Night Nursing The Older Baby

  • Posted by Dr. Jay Gordon



Night Nursing Tips For The Older Baby:

I receive many questions from my patients asking for help with night nursing. If night nursing isn’t bothering you, don’t change it. If you find yourself getting fatigued/frustrated, here are some helpful tips:

  • Make sure your baby is eating well during the day. Especially if your baby is over 6 months they can be so busy experiencing life that they don’t eat as much as they need, and then they’re hungrier at night.
  • If your baby doesn’t eat as much when there’s a lot going on around her, make sure mealtime/nursing time is a calm and quiet affair.
  • Instead of letting her nurse every time she wakes up at night, snuggle her, let her touch your breast, talk or sing to her softly, do whatever seems to help calm your baby and lull her back to sleep. That way, she won’t come to expect the breast so much at night and may sleep for longer bouts.
  • If possible, let the other parent take over some of the nighttime comforting. When your baby awakens, the other parent might be able to soothe her back to sleep with cuddling, soft talking, and even explaining that everyone needs sleep, including mama.
  • During the day get as much rest as possible. I have one patient who lays down everyday for 20 minutes and practices mindful meditation. Let yourself fall asleep if need be. It’s not about doing it perfectly–it’s about resting your mind and body.

Understand that some babies who end up in the family bed are very strong willed, have greater needs, and will not easily give up the breast. For these babies, it’s best to just let them taper off when they’re ready or when you can reason with them a little better.

If your well-being is being compromised (make sure you check in with yourself about this) then see “Ten Nights,” (page 170) from my book, Good Nights. Here you will find guidance on how to wean your baby from night nursing.