Well done with all of your hard work. You’ve managed to disassociate bottle or breastfeeding from sleep. Your baby will be ready to contentedly stop all night feeds soon. Healthy babies don’t need nighttime feeds after around six months. They should receive their required calories throughout the day. If there are any medical reasons that you should continue to feed your baby at night, it’s essential to follow the advice given by your general practitioner.
It’s essential to encourage weaning by following your baby’s lead.
Ensure that you keep your baby to their personal best and don’t move backwards, keep encouraging them to move forward. Your baby should be able to put themselves back to sleep if they wake up and don’t need to eat. Your baby has a no minimum feed time at nighttime, which means that they don’t feed for eight hours after being put to sleep in their cot. Once they have succeeded to last longer than eight hours, this will be the new no minimum feed time and personal best. You will continue with the personal best until your baby reaches another milestone.
If your baby starts to wake at the old no minimum feed time, you will treat this as a nighttime wake up, just like you would in your sleep plan. There is no need to provide food; allow your baby to go back to sleep.
Your baby has already shown you their impressive sleep skills and their ability to sleep for more extended periods without the need for food. Remain strong and don’t go back to feeding them sooner or more frequently because it will hinder their progress. It’s not always a smooth transition, and you might find that your baby has the occasional restless night. But stay focused and on track and remain confident that this is the most effective pathway to your baby giving up night feeds in their entirety.
Your baby will ensure that they increase their calorie intake during the day to make up for the lack of night feeds. This could mean more time on your breast, more ounces in the bottle and a few more solids. As a rule of thumb, once your baby reaches five hours before needing to be fed, this is your cue to drop night feeds altogether. Your baby might have already made this decision for you! Babies that still eat within the five-hour window tend not to be able to go back to sleep in those early morning hours. Their night sleep will be so fragmented it will confuse their nap routine. However, once they have reached the five-hour feed window, you can treat nighttime awakenings just like any other nighttime wakeup.
Ending night feeds should take you no longer than a month.
If your baby isn’t heading in the right direction, it’s important to give them a little encouragement and a nudge. You can encourage a new routine and delay their night feed by half an hour, giving them a new minimum feed time. Monitor this for three to four days to see some progress. You can apply this encouraging nudge at any time you reach a plateau.
When your baby reaches six months, gains weight, and has no health concerns, it’s acceptable to stop night feeding. If you decide that the cold-turkey method is suitable for you and your baby, you’ll need to treat nighttime wakeups just like any other. Use your sleep plan strategies to encourage your baby to sleep until the morning. This is a successful way of introducing a no-feed sleep and removes any confusion.
If your baby is struggling with sleep and you’re wanting to explore options to improve it, please use the link below to book a Free 15 minute discovery call with one of our team members. Louise and Hannah have helped over 1500 families in Singapore and beyond achieve improved sleep for their baby’s. And we’d love the opportunity to help you too!