Night feedings are important for a baby, but eventually, they have to stop. You may wonder when the best time is to begin night weaning, and if your baby is around that age, you may wonder how you can introduce night weaning gracefully. Let’s take a look.
When you’re ready to begin night weaning so that your baby can begin to sleep through the night, their age is quite important in it. It’s not the end-all, be all, but the age of the many factors to look at when introducing sleep training to get your baby to sleep through the night.
So, what age is good for weaning your baby? Generally, if your baby is under six months, weaning them off night feedings entirely may not be the best move. However, you can still lower the amount of night feedings needed if you want to get the best sleep possible. That’s always important. Once your baby begins to show signs of sleeping through the night, you can start preparing to night wean.
At over six months, most babies can sleep through the night without needing to bed fed. Sleep training and ending night feeds often go hand-in-hand. When your baby falls asleep on their own, starts sleeping through the night, and you notice a reduction in night waking, you can safely start to night wean your baby by tapering off feeding at night.
Changing Your Daytime Feedings
If you want to reduce the amount of night feedings your baby has, your first move is to schedule your daytime feedings around the times set aside for your baby to sleep. Scheduling feedings around the times you put your baby to sleep assure your baby is getting the best nutrition possible and makes it easier for them to sleep through the night. During sleep training milk should be initially be given every 3 hours or so, and there should be three feedings of solids a day if your baby needs that.
When you’re beginning sleep training and preparing to night wean, you may also want your baby to start falling asleep early on in the night. Babies are early sleepers, and once they settle in, they may be able to fall asleep all night without being awakened(unless there are issues with sleep regression.)
Night Weaning With Grace
If you want to night wean from your baby, you have many options. Some parents just go with gradual reduction of feedings until there is none. Others believe that sleep training and getting the baby to sleep through the night is critical before you begin to night wean Others believe in a cold turkey approach, taking away the night feed altogether and letting the baby adjust. What is the right way to do it? Let’s take a look.
Many people go for the gradual weaning option after successfully sleep training because while it takes a little bit, they believe that incremental change is the best way for the baby to adjust. The idea is that over a few weeks, slowly reduce the amount of feedings until the baby only needs a few minutes of feeding time will make for an easier night wean.
For parents who continue to night feed as a part of your gradual night wean strategy, make sure to put the baby back when the baby is sucking for comfort and not to eat. Allow the baby stay in the crib until she falls to sleep and leave the room to reduce instances of sleep problems like night waking and sleep regression.
Most parents are able to successfully night wean and curb night waking within about four months and reduce the amount of food a baby needs for 15 minutes of feeding.
A Middle Approach
Some people like a middle approach, to reduce instances of nigh waking. Using this approach allows the baby to sleep and reduce the amount of night waking instances by allowing them to self-sooth or cry for up to 20 minutes.
If a baby is crying for 20 minutes, then it’s time to feed. You can increase the crying amount every day. This middle approach is for younger babies about 4 months old and older babies who have been having sleep problems.
Cold turkey is always a brutal way of quitting anything. The cold turkey approach to weaning involves you letting the baby cry at night until they are all settled down. This may drive the parent a little bonkers, but it may be the quickest solution, a brutal tearing off the band-aid, if you will.
Which one is the best? It all depends. For us, gradually weaning them off feels like the most ethical one, as leaving your child alone to cry for a good while may seem a little unsettling for a few parents.
Length It Takes
The length it will take to wean a baby from night feeding all depends on what method you use. Let’s take a look.
A gradual reduction can take a few weeks. This is the slowest one, but many parents feel like it’s the healthiest for their baby.
A middle-of-the-road approach may take a week or so.
- Cold Turkey
Cold turkey is the most brutal method, but it’s also the shortest. Just three days for this one.
How To Make It Successful
If you want to know how to make nighttime weaning a success, you need to feed your baby enough food during the day so they won’t feel hungry at night.
Also, you should feed the baby at 4 months as soon as they wake up. This can help stop the baby associating sleeping with feeding. See, association is always important when you’re trying to wean your baby from something.
You may be annoyed at your baby because they won’t stay quiet. However, a baby is not an adult. They don’t know how to fall asleep without feeding. It’s a learning process, and the baby is a bit frustrated at it. Think of how many times you were frustrated because you couldn’t fall asleep. This can help you empathize with your baby a little more.
Get A Video Monitor
If you want to wean your baby, a video monitor is important. You can make sure they’re crying from not being fed, and not from something else.
It’s like a diet. If you stick to the weaning plan, you’ll have success. However, if you have a “cheat day” for your baby, it can lead to a slippery slope that is hard to break. This can lead to a frustrated baby and parent, and that’s never good.
Talk to Your Doctor
Another thing we can’t stress enough: if you’re unsure if your baby needs to be weaned, always talk to your doctor and make sure they’re ready. If they’re not, then you may want to follow their advice. As a parent, it can be a little frustrating; the early stages of infanthood are the most sleep-deprived ones. However, by getting past that, you can be on the way to having the best relationship possible.
Weaning your baby from night feedings is a challenge, but by keeping on and doing it consistently, they can be able to eat a lot better thanks to you and your patience.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What time should my baby wake up in the morning?
You should condition your baby to wake up at the same time each morning according to your family’s normal schedule.
- How do I get my baby to sleep later in the morning?
Get baby to sleep later in the morning by putting them to bed later at night.
- Should I wake my 3 months old up in the morning?
You should wake baby up at the same time each morning according to your family’s routine.
- What time should a 6-month-old wake up in the morning?
Wake your 6 month around the same time each morning within 30 minutes to assure that they are on schedule for afternoon naps and bedtime.
- Why does my baby wake up at the same time every morning?
Your baby wakes up according to an internal clock that tells them they’ve had enough rest.
- Should you wake a sleeping baby in the morning?
You should wake a sleeping baby in the morning if the baby has slept beyond his or her normal wake time.
- Should you wake a sleeping 6-month-old baby?
If you want to keep or begin a set sleep schedule for your 6-month-old, you should wake them at the same time of day in the morning and scheduled nap times.
- Do babies naturally sleep longer?
Some babies naturally sleep longer than others. Babies sleep according to the needs of their individual needs and internal clocks.
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