Once babies reach about 5/6 months old, many parents begin wondering if they can get rid of nighttime feeds. While most pediatricians will say a healthy baby that is gaining weight well and is older than 6 months can go the entire night without a feed, this isn’t always the case.
If you haven’t already done so, head to my blog "Is my baby waking from hunger?" to determine if it’s time to drop the night feeds.
If you know that it’s time but you’re wondering how to do this, let’s dive in!
There are a few options that you can use to help eliminate the night feed. Begin with a few days of logging the amount that your child eats for each night feed. This will help you pinpoint a baseline or starting point. You may notice a pattern which will help you with options 1 and 2.
Option 1: Gradually Cut Back by Minutes
This can be for breastfed babies or bottle-fed babies. Once you determine a pattern and can nail down an approximate amount of time your baby is eating for, begin cutting the feed by 2 minutes every 2 days until you've gotten to no more feeding. At that point, if baby is still waking up, you can use a sleep guiding method of your choice to help them settle or another measure of comfort.
Option 2: Gradually Cut Back by Ounces
Similar to option 1, take a look at how many ounces your baby is having in the bottle for their night wakings. Begin cutting the bottle by 2 ounces every 2 days until you've gotten to no more milk. At that point, if baby is still waking up, you can use a sleep guiding method of your choice to help them settle or another measure of comfort.
Option 3: Cut Cold Turkey
With this option, you will reach your end goal of no more night feeds faster. However, this could result in a few difficult nights. Keep in mind that the overall process will be shorter, though. This is the best option for older babies who are eating more than enough during the day.
When baby wakes up, you would use a sleep guiding method of your choice to help them fall asleep or shift the prop to another form of comfort.
*As with all things baby and feeding, please consult with your pediatrician before deciding to cut out night feeds.*