Transitions

How to Start Weaning

The Sleep by Rachelle method of sleep training is more than just simple sleep tips. Understanding your baby’s nutrition and digestion is an important part of helping your baby find restful sleep. However, what if you’re ready to stop breastfeeding your baby? You may not know when to start weaning, how to do it, or how it might affect your baby.

Don’t worry, mama. Read our guide below to get you and your baby ready for weaning.

What is weaning?

First off, let’s talk about what the term “weaning” is. Your baby is considered weaned when she stops nursing completely and gets her nutrition from sources other than milk. However, weaning usually means when a baby stops breastfeeding. She may still take the bottle.

What age to start weaning

The simple answer? When you and your baby are ready. There’s no “correct” time you’re supposed to start weaning. 

If you need a little guidance though, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests babies are breastfed for the first 6 months of their life. After that, mothers can continue to breastfeed while also introducing other foods to their baby until at least 12 months of age. The AAP also recommends that breastfeeding continues for as long as mother and baby desire. 

There are a couple of different approaches to weaning. If you feel like it’s the right time for you, or perhaps you’re returning to work, or you have your own reasons for wanting to stop, you may decide to start weaning, which is called “mother-led weaning.” On the other hand, if your baby seems to lose interest in nursing after starting to eat solids, you may decide to start weaning then. That’s called “baby-led weaning,” and it can happen anywhere from around 4 months up to 12 months. As babies enter toddlerhood, they may become more easily distracted or impatient with nursing, which are signs that it’s time to start weaning.

Time it right

Weaning takes patience and time. To help weaning go more smoothly, you may want to start when there are no other significant changes going on in your family. For example, starting to wean when you’re moving to a new home, starting daycare, sleep training, or learning to walk can add stress on top of stress. Pick a time when things are fairly stable, and give yourself plenty of time to complete the weaning process (about a month or so.)

Take it slowly and gradually

Start weaning slowly and gradually so your baby can adjust to this new change. It’s best not to completely drop breastfeeding all at once. For one thing, your baby will probably become frustrated and upset. And stopping all at once may cause breast engorgement, plugged ducts, or an infection for you.

To start, choose your baby’s least favorite feeding and drop it from your schedule every few days. That may be in the morning, at night, or at an inconvenient time during the day for you. You’ll gradually reduce the number of feedings this way, giving your baby as well as your breasts time to adjust. You can also offer up a bottle of milk instead of nursing. If your baby won’t take the bottle from you, see if she’ll take it from a different family member instead.

Also, expect your baby to resist weaning. That’s totally normal! If your baby refuses the bottle from you or anyone else, or can’t seem to handle fewer or shorter feedings, that’s okay. Revert back to your previous routine for awhile, and try weaning again in a week or so. It may not be the right time. 

More tips for weaning

  • Try the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” method: breastfeed your baby if she shows interest, and don’t offer to when she doesn’t.
  • Change up your schedule: avoid typical areas in your home where you nurse during feeding times, nurse with a bottle in the living room rather than the bedroom, or plan a different activity or a snack during typical nursing times.
  • Ask family members to help: if your baby typically nurses after waking or before bed, have them take over the morning or sleep routines.
  • Spend some quality time with your baby! Many mothers start to miss the close bond they share with their baby while breastfeeding. Take time to snuggle, play together, or read books to keep that bond strong. 

Weaning can be a stressful, difficult time for you and your baby. Many mothers feel sad that their baby is growing older, happy to get their bodies back, or frustrated by the process itself. It’s all okay. If weaning is affecting your child’s sleep routines and you need extra guidance, contact Sleep by Rachelle! We’re here to help. 

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Transitions

Transition 1 – 8 pounds/ 8 Weeks

Make sure your baby is ready for the first transition in sleep training.

