The Process to Stop Night Feeding (Successfully Stopping Night Feeding continued)
If your baby is older than five months, and is still waking up at night for comfort, you may want to make stopping night feeds part of the weaning process, or if you haven’t started weaning yet, making it the first part of the process. Just be sure that your baby is asking for comfort and not food. Some underweight babies or babies who were born premature will need the extra feedings. Consult your doctor about stopping night feeds if your baby is underweight or premature.
If you are feeding often during the day, decrease your feedings to once every four hours. This is the first step. Also, make sure your baby doesn’t take very long naps during the day. Frequent and long naps will really give them a hard time sleeping through the night. Try making them sleep twice a day for only one and a half to two hours each time.
The next thing to do is make sure your baby is still awake when they finish the bottle or finish feeding from your breast. If you want to start weaning, give them the bottle. Keeping them slightly alert while feeding and then taking the bottle away before putting them down to sleep will help them relax without the bottle. This means they won’t associate the bottle with comfort, and they will only see it as a tool for feeding.
You can also try feeding your baby an hour before bedtime and away from their bed. Feeding them early will also help them associate falling asleep in their beds without the bottle. It really isn’t advisable to let your baby fall asleep with their bottle, as they will make this their comfort object. Give them a blanket or a toy as a comfort object. If they don’t like the toy, give them one of your shirts. Having your smell near can be comfort enough for some babies.
Remember to put them down while they are still awake, but drowsy. This will help them get used to putting themselves to sleep. Also, they will remember where they are when they wake up. Once your baby is in their crib, keep them there, even while comforting them. Never take your baby to your bed to comfort them when they wake up at night. If they wake up in their own bed again, and not yours, they will cry again instead of going back to sleep.
Page Three: Helping Your Baby Sleep Through the Night (Successfully Stopping Night Feeding continued)