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Is My Baby Ready for Night Weaning?

Night WeaningNaturally, parents with babies are desperate to get back to the good old days. You know, the ones where you slept for seven or eight hours without interruption. Eventually you’ll want to wean your baby from nighttime feedings so everyone can get long stretches of sleep. The solution is to wean your baby off nighttime feedings.

There’s no set schedule for this, of course. You’ll have to decide if your child is old enough. Even doctors aren’t sure when the best time is. All children are different, but here’s a general schedule so you know if you’re on the right track.

  • Newborn to 3 months: feed every 2-3 hours
  • 3-4 months: 2-3 feedings per night
  • 5-6 months: 1-2 feedings per night
  • 7-9 months: 1 (sometimes 2) feedings per night
  • 10-12 months: sometimes 1 feeding per night
  • 12+ months: no feedings per night

Other factors will come into play, of course. Growth spurts make your baby hungry. She won’t be able to keep herself quiet and calm to fall asleep. Teething and illness, of course, will keep any baby awake. In all cases, a feeding might soothe and relax baby, even though she isn’t hungry.

Generally speaking, formula-fed babies wean sooner. This is because formula is harder to digest, so the little tummy stays fuller longer. Breastmilk is easy to digest, so it runs through baby quicker.

Here are 3 signs to determine if your child is ready for night weaning

  1. Baby is not eating much throughout the day – This is an indication that she expects a nighttime feeding, even though you know she’s capable of eating more. Encourage more daytime eating, including a heavy just-before bed meal.
  2. Baby treats night time feedings as play time – If your child is less concerned about the boob or the bottle and more interested in playing, she isn’t really hungry, just accustomed to getting up at that time. This is a good sign the evening feeding isn’t necessary.
  3. Baby eats a lot of solid foods – Once your baby has started solids, they’re nearing the night weaning timeframe. A good portion of solids will hold her over during the night until the morning where she’ll need another good dose of solid foods.

Here are some basic tips to make night weaning easier.

  • Go slow: simply feed less over time until you’re not feeding at all, just comforting.
  • Make sure your baby is eating enough. She may not eat as much during the day because she expects it at night. Take scheduled breaks from play to eat.
  • Try waking your child for a “dream feed” just before you go to bed.
  • Don’t wean baby during a transition time, like on a vacation, during bad teething, or just after you’ve returned to work.
  • Don’t lift baby out of the crib. This will signal that it’s time to wake up and eat.

safe sleep solutionWritten by Joanna von Yurt, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Co-Founder and CEO of Swanling Innovations Inc.

Joanna von Yurt is the mother of three intelligent, sensitive, and compassionate girls (who all want to be mommies when they grow up). She is first AND foremost a mom! Professionally, however, she is an accountant, controller and serial entrepreneur.

Joanna has a degree in Psychology from Harvard University with an emphasis in child psychology. She worked as an infant caregiver for 12 years and interned as a Child Life Specialist, family/social therapist, and assisted in clinical studies involving children’s personality and social psychology. Joanna is a Certified Sudden Infant Death (SIDS) Prevention Professionals, Safe Sleep Educator, Member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants, Member of the National Sleep Foundation, and Member of the Canadian Sleep Society.

Joanna has a lifelong passion for childcare and child safety. She enjoys sharing her experiences with other parents about sleep routines, attachment parenting, safe sleep guidelines, and children’s natural sleep patterns. Her company, Swanling Innovations, is committed to producing modern, safe and innovative products that meet the expectations of discerning parents. The Slumber Sleeper™ is a 4-in 1 safe sleep solution (mattress protector, flat sheet, fitted sheet and sleep sack all in one) designed to help keep your baby safe, warm and centered.

Joanna always says that a well-rested child and well-rested parents add up to a happy family!

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