Family Magazine

Weaning From Breastfeeding at Night: 6 Effective Ways

By Sangeetha

Weaning from breastfeeding at night? How to stop breastfeeding your child? What are the possible ways? Would it be successful? Well today I present to you the 6 ways to wean your child completely from breastfeeding; all from my experience.

Breast milk is the best you can give your baby it’s said. But can you imagine how difficult it is to wean your child completely from breastfeeding?

Baby screaming at the top of lungs for breast milk during the night, you n hubby panicking and finally you giving in! Yes the case is same everywhere!

weaning from breastfeeding

I have been getting a lot of mails from moms who wish to wean their baby completely from breastfeeding. I hope this post can help them.

Breastfeeding during daytime might be easy for you. But the frequent night feeds is definitely going to make you sick as you feel tired and sleep deprived the next day. Ask me, every morning I used to sleep walk to the office after the breastfeeding marathon I had been into the previous night!

I wanted to stop breastfeeding by the time my daughter crossed 11 months; but my daughter wasn’t ready to be weaned. It took a lot of time, but now when I look back, I feel like I have conquered Mount Everest On a serious note, I can assure you mommies who are now struggling to wean off completely, that this phase shall also pass. So just relax!

According to pediatricians, a fully fed baby demands breastfeed at night just to ensure the warmth, comfort and coziness of their mother. Breast milk seals the bond of security for him/her. That’s the reason why as soon as you breastfeed, the baby tends to sleep. But your entire sleep goes for a toss!

If you look at this scientifically, the blood sugar level drops when we sleep at night. Babies get up from sleep asking for feeds when their blood sugar goes down. Breast milk stabilizes the blood sugar and brings it to an optimal level which helps the baby to sleep better.

Weaning from breastfeeding at night – 6 ways that work:

I have tried almost all the ways to stop breastfeeding. Hence I can definitely say this. Try every step mentioned here and find out which one works for you.

Listing down the 6 common tried and tested ways to gently wean your baby from breastfeeding.

  1. Cutting down feeds during the day

This is the first step suggested by my pediatrician.

Start cutting down your feeds during the day, if you are planning to stop breastfeeding completely.

Suppose you breastfeed about 10 times – 8 times during the day and 2 times at night. Stop 1 day feed resulting in 9 total feeds. The next day cut down 2 feeds and thereby gradually cut down the entire feedings during the daytime in the coming days. Replace the day feeds with juices, whole fruits or any other foods.

Once you have completely stopped feeding during the daytime, cut down the feeds during night in the similar way.

  1. Bittergourd or Neem juice

A safe age old technique to wean your baby from breastfeeding completely is the use of bitter gourd and neem juice.

Make fresh batch of bitter gourd or neem leaves juice and store in your refrigerator. Apply the juice on your breasts and offer feeds when the baby demands. The bitterness is believed to stop baby from asking for breast milk the next time. My colleague had also suggested the use of kaadas or bitter Ayurvedic tonics to be applied on breasts which can help too.

However in my case this technique failed miserably. With time, the bitterness of bitter gourd was ok for Anshika and she continued to latch on.

  1. Patting on the back

Well this worked in my case.

Whenever the baby cries at night, you gently pat on her back continuously ensuring your presence. I had to try ‘n’ number of times to comfort my yelling daughter but it worked at last.

You can read about how I weaned my toddler completely from breastfeeding.

  1. Carrying on the shoulder

I had tried this too as part of weaning my daughter from breastfeeding.

Whenever the baby cries, take him or her on your shoulder and walk around in your room. This ensures safety and security for the child.

But carrying and comforting a child who cries at the top of lungs for breast milk this way can take a lot of time. But this works!

  1. Feeding warm water

This is one of the methods you can try if all the above mentioned methods fail.

Keep a small bottle of warm water in flask or baby’s feeding bottle near the baby’s cot. When the baby gets up at night, feed the warm water in a feeding bottle. The sucking action is supposed to soothe the baby back to sleep.

Please be aware that bottle feeding can lead to ear infections in babies if used extensively. I have seen some parents adding sugar to the warm water. It has to be discontinued as it causes early dental erosion in babies.

  1. Milk for use at night

This is a technique suggested by my pediatrician. This can be used for babies of 11 months and above.

Boil and keep buffalo milk or milk suggested by your pediatrician diluted in the ratio 1:3 with water in a flask. When the baby cries for night time feeds, offer this in a feeding bottle.

This method too if continued for long, can cause ear infection and dental carries in babies. This is more or less like getting up and breastfeeding your baby at night. Choose this option only if all the above mentioned 5 ways fail.

I have also heard about weaning off baby from breastfeeding by letting the baby cry out and sleep on his own at night. I couldn’t stand the yelling of my daughter at night for breast milk, so this case was not tried and tested by me.

Every baby is different, so are the techniques to wean them off breastfeeding. Have loads of patience and keep trying one technique or the other.

If there are any other methods to wean baby from breastfeeding or the methods that worked for you, please share with me in comments. I am sure it will help a lot many other moms who are planning to wean their child.

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