One of the most common questions mothers ask is: “How do I stop breastfeeding my baby at night?”
A good practice is to start phasing out night feeds when the baby is more than six months old.
But stopping to breastfeed your baby at night must be gradual and a phased-out process.
Here’s how to do it right.
When is the right time to start night weaning?
Weaning is a process where you accustom your baby to get nutrition from sources other than milk. The idea is to shift the baby towards a better lifestyle and get proper rest.
Remember, there is no fixed schedule for night weaning. Every toddler is different, and each one will be ready to wean from night feedings at different points. The standard norm is to start night weaning when your baby turns 5 or 6 months old.
Here are some indicators that your baby is ready to not be breastfed at night any longer:
Increased food intake
Does your baby nurse more during the day? That is a good sign that he feeds more milk during the daytime hours— which means his feeding frequency will subsequently decrease at night.
Why is that? Because his tummy would be fuller, the baby may not feel hungry at night. Even better, there are fewer chances of him waking up in the middle of the night and requiring nighttime feeding.
Eating solid foods
Keep an eye on your baby’s eating habits.
What you need to do is keep a close vigil if he prefers eating solid foods. You are in luck if the baby has started eating solid foods, as it won’t be too long before he’s ready to wean from nighttime feeds.
This indicates that even if you start cutting down on nighttime feedings, you won’t get a frowny face in the morning.
The baby prefers your warmth
Did you know that toddlers tend to seek out your breasts more at night if they are missing close cuddling with you during the day?
If you feel that the baby wants more and more nursing and is cuddling during the daytime, it may be a sign that he’s ready to not be breastfed at night.
Shall we start the process now?
Here are six tips for how to stop breastfeeding at night safely and painlessly:
The Busy Bee approach
Bees are known to work throughout the day and consequently take rest. So, if your baby is pretty active throughout the day, chances are that he will drain all his energy and want to recuperate at night.
That’s why it is a smart idea to encourage the baby to nurse more during the day (watch out for that hunger-cry). A full stomach and an empty battery, what more does the little one need to get a good night’s sleep?
Feed him before going to bed
Hunger can easily put our patience to test, let alone babies. These sensitive cutie pies will certainly cry when they are hungry. So, a good practice is to feed him properly before you go to bed.
Sometimes, you may even need to wake him up and feed him before sleeping yourself. This will start building a habit to sleep with a full tummy and have lesser midnight cravings.
Reassure him of your presence
Babies do not always want to eat when they wake up at night. Sometimes, they only need some assurance that you are there for them.
So, when you wake up at night to get some water or to get some fresh air, visit him and touch him gently to reaffirm your presence.
Interact more with your baby during the day
Nobody can comfort a baby more than his mother. Throughout the day, try to focus your attention on him and make him feel important.
This can help the baby sleep with the assurance that mum wants to be with him and that he has received enough love for one day. As a result, you can reduce his untimely awakenings during the night and reduce the breastfeeding episodes.
Help your baby fall asleep
There are several routes you can take to help your baby sleep better and faster. One such hack is to put your baby to bed drowsy, and not when he’s fully asleep. This will help the child develop the habit of falling asleep on his own.
Reducing the feed quantity
Lastly, you can also try reducing the volume of breastfed milk gradually. Say, for example, your baby consumes 180 ml of milk each night, try reducing it by 10 ml every alternate night.
This will slowly help him self-soothe himself over a period of time, and build a habit of consuming less milk during the night.
To wrap up
We hope these tips will help you stop breastfeeding at night as painlessly and easily as possible.
Bear in mind that your goal is to enable a good night’s sleep for your baby while also ensuring a restful time for yourself. Sweet dreams! ☺