Weaning Night Feedings: When/How is Best?

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weaning night feedingsDetermining when your baby can wean off night feedings isn’t always easy. Your baby may be waking several times each night, and feeding is the quickest and easiest way to get her back to sleep. But you may be starting to wonder if she’s truly hungry each time she wakes, or if she’s ready to sleep longer stretches at night. How can you tell?

I’ve broken it down for you in my Weaning Night Feedings Guidelines. These will help you determine when it’s appropriate for your baby to wean (or reduce) her night feedings.  And if so, how to do it.

 

Step 1: How old is your baby?

The first factor to consider when deciding if your baby is ready to wean off night feedings is his or her AGE. Check out the guidelines below.

weaning night feedings

 Newborn-3 months old

Needs night feedings, but some can have a 3-5 hour stretch of sleep.

weaning night feedings

 4-5 months old

Needs night feedings, but some can have a 5-6 hour stretch of sleep.

weaning night feedings

6-8 months old

Many can be night weaned. Others need 1 night feeding.

weaning night feedings

9-12 months old

The overwhelming majority can be night weaned.

weaning night feedings

13+ months old

Generally do not need night feedings.

 

You Ready For The Next Steps?
(plus a step-by-step video?)

when and how to night wean your baby video guide

 

In this detailed 3-step guide you’ll learn:

  • Signs that your baby is ready to reduce or wean off night feeds
  • The essential checklist to determine your baby’s readiness
  • What you can do during the day to help night weaning go easier
  • Pro feeding tips for distracted babies and toddlers
  • How to increase your toddler’s appetite for solids
  • The best way to reduce down to one night feed (if your baby still needs it)
  • Night-by-night guide to wean off breastfeeding or bottles
  • The #1 thing that will get your baby sleeping through the night
  • A guide for protecting your supply so you can continue breastfeeding during the day

 

Get Your Weaning Night Feedings guide here.

 

 

Let’s stay connected!

28 Comments

  1. Brittney

    My 4.5 month old has never slept in her bassinet or crib and will only sleep in bed beside me and must be close and touching. She does sleep great through the night but as she’s started rolling we want her in her crib beside our bed for safety. She wakes up and screams the second she is put down in her crib every time we try. I’ve tried standing beside the crib, reassuring her, letting her cry for 5-10 min intervals before picking her up and also the pick up and put down method. She has never been a good napper during the day, never been able to get a scheduled time but will sleep when in the car or being in the stroller. She nurses to sleep, dislikes soothers, swaddles, white noise, lullabies and all other sleep aids.
    Where should I start

    Reply
    • Micaela

      Hello Brittany, our sleep training program (meant for babies older than 5mo so you’re almost there) has advice on moving to a crib from a variety of sleep spaces such as parents’ bedm so you’re covered for that!

      The program focuses on getting babies happily and easily sleeping in the crib all night long. The crib is the safest place for babies and toddlers to sleep and also leads to the most restorative sleep.

      Jilly’s program is different than others because we take a few days to set up a healthy sleep foundation for your baby. We separate out all the essential steps of sleep training so it’s a gentler and more gradual transition for your baby.

      One of her 4 step-by-step methods is called “Minimal Tears.” We can’t promise zero tears. And honestly we don’t think anyone can. But we can promise to show you how to slow down the method to minimize your baby’s resistance and crying. Plus, with 3 of the methods you stay with your baby while you show him/her how to sleep well. You don’t ever have to leave the room if you don’t want to.

      But it is important to know that you should expect your baby to resist or fuss when making changes to the sleep routine. He or she won’t initially understand what’s going on. But you get to stay with your baby and slow down the process to minimize resistance and crying.
      Happy to answer any other questions you have about the program.
      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program/
      Micaela BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  2. Khadija Lakey

    How do I transition from a 4 to 3 nap schedule without my baby protesting? My son goes to bed at 9pm and rises each morning around 5:30am for a snack bottle then goes back to sleep for another hour or so. My goal is for him to be in bed by 8pm and sleep till 6:30am. We’ve recently stopped rocking him and just hold him while he drifts off and then place him in his crib drowsy.

