Babies wake during the night for many reasons, but notably because they ‘re hungry. In the early months, babies need to eat every few hours, including through the night. Gradually, however, babies need to eat less and less at night – until by 6 months of age ( possibly sooner or later ), your baby may quit night feedings and go up to 12 hours without waking to eat .
sometimes babies self-wean from night feedings with no help from you – they ‘ll barely sleep through the night on the spur of the moment and never look back. But sometimes you have to nudge them, specially if they ‘re down to one night feeding they just are n’t dropping .
Night weaning your baby means ensuring they get enough to eat during the day so they do n’t need to wake at night to eat. here ‘s how to get started.
When will my baby be ready for night weaning?
This varies, but somewhere between the ages of 4 and 6 months, most babies get enough calories during the day to sustain them for five or six hours at night .
It ‘s not strange for younger babies to sleep for much longer stretches without needing to eat – or for older ones to continue waking up to eat. even if your child does n’t need to eat in the middle of the night, they may still wake up wanting to. Babies who are used to eating several times a nox tend to wake up out of habit, and it can take clock to change this everyday .
If you ‘ve recently gone back to solve and are less available during the day, your baby may want to nurse or take a bottle at night as a direction of reconnecting with you. And you may notice that your baby wakes up more frequently when they ‘re teething, if they catch a cold, or when they ‘re mastering a developmental milestone .
For all these reasons, it ‘s helpful to approach the weaning work gradually and gently. Keep in mind that your baby is still young and has a fantastic motivation for ease, closeness, and reassurance – peculiarly from you .
Should I start night weaning my baby?
many experts recommend night weaning around the time babies are 6 months honest-to-god, because at that luff most babies do n’t physically need to eat at night. At this historic period, most babies wake to eat out of habit. And if you do wait to night wean your baby when they ‘re older, know that it can be more challenging to wean a toddler off of night feedings. But the timeline is n’t set in stone : You can start trying to get your pamper to sleep longer stretches between feedings a early as 4 months of age, or much later than 6 months erstwhile .
ultimately, it ‘s your choice whether to nox wean or not. It ‘s hard to maintain your own health and wellbeing if you ‘re chronically sleep deprived. The decision to end your baby ‘s nox feedings depends in function on how they ‘re affecting you.
If you enjoy nursing or giving a bottle to your baby at nox, you can continue until your baby finally quits on their own. On the other hand, if you find yourself feeling crabbed and exhausted, it may be clock .
Keep in mind that your baby ‘s sleep and nutritional needs may vary if they are n’t gaining weight as expected or if they were born prematurely. If you ‘re not sure whether your pamper ‘s ready for night wean, talk to your child ‘s doctor. The repair can help you sort through any issues and help oneself you make your decisiveness based on how your baby ‘s growing .
How to wean your baby off of night feedings
once your baby is fix to give up night feedings, try the following techniques :
- Make sure your baby gets plenty to eat throughout the day. As your baby grows and becomes more active, they may not want to stop to nurse or take a bottle during the day, and they may try to make up for it at night. To make sure they get enough to eat, take scheduled breaks during the day for a quiet bottle or nursing session in a place with no distractions. (If you’re not sure that your child is eating enough, check their growth by having them weighed at the doctor’s office.)
- Start the night weaning process slowly and gradually. Nurse your baby for a shorter period of time on each breast or give them a smaller amount of breast milk or formula in their bottle when they wake at night. Try to prolong the intervals between feedings by patting and comforting your baby back to sleep.
- Offer extra feedings in the evening. If your baby goes to bed with a full tummy, they’re less likely to wake up hungry in the middle of the night.
- Give a “dream feed.” After your baby’s already asleep – say at 11 p.m. or so – you may want to wake your baby for a final feeding before you go to bed yourself.
- Avoid night weaning during times of transition. For example, wait if you’re just about to return to work or take a family vacation. If you’ve recently become less available during the day, make sure to give your baby extra cuddle time when you’re together, so they’ll feel more connected and be less likely to seek comfort in the middle of the night.
- Gradually eliminate feedings, one at a time. Gently soothe and comfort your baby when they wake up, and explain that it’s time to sleep, not eat.
- Keep any feedings you do at night short and sweet. That way your baby won’t wake to eat just because they’ve come to expect late-night cuddles.
- Consider sleep training. If your baby seems to eat plenty during the day but still wakes at night, it may not be because they’re hungry but because they’re used to it. At this point, you may want to consider baby sleep training to help your little one learn to self-soothe back to sleep.
Night weaning if you’re breastfeeding
suddenly stopping the frequency of your night nursing sessions can lead to atrocious engorgement and increased likelihood of developing an infection known as mastitis. That ‘s one more reason it ‘s adept to start slow and drop one eating at a time, then your breasts can get used to your newly everyday more easily. In the meanwhile, you may find that you initially need to wake up and pump breast milk during the nox to relieve engorgement .
A key to night weaning your pamper is making certain they ‘re getting enough to eat during the day. You may find that you need to pump after one or more feedings during the day, then save the extra milk for an extra feed in the evening. This can help boost your milk issue ampere well as ensure that your baby fills up before bedtime. As always, you ‘ll know your baby is getting enough to eat if they ‘re gaining weight as expected and having at least six wet diapers during the day .
once your baby is around 6 months old, they ‘ll start solids. Breast milk will even be your baby ‘s main source of nutrition, although you may find that they need to breastfeed less as they gradually eat more solid foods.
Night weaning if you’re formula feeding
If you ‘re bottle-feeding and ready to night wean your baby, make sure they get enough to eat during the sidereal day. By 6 months of old age, formula-fed babies need to eat between 6 to 8 ounces ( or 180 to 240 milliliter ) per bottle, four to five times every 24 hours .
once your pamper starts solids, recipe will silent be their independent reservoir of nutriment. But with time, hearty foods will cover more of your baby ‘s nutritional needs – and you ‘ll finally start giving your baby fewer bottles with slenderly more formula in each. The bedtime bottle is normally the last to go, and even once you wean your child off it, you may want to give them a bedtime nosh or a cup of milk to help them make it through the nox without getting athirst. Learn more: