Weaning From Breastfeeding at Night: 6 Effective Ways

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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 itโ€™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 ๐Ÿ˜› 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.ย Breast milk seals the bond of security for him/her. Thatโ€™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 โ€“ 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 โ€˜nโ€™ 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 babyโ€™s feeding bottle near the babyโ€™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.

About Author

Sangeetha is the owner of Bumps n Baby and a super cool mom of a 4 year old princess. Her life revolves around laptop and kitchen these days as she is mastering the art of multi-tasking.

17 Comments

  1. Is neem oil safe for baby weaning? I have a 2 year old baby boy n I want to stop breastfeeding . If yes which brand of neem oil should I buy ?
    Thanks in advance

    • Try Sucker buster ! It contains Neem oil but in very low concentration and it really works! I weaned my 15months old son with it just in 1 day!

    • yeah.. recently my wife used it… and baby, form then on didnot ask for mother milk.
      But the real challenge is, when my baby wakes at night, not sure how to console her.

  2. I am also planning to wean my 1.5 year old of the night feeds. When she gets up I rock her on my arms to sleep. Is that a good idea. Or should i try only patting or walking with her on shoulders.?

  3. I started given my baby formula at 3 moths and at 4 mots give him cereal which was meant for 6 months babies I did that unknowingly which me scared me lot up to now. another thing I mix honey with tea leaves and give t him for common cold. now I am only breastfeeding my baby at night he is 7 month 2 weeks. please your comment.

  4. Hi mommies,

    My daughter is 17 month old now. She’s very fussy in terms of eating.

    As I am full time at home mummy she’s keeps demanding for BF and finally I give up and feed her. She doesn’t like drinking outside milk.

    I really wann wean her from bf now as my health is also going weak due to continuous BFF.
    Please suggest some way.

  5. I am planning for weaning. Don’t know how I will manage him, will share my experience soon.

    Useful post Sangeetha Ji, Thanks

  6. Thanks Sangeetha its very sweet of you to share your experiences. All from the heart ๐Ÿ™‚ I am Christina a dentist by profession and came across your site while searching for a banana powder porridge recipe!

    I weaned my son at 14 months, with a warm bottle of cows milk with no added sugars or supplements. And I would let him sleep on my arm or tummy bcoz it would help him sleep off better. He never cried or struggled much.
    plain milk by itself doesn’t cause caries. its the added sugar and supplements like boost, bournvita etc that cause caries. once baby has been weaned and sleeps off by himself you can give him the milk early followed by water to drink and put him to sleep.
    Hope this helps other mums!
    God bless!
    Great job again Sangeetha!

  7. My daughter is 1year 3months,I weaned my lo from breastfeed couple of weeks back.It was my biggest nightmare but I braved it through.I think planning ahead is really important in the case of weaning.So it also gave me time to think and how to go about the whole weaning.As I did it gradually it also gave me time to dry out my breast in good way,without much pain naturally.Two weeks of day weaning went good but night weaning was a bit hard.During the third week she was bit upset,I made sure she was fed full stomach @ night during dinner and a glass of milk before sleep.when she screamed,taking her on my shoulder worked the best.As for the fourth week,she wakes up,then I gently run my hands on her head,she would doze off.Now she has adjusted well without breastfeeding and I’m done with drying up.so I would suggest all you moms out there to plan to wean gradually giving enough time for your lo to understand that breastfeeding phase is done.

  8. Hi,

    I just weaned my lo couple of weeks back. I had tried thrice to wean her but failed. I had successfully weaned her from day feeds but night feeds were nightmares. my daughter loved bitter gourd and its juice so had no point trying that. I used neem oil instead. It was very effective. The taste is horrible and the smell is even worse. She tried latching on twice but hated it, after which whenever she asked and I offered, she remembered the smell and did not go anywhere near ๐Ÿ™‚ Was tough for 2 nights when she wailed and yelled her lungs out, but moved on quickly ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. my daughter is 8 months old and she gets up at night and cries a lot. She doesnt do tht during the day . she is having roti sabji during the day on her own she doesnt like sweet or sugary food much.after she was 6 months , i breastfed her less and started giving her all kind of juices than after a month semi solids like boiled apple and watery daal , rice . And now in her 8th month she is having roti sabji daal rice properly crushed and i add some curd,yogurt and buttermilk. She loves buttermilk But i breastfeed her 3 to 4 times a day now.and twice during the night. her sleeping time is 9 so wht i do is i feed her well before she goes to sleep so she doesnt wake up at night. And she asks for feeding only at 6 in the morning. So my daughter and I can get proper sleep.the thing is children should be fed properly before they go for their final sleep. From her first month to her 8th month age i feed her every 3 hours. And she is trained for that she never asks in between. Her sleeping eating bathing and potty time is fixed and she behaves according to it. I had decided to train her like this before my pragnancy so she doesnt cry all the time like other children.

  10. Hi Sangeetha,
    As bilna said, the same problem wih me, i have been trying to stop BF completely to my 1.5 years old baby girl, but couldnt achieve.
    I didn’t give bottle feeding, i am feeding cows milk in cup only . So at night ita been a war between my yelling baby and me. .
    Tried all other techniques mentioned above , but as she got fever for the past 2 days , she’s like latched with me the whole night for the past 2 days.
    I felt sick bcos of that. Pls suggest some remedy for this ๐Ÿ™

  11. I have been trying all these methods to wean my boy who is now 1 year 8 months. He used to feed around 6 – 7 times during the day which i managed to reduce to around 3 times.
    But since last two weeks he’s been down with fever and cough. Now he’s almost healed. But since he got sick he went back to always want to take breast feed. Earlier he used to bottle feed at least 3 times a day around 3 to 4 ounces each (Cow’s milk). Now after getting sick he rarely takes his bottle and he always want my milk. His feeding pattern is almost like a new born these days. He wants every 2 hours! This is making me tired! I try to divert his attention but things are getting too hard….I feel so damn tired at the end of the day!!!

    while i don’t want to wean him completely till he turns 2 at least I would really love to cut down on the number of times! I am trying all the above methods. Night time when he wakes up, he doesn’t take the bottle at all!!!

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