Those night time feeds can be one of the hardest parts of being a new mom. Often, it feels like your little
one is feeding all night long. The following information should help ease your mind a little bit when it comes to weaning night feeds:
Is my Baby Ready?
Before starting to wean your baby’s night time feeds, it is important to ensure you are optimizing your little
one’s caloric intake during the day. Make sure your baby is on a feeding schedule that encourages them to
take full feeds every 2.5-3 hours during the day.
It is also very important to consider your baby’s age and weight when deciding if it is time to begin night
time weaning. Is your baby gaining weight and following their growth curve? Has your paediatrician
suggested keeping night time feeds? Many babies are ready to wean their night time feed(s) by around 4-6
months, but it is important to remember that every baby is different and every mamas comfort level is
different too! If you’re unsure, consult your little one’s paediatrician!
Before weaning, it will be helpful to implement healthy sleep habits. If your little one is currently falling
asleep while feeding, you will want to move that last feed further from bedtime, so your babe goes down to
Increasing Daytime Caloric Intake
If you’re considering night time weaning, it will be important to ensure that your baby is getting adequate
daytime calories. If you are breastfeeding, it’s important to ensure that your little one is nursing every 2.5-3
hours. If bottle feeding, it may be helpful to start offering 1-2 ounces extra to each bottle to ensure that they
maintain their caloric intake, despite eliminating night time feeds. Once your baby is successfully weaned from night feeds, their body will naturally make up for those lost calories at night, during the day!
Often, when babies are ready to wean night time feeds, they are at an age when they are easily distractible.
Their daytime distractibility can sometimes affect their feeds. If you notice that your baby is easily
distracted, especially during feeds, you may find it helpful to take them somewhere with less stimulation to
encourage them to focus on eating. This may be leaving the living room, where it is bright and noisy with
lots going on, and going to a quiet, dimly lit environment, like a bedroom.
On the other hand, some babies have difficulties maintaining their caloric intake because they are falling
asleep. If your little one is falling asleep during a feed, you may want to turn on the lights, tickle their toes,
or change their bum mid-feed. Whatever demeanour you baby has, it is important to do what you can to
make sure that they are engaged during daytime feeds, especially when weaning overnight.
Once you and your little one are ready to begin night weaning, there are a couple methods to tackle the
If your little one is older than 6 months and still waking in the night for one or more feeds, weaning cold turkey may be the way to go. It may also be the method of choice if you are certain that your little one is waking and feeding solely for comfort. If that is the case, choose a night to start and don’t go back! This is a great time to implement sleep training if your little one is struggling to fall back to sleep without the feeding.
We typically recommend a gradual wean for younger babies and for little ones waking several times a night
for active feeds. The gradual weaning process allows for a gentle shift in their night time caloric intake to
allow for their daytime calories to increase accordingly. If your baby is waking several times each night,
you will want to eliminate one feed at a time. Once the feed is removed, you will refrain from reintroducing
If your little one continues to wake consistently at the same time each night for a week, your baby may
simply not be ready to wean their night time feed, or again, they may need some help learning to fall asleep independently and that is okay! Reassess in a couple months, or feel free to reach out to a sleep specialist for evaluation and assistance!
Will my Milk Supply be Affected?
If you’re breastfeeding or pumping to bottle feed your baby, a gradual wean may be most suitable to allow
your supply to adjust with your baby. If you are concerned about your milk supply, try pumping before you
go to bed. If you’re really feeling anxious about your milk supply, you can also add in a pumping session in
the early morning hours. Just make sure you pump at least an hour before your little one will wake to feed!
With each sleep program we create, we assess your baby’s feeding and sleeping patterns to determine an
appropriate weaning plan. We create a personalized, step-by-step approach to wean night time feeds
successfully and provide you with 1:1 support and guidance as you and your child adjust.
Night time weaning and sleep training are often most successful when done together. We would be more
than happy to support you in your journey to having an independent sleeper, sleeping 11-12 hours
uninterrupted each night! It may feel impossible now, but please know that every baby can be a great
sleeper! Feel free to book your free consultation call to discuss which method, and package would be best for your family!
- Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant