This first appeared in The Standard on 12 February 2017
Whoever said ‘sleep like a baby’ must not be a mother. Sleeping for long hours is a luxury for months or years as babies wake up to feed every few hours. Your baby, most likely, will not be affected for years since they take naps during the day but that can be quite challenging for a working mother.
The decision to wean your child from night time feeding depends on you. Whether you will do it at month 6 or age 2, consider the following tips.
Consider the time – most babies will have a predictable sleeping pattern by month 4 which can be interrupted due to teething, illness or a growth spurt. They can also sleep for long hours without being hungry. Start the weaning a set of time that your child is comfortable enough to sleep on her own.
Make them content – make sure that your child is feed well during the day. You should also have them take naps to avoid overtiredness. Offering longer feeding (without distraction) before bed can also help in keeping them full for long hours.
Go Slow – rushing to introduce such big change in your little one’s sleeping pattern can backfire. So, take it slow and start by making small changes such as soothing and prolonging the time between feedings by an hour.
Choose a method – the way to night weaning is not cut out for everyone. Babies can be inconsolable when you refuse to feed them as they are used to. The cry it out method, where you let them cry themselves to sleep, is not for the soft heart. While singing and soothing is another option. Choose the method that best suits you and your baby. If all your tries fail, try a few days later but don’t be frustrated as it is a stage that will pass soon.