  • My baby is at least 8 pounds
  • My baby is at least 8 weeks old
  • My baby has been cleared by the pediatrician for one longer stretch of sleep with no food at the 2-month check-up.
  • My baby is NOT sick.
  • My baby has not had any vaccinations within the last 48 hours.
  • My baby’s circadian rhythms have begun (you will notice this when they are more alert during the day, and start to get sleepy as the sun goes down)

If you have checked all of these, then you are ready for transition 1.

Begin with your day time schedule and give it two full days before beginning nights.

Also, asses your nursery/sleep space to ensure you are promoting healthy sleep.

  • Night 1
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Bring milk in case you need it, but the plan is to not use it until the designated feeding time. Try an assortment of soothing techniques to get the baby to go back to sleep without the feed.
    • If breastfeeding, you will not need to bring milk but need to make your breast inaccessible.
    • Once it is past 12 you will resume feedings as scheduled (12a, 2 am, 4 am)
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day time schedule
  • Night 2
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Bring milk in case you need it, but the plan is to not use it until the designated feeding time. Try an assortment of soothing techniques to get the baby to go back to sleep without the feed.
    • Nights 2 and three are typically the most difficult nights and require extensive soothing.

The most important thing to remember with pushing a feed and soothing is that you get your baby back to sleep without food. If you soothe for 25 minutes and get tired and this results in feeding, you will create a very negative association to food and crying for your baby.

    • If breastfeeding, you will not need to bring milk but need to make your breast inaccessible.
    • Once it is past 12 you will resume feedings as scheduled (12a,  2 am, 4 am)
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 3
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Bring milk in case you need it, but the plan is to not use it until the designated feeding time. Try an assortment of soothing techniques to get the baby to go back to sleep without the feed.
    • Nights 2 and three are typically the most difficult nights and require extensive soothing.

The most important thing to remember with pushing a feed and soothing is that you get your baby back to sleep without food. If you soothe for 25 minutes and get tired and result in feeding you will create a very negative association to food and crying for your baby.

    • If breastfeeding, you will not need to bring milk but need to make your breast inaccessible.
    • Once it is past 12 you will resume feedings as scheduled (12a,  2 am, 4 am)
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 4
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Soothe as needed
    • Once it is past 12 you will resume feedings as scheduled (12a,  2 am, 4 am)
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 5
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Soothe as needed
    • Once it is past 12 you will resume feedings as scheduled (12a,  2 am, 4 am)
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule

The next transition will happen based on weight gain, but to maintain this progress you must stick with your day time schedule and forms of soothing at night as needed.

Transition 2 – 10 pounds

Make sure your baby is ready for Transition 2 of sleep training.

  • My baby is at least 10 pounds
  • My baby is NOT sick
  • My baby has not had a vaccination within the last 48 hours
  • My baby has successfully completed Transition 1

If you have checked all of these then you are ready to start Transition 2.

At 10 pounds, your baby can do one, 4 to 6-hour stretch of sleep without feeding in a 24-hour period.

Begin with your day time schedule and give it two full days before beginning nights.

Also, asses your nursery/sleep space to ensure you are promoting healthy sleep.

  • Night 1
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Bring milk in case you need it, but the plan is to not use it until the designated feeding time. Try an assortment of soothing techniques to get the baby to go back to sleep without the feed.
    • If breastfeeding, you will not need to bring milk but need to make your breast inaccessible.
    • Once it is past 12 you will resume feedings as scheduled (12a, 2 am, 4 am)
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 2
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Bring milk in case you need it, but the plan is to not use it until the designated feeding time. Try an assortment of soothing techniques to get the baby to go back to sleep without the feed.
    • Nights 2 and three are typically the most difficult nights and require extensive soothing.

The most important thing to remember with pushing a feed and soothing is that you get your baby back to sleep without food. If you soothe for 25 minutes and get tired and this results in feeding your baby, you will create a very negative association to food and crying for your baby.

    • If breastfeeding, you will not need to bring milk but need to make your breast inaccessible.
    • Once it is past 2 am you will resume feedings as scheduled (2 am, 4 am)
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 3
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Bring milk in case you need it, but the plan is to not use it until the designated feeding time. Try an assortment of soothing techniques to get the baby to go back to sleep without the feed.
    • Nights 2 and three are typically the most difficult nights and require extensive soothing.

