Each baby will be ready for baby sleep training by night weaning at different age. At an average age of 4
to 6 months, babies can sleep at 5 to 6 hours at night without needing any food. But baby may need
assurance of parents’ presence. If a baby doesn’t get enough of mother’s company during day, then at
night feeding could be a way of getting that close contact.
So if the parents don’t mind waking up for night nursing or bottle, there is no harm in continuing. But if
the entire family is deprived of the required sleep and if the baby appears to be ready for weaning, then
with some slow, gentle process, parents should introduce baby sleep training by night weaning.
Gradual ways to slowly reduce night nursing:
Check for different causes of night waking:
Pains like ear infection or teething (which are more acute at night) or cold etc can result in waking up
repeatedly and thus more night nursing.
Allergies or nappy rash etc also may lead to discomfort and increased night waking.
If babies under 6 months are given solids, they have difficulty in digesting it and wake up repeatedly.
Giving solids to baby won’t make him sleep longer.
If room temperature is either less or more, it would wake baby.
While nursing during day, if the distractions are less, the baby would take more milk. If baby is given
more nursing in day and also just before bedtime, then the night waking would reduce accordingly.
Try increasing family’s sleep time: Make the baby sleep before he overtires himself.
Sleep sharing alongwith nursing the baby in supine position (lying down) also helps in getting peaceful sleep for family. Night weaning using easy ways:
Keep distance: After night feeding, the baby should be kept back in his crib, cradle etc. Or in case of co-sleeping, mother should move away. This would lessen the frequency of night nursing. Baby may
associate mother with feeding.
More closeness during the day: If baby is nursed more often during day and is given all the closeness he
desires, he may not wake up as frequently during the night. Mother can give a feeding before she goes
Father’s duty: If the baby doesn’t appear to be hungry at night and wakes more for the company, then
the father can hold or rock him and give comfort. Mother’s constant proximity would make the baby
demand more feeding.
Explain to the child: As the baby gets older, mother can talk, engage baby in conversation and distract him from feeding. Increasing duration:
Parents should try to increase the gaps between night feeds by patting, rocking and trying to make baby go back to sleep.
In case of bottle fed baby, the milk can be diluted with water if the baby is older than 6 months (& doesn’t
need night feed for hunger). Slowly, the proportion of water should be increased, finally only water is
given at night. Thus child would stop waking up for water.