Last weeks article was setting the scene for weaning from night feeding, I outlined the amount of night feeds typical for different ages for babies and when feeding to sleep can be a sleep association. Todays article is to give you the steps of how to night wean. There are a few methods to night-wean your baby.
One is the “cold-turkey” method, where you realize that the night feeds are not about nutrition but more about feeding to sleep. This approach means that you just decide to stop feeding at night. The decision to use this approach is best used in conjunction with some professional advice to make sure your baby is old enough, will not be hungry, and can last the night without feeding. Usually from the age 9 months onwards this technique can be used safely for most babies, definitely over 12 months of age. Many babies usually stop eating in just a few nights if they are ready.
An alternative method and my recommended for younger babies or if you as a parent want to take it slower and gentler is to stretch out the night feeds bit by bit and reduce the amount of time that you feed your baby for slowly. As even if your baby doesn’t “need” night feeds doesn’t mean that he isn’t used to feeding at night and legitimately hungry.
With this method every night you increase the time between feeds by 15 mins, or 30 minutes (whatever you are comfortable with) and decrease the amount he feeds. If you are breastfeeding, time your feeds ie. 10 mins then reduce by 1 minute, feed for 9 minutes. Just be consistent and make progress at a rate you feel comfortable with.
Healthy babies that no longer nutritionally need night feeds will adjust and eat more during the day, this is one way to shift their food from night to day where it should be for older babies. This is a slower transition and the least amount of tears.
If you are unsure if your baby is ready, I recommend talking to a paediatrician first or a health professional that is knowledgeable in this area and can guide you.