As a new mother, you definitely need rest, but with a new born, this seems like a distant dream. A full night’s sleep to recharge all your energies will be possible once your baby is ready for night weaning. Just like other milestones, sleeping through the night is also a huge accomplishment, and a baby will sleep a whole night even if you do nothing about it. A full night’s sleep helps the baby develop his brain and regain energies. A baby who’s not had enough sleep can become cranky and fussy.
If your baby is between 4-6 months of age, it is a good idea to start night weaning. It must be noted that if the baby is not ready, let it go for now and try again after some days. Every baby reaches this stage on his own, and night weaning is a sure step to ensure sound sleep for you, and the baby. If your baby’s development chart is going on well, you can try the below tips to let the baby sleep through the night:
- Maximising Baby’s Day Feeds: First and foremost, eliminate all distractions when it is baby’s feed time. Prefer a closed room, dimly lit, and with minimal noise so that the baby can concentrate on making herself full. Many babies go hungry during the day owing to distractions and thus wake up for multiple feedings during the night.
- Extra Feedings In Evenings: Close to bedtime, offer your baby extra feedings and she will not wake up feeling hungry during the night. Even if she’s asleep, offer a final or dream feed before you yourself go to sleep.
- Dad Role: Get your spouse to do the comforting to the baby when she wakes up in the night. She will feel warm and comfortable, and would not expect him to feed her.
- Eliminate Feedings Slowly: Go slow on cutting down on your baby’s feed, one at a time. Pat your baby and comfort her that she can have her feed in the morning. Though she does not understand this now, soon she will.
- Find the Baby Time: If you are not spending enough time with the baby during the day, your baby will make up for lost time in the night. Make sure you spend some quality time with her every day.
- Say NO: Be firm sometimes, as babies tend to wake up during the night out of habit as well. Firmly say no to her, and pat her back to sleep.
- Do Not Miss The Sleep Window: Do watch for cues when your baby is tired and needs to sleep. Missing the sleep window can make her unsettles all through the night.
- Increase Distance: You could make your baby sleep in the crib, or if you prefer co-sleeping, make the access to your breast hard for her by wearing such clothes.
- Remember You Are the Mother: Understand your baby signs – when she is hungry and when just wants a cuddle and a pat. Trust your intuition.
If your baby cries inconsolably, do give in the feed and resume night weaning training again afte a few weeks. Do not force this one her.
WHEN NOT TO BEGIN NIGHT WEANING:
We’d say that when your baby is around 4-6 months of age, you could root for a good night’s sleep for yourself and the baby. However, in case the baby is going through any other changes, it is not wise to begin night weaning:
- If the baby is teething.
- If she has recently started solid foods.
- She has any allergies, or is unwell.
- If you are going through a change of house or room.
Different people have different views on night weaning. If your goal is to ensure sleep for everyone, we’d say find your own way to it. Different babies have different needs, and parents generally figure out something that works best for everyone. Remember, that this is also a temporary phase, and your child will grow out of it.