When Can I Wean My Baby From Night Feedings?

When Can I Wean My Baby From Night Feedings?

Night weaning is when you transition your baby off waking up to eat in the middle of the night, whether breastfeeding or formula feeding. You might be ready for fewer sleepless nights, but also conflicted about if your baby is even prepared to give up night feedings. You might be wondering, “can I wean my baby from night feedings?”

When to wean your baby from night feedings can vary depending on the baby – but most are able to start weaning around 4 months and completely wean from sleep feeds at 6 months old. Sometimes, babies will even self-wean from night feeds with little to no help from you!

Before attempting to wean your baby off of their midnight feeds, there are a few things I want to share with you about baby sleep and night feeds:

When Can I Wean My Baby From Night Feedings?

As babies naturally get older, they tend to sleep longer (in most cases). Once your baby is between the ages of 4 and 6 months old, they are typically consuming enough during the day to sleep five to six hours at night. After six months of age, it’s not unusual for your baby to completely quit nighttime feedings and sleep for up to 12 hours without waking to eat. 

Not all babies are the same though, there are babies who hold out on weaning their night feeds and need a little nudge to get started. Other babies are avoiding sleeping through the night in favor of nighttime feedings because of another unmet need or habit. For example, it’s not uncommon for babies to hold onto their nighttime feeds because of schedule changes or comfort. 

Remember that weaning your baby off their night feeds is not required. Watch your baby for developmental milestones that are in line with longer sleep and your personal sleep needs. You can also reduce nighttime feedings instead of removing them completely if it’s more comfortable for you and your baby.

Tips for Weaning Breastfed Babies from Night Feeds

If you are breastfeeding or pumping, the slow and steady route for weaning your baby from nighttime feedings is a necessity. Your breasts will need to adapt to the change in demand for milk, otherwise, you may end up with mastitis.

I recommend pumping when you feel uncomfortable or before bed. As you continue weaning, you may need to do a middle-of-the-night pump as well. 

Tips for Weaning Formula Fed Babies from Night Feeds

Just like breastfed babies, the slow approach to weaning works well. With formula or bottle-fed babies, it’s important to make sure that your baby’s weight is developmentally appropriate. You’ll also need to make sure that your baby is eating enough during the day to stay full at night.

Talk to your pediatrician about how many ounces your baby should be consuming at their age and pace that during the day vs. including overnight. 

Will My Baby Stop Night Feeding on Their Own?

A majority of babies will wean on their own. As they gain weight and increase their calorie/consumption during the day, they’ll naturally be able to sleep through the night without getting hungry. As I mentioned earlier, all babies are different so yours might be an outlier and need a little assistance when trying to sleep through the night. 

It’s also possible that your baby may stop eating at night on their own, but then regress when working towards a milestone or getting sick. Paying attention to your baby’s cues can help your baby get back on track once the milestone is accomplished or your baby is feeling better.

Why Won’t My Baby Stop Night Feeding?

Although it can be worrisome when your baby doesn’t want to sleep through the night – particularly when it’s “time” according to experts and specialists like me – there’s likely a good reason your baby is not committing to sleeping through the night. Some common reasons include:

  • Schedule changes, such as mom going to work or new daycare/childcare
  • Teething, your baby may be looking for relief or need comfort
  • Sickness, a cold can keep your baby awake or make eating during the day difficult
  • Developmental milestones, such as learning to sit up or roll over independently

Remember that sometimes you can’t see what’s happening with your baby. For example, teething can happen months before you see your baby’s first tooth.

What to do When Your Baby Won’t Stop Feeding at Night

Sleep is necessary for babies and their parents, and when your baby refuses to sleep through the night it can put additional stress on you. When dealing with a sleepless baby, it can be hard to know where to start or what to do. Sleepless babies can be frustrating, crying babies can lead to mom guilt, and exhaustion is scary. It can feel like a lose-lose situation.

Hang in there mama, we can do this!

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When Can I Wean My Baby From Night Feedings? | Everyday She Moms
When Can I Wean My Baby From Night Feedings? | Everyday She Moms
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