A very common question we get is when a baby can go all night without a feeding. This article will outline general guidelines about how many night feedings you can expect at each age for breastfeeding and formula-fed babies.
Night Weaning: What do the doctors say?
In my experience, pediatricians seem to disagree frequently with the answer to the question of when a baby can go all night without a feeding. If you have read any of the sleep books, there is Dr. Ferber who claims babies don’t need to eat at night after 3 months old. And, then there is Weissbluth who says that babies need 1-2 feedings up through 9 months old. Who’s right? They are both pediatricians with a lot of experience. Talk to your pediatrician and the answer will likely be even something different.
Night Weaning: In My Professional Experience
I have been a baby sleep consultant since 2008. Although I do really like Dr. Ferber’s book and learned A LOT from it, I cannot, in good conscience, regularly recommend night-weaning at 3 months old. I think that is extreme to think that all babies can do that, particularly breastfed babies. Some parents are lucky enough that their baby does it on his own that young or younger. But many parents simply aren’t that lucky.
When I work with families personally, I am not an extremist, and when it comes to hunger at night. I err on the side of caution. I know that it would be sooo much easier, for US parents to not feed at night. But there are adults who can’t go 12 hours without eating, so I am not sure why we expect our babies to. I am all for breaking sleep associations and promoting healthy sleep for our babies. However, I don’t recommend night weaning until your baby is showing signs that she is ready. DO keep in mind that this age varies from child to child. In addition, if you are breastfeeding, we have seen mom’s milk supply decrease rapidly and irrecoverably if she goes too long between feedings too soon.
Night Feedings By Age
Below are the number of feedings at night, at various ages, that are within “normal” range (in my experience) and don’t throw up a red flag that there is more going on than just a feeding:
Breastfeeding Babies, Combination Breastfed and Formula Fed Babies and/or Babies with Reflux
- Newborns to 3 months old: Feedings every 2-3 hours, on-demand
- 3-4 Months: 2-3 feedings per night or every 3-6 hours, on-demand
- 5-6 Months: 1-2 feedings
- 7-9 Months: 1, maybe 2, feedings
- 10-12 Months: Sometimes 1 feeding
- 12+ Months: Generally no feedings
- Newborns to 3 months old: Feedings every 2-3 hours, on demand
- 3-4 Months: 1-2 feedings per night or every 3-6 hours, on demand
- 5-6 Months: 0-1 feedings
- 7+ Months: Generally no feedings
Obviously, growth spurts are an exception and you should feed as needed during those. Growth spurts are generally over within a week.
When to Night Wean
Now, I know that it can be difficult to tell when exactly your unique baby is ready for night weaning. That’s why I created a night weaning quiz, Is Your Baby Ready For Night Weaning? It’s very short – just 5 questions – and easy to take. If you’re struggling with whether or not your baby is ready for night weaning, I suggest you take this quiz. The response you get will help you determine whether you should move forward with night weaning, or if you might need to wait a bit and try night weaning later.
In general, a baby needs to be able to consume all of their calories in the daytime in order to be night-weaned. This typically happens around 4-6 months old for formula-fed babies and around 6-10 months for breastfed babies. And, there are ways to know when night feedings are necessary.
I typically recommend at least an attempt at night-weaning by 8-9 months old (or sooner if you feel your baby is ready), because often, it can be a chicken and egg problem. A baby needs a certain number of calories during the day and if he gets some at night, he won’t eat more during the day. And if he doesn’t eat more during the day, he needs it at night. So, sometimes, a baby really does feel hungry at night, but it doesn’t mean he can’t go all night without a feeding. It simply means he needs to adjust how much he’s eating during the day. The idea is to help him do this.
My Night-Weaning Story
I was a breastfeeding mom for the first year. I personally tried to night-wean around 9 months. With both my boys, they did continue to eat at night up through a year. They did sleep better after I nudged them in the right direction, so I was glad I at least tried at 9 months. When I attempted night-weaning my first son, he went from randomly waking at different times of night to waking around 5 AM just 4 times a week. This was a GREAT improvement!
Already Tried Night-Weaning and It’s Not Working?
If you’ve already tried night-weaning and it’s not working, there are several reasons this might be the case. Be sure to review 7 Reasons Night-Weaning Isn’t Working.
112 thoughts on “Night Feedings by Age –<br />When Do You Try Night Weaning?”
My 5 month EBF old daughter wakes up everyday at 4 am and cries so I feed her bcos that’s the only night feed she is having.She dozes off while nursing but as soon as I place her in the crib, she wakes up she doesn’t cry but starts playing with her hands and takes around 45 mins to 1 hr to self settles and goes back to sleep by herself around 5:20 am and wakes up around 7-7:30 am. She sleeps around 7-7:30pm .Is this normal that she is getting only around 10 hrs sleep at night and that too not consolidated.She takes 2 naps, morning nap around 9-9:30 am for 1 to 1.5 hrs and afternoon nap between 1-1:30 pm for 1.5 to 2 hrs. Is there anything I need to change in her routine.