    Reply
    • Micaela

      Hello Khadija, I don’t know your baby’s age but I’m assuming it’s around 5mo if you are thinking about this transition. To do it awake times need to extend. This is doable when a baby is ready to handle longer awake times (based on their age) and naps get more predictable and longer.
      Micaela BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  3. Prinal

    Hi!
    Have an 11 week old. He sleeps 8.30pm for 6 hours, has a feed and goes back to sleep till 6.30am. (So usually only gets up once).
    Daytime he naps 45 mins, 90 mins awake etc, on odd occasions he can nap upto 2 hours, sometimes 20 mins.
    So going forward, what steps should I take to help schedule a 7pm to 7am sleep without awakening?
    Also with daytime naps…it’s still a bit all over the place… how many naps should I aim to allow him and for how long? We have noticed that he gets to the 40min mark and always awakens (sometimes puts him self to sleep again and other times awakens).
    Also….when he awakes we change his nappy, do a bit of play time, feed, play time, sleep. However he always wants a feed before sleeping (often falling asleep on the breast), I try to put him down drowsy but often he is still drinking at this stage. If I pull him off when he’s drowsy, he always awakens after 20 mins for a feed. If I don’t pull him off, he continues to eat but by the time he stops, he has fallen asleep)…how can I eradicate this behaviour to help with ‘always putting down drowsy’.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello!

      Thank you so much for your post. Your LO is still in that “fourth trimester” phase so it is very normal for your LO to still need feeds in the middle of the night and to wake up more frequently. Babies are developmentally ready to self-soothe around 5 months of age. Check out this guide for helpful tips until your LO is ready to learn how to fall asleep independently!

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/3-month-old-sleep-schedule

      Best,
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  4. Shamaila Rafiq

    Hi my little one is 20months, she is always been breastfed and has refused to take the bottle as I’m trying to wean her and trying to introduce different beakers, she refuses the beakers but i feel its the taste of cow’s milk she dislikes. She used to sleep a solid 11 to 12 hours at night up until the last week where she has been waking up at night and also wakes up very early in the morning. When she wakes at night I breastfeed to get her to sleep but during her naps and bedtime she goes down in her crib awake. I dont know how to wean her off and also how to get her to stay asleep during the night. Please help.

    Reply
  5. Emily

    Hey there! This is great info, but I have a more complex situation. MY 6 month old puts herself to sleep, unaided, no problem. In fact sometimes she actually fusses and prefers for me to just put her down and leave her alone to go to sleep! But she is still waking between 2-4 times a night. For a while I was feeding her at each wakeup (EBF), but now I feed her once or twice max. And then I’ve just been giving her a little rock and putting her back down to sleep (where, again, she can fall asleep independently – like, eyes wide open, might chat to herself for five min, but goes to sleep no issue). If I don’t attend to her somehow, though, she just protests without end. She might cry, but it’s rare. She also has trouble taking naps longer than 30-40min. Any ideas?

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Emily,

      Thanks so much for your post. It is great that you are working on independent sleep and trying to get your LO to fall asleep independently without any sleep associations. I would recommend checking out our FREE Exhausted Mom’s Survival Kit. I would also recommend checking out our 21 Days to Peace and Quiet program. We can certainly help you in our program. We can get your LO sleeping through the night and resettling after waking up in the middle of the night. It could be a scheduling issue, so we may need to look at your schedule and check the awake times. Please let me know if you have any questions! Alyssa, BSMS SUpport Team

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/exhausted-moms-survival-kit
      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program

