When And How To Drop A Night Feed

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The night when you begin to drop a night feed is the night that every parent dreams of after weeks and weeks of sleepless nights. In this post, I’ll review how to identify that your child is ready to drop a night feed and the 2 best ways to do it.

When To Drop A Night Feed

As your child gets older, their stomach grows and has a larger capacity. They can take in more ounces per feed (during the day), which allows them to go longer between feeds without getting hungry. This typically means longer stretches of sleep at night! YAY!

But, you may find yourself wondering how you’re supposed to know when you’ve reached this point. If your child is ready to drop a night feed, they will usually display one or more of the signs below.

Signs of readiness to drop a night feed:

  • Your child begins sleeping longer stretches between feeds
  • You are able to get your child back to sleep when they wake at night without a feeding
  • Your child sleeps through a feed on their own
  • Your child is approved by their pediatrician to eliminate feeds during the night
  • Your child isn’t interested in eating when offered a feed at night

How To Drop A Night Feed

Any feed that takes place between bedtime and your designated wake time is considered a night feed. When dropping night feeds, you’ll start by eliminating the middle feed first, then the first feed, and finally the last feed. If your child only has two nightly feedings, you’ll start by eliminating the first feed, then you will drop the last feed.

When it comes time to drop your nighttime feedings, you have 2 options. You can wean the feed, or you can drop the feed cold turkey.

Weaning A Feed

This is a good option for a child who is:

  • Consistently waking and taking full feeds during the night
  • Feeding multiple times throughout the night
  • Breastfed

Weaning a feed allows your child the opportunity to slowly transfer the calories they were consuming during the night to their daytime feeds. To wean a feed for a breastfed baby, you will reduce the feed by 2 minutes each night until the feed is gone. For a bottle-fed baby, you will reduce the feed by 0.5oz each night, until the feed is gone.

Dropping A Feed Cold Turkey

Dropping a feed cold turkey is a good option for:

  • Strong willed children
  • Children who are only taking one feed per night

To drop a feed cold turkey, you will simply not offer the feed. If you plan to eliminate multiple feeds cold turkey, only drop one feed at a time. Give your child 2-3 days to adjust before dropping the next feed.

Dropping nighttime feeds will be a change for your child and it will take them a few days to adjust. Once you have completely dropped a feed, that feed is gone – you will not offer it, even if your child wakes up. Within a few days, they will begin to sleep through the previous feeding time.

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I'm Kristen

The expert & woman behind the screen. I'm also your new best friend who is ready to empower you on this incredible journey.

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