Weaning the "Middle of the Night" Bottle

Updated on March 25, 2008
B.G. asks from Ellicott City, MD
4 answers

Hi everyone,

My daughter is eight months old and I feel it is time to wean her middle of the night feeding. She currently takes 4 bottles a day, usually every 6 hours - 7:30am, 1:30pm, 7:30pm(bedtime bottle) and 1:30am. She'll eat anywhere from 6-8oz each bottle and usually gets either oatmeal, fruit and veggies around 11am and 5pm. I have had advice on two ways to wean her and was wondering what everyone else thinks. One way would be to gradually decrease the amount of the night feeding until it is eliminated. I am worried that with this method she may not sleep through the night to 7am and start waking earlier. (7am is already too early for me!) The other way would be to put her to bed later, like around 10pm thus changing her 4 feedings to 7am,12,5 and 10pm- hoping that she would sleep from 10-7. My worry is that she won't eat according to my schedule so this might be difficult. She has never been the greatest sleeper (she wakes up periodically in the night and we pretty much let her cry it out or help her find her pacifier and she'll go back to sleep within 15 minutes). I would love to consolidate her sleep and 10-7 would be perfect. I'm probably dreaming to think she would sleep from 7:30-7 at this age! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you!

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answers from Washington DC on

My dr. suggested just giving a bottle of water during the night time feeding. After a while, they won't ask for it anymore.




answers from Washington DC on

I don't think you're dreaming at all! 7:30pm-7am is perfectly reasonable if you ask me as long as she's taking adequate naps. That was right about the time we stopped the night waking for ANY reason. No bottles, no pacifier-hunting. We put like, 10 binkies in there. My vote is to either decrease the nighttime bottle gradually or add more to the bedtime bottle and if she wakes overnight, let her work it out. She's old enough and doesn't need your assistance to get back to sleep. We had a tough time with this too.

Putting her to bed later, you're taking away 2.5 hours of nighttime sleep and I guarantee you she'll need to make up for it during the day and her whole schedule will be thrown off. She'll start sleeping more during the day and less at night-and waking up more frequently. 10-7 is only 9 hours and she needs more like 12 overnight.



answers from Washington DC on

My first was on a similiar schedule to your daughter. What I did was do a "dream feed." Before I went to bed at 10 or 11 I'd pick him up and give him about 4 oz. That was enough to get him to sleep until 8.

My second son was a different story. Even with a dream feed he would wake up to eat still in the middle of the night. I tried the water thing and it didn't work. I just sucked it up and got up with him. He is now 11 months old and he dropped his middle of the night feeding on his own about 3 weeks ago.

Good luck.



answers from Washington DC on

We also did the "dream feed" method. I put her to sleep at around 7, then gave her a bottle at 10, before I went to bed. She still woke up in the middle of the night...but two or three nights of crying it out seemed to work...and she always woke up a happy baby. She usually woke up around 6:30.

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