      Reply
  6. Candice

    Hi, my baby girl is 5 months. I usually cradle her in my arms when I know she is sleepy and then right before she closes her eyes I will place her in her bassinet and she has no problem going to sleep on her own. She wakes up at least 2-3 times for a bottle but only drinks about 2oz each time. Her bedtime is 8p but her official wake time is random. We have no morning schedule at all, we wake up usually after we have gotten more rest after waking up through the night. For example, if she wakes up more than twice before the sun is up we sleep until about 9a or 10a. Some nights she can sleep for 6 hour stretches others 3-4 hour stretches. The doctor labeled her a snacker. Even during the day she only drinks 2-3 oz at a time. It’s difficult to determine when she is hungry because she drinks so often sometimes and not so often on other days. She drinks breastmilk from a bottle and from nursing but it’s mostly bottle feedings that occur. I may nurse her 1-2 times a day and that’s usually in the early hours of the morning because I’m too tired to get up and fix a bottle or she is too impatient to nurse. Her naps always seem to be interrupted by her being aroused by maybe a dream or gas and she sleeps very lightly. The time she naps inconsistent and sporadic as well. But each nap I put her to sleep the same way as I do at night. She hardly ever falls asleep any other way, i.e., in her swing, in our arms. It’s almost like she can stay awake forever if we let her or unless she is so exhausted that she can’t stay up any longer. I know this is a lot of info and may be a bit all over the place. I just wanted to give as many details as possible. Thanks

    Reply
  7. maria

    First of all, I want to thank you for all that you do for us moms in need. I don’t know where I would be if it weren’t for your advice and guidance. I have a 9 1/2 month old. She can sleep independently for bed time (in her own crib, in our room). I usually breast feed as part of her nightly ritual. (I exclusively breastfeed). She has never slept through the night. Sometimes she wakes up 2 times a night (12ish and 4ish). I automatically breast fed but now that I think she does it out of habit, I try to avoid this. Maybe she lays back down or I lay her down but if I do this she will be up again within the next hour.
    What can I do?
    Sometimes she wakes up earlier 10:30-11:30 p.m. and wakes up 3-4 times a night. I try to keep her wake times 2:30-3 hrs apart (doesn’t always work, especially now). She is fighting her naps. I put her in the stroller and she falls asleep. I then transfer her to her crib. Lately she wakes up after 30-40 mins. I would like to know when you recommend me transitioning to her own bedroom? Will this help these night waking or make them worse because she doesn’t see me when she wakes up.

    Maria

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Maria,

      Thank you so much for your message! We are so happy to hear that you are finding Jilly’s information helpful. The best way for your LO to sleep through the night and to stop waking up is for your LO to fall asleep independently. This means that you can put her in her crib and give her a kiss goodnight and walk out the door. It is completely natural for babies to be nursed to sleep, but since your LO is getting older, you may want to stop nursing to sleep to prevent it from becoming a habit. The best way to do this is to separate the feeding and sleep session. After you are done nursing before bed, try to feed some books and sing some lullabies before putting your LO down in her crib. Most babies at this age do not need to be fed in the middle of the night. I would check with her pediatrician. If her weight is good, you won’t need to nurse in the middle of the night unless you want to. If your LO is falling asleep at the breast, then every time she wakes up in the middle of the night, she needs to breast or some help to fall back asleep. This also goes for naps. I am attaching a link to our 9 month old sleep guide to give you some other helpful sleep tips. If you are looking for more step by step guidance to teach your LO to fall asleep independently, then I definitely recommend checking out our 21 Days to Peace and Quiet Program. We’re currently having a Spring Sale. This gives you 30 days of personal support with our sleep training program. Jilly walks you through each step and shows you exactly what to do every night. Plus we answer questions 5 days/week inside a private FB group. So you really get all the direction and support you need. Here’s more info: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program. Please let me know if you have any questions!

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/9-month-old-wont-sleep

      Best,
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  8. Tracy Thorpe

    My baby is almost 10 months old. We sucessfully sleep trained her at 5 months with the Ferber method before she went to day care. We had some sleep regressions and colds. Then teething followed with 3 coming in at once. We fell back into the habit of feeding and rocking her to sleep. She also wakes up once in the middle of the night to feed . She is fairly small for her age so i felt bad not feeding her in the middle of the night. It sounds daughting to start the process all over and i feel like i ruined everything. She has had the bad habits for months now. Will she be traumatized if i start the Feber method all over again? It is so hard to hear her cry and not pick her up when i know she is pain from teething.

