Although, there will be a time when your baby will give up night-feeding on his own (by the time he’s three month old), do not expect or insist the baby to give them up altogether, all of a sudden.
But if your child is now three months old, and he still nurses or feeds himself with a bottle before bedtime, and if he needs to eat again several more times during the night, then the extra feedings may let the child wake up again and again. If this is the case, this can be decreased by decreasing the number of these feedings.
However in some cases, it would not be wise to eliminate these feedings suddenly. For instance if your baby takes in a substantial amount of food – from extended feedings at the breast, or bottles that adds up to more than eight ounces during the whole night, then he has learned that there are certain times in the night which are his meal times.
The amount of milk or juice your child takes during the night may be something to be looked upon. If he finishes four full eight ounce bottles, it should be noted that it is a large amount for even an adult to consume overnight.
Solving the problem
If you feel that over and unnecessary feedings at night are disrupting your child’s sleep, you will be relaxed to know that although such feedings can lead to severe sleep disturbances, the problem is the easiest to fix. For this, two things need to be addressed. The first simple method iis to reduce or omit the night time feedings to avoid sleep-disrupting effects. The second is to associate your child with the new sleep methods so that he can fall asleep without being held, without eating, and without getting in mind sucking on the breast or the bottle. These can be done one by one or all together.
Majorly, to fix the problem caused by the feedings, you should start by gradually decreasing the number of times you feed the child at night, the amount of feedings or both. Stopping the feedings suddenly can cause problems, so do not stop the feedings suddenly. Rather gradually add a new habit by eliminating the old gradually.
The ultimate goal of yours is to alter your child’s feelings of hunger out of the nightime and shift to the daytime. Once you see that the child feeds only once at night, you can choose to stop that feed right away since the amount of food intake during the night now will be very small.
If you are working on the sleep association and hunger patterns simultaneously, try to put your child to sleep as soon as you are done with the feeding, even if he wakes up and begins to cry. If you nurse him and he sleeps next to you, try and make him sleep a little far so that he learns to fall asleep without a habit of using your breast as a sleep agent. You’ve just fed him, so he is not hungry. Now you are only changing his expectations of what happens while he falls asleep or making him habitual of sleeping after the feed.
If this goes well for a week, you will be successful in cutting down or even succeed in eliminating the nighttime feed. After this, continue with the technique of progressive waiting whenever he wakes up at night (except the feeding time) until these wakings stop. This habit will also get eliminated in a few days.