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Night Training

Resource Type

Parent Handouts and Info - Parent


Defines and offers suggestions for managing trained night feeding, when babies become accustomed to sucking themselves to sleep, and cannot fall asleep without nursing or drinking from a bottle.


All Ages

Age Groups

Infancy (<1), Toddlerhood (1-3)

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Night Training

Night Training

Feeding your baby in the middle of the night may help her to return to sleep. But chances are that your child will keep waking up if she continues to receive bottles in the middle of the night. Your child's stomach and brain can become "trained" to need a bottle in the middle of the night. Night feeding can cause other problems: too much weight gain; tooth cavities; and bronchitis; as well as trouble falling and staying asleep. To help your baby sleep through the night without being fed, the nighttime feedings need to stop, eventually. You can do this by:

  • Decreasing breastfeeds by one minute per night or bottles by one ounce per night. If you use this strategy, nighttime feeding should end in one week.
  • Trying to increase the amount of time between daytime feedings to about 4 hours. If your baby is fussing, try to distract her by playing for 10 minutes before feeding her. This will decrease her need to be fed on demand.

Adapted from Jellinek, M. (2000). Bright Futures in Practice, Mental Health

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