Thank you for visiting The Baby Sleep Site! It sounds like your daughter is sleeping within the normal range of hours for her age. If she is not having any other trouble, like excessive fussiness during the day, she is likely getting enough sleep. I hope this helps, but please let us know if you have other questions!
We have a beautiful 5m/o LO who is exclusively breastfed (we waited too long and she now refuses the bottle). We put her to bed at 6pm and baring a few pick up, put downs, she sleeps to 10pm. Then from 10pm she wakes every c2hours through to 7am.
My poor wife is super tired. She is also due to go back to work in a few months.
This feels like above normal feeding from what I’ve read.
Can we start night weaning? Do you have any advice as to how we can elongate time between feeds?
Hi @Jo, thank you for writing to us. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been struggling with your daughter’s sleep. It sounds like you are doing your best to support your wife during this time when I’m sure you feel like your hands are tied. I’m sure she appreciates it more than you know. 🙂
At 5 months old we would hope to have a few less wake ups than you are experiencing, usually around 1-2 per night. Here is a link to a free guide that will give you tips to help wean your daughter down a bit and get her sleeping longer stretches at night: https://www.babysleepsite.com/sleep-through-night-free-ebook/
If you need more help with this, let us know, we would be happy to help further if you need. We offer many different options of support, and we can try to offer some advise on the bottle situation to see if there’s something you haven’t tried yet (although I’m guessing you’ve tried lots of different things): https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-toddler-sleep-consulting- services/
If you have any questions about the services we offer for more in-depth information then please feel free to contact us directly at [email protected]. Hang in there!
My baby is 8 months old and has been waking 3-4 times per night since he was 4 months old. Sometimes I get lucky and he only wakes up twice. Right now he only takes maybe two 30 minute naps each day. Sometimes he’ll do 45 minutes. He is still sleeping in our room because we are putting an addition on our house so he sleeps right next to me in his pack & play. When he wakes up he demands to eat and will only eat for a few minutes to fall back asleep. He does take a pacifier and sometimes I can get him to take that instead of eating again. He was up at 10, 12, 1:30, 3 then up at 6 this morning. I’d like to try and get him down to one night time feeding but feel that him being in our room isn’t helping. Any suggestions? I’m drained.
Thank you for writing us. I’m sorry to hear your family is having sleep problems and your son is struggling with sleeping at night and also with short naps! I know how exhausting this can be for mom and dad! You’re not alone and we would love to help!
We do have e-Books and premium resources available where the research has been done for you, which will help you gently night wean your little guy and also teach him how to fall back to sleep on his own and lengthen those naps. Or, for the fastest service, we have expert sleep consultants waiting to help!
Since you are already quite drained, I do believe you could benefit from one of our Personalized Sleep Consultation packages, our most popular option. In our consultations, we will work with you on a detailed plan to which you can commit and feel good about. All of our email consultation packages for new clients include a Personalized Sleep Plan, which is a detailed guide written just for your family given your specific sleep history and goals.
You can read about all of our sleep consultation packages and purchase directly online here:
Please let us know if you have any questions at any time and hang in there Maranda!
Our baby is 19 weeks. She goes down at 6/6.30pm and wakes around 10.30pm and again at 2ish for feeds. Usually she goes back to sleep afterwards but on occasions she wakes again around 3.30am and needs settling. Her usual wake time is around 5.30am.
Does this seem appropriate for her age? I would like to reduce night feeds but concerned that she wouldn’t be getting enough milk as she doesn’t feed as well in the day???
Hi @Charlotte, thanks for writing to us. Here is a link to a 5 month schedule: https://www.babysleepsite.com/schedules/5-month-old-baby-schedule/
You’ll see 1-2 wake ups are still normal at this age, so most babies will still need some feedings to get them through (we also have how much breastmilk/formula she’ll need in a 24 hour period as well as solids if they have been introduced). I hope that helps! Let us know if you have more questions as she gets older, we have tons of resources that are super helpful as she continues to grow!
My daughter is just about to turn 10 months old and always wakes up between 3-4am for a feed then goes back to sleep until 7 or 8am.
Sometimes she will sleep straight through and wake up at 645 but that is rare.
She goes to bed easily, naps well. I’m just not sure how to bump this 3am feed or if I’ve just reinforced a habit of her wanting to eat at 3am. She is breastfed. Any thoughts?
Thank you for using The Baby Sleep Site as a resource! Most breastfed babies can be nightweaned by 12 months if they’re otherwise healthy, and many can be nightweaned even earlier, but it’s normal for breastfed babies to wean a little later than formula-fed babies do. If your 10 month-old is sleeping well and the feeding isn’t a problem for you, you can likely just wait for her to drop it on her own. If it is causing an issue for your family, then you can night weaning by using a sleep coaching method of your choice, and see how she does. I hope this helps!
