Nursing a baby can be exhausting, especially if you are back in the workforce after maternity/paternity leave. That is why night weaning can be an exciting time if your baby has reached certain milestones. Also, who doesn’t want to get back to a more normalized sleep schedule? Read on to learn more about night weaning and if it is a good option for you and your baby.
What is Night Weaning?
Night weaning, as the name suggests, is a strategy that gradually enables your baby to sleep through the night. As babies grow older, they hit various milestones. Sleeping through the night is one of these milestones. As babies grow, they generally need to breastfeed less often. This can occur for a variety of reasons (such as reverse cycle feeding), but one may be that your baby is ready to eat other foods instead of just breastmilk, and is therefore getting enough calories to sleep more at night.
When Can I Start Night Weaning?
Every baby is different and develops at their own rate. With that being said, generally night weaning can start when your baby is between 4-6 months. If you think your baby is ready for night weaning, it is still important to contact your pediatrician and/or a lactation consultant. A doctor may determine that you should wait a bit before starting night weaning (again, remember that babies reach milestones at different times). Night weaning is a gradual process that requires a great deal of patience. Don’t expect things to change overnight.
Tips for Night Weaning
Once you have determined that you and your baby are ready to start night weaning, consider some of these tips after talking to your pediatrician and/or lactation consultant.
Increase Breastfeeding During the Day
Try to feed your baby during the day as night weaning is a process that gradually and slowly builds up your baby’s ability to sleep through the night without waking up to be fed. Frequent feeding during the day can also remind your baby of your close, nurturing presence and reduce the need to feed during the night.
Breastfeed Right Before Bed
If your baby is breastfed right before they go to bed, they will be more full during the night. Therefore, they will sleep longer.
Have Your Partner Soothe the Baby
If you have a partner, encourage them to partake in the nighttime rituals. They can pat or rub the back, sing, or rock the baby to sleep. A baby may associate you with feeding so sometimes an available partner can help aid in the transition process at night.
Patience is Key!
Night weaning is a slow and gradual process. Don’t become discouraged. Follow the advice of your pediatrician and/or lactation consultant.
Want to Learn More?
Riverside Medical Group offers both prenatal and breastfeeding classes. Breastfeeding is an amazing way to bond with your little one. Our classes cover a variety of helpful topics as well as allowing you to talk to a licensed lactation consultant, free of charge! Click here to sign up for one of our FREE breastfeeding courses.