The most important thing to remember with pushing a feed and soothing is that you get your baby back to sleep without food. If you soothe for 25 minutes and get tired and this results in feeding you will create a very negative association to food and crying for your baby.

    • If breastfeeding, you will not need to bring milk but need to make your breast inaccessible.
    • Once it is past 2 am you will resume feedings as scheduled (2 am, 4 am)
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 4
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Soothe as needed
    • Once it is past 2 am you will resume feedings as scheduled (2 am, 4 am)
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 5
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Soothe as needed
    • Once it is past 2am you will resume feedings as scheduled (2 am, 4 am)
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule

The next transition will happen based on weight gain, but to maintain this progress you must stick with your day time schedule and forms of soothing at night as needed.

Transition 3 – 12 pounds

Make sure your baby is ready for Transition 3 of sleep training.

  • My baby is at least 12 pounds
  • My baby is NOT sick
  • My baby has not had a vaccination within the last 48 hours
  • My baby has successfully completed Transition 2

If you have checked all of these then you are ready to start Transition 3.

At 12 pounds, your baby is able to go one, 6 to 8-hour stretch of sleep in a 24-hour period.

Begin with your day time schedule and give it two full days before beginning nights.

Also, asses your nursery/sleep space to ensure you are promoting healthy sleep.

  • Night 1
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Bring milk in case you need it, but the plan is to not use it until the designated feeding time. Try an assortment of soothing techniques to get the baby to go back to sleep without the feed.
    • If breastfeeding, you will not need to bring milk but need to make your breast inaccessible.
    • Once it is 4 am you will offer a full feed. This must be offered with a bottle so that you can measure the amount your little one is consuming at this feed and ensure it is a full feed. You can’t go past 4 am because it will affect your day time schedule. This may result in you waking your baby to feed.
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 2
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Bring milk in case you need it, but the plan is to not use it until the designated feeding time. Try an assortment of soothing techniques to get the baby to go back to sleep without the feed.
    • Nights 2 and three are typically the most difficult nights and require extensive soothing.

The most important thing to remember with pushing a feed and soothing is that you get your baby back to sleep without food. If you soothe for 25 minutes and get tired and this results in feeding you will create a very negative association to food and crying for your baby.

    • If breastfeeding, you will not need to bring milk but need to make your breast inaccessible.
    • Once it is 4 am you will offer a full feed. This must be offered with a bottle so that you can measure the amount your little one is consuming at this feed and ensure it is a full feed. You can’t go past 4 am because it will affect your day time schedule. This may result in you waking your baby to feed.
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 3
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Bring milk in case you need it, but the plan is to not use it until the designated feeding time. Try an assortment of soothing techniques to get the baby to go back to sleep without the feed.
    • Nights 2 and three are typically the most difficult nights and require extensive soothing.

The most important thing to remember with pushing a feed and soothing is that you get your baby back to sleep without food. If you soothe for 25 minutes and get tired and this results in feeding you will create a very negative association to food and crying for your baby.

    • If breastfeeding, you will not need to bring milk but need to make your breast inaccessible.
    • Once it is 4 am you will offer a full feed. This must be offered with a bottle so that you can measure the amount your little one is consuming at this feed and ensure it is a full feed. You can’t go past 4 am because it will affect your day time schedule. This may result in you waking your baby to feed.
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 4
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Soothe as needed
    • Once it is 4 am you will offer a full feed. You can’t go past 4 am because it will affect your day time schedule. This may result in you waking your baby to feed.
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 5
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Soothe as needed
    • Once it is 4 am you will offer a full feed. This must be offered with a bottle so that you can measure the amount your little one is consuming at this feed and ensure it is a full feed. You can’t go past 4 am because it will affect your day time schedule. This may result in you waking your baby to feed.
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule

The next transition will happen based on weight gain, but to maintain this progress you must stick with your day time schedule and forms of soothing at night as needed.

