Bottle-Feeding at Night

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One of the hardest things about taking care of neonatal kittens, or bottle babies, is that they need to eat frequently, and they need to eat around the clock! For the first week that will mean every 2 hours. By the end of the second week, you should be able to stretch it out to every 2.5-3 hours during the night. Will you be a little sleep-deprived? Perhaps. Part of it depends on how much sleep you need and how quickly you’re able to go back to sleep in the middle of the night.

For my two current bottle babies, I’ve set up a system that works for me and gets me back in bed within 10 minutes of the alarm going off. As long as I can fall back asleep fairly easily, I’m not all that tired the next day. Am I a little tired? Sure! But it’s manageable.

Before I go to bed, I make sure I have everything ready. I heat up water and fill a thermos. I grab a small cup and a larger tumbler. I put some blue ice in an insulated bag and put 1-2 bottles in it (already filled with formula). When it’s time to feed, I pour some hot water in the small cup and put the bottle in it to warm the formula. While it’s warming I help each kitten go to the bathroom. Next, it’s feeding time. As long as you have kittens that are latching well, this doesn’t take long at all. Then I put the bottle back in the lunch bag, pour out the used water into the large tumbler, wipe off their faces, “potty” each kitten one more time, tell them they’re good kittens and that I love them, and go back to bed.

My nighttime feeding supplies

Of course, there are going to be times when it’s not this easy. If someone has a potty accident in their bed you’ll need to do some cleaning up. If someone isn’t latching quickly you’ll have to be patient and wait for them to remember what to do (more tips here from Kitten Lady). But when the kittens are eating well and otherwise healthy, middle of the night feeds don’t have to take too long!