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Night Feeds & Sleep Training

Some mamas ask, "Can I breastfeed and sleep train my baby?" and I wonder sometimes where this question comes from. Were they told to always feed on demand? Do they think that every time their baby cries they are hungry? Or maybe they were told that teaching their baby to sleep all night meant that you couldn't also feed your baby in the night. The good news is, you can indeed keep night feeds and sleep train! Here's the 'behind the scenes' to when I figure out when we're going to feed the baby at night, and when we aren't. The first thing to consider: Baby's age! If you have a newborn, you will be feeding them every 2-3 hours. I can't do a whole lot about that. But as your baby approaches 6-9 weeks, we would expect to see at least one stretch in the night that is 4-6 hours long. And a few weeks after that, we would expect to see an 8-hour stretch at night. When your baby is between 3-4 months, I would anticipate that they would feed twice, sometimes once at night. So what if you have a baby that 5, 6 or maybe 7 months and is still feeding several times at night? How do you manage that? See below:) These are the parameters that I teach to my clients and we typically do a wean down process and it looks like this: Night 1-3, two feeds between 10 pm - 5 am and at least 3 hours apart. Night 4-6, two feeds between 12 am-5 am, at least 3 hours apart. Night 7+, one feed, between 12 am- 5 am. To cut out feeds completely, you would do it a bit faster: Night 1-3: Two feeds (if they were having more than 2 feeds a night), between 10 pm-5 am, at least 3 hours apart Night 4-6: One feed, between midnight and 5 am. Night 7: no night feeds. *I typically encourage parents to consider cutting out the last feed between 6-8 months, sometimes as late as 9 months. It depends on if your baby is sleeping well. If they wake up once to feed, then go back to bed, it may not be an issue. If they wake up many times, despite giving it time and effort, then you might have to consider cutting out the last feed. * Is your baby waking up more than you think they should? Are you struggling to still feed your baby at night AND catch a few hours of sleep yourself? I help tired parents like you every day. Let's talk! Click here to get in touch! Here for you! Melody Patton

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