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Your Guide to Weaning Night Feeds: Tips for Why, When and How

Transitioning your baby away from night-time feeding can be a significant milestone for both parents and their babes. It can lead to better sleep for everyone and help your baby develop healthy eating patterns. In this post, I'll share the expectations of night weaning so you can comfortably navigate this transition.

baby weaning night feeds

Why Wean Night Feeds?

  1. Improved sleep!

Once you've dropped some night feeds, you'll achieve longer stretches of sleep. Not only is this essential for you as a parent, but for your baby as well. A lot of the magic happens on a hormonal, cognitive and developmental level when your child is consolidating their sleep.

2. Development

If your child has a feed-to-sleep association, helping your child self-settle will mean you're not required to give them a feed every time they wake in the night. This can be achieved with a consistent settling strategy to suit your child's temperament and your parenting style. This is where a sleep consultant (such as myself) can personalise a sleep plan for your family.

Weaning night feeds helps babies shift their caloric intake to daytime, promoting regular eating patterns and reduces the development of 'reverse cycling'; where babies take in more calories overnight, taking away from their daytime intake.

3. Parental wellbeing

Improved sleep for parents means they are more present and patient with their children and partners each day. Sleep is essential for immune health, cognitive function (no brain fog), physical recovery and mental health. You can read more about the effects of sleep deprivation here. You'll also get more quality time back with your partner/family at the end of the day, improving connectedness and regaining your sense of balance.

When to Wean Night Feeds?

  1. 4-hourly feeds

When your baby is over 5kg and their weight gain is tracking well, you can look at stretching them to 4-hourly feeds overnight.

2. 2-1 feeds

When your babe is over 6.5kg, you can look at transitioning to 1 feed overnight.

3. 1-0 feeds

When your babe is established on solids, eating upwards of 1/2 Cup of solids for both lunch and dinner, including a protein source at each meal, you can look at dropping the last feed overnight.

But How? My Top Tips...

  • Another indication that your babe is ready to reduce overnight feeds is if they wake in the morning and are not interested in the morning feed. We'd like those calories to be happening regularly during the daytime, so if they're impartial, it's a sign there's too much milk intake overnight.

  • To encourage longer stretches in between feeds, ensure they're taking in a big, full feed, instead of shorter 'snack feeds'.

  • Shift calories during the daytime, ensuring nutrient-dense solid foods to stabilise blood sugars and keep their tummy fuller for longer.

  • Get your partner, family member or alternative care-giver involved to help change any feed-to-sleep associations.

  • Ensure baby/child can self-settle so they can link sleep cycles overnight.

  • Be patient and consistent. Babies and toddlers aren't robots, and repetition will prevent confusion for them.

  • Have a consistent bedtime routine that sends regular and clear signals that it's time for bed.

Weaning night feeds is a significant step towards establishing healthy sleep and eating patterns for your child. By understanding the reasons behind night weaning, recognizing the right time, and implementing gradual, supportive strategies, you can make this transition smoother for both you and your babe. Remember, patience and consistency are key, and always consult your pediatrician or GP if you have any concerns or questions along the way.

If you're in need of a personalised plan to help you with night-weaning, book a 20-minute call with me today to start your journey of getting good sleep.


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