When Does Night Feeds Stop?
Baby sleep times and feeding times are equally important. Both are essential for your child’s physical and mental development. When your baby is a newborn, they will have to wake up in the middle of the night to feed.
Their sleep time increases to eight to seven hours as they grow older. Nonetheless, some parents opt to sleep train their babies from a tender age. But when is it okay to stop feeding your baby at night?
Best time to stop feeding your baby at night.
The most appropriate time to stop feeding your baby at night depends on a wide range of factors. Remember, babies are different. Subsequently, they have different sleep and eating schedules.
But generally, experts report that you can stop feeding your baby when they have a consistent sleep routine at night. This usually happens between six to twelve months.
Nonetheless, note that it takes time for your baby to adapt to new schedules. So, it is usually hard for babies to stop feeding at night. Expect them to throw tantrums at times, especially during the first few weeks. Luckily, they will eventually adapt to their new sleep schedule.
Factors to consider before you stop feeding your child at night.
It would be best to consider several factors before you stop feeding your child at night. They include:
Your child’s weight and height:
The first thing you need to consider is whether your child is growing normally; some children are poor feeders; hence they grow slowly. If you have an underweight baby, don’t stop feeding your child at night.
They need those extra calories during the night. Ultimately, it would be best to consult your pediatrician before your stop feeding your child at night.
Age of the child:
Generally, you cannot stop feeding a newborn at night. Infants need to feed frequently to grow healthy. Don’t stop feeding a baby less than six to eight months. Also, feed them if your baby seems to throw tantrums due to hunger at night.
Some mothers don’t mind waking up to nurse their baby at night. If your baby’s sleep patterns don’t affect you negatively, there is no need to stop feeding your baby at night when they are still young. Also, if your baby enjoys feeding at night, don’t stop nursing them at night.
How to stop feeding at night
Once you decide that the best way forward is to stop feeding your baby at night, you need to take action. As mentioned earlier, it can be challenging to stop feeds. But there is a broad spectrum of techniques you can use to help your baby stop feeding at night. It would be best to introduce this new routine to your baby gradually.
The first thing to do is to ensure you feed your baby well throughout the day. Doing this makes them less hungry at night. Your baby should sleep when their stomach is full so that they do not wake up at night to feed.
Increasing the time between feeds also helps your baby stay without eating for an extended period. As a result, your baby is able to survive the entire night without eating. Regardless of the technique you choose, ensure it works well for your baby.
How to stop breastfeeding at night
Every woman has varying capacities for breast milk storage. Even so, the more mothers nurse their babies, the more the body produces and pumps more milk to the breast.
Contrary to popular belief, breast milk production is totally unrelated to breast size. Mothers who have a small milk capacity will feed their babies more frequently.
When your baby is still in the infant phase, they need to feed every 2 to 4 hours. This keeps the baby full and creates more room for breastmilk production.
On average, mothers breastfeed not less than eight times in 24 hours. Most of them have to wake up in the middle of the night to nurse their baby. Once the baby gets to two months, mothers with larger milk capacity can reduce the number of times they feed their baby.
After the baby gets to six months, mothers have the freedom to stop breastfeeding their babies. At this age, you can start introducing your baby to solid foods.
Child experts, however, advise that you should continue breastfeeding your baby even after weaning. Keep in mind that breastmilk is highly nutritious. Therefore, it is good for your babies.
If you want to stop breastfeeding your baby at night, start by increasing the time between their feeding times. This helps your baby get used to staying full for extended periods.
At the end of the day, your baby will be able to sleep through the night without feeding.
At what age will my baby be ready for night weaning?
As mentioned earlier, most babies are ready for weaning when they get to six months. This also applies to night weaning. As babies grow older, they won’t need to feed during the night. But when they wake up, you can give them solid food if they are above six months.
Working moms prefer breastfeeding during the night so that they can have more bonding time with their babies. At six months, you may notice that babies wake up often due to teething and other body changes.
When weaning your baby at night, always go for something very light. Remember, you still want them to sleep comfortably afterward.
If you feel unsure about nighttime weaning, consult a professional. They will be able to give you the best advice.
Practical tips for night-weaning your baby
Start the weaning process slowly and gradually.
When you start weaning your child, you need to introduce the change gradually to your kids. At first, give your child a balance of breastmilk and solid foods.
With time, increase solid food feedings and reduce nursing. Eventually, your baby will be comfortable feeding on solid foods at night.
Make sure your baby is full before bedtime.
Most babies find it hard to stop feeding on breastmilk. So, they throw tantrums at night, hoping to get attention and breastmilk from you. The best way to prevent this scenario is to ensure your baby is full by the time they are going to bed.
Incorporate extra feedings in the afternoon and evening.
Giving your baby extra feedings in the evening prevents your baby from waking up at night with a hungry stomach. If your baby has a good appetite, consider feeding them some minutes before bedtime.
Request your partner to wean the baby at night.
Your baby may sometimes refuse to feed when they smell breast milk. So, it is sometimes advisable to let your partner comfort your baby at night. This way, they’ll feed on solid food if they are hungry.
Choose light meals.
If you are going to feed your baby at night, have them eat something light. Otherwise, they would be uncomfortable and find it difficult to go back to sleep. Conduct thorough research on the best foods for weaning your baby.
The majority of babies wake up at night to feed. Thus, you have to brace yourself for long sleepless nights as a mom. During the first months, you’ll need to wake up after every two to three hours during the night to feed your baby.
When your baby gets to six months, they’ll sleep longer during the night. Subsequently, they won’t often feed at night. Even so, you have to incorporate specific techniques to stop night feeds.
Ensure your baby is full before bedtime, and train your baby to stay longer hours without eating. Regardless of the technique you choose, ensure you meet your child’s requirements and preferences.