Need for a feed

A reader asks: “When can a baby be expected to last all night without a feed?”

Since publishing this article, we have received a letter from a breastfeeding counsellor at the Australian Breastfeeding Association. Please see Baby Waking for our response to this letter. 


When can a baby be expected to last all night without a feed? My baby is now seven months old and he is still waking for a feed every three to four hours most nights. Sometimes he lasts five or six hours. He’s a healthy weight but he does seem to be hungry, he takes quite a lot of milk and then goes straight back to sleep. I’ve tried resettling him without a feed but it takes ages and then he wakes again in an hour or so.


A seven-month-old baby who is gaining weight well can be expected to last overnight without a feed.

However, many babies get into the habit of waking and feeding during the night, and it may take a few nights to establish a new pattern of behaviour.

If he has his own bedroom it may be easier to settle your baby without feeding, and if you are breastfeeding it may help not to pick him up but to merely pat him, utter some reassuring words and leave him to settle by himself.

While this may lead to a few nights of broken sleep for you, if you can persevere, your baby should quickly learn to self-settle and then sleep through the night.

Submit Your Questions

Have you got a question you’d like us to tackle?

Fill out the form below or send questions to Family Forum, The Advertiser, 31 Waymouth St, Adelaide 5000.

We treat communications in strict confidence except when the law demands otherwise, as in child abuse.

Relationships Australia (SA) appoints panels of general practitioners, medical specialists, lawyers, therapeutic and financial counsellors to discuss each letter before the appropriate professional answers it.