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How to Wean Your Baby of Night Time Feeding
For most mothers, feeding time can be a happy time, as it gives you ample time to be with and bond with your new baby.
However, as happy as you are to carry out one of your motherly duties, it can get a little overwhelming, especially as babies have smaller stomachs and need to feed more often.
When I first held my daughter in my arms, I was filled with a love so strong and so pure, I was shocked at the intensity. Then I held her to my breast for the first time and I thought I would burst from the joy of it all.
However, as the days settled into weeks and her feeding pattern became more established, I started to feel a little overwhelmed from it all.
Taking care of a newborn requires a whole lot and one thing you will come to notice immediately is the fact the need to feed often. Since babies have very tiny stomachs that can hold just so much food at a time, this means they have to be fed every 2 -3 hours.
It gets a little more overwhelming at night when you are torn between feeding your little one and giving in to the need to sleep and most mothers look forward to the time they will wean their toddler off nighttime feeding.
If your baby is six months and above and you are looking to wean her, here are simple steps you can take to achieve this:
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Four Simple Steps to Stop Your Toddler’s Night Time Feeding
1) Reduce Your Baby’s Food Portion Slowly Over Time
If you’re used to giving your baby a particular portion of food during her nighttime feeding, you should start reducing this a little at a time.
Reduce a little today and give this some days to a few weeks for her system to get used to this change then step the portion down some more.
Over time, she’ll get used to this new portion size and won’t feel the difference.
2) Change Her Food Type Completely
Next, change her food type completely to semi-solid. A good food idea to give at this time would be avocado and pea puree or mashed avocado and you can either get a store-bought brand or make yours using a baby food processor.
Since she’s used to eating small portions of food at night, she most likely won’t take the change badly and will adapt quickly.
Give her this semi-liquid food for as long as possible before moving to the final stage.
3) Ensure She’s Well Fed Before Bedtime
Ensure you feed your baby quite well before bedtime, this way, she’s less likely to wake up crying for food at night.
It’s recommended you give her solids at this time so it holds her all through the night.
4) Stop the Night-Time Meal Completely
With your baby eating a solid meal just before bedtime, she can stay a whole night without having to snack in the middle of the night.
However, for some babies, the first few nights are still tough on them and they wake up expecting a meal.
If this happens, do not give in to her demands, hard as it may be. Instead, try to calmly soothe her back to sleep.
Be prepared to do this for a few days and soon, she will adjust to this new development.
However, if the crying continues for up to a week, you might want to go back to feeding her at night and try again after a week or two.
When is The Best Time to Wean Your Baby of Night Time Feeding
It can be a little confusing knowing the best time to wean your baby for nighttime feeding. Should you wait until they are a year old, or will starting earlier work best for both baby and you?
Infant sleep expert, Dr. Natalie Barnett supports starting when your baby is four to six months old for bottle-fed babies. At four months, findings reveal a baby is already physically and neurologically mature enough to go without a meal for up to twelve hours at night.
However, before embarking on this night tome weaning, you want to ensure there’s a feeding structure in place that will see your baby getting all the nutrients she needs for the day.
Dr. Barnette recommends feeding your baby milk every 2.5 to 3 hours and also giving 3 solid meals for the day.
You should bear in mind that some babies don’t go off this night-time feeding immediately. It sometimes takes a few weeks for this new schedule to kick in and some babies, especially breastfed babies, have been known to go up to a year before making this adjustment.