It’s a big step for both you and your baby! Giving up the nighttime feeding is one of those early, emotional milestones that can mean a return to sleeping straight through the night, which I’m sure you’re both looking forward to! But how do you know when it’s the right time?Rather read than watch? Click here.
What I do say is let’s look at how does your baby fall asleep. Let’s not even worry about how many times they’re eating in the night or if you should feed in the night. Let’s look at how they fall asleep. That is the crux of this whole issue with children not sleeping well. It’s the falling asleep part. If you’re nursing her to sleep at bedtime then it makes sense to me that she is going to wake up two, four, eight times a night looking to be nursed back to sleep because that’s her strategy. That’s how she does this.
She gets on a breast or a bottle and she feeds herself to sleep and therefore please do that again for her for all of her nighttime wake ups. Or, if you rock baby to sleep at bedtime guess what? You’re going to be up in the night rocking baby back to sleep two, four, eight times a night because that’s the strategy. If you’ve taught your baby to fall asleep independently at bedtime you are about 80% of the way there. You’ve done the hard work. You’ve taught this child how to fall asleep independently and that is really good news.
If they’re still night feeding there’s two issues that could be going on. One, they might just need it. You should have a discussion with your pediatrician or your doctor and make sure the weight is fine and that there’s no health issues there. That’s a decision that you’ll have to make on your own. One option is that she still needs a night feed and that’s just the way it’s going to be for another month or so. Two, is that she’s just habitually nighttime feeding. She knows she gets a feed at 3 am so she’s going to wake up for the 3 am feed maybe indefinitely. Maybe until you decide that that’s no longer an option.
That happens. If I woke up in the middle of the night and somebody had a meal for me, I would most likely eat it. I would do it again and again and again every night that it was offered until no one offered it anymore. Not that I need to eat, not that there’s any kind of nutritional need for me to be up eating in the night but I would do it. Sure I would. Have a look at that. My rule of thumb, it’s pretty loose but my loose rule of thumb is around the six-month age and up.
If you’ve got a child with some really great sleep strategies at bedtime and they’re still having a night feed, it’s most likely habit. I would go ahead and pull that. If you’re ready, pull it. The good news is because they have these really good sleep skills, it’ll transfer over really quickly. It’ll really only take maybe one to three nights to get this baby sleeping all the way through because now he knows, “Okay, well I thought maybe there was a feed but there isn’t so I’ll just use my great skills and get myself right back to sleep.” Have a look at that.
It’s a really tough question to answer and it always has to do with how your baby falls asleep. Have a good look at that. If they’re prop dependent, which means they get help from something external, then that’s the first place to start and see what happens. You might not even have to answer the question of should I stop feeding. She might just start sleeping through the night and you won’t have to make that choice at all. That would be great. Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 57,00 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started today – I’m looking forward to helping you!
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