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When to Stop Feeding Baby During Middle of the Night

I am wondering when I should stop nursing my son during the night time, he will be six months old in one week. He consistently goes to bed every night between 7:30-7:45, and can wake up anywhere from 0-3 times per night. On an average night he typically wakes only one time. I wake my son up at 6:30 to eat prior to leaving for work. My son eats approximately 25-30 ounces per day (he drinks 15 ounces at daycare and I nurse him anywhere from 2-4 times at home)He is becoming well established with food and eats vegetables and rice cereal around 12 noon and then 6:00 at home. I am beginning to wonder if he is waking only out of habit or if he truly is hungry. When he wakes up I usually only nurse for 5 minutes and he is back to sleep. Is 11 hours too long for his little tummy to go without feeding? If so how come some nights he doesn't wake at all? Am I his pacifier or should I continue feeding him if he wakes? Thanks!

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If he is only eating for five minutes and then going back to sleep then he truly wasn't hungry. I have a 3 month old who sleeps through the night. If he has made it all night before then you know he can do it. I wouldn't rush in when he stirs at night I would give him a few minutes to see if he settles himself back to sleep. I would get a sleep book. It talks about that in there and how to gently wean him off the night feedings. We use the book Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kim West. And yes the time is short that they are young but the longer you let him eat at night the harder it will be to wean him. And he isn't going to starve to death. If he is truly hungry he will let you know. But by now he should be going through the night. good luck.

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Breastfed babies typically need to nurse during the night until they are 9 months to 12 months old. Formula fed babies can stop night feedings as soon as 3 months of age. That's one reason you will get a variety of responses to this question. At this age, he can get a significant quantity of milk in 5 minutes of nursing. If he already is sleeping through some nights, then he likely will be stopping night feedings soon. In the meantime, it is up to you what you want to do. You know your baby best.

BTW, As moms, we are our babies pacifiers, I don't see anything wrong with that.

1 mom found this helpful

My son had the same sleeping habit when he was that age...and then my milk supply started running out because of going back to work. He would ONLY nurse at night so I loved waking up to him...then my milk wasnt enough and I foolishly gave him bottles of formula at night. He would chug the bottles of 4 ounces so I thought he needed it, but then he was waking up 5-8 times a night! If he's only waking up 0-3 times a night, I'd keep nursing even though he could sleep through without eating. But that's just because my son stopped nursing right at six months and I would have loved to keep going!

If he is only eating for five minutes and then going back to sleep then he truly wasn't hungry. I have a 3 month old who sleeps through the night. If he has made it all night before then you know he can do it. I wouldn't rush in when he stirs at night I would give him a few minutes to see if he settles himself back to sleep. I would get a sleep book. It talks about that in there and how to gently wean him off the night feedings. We use the book Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kim West. And yes the time is short that they are young but the longer you let him eat at night the harder it will be to wean him. And he isn't going to starve to death. If he is truly hungry he will let you know. But by now he should be going through the night. good luck.

By now, if your son is eating very well during the day, he does not need to be eating at night. Specially if he is only eating for about 5 minutes at night. He is waking up out of habit and because he knows that you will come to him. My middle child was sleeping 12 hours at night by the time she was 5 months old. Now not all babies will sleep that long. My youngest on average only sleeps 10 1/2 hours at night and she is almost a year. You will know if your child is just waking up out of habit, or really really needing something. Let him cry a little while and you will understand what he is crying about.

This may be an unpopular answer, but we co-sleep with our baby. He wakes up a couple of times in the night, and often only needs a pat on the tummy to fall back asleep. If that doesn't work, then I nurse him (this usually only occurs during growth spurts or if he missed a regular feeding during the day for some reason).

This is what works for us, for a baby who has always had trouble sleeping alone (even as a newborn, he prefered to be help and woke up when he was laid down by himself, no matter how long we waited). It may not work for you, but it is a way to be there for your baby and to meet his needs without having to be awake for as long in the night:) We also give him a pacifier at night to see if he just needs the comfort rather than the milk.

Good luck! You've gotten a lot of different answers -- hopefully one works for you and your situation:)

oh honey, you should both be getting a full nights sleep by now. The longer you continue to feed him in the middle of the night when he wakes, the more dependent he will be on those nursings and the harder it is going to be to get him to stop. My suggestion is to stop now. Babies start producing more melatonin at around 3 months and their body actually needs the consecutive hours of sleep, as opposed to when they are first born, they don't produce as much melatonin and they don't need the consecutive hours of sleep becuase they need the more frequent feedings to thrive. He will be fine without food from 7:30 to 6:30....those are the eaxact hours that my 5 month old sleeps.

Hello J.,

I have an 11 month old so I just went through this same situation. When my baby got to the point where she would only get up once per night (or not at all some nights) I would wait for about 5 minutes to see if she would go back to sleep. If she quieted down within 5 minutes then I knew she was fine. If she persisted for longer then 5 minutes then I would go nurse her for just a few minutes. After a few nights she started sleeping through the night 7 nights a week. Yes, waiting for 5 minutes in the middle of the night can be agonizing when your baby is crying but if your baby can go back to sleep on his own it will be better for you both in the long run.

Hope that helps.

I too am in this position. I have still been getting up 1-2 times a nite, and wondwring if I should work harder and stopping. My son will nurse pretty good at these times, so I think he's truly hungry. I'm torn between wanting more uninterupted sleep,and not wanting to end my last baby's "baby" stages. I feel as long as I can continue to function ok on less sleep and he seems to need the nourishment I'll keep getting up,at least once and try to get him to go back to sleep if he wakes more. I feel God truly blessed me with this beautiful healthy child at age 43(just turned 44) and has given me the energy I need to make it thru my day even getting up at nite yet. So I take that as a confirmation that I'm doing the rite thing! You have to decide what's best for you!

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