    Reply
  9. Paul

    Hi my baby is 9 months old. She has never slept all night. We have a day time routine sleeps around 2 hours in the day in 2 naps. She goes bed at around 7 every night. Wakes up at 10 for feed then goes back off until about 1 then basically doesn’t sleep right through the night. Will probably fall back asleep at around 7 am for half hour. If we leave her in the cot she will just scream the house down and wake other kids up. We end up having to take her down stairs. She did sleep 1 night without feed but then back to normal. This was when she was between 7 and 8 months old but then started showing teething. She now has 2 pegs. Do we just have to ride this out or is there anything we can do. She doesn’t seem to b having any pain no more now pegs have come.

    Reply
    • panagiota

      Hi there Paul. Sorry to hear you and your little one aren’t getting enough, well-resting sleeping. Of course there are things you can do, we’re here to help you.

      Teething can disrupt a baby’s sleep but for a few days, like 2 or 3 when they actually appear. So this long disrupt is probably not caused by teething.

      What you could do is check out our 9 month old sleep guide, that will let you know what to expect from your baby’s sleep and what to do to help them sleep better. Here’s the link –> https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/9-month-old-wont-sleep

      Also if you want to night wean you can follow the tips from this guide.

      Try implementing the above for a few days and let us know how things work out. Panagiota, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  10. Dayana

    Hi, my baby is almost 7 months, I have always breastfed him to sleep, it seemed the easiest ways to help him fall asleep, he used to sleep
    4-6 hrs at a stretch and then wake up like every 2 hrs until the morning, but when the 4 months came around he started waking up every 1–2 hrs And still does it, he sleeps a little longer maybe one or 2 days but then goes back to the same. I know I have made many mistakes along the way but I really need help to get him into a routine and be able to sleep better, both of us. I do naps in the crib and co-sleep at night because is easier for me to pick him up and breastfeed and in the crib, I just started solids more consistent this week only one time a day the rest ir breast milk. I have a question, do solids matter at this age to help him be more full at night or breast milk is enough? Everyone tells me I need to give him formula and solids so he sleeps longer.

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Dayana,

      Thanks so much for your message! We would love to be able to help. It sounds like your LO is using breastfeeding as a method to fall asleep. Switching to formula and introducing solids is not what will help your LO sleep longer. Your LO really needs to learn how to fall asleep independently. This is the best way! I am attaching our 7 month old sleep guide for you to check out and get some helpful sleep tips! Also, I would highly recommend our sleep program, since we do teach you how to break sleep habits, and get your LO falling asleep on his own. We’re currently having a Spring Sale. This gives you 30 days of personal support with our sleep training program, 21 Days to Peace & Quiet.
      Jilly walks you through each step and shows you exactly what to do every night. Plus we answer questions 5 days/week inside a private FB group. So you really get all the direction and support you need. Here’s more info: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program. Let me know if you have any questions! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/7-month-sleep-regression

      Reply
  11. Joy

    Hi

    My baby turns 7 months soon. Baby has a sleep routine of bathing by 7/8pm after which i breastfeed and rock to sleep before placing in cot. Baby wakes up every 2-3hrs at night to feed and back to sleep and is awake by 7:30am every day.
    Dr says to wean off night feeds but i don’t know how. How do i also solve frequent waking ups.

    Reply
    • Leena

      Hi! The guide above will help you through the steps to night weaning:) I would recommend starting with that guide+our age base sleep guide which will cover all the basics and help manage expectations at this stage. Implement the guide for 2 weeks straight and you should see improvements.

