Night Weaning - No More Middle of the Night Feedings

Jan 20, 2021

Do You Feel Like You Are Breastfeeding All Night Long?

Breast milk is easier to digest than formula; therefore, babies that are breastfed will wake quicker and more often because they become hungry quicker.

Most babies will continue to breastfeed at least once during the night, through the first year. This time can be an awesome, as well as a frustrating and tiring time for parents.

Here are a few tips, that could make this season in your life a little easier, even if you do decide to stop breastfeeding at night...

Night Time Breastfeeding Tips

  • Co-sleeping: If the mother and baby are sleeping in the same bed, the mother could sleep while she is nursing. When her baby gets older, he/she will start latching independently at night.
  • Keep the lights off: This will keep your baby drowsy. When you switch the lights on, it's like turning the “day switch” on. Breastfeeding with the lights as dim as possible will keep your baby sleepy so that he/she does not keep you up after breastfeeding.
  • Swaddling can be very helpful for babies, until the age of about 2-3 months. Swaddling your baby will increase the length of sleep periods. Mothers can nurse their babies while they are wrapped, this keeps a baby calm, and your baby might even continue to sleep while being nursed.
  • Feed your baby before he/she wakes for a feed. This will ensure that your baby sleeps during a feed and does not keep you up at night.
  • Remember that night nursing may become more frequent during growth spurts, illness and during teething periods.
  • Try to remain calm and patient.
night weaning

How to Stop Breastfeeding at Night

Tips for gentle weaning at night

  • Breastfeed your baby just before you go to bed. This will give you a longer stretch of time to sleep before your baby wakes again.
  • Make sure that your baby is drinking enough during the day. This way he/she might not be as interested in the breast at night.
  • You can just say no. When your baby is at the age where he/she can understand “no,” you can just tell him/her that it's sleep time. Be firm, but loving and do not give in. A toddler can be told that “Boobies" (breast milk) is for daytime “Boobies are gone until tomorrow” or something to that effect.
  • Ensure that distractions are minimal during daytime feedings so that your baby drinks more during these times.
  • Make certain that your baby finishes "drains sufficiently" at least one breast before bedtime, this will ensure that he/she consumes the hindmilk, which is high in fats and will fill him/her more than the foremilk.
  • Get Dad to take over for the night, if necessary, you can sleep in another room.
  • Give extra love and affection during the day. Many times a baby wakes up at night just because he/she misses being held.
  • When putting the baby to sleep, make sure he/she is comfortable:
  • Teething can cause pain and discomfort and cause your baby to wake up more often at night. Give your baby something before bedtime to relieve pain, if you know that your baby is teething.
  • Body temperature. Everyone has a difficult time sleeping if they are too cold or too hot.
  • Try to keep solid food intake to a minimum before 5 months of age, as this could lead to abdominal cramping and sleep issues.
  • Your baby may have acid reflux.
  • Colds and ear infections can keep your baby up too.

Deprived of Sleep?

  • Express some milk for your baby, before bedtime. Allow your partner a chance to give your baby the supplement. Avoid giving your baby an artificial nipple before 4 weeks of age.
  • The mother can start adding some solid foods to her baby’s diet during the day from 6 months onwards. You can add things like rice cereal or soft fruit. This will encourage less nursing at night.

Tracy Behr

A homeschooling mother of two, breastfeeding helper, and lover of all things natural!

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