles quite happily during the day, so this sudden desire she has to eat more than her own weight in infant formula between sundown and sun-up wouldn’t seem to have anything to do with wanting me to be the one to feed her – or does it?

My husband Jon who – along with his mom –   is with G all day while I am at work,  has noticed that around the time each late afternoon/early evening when G expects to be reunited with me, she begins to root around and fuss, clearly wanting something he doesn’t have, even though he offers her a bottle.  This is a change from the rest of the day, when she’s a mellow, easy baby who rarely fusses. But when she’s ready for mama after the workday, she lets her father know it.  If I am late getting home, she sometimes becomes inconsolable until I get there – the only time she cries like that.  Once I arrive and take her in my arms, she settles immediately and is happy as a clam for the rest of the evening.

So I am wondering whether even though she doesn’t associate feeding with me exclusively – since her father and grandmother give her her bottles as often as I do – whether she is doing some kind of bottle-fed baby’s version of reverse cycle feeding, just because she wants more feeding time with me. I don’t know. Have any of you who have both breast and bottle fed your babies experienced anything like this?

Or maybe I’m just flattering myself and she’s actually just having a good, old-fashioned growth spurt that has nothing whatsoever to do with me !

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