Tips for Dropping the 4th Feeding {Bottle or Breast}

Tips for Dropping the 4th Feeding {Bottle or Breast}. Get ideas for when to drop the fourth feeding and move to three feedings a day.

baby drinking from a bottle

Many moms are unsure when they should drop that 4th liquid feeding. There is a lot of variation on timeline among mothers for when they drop this feeding. I know some moms who have dropped this feeding around 9-10 months, even while nursing. Others are beyond 18 months old when they drop the 4th feeding.

Keeping Four Feedings a Day

I personally for sure keep 4 liquid feedings while I am nursing. While I think I can maintain a supply with 3 feedings later in the year, I just feel better about 4 feedings. Brayden was around 18 months when we dropped the 4th liquid feeding. I think we did it around the same time we dropped his morning nap since his bedtime moved up by an hour. I think Brayden needed that 4th feeding for a longer time because he just has a fast metabolism and needed that extra feeding in the day. He also would not drink more than 6 ounces per feeding, and I wanted 24 ounces of milk in him per day.

As Brayden got older, he would drink more than 6 ounces at a time sometimes. I would give him however many ounces he needed to get to 24.

Dropping the Fourth Feeding

Kaitlyn is 15 months old, and we are apparently in the middle of dropping the 4th feeding. It is a weaning process for us. I am not doing it on purpose, but some days she has it, and others she doesn’t. I don’t count ounces with her like I did Brayden. I currently give her about 10 ounces at each meal (but she rarely drinks that much at a meal). When she was 12 months old, she drank different amounts at each feeding. Some it was 3 ounces. Others 8. As she has gotten older, she has been able to take in more ounces per meal and therefore needs that final liquid feeding less.

So with Kaitlyn, I give her 10 ounces at each meal (three times a day). Then sometimes I give her the 4th, also with 10 ounces, if she seems to need it. I can’t really describe it other than I just know when she does. Part of it is that I am a more seasoned mom now and better at reading my children. Part of it is that Kaitlyn is an excellent communicator.

Kaitlyn can handle the way I do this. She monitors herself. She has also always been a small girl, usually in the 20% percentile. I am not concerned about her eating too much. She also is a random drinker. Some meals she drinks 10 ounces–others she drinks one ounce. It isn’t the same feeding, either. I know there are some kids who will eat everything you put in front of them. Some kids will drink more than they need. Do what works for your child.

You can drop that 4th feeding if your child gets the liquid he needs in 3 feedings. You would also want to make sure if you give more ounces per meal that your child still eats the solid food well. You can drop it if your child continues to grow well and sleep well when you do so. I think with the 4th feeding, it is something you will just kind of know when it is the right time. Remember, if you do drop the feeding and it turns out your child isn’t ready for it, you can always add it back in (thought it might be harder to do that if you are still nursing). Trust your Mommy intuition!

You can see more on dropping feedings in general on this post: Dropping Feedings

Reader Questions

  • The Todd’s said…
    My friend and I really enjoyed reading the information you have on this site. You have done an outstanding job with so much info. provided. We do have a question though that we were unable to find the answer to. We were wondering at what age is it recommended that we drop the early evening bottle? We have our babies on a 9:00, 1:00,5:00, 9:00 feeding schedule. So when are we supposed to drop the 9:00 P.M. bottle feeding? My son is 10 months old and hers is 8 months. We would appreciate your insight and guidance. Thankyou.Christina
    July 18, 2008 10:32 PM
    Babywise Mom said…
    Christina,Thanks! You are on a 4 hour schedule, and that really isn’t dropped until usually older than 1 year. Most moms start the day earlier, so they start in the 7AM hour and have the same type of schedule as you, but end the day at 7 rather than 9. You can certainly do 9 if that is your desire. If your baby is sleeping until 9 AM, 9 PM will be the last to get the 12 hours of sleep (if she sleeps 12 hours). Once you move to milk (if you are breastfeeding), then you just need to make sure the correct # of ounces are being drunk each day. I shoot for 24 ounces. If my daughter (now 15 months old) has had about 24 ounces in three meals, I don’t worry about a 4th liquid feeding. It sounds like you are bottle feeding. In that case, figure out the appropriate number of ounces for your baby and make sure she is getting that much in three feedings if you want to do it in 3. That should be fine for the 10 month old, but the 8 month old still needs it in 4. Do be aware that if she goes to bed earlier than 9 PM, she will most likely wake earlier.
    July 21, 2008 5:05 PM
Tips for Dropping the 4th Feeding {Bottle or Breast}. Get ideas for when to drop the fourth feeding and move to three feedings a day.