Night feedings are important for a baby, but eventually, they have to stop. You may wonder when the best time for weaning your baby is, and if your baby is around that age, you may wonder how you can wean them from night feedings gracefully. Let’s take a look.
If you want to wean your baby from night feedings, their age is quite important in it. It’s not the end all, be all, but one of the many factors to look at.
So, what age is good for weaning your baby? Generally, if your baby is under six months, weaning them off from 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.
At over six months, most babies can sleep very well at night without needing to bed fed.
Changing Your Daytime Feedings
If you want to reduce the amount of night feedings your baby has, your first move is to change around your daytime feedings in order for your baby to get the best nutrition possible. Milk should be given every 3 hours or so, and there should be three feedings of solids a day if your baby needs that.
If you do this, 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.
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 in a cold turkey approach, taking away the food 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 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.
With feeding, make sure to put the baby back when the baby is sucking for comfort and not to eat. Just put them back in the crib and leave.
Your goal is to take 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, where they will try to make the baby sleep on their own, but the amount of crying is limited. 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.
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 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.
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