Are you dealing with numerous night wakings with your 8+ month old baby? If you are struggling with numerous wakings throughout the night with your 8+ month-old then it may be time to consider fully night weaning.
Although Restful Parenting’s sleep coaching program is designed to be flexible and can include one overnight feeding at this age if a family wants to keep it. The challenge is that it doesn’t always work for all babies. Some little ones will sleep, eat, sleep while others will wake all night and will only settle after being fed.
Then there are the babies who are only eating once overnight but still wake a few extra times. If we could read their minds, it would probably go something like this:
9:30pm – “Is it time to eat now? No! Fine, I’ll check again in a bit”
11:30pm – “How about now? Can I eat now?”
1:00am – “How about now? Score! I get to eat”
3:00am – “I know I just ate but let’s see if I can eat again!”
5:00am – “Can I eat now? No, okay well I’m awake, wanna play?”
The goal with night weaning at any age is to gently reduce how much they are getting at each feeding to help them transfer those calories to during the day.
Night weaning isn’t something that everyone wants to tackle and we can definitely understand that, however, it can make a difference for those who are waking numerous times at night.
Some examples of how you can reduce night wakings:
If your little one is drinking from a bottle through the night you would reduce it by an ounce every night or two until you are down to 1 ounce and then no more bottle. Ideally, you would then have a plan to help them back to sleep. It’s up to you how many nights you want to do it for – 6 ounces for 1-3 nights, 5 ounces for 1-2 nights, 4 ounces for 1-2 nights and so on and so on…You can reduce all of the extra feedings and keep one big one and then do that one or you can reduce them all at the same time.
Whether your plan to help them back to sleep is to pat them, hold them or shush.. it’s important that you stay consistent, night after night so that they are learning what to expect from you. It can take some time and you may still hear some little wakings or your little one calling out but give them a minute or two and they should settle.
Commit to the changes, stay consistent!
One really, really, REALLY important piece is once you remove the feeding, make sure that you commit to it. Being inconsistent will make the process harder on your little one and on you so once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Write it down.
Having a weaning plan and writing it down will help you stay consistent through the night. Knowing exactly how you are going to respond and how much/how long they will be eating for can help with the overnight fog!
Keep at it.
Stay with it, Ask for help if you need it and know that your baby can do it (and you can too!).
As a side note, you can certainly cut out all feedings cold turkey just know that it might be a rough night or two. The important piece will be to support your little one through the upset and stay consistent. That consistency will make or break the weaning process so if you cut out feeds, stick with it.