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How to reduce night feedings

Tips for mums and dads: How to reduce night feedings

One of the biggest challenges for new parents is sleep deprivation. Having a baby is exciting, isn't it? But establishing a routine for wake and sleep times is not that easy. Night feedings, in particular, pose a challenge. Although night feedings are important in the first few months, there comes a time when both the baby and the parents are ready for a full night's rest :) In this blog, we share possible tips to gradually reduce night feedings so that both mother and father can get more rest.

Why reduce night feedings?

Night feedings are crucial in the first few months of a baby's life for growth, development, and emotional bonding with your child. After about six months, however, most babies are physically able to sleep for longer periods without food at night. Reducing night feedings can help promote better sleep patterns for both the baby and the parents, giving them the opportunity to get more rest.

Step-by-Step tips for reducing night feedings

  1. Establish a Bedtime Routine
    A consistent bedtime routine helps your baby understand that night is for sleeping. Start with a quiet activity like a warm bath, followed by feeding and a lullaby. A familiar routine gives your baby a sense of security and comfort, which helps in reducing night feedings. In general, it is good to teach children early when it's time to go to bed. Children need their routines and feel secure when they know what happens when and how the evenings proceed.

  2. Gradually Reduce the Amount
    If your baby is used to a bottle or breastfeeding at night, try to gradually reduce the amount of food. Every few days, decrease the amount of milk or the time at the breast by 20-30 ml or 5 minutes. This will help your baby become less dependent on night feedings.

  3. Introduce a Comfort Object
    Some babies find comfort in a stuffed animal or blanket. By introducing a comfort object, your baby can learn to soothe themselves without needing food. Ensure that the object is safe to use in the crib.

  4. Let Your Partner Help
    By involving your partner in the feeding, especially with bottle feedings, the baby can learn that comfort does not come only from the mother. This can ease the transition and help both parents share responsibilities.

  5. Offer Water Instead of Milk
    For older babies and toddlers who still wake up at night, offering water instead of milk can help. Water provides no caloric reward and can help break the pattern of night feedings or the desire to drink.

  6. Stay Consistent
    Consistency is key – and that can sometimes be very difficult, especially when you are tired or have had a less good day. It may take some time for your baby to adjust to the new routine. But by staying consistent and not reverting to old habits, you will eventually succeed.

We know it sounds easy, but be patient and give the process time. Not everything works immediately, and every child is different.

Do you also want to know why baby's spit up food? Read our blog about it.