I have day weaned my child, but the night feeds have gone up. When will my child sleep through the night?
First of all, good job on continuing to breastfeeding your child!
Whether you have joined work recently or just decided to day wean your child, the increase in night feeds can mean any of these three things
- Your child is reverse-cycling. Reverse cycling is a phenomenon where the child makes up for the skipped feeds in the day by ramping up feeding in the night. Providing your baby unrestricted access to breastmilk in the night will ensure your child received optimal milk for growth and nourishment. Also, breastmilk is not just about food. For babies, breastmilk is also a way to connect and bond with the parent and your baby feeding excessively in the night may not be just hunger.
- Your child may be hungry or going through a growth spurt or developmental advances. Growth spurts are short periods of time where the baby increases their feeding frequencies and appear fussier than normal. Your baby is signaling your body to make more milk when they feed frequently, so do not supplement or schedule feeds at this stage. Feed on demand. Developmental advances like rolling over, crawling, walking or talking can also increase feeding frequencies.
- Your baby may be teething, falling sick or feeling uncomfortable – Do check the diaper for soils and temperature if the baby is excessively uncomfortable even after feeding.
For getting better sleep, here are some steps you can take as a parent:
- If you are a stay at home parent, consider that your child may not be ready for day weaning, and offer to nurse more frequently in the day.
- If you do not wish to regress on day weaning or if you are a working parent, co-sleeping safely with the child and feeding on demand in the night will be beneficial to both you and the baby. Night time feeds keep your supply going, and are an easier way of making baby go back to sleep. Feed lying down for best results.
- If you are a working parent, it might also help to have an evening session of nursing once you are back from work to help your child reconnect to you.
- After nursing, your partner can also take over to make baby sleep, if baby is accepting of this workaround.
- There is no evidence that giving solids or formula at night can help a baby sleep through the night better. On the contrary, breastmilk is easier to digest than solids or formula. Babies who sleep deeper or longer may be more vulnerable to SIDS so frequent waking is actually safe for your baby.