It’s amazing to me how many questions we have after having a baby. We wonder and ponder things that we’ve never even considered in the past.
So many of these questions are related to sleep.
One of the questions I get asked the most is, “when can I night wean?”.
I’m always a little surprised that this isn’t phrased in a different way because I know what the parent is actually thinking and that’s “why hasn’t my baby given up their night feeds? I’m so tired!”.
There are actually two things we need to discuss when it comes night weaning.
The clinical explanation for when a baby is ready to night wean and then the how the heck do we pull night feeds?
The clinical one:
I’m going to keep this short and sweet because it’s pretty simple!
If your baby is 6 months or older & gaining weight well, your pediatrician will most likely advise you that it’s ok to give up the night feeds.
That means, you’re welcome to stop night feeds anytime you want. Will your baby be happy, no! Will they get over it, yes!
But, what this doesn’t explain is HOW to accomplish this!
How the Heck do we Pull Night Feeds?
Time to discuss the real question. Why does my baby continue to wake up at night and demand a feed if he is ready to give up night time feeds?
It depends on how baby get themselves to sleep. As a sleep consultant, the biggest prop I ever see is feeding to sleep. People take a feed as a natural or necessary thing baby needs before sleeping. This just isn’t the case and often causes baby to have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.
This is where I would make the change to your bedtime routine. Don’t end with a feed. Your baby should do the entire journey from awake to asleep on their own.
This scenario is less common, but some clients have told me that they’re not feeding their babies to sleep and their babies are still waking for a feed.
Some babies are habitual eaters and wake up at midnight to have a feed out of habit.
But, the good news is that if your baby is good at falling asleep independently and doesn’t use props then he has some fantastic sleep skills.
If you pull the night feed, after a night or two he shouldn’t be waking at all anymore.
The Bottom Line:
So, what kind of strategy you are going to apply? If you really want to get rid of night feed then go for it tonight. Be 100% consistent and in a few short nights baby should be sleeping through.
That’s great news for you and your partner, but it’s even better news for baby! More uninterrupted sleep means baby’s mind and body get more of those glorious restorative effects that take place during the night, making for a happier, healthier tomorrow!
If you're ready to night wean, this can be a really good time to make sure you have a baby monitor that fits your needs. Most parents like to keep a careful eye on baby during the first few nights of night weaning. I've found this baby monitor review fantastic! Check it out and see which one is right for you. www.reviews.com/baby-monitor/
If you think you need some additional guidance on losing the night time feed, I’m available for a FREE 15 minute phone consultation. Click here and book your chat with me today!
Do you have questions about night weaning? I'd love to hear your comments below!
Jo Anna Inks
I help tired, frustrated parents get their babies sleeping through the night and napping well so everyone in the family can get the rest they so desperately need!