      The key in our opinion is to teach your LO how to fall asleep independently, this will lead for them STTN and thus improving sleep all around! If you’d like more detailed assistance on how to teach your LO this skill, our program 21 Days to Peace&Quiet walks you through the steps.
      I will link the info below. I’d be happy to answer any additional questions about the program. Good luck mama! / Leena, BSMS Support Team

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/7-month-sleep-regression

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program

      Reply
  12. Saundrette Vaughn

    Hello, please help! My baby is 10 months and sleeps in the bed with us and wants to stay attach TO ME THE ENTIRE NIGHT!!!!!!! I CAN’T GET ANY REST?. He doesn’t care for solids or purees unless it’s solid green beans or broccoli. Other than those two food items he’s constantly wanting to nurse abs I’m personally looking to be done with the whole nursing job. I breastfed or oldest for 19 months, or 2nd for 6 months and now him. He barely takes his bottle of BM when im away and im just ready to throw the towel in. How can I rapidly wean him off? I’m exhausted

    Reply
    • Leena

      Breastfeeding to sleep is very common and completely normal. It’s not a problem, until it “becomes a problem” and you’re having to get up and feed your baby back to sleep many times at night.

      At this age, it’s possible to teach your LO to self-settle to sleep. THIS will lead to long stretches of sleep at night, even through the entire night or with only one quick night feed.

      It won’t necessarily be “easy” in that your little one may get upset learning a new way of falling asleep, BUT a few days of teaching independent sleep habits will lead to YEARS of peaceful and happy sleep for everyone.

      There are several ways of teaching your LO a new way of falling asleep. The best approach will depend on your LO’s temperament and your parenting preferences. This is what we help parents do everyday in the program, 21 Days to Peace & Quiet. You are welcome to join our step-by-step program here: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program

      You can also found the age based guide here: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/sleep-training-10-month-old

      Hope these help! /Leena, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  13. Katherine

    Hi Jilly, my baby sleeps around 7:30 pm to 8pm, but he wakes up 12 times during the night. I’m a zombie right now, I’m still breastfeeding so every time he wakes up i feed him, maybe it’s the Problem? I dont know what else to do? My friends recommend to use melatonin for him or Valeriano drops, but honestly I was reading about some side effects so I preferred not use it,

    Reply
    • Leena

      Hi Katherine! Thanks for your comment!

      This night weaning guide is a step-by-step plan for reducing or fully eliminating your baby’s night feeds. It tells you when your baby is ready for night weaning and also how to do it.

      How old is your LO? In the top pink menu of our website, you’ll see ages for babies and toddlers. Click the age that applies to your LO and you’ll find a specific guide for that age with sleep tips you can start implementing today.

      Contact us any time for additional questions :)! / Leena, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  14. Danielle

    My baby is 8 months old, since birth I have been really intentional about putting her to bed awake and she goes down great. I lay her in bed, give her a paci and she goes to sleep. she would sleep about a 7hr stretch, wake to eat and go back to sleep for another 4+ hours. Somewhere around 4-7months, she has started to wake more frequently in the night. My response is usually to go in and nurse. About 2-3x a week she will do a longer stretch, but usually she is up every 2-3 hours. I am having a hard time finding info for my specific need. Most people address the baby’s ability to put themselves to sleep, but my baby already does that. Not sure how to solve my problem. Any Ideas?

    Reply
    • Leena

      Hi Danielle!

      Thanks for your comment! It is great news that your LO can self settle. I still suspect the sudden struggle could be two things. A possible sleep association to the pacifier and a sleep regression. The pacifier could be a sleep association that contribute to night wakings, early morning wakings and/or short naps. So consider weaning off of it as a sleep aid.

      It is common for babies sleep to be disrupted around 4 and 8 months due to big developmental changes. It sounds like this could be your case.
      I’ll link the 8 month sleep regression guide for your to check out and see if it would be of help.

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/how-to-beat-the-8-month-sleep-regression

      Consistency is key, so start implementing the tips and you should see improvement soon.

      If you are interested in having some extra help jumping back on the wagon, our program covers this as well. We offer 4 different step-by-step methods for you to choose from (from super gentle & gradual to quick & efficient.) Each step of the way you get advice based on your baby’s developmental stage, energy levels, and temperament. For more information on the program, please don’t hesitate to ask, here is the link to it:

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program

      Best of luck/ Leena, BSMS Support Team

      Reply

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