My LO completed 6 months. I started semi solids post 5 and a half months, upon consultation with my pediatrician. My LO has habit of sucking thumb, we co-sleep and upon hearing the sucking sound at night, I immediately feed her, believing that she is hungry. However, today i watched her, she took her thumb, sucked for sometime and left. she did not cry or anything.
My question is about night feedings. I read that 1-2 night feedings are still required at this age. However, i need to know the indications as to when should i really feed her.
Thank you for using The Baby Sleep Site as a resource! As a rule, most healthy babies will start to fuss or cry when they’re hungry, and nothing else except milk will soothe them. So, if your baby is fussing and rocking doesn’t help, her diaper is clean, and she’s not overtired, then she may be hungry. Many babies suck on their fingers or other objects to self-soothe, or when they’re teething, so sucking is not a great indication of hunger at this age. I hope this helps!
..hi my baby is going 5months by nov11..i feed her at 6pm and she sleep for about 9hrs w/out feeding..i gave her milk at 3am even if she still sleeping..is it normal for 4month old baby to feed once evry nigth?
Hi @Zehf, thanks for writing to us, I am happy to help! Some babies can sleep longer stretches at this age. 🙂 Consider yourself lucky for sure! If you have any concerns that she’s not getting enough milk or gaining weight properly then definitely reach out to her doctor for make sure they confirm all looks well. One of my kids was a great sleeper and was sleeping about that long at that age as well, turns out he’s my most well behaved child, and it started with sleep for us. I am sure she’s darling. 🙂 Thanks again for you comment!
I care for a baby whose Mom doesn’t want him to use a bottle. He is here from 8-5:30 without eating, he cries all the time and doesn’t sleep. This is the 3rd parent that has done this. Is this now a cruel trend or is it okay? I don’t think it is.
Thank you for using The Baby Sleep Site as a resource! I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble with feeding. We work more with sleep, but if you’d like to write back with the baby’s age, and whether you’re worried about day feeding or night feeding, I’d be happy to get you some more resources. Looking forward to hearing from you!
OMG I don’t want to judge the mother but it’s torturing the baby, poor baby is hungry all day long I feel so sorry for the little one. Makes me cry
Anna – That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard. That is absolute chid abuse. As the care giver, you need to report that mother. There is NO way a baby can or should go 10.5 hours without eating. Please do something for the child’s sake.
If you are at all concerned about the well-being of any child in your care, please speak to the family about this directly, and report as necessary to the proper local authorities. If you cannot come to a good resolution with the family/families, perhaps you can add a clause to your contracts to include feeding requirements. Good luck, and we really hope that things are better already!
I have a 6 month old and I am planning to sleep train him in the near future. I’m unsure on how many night feeds he actually really needs though. Lately I have been feeding him at 10-11pm and then again in the morning but he always wakes up around the 2-3am mark and has a very hard time going back to sleep. I honestly don’t even know if he is hungry or if it’s just habitual waking (we have 10+ -short- night wakings anyway, that’s why I want to sleep train). Do you think I should offer a bottle at 2-3am or should I be consistent in teaching him not to eat at night but rather more during the day?
Hi @Alberta, thanks for writing to us. I am happy to help. Here is a link to a sample schedule for a 6 month old: https://www.babysleepsite.com/schedules/6-month-old-baby-schedule/
At this age, 1-2 night feedings are still considered normal, so he may still need a few to get him through to the night.
I hope this helps! If you need more help along the way, let us know and we’ll be happy to support you through this.
Hi! I have a 3month old boy, he started sleeping through the night last month! I bresteed him at 12pm, thats his last feed, then he wakes up at 7am or 8am to breastfeed again. He continues to sleep until 11am when he brestfeeds again. After that he nurses ever 2-3 hours and naps a few times during the day ( no more than 20mins) . I was worried so I talked with his pediatrician, she said that he has a really good weigth and is really healthy so if he doesnt ask for a feed i souldnt wake him ( he weighs 8kgs with 3months and he is only brestfed). Sometimes i feel worried but he is a healthy boy so i decided to follow his dr’s advice. Sorry for the mistakes, english is not my mother tongue.
Hi @Valeria, thanks for writing! I’m glad to hear that your son is doing so well. I have definitely had those moments as a new mother as well where I get nervous about so many things, but it will get easier as you grow in your confidence as a mom. You are doing a wonderful job! For your reference, here is a link to a sample schedule for a 3 month old baby so you can get an idea for how much sleep and breastmilk he will need to consume in a 24 hour period: https://www.babysleepsite.com/schedules/3-month-old-baby-sleep-and-feeding-schedule/
I hope this helps!
8kg for a 3 months is actually a lot!!! If you check the percentile per age it’s actually far above the average
My 6 month old is 7.12kg and is in the 50 percent range for her age (which is as average as you can get really).
Her cousin is 8.5kg and 8 month old (And she has always been in the top 5 percent for her age)
8kg at 3months is heaps.
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