Cluster Feeding and Colic in the Late Afternoon and Early Evening
It is common and normal for babies to be fussier or cry more during certain times of the day. The most common period for this is between 4 p.m. and midnight. During this time babies may be more difficult to console and may want to cluster feed (many small feedings very closely spaced.) These babies seem to be stocking up for the night, although they may or may not follow this fussy period with longer stretches of sleep.
You may be concerned that your milk supply is low in the evening and assume that your baby is fussing from hunger and needs a supplemental bottle of formula. Your supply may be lower in content in the evening but your milk will be higher in calories. As long as your baby is gaining weight well and has the appropriate number of wet and/or soiled diapers for his age it is highly unlikely that you need a supplemental bottle of formula.
Babies are rarely less colicky or fussy when given supplemental bottles of formula. It is more likely that your baby is sucking for comfort than calories and, in fact, if you give an already satiated baby an additional feeding you may end up increasing the fussy or colicky behavior by over feeding your baby and giving him indigestion and gas. If you are bottle feeding, Dr. Brown's bottles can reduce the amount of air your baby is swallowing. A tummy warmer packet can gently warm and soothe the lower intestines and abdominal muscles, helping your baby to pass painful gas. We are also excited about Bio Gaia Probiotic Drops which have been clinically proven to reduce colic and abdominal distress.
Fussy and colic babies feel things very intensely and have a difficult time consoling themselves. These are the babies that require more attention, warm and loving arms, a calm demeanor and an intuitive caregiver. These are NOT the babies for whom parenting books were written and they do not thrive on schedules.
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