Transition 4 – 15 pounds

Make sure your baby is ready for Transition 4 of sleep training.

  • My baby is at least 15 pounds
  • My baby is NOT sick
  • My baby has not had a vaccination within the last 48 hours
  • My baby has successfully completed Transition 3.

If you have checked all of these then you are ready to start Transition 3.

At 15 pounds, your baby can go one, 10-hour stretch in a 24-hour period.

Begin with your day time schedule and give it two full days before beginning nights.

Also asses your nursery/ sleep space to ensure you are promoting healthy sleep

  • Night 1
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Bring milk in case you need it, but the plan is to not use it until the designated feeding time. Try an assortment of soothing techniques to get the baby to go back to sleep without the feed.
    • If breastfeeding, you will not need to bring milk but need to make your breast inaccessible.
    • Once it is 4 am you will offer a reduced feed (only 2oz). This must be offered with a bottle so that you can measure the amount your little one is consuming at this feed. You can’t go past 4 am because it will affect your day time schedule. This may result in you waking your baby to feed your baby.
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule.
  • Night 2
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Bring milk in case you need it, but the plan is to not use it until the designated feeding time. Try an assortment of soothing techniques to get the baby to go back to sleep without the feed.
    • Nights 2 and three are typically the most difficult nights and require extensive soothing.

The most important thing to remember with pushing a feed and soothing is that you get your baby back to sleep without food. If you soothe for 25 minutes and get tired and this results in feeding you will create a very negative association to food and crying for your baby.

    • If breastfeeding, you will not need to bring milk but need to make your breast inaccessible.
    • Once it is 4 am you will offer a reduced feed (only 2oz). This must be offered with a bottle so that you can measure the amount your little one is consuming at this feed. You can’t go past 4 am because it will affect your day time schedule. This may result in you waking your baby to feed your baby.
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 3
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • No night feed tonight so soothing is a must
    • Nights 2 and three are typically the most difficult nights and require extensive soothing.

The most important thing to remember with pushing a feed and soothing is that you get your baby back to sleep without food. If you soothe for 25 minutes and get tired and this results in feeding you will create a very negative association to food and crying for your baby.

    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 4
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Soothe as needed
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 5
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Soothe as needed
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • For the next 2 to 3 weeks it is very important to not do any traveling, and to not change your plans/schedule in any way in order to solidify the sleep training process. At this time, it is important to remain consistent with the schedules to have created. If your baby beg

 

Read more

Transition 3 – 12 pounds

Make sure your baby is ready for Transition 3 of sleep training.

  • My baby is at least 12 pounds
  • My baby is NOT sick
  • My baby has not had a vaccination within the last 48 hours
  • My baby has successfully completed Transition 2

If you have checked all of these then you are ready to start Transition 3.

At 12 pounds, your baby is able to go one, 6 to 8-hour stretch of sleep in a 24-hour period.

Begin with your day time schedule and give it two full days before beginning nights.

Also, asses your nursery/sleep space to ensure you are promoting healthy sleep.

  • Night 1
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Bring milk in case you need it, but the plan is to not use it until the designated feeding time. Try an assortment of soothing techniques to get the baby to go back to sleep without the feed.
    • If breastfeeding, you will not need to bring milk but need to make your breast inaccessible.
    • Once it is 4 am you will offer a full feed. This must be offered with a bottle so that you can measure the amount your little one is consuming at this feed and ensure it is a full feed. You can’t go past 4 am because it will affect your day time schedule. This may result in you waking your baby to feed.
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 2
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Bring milk in case you need it, but the plan is to not use it until the designated feeding time. Try an assortment of soothing techniques to get the baby to go back to sleep without the feed.
    • Nights 2 and three are typically the most difficult nights and require extensive soothing.

The most important thing to remember with pushing a feed and soothing is that you get your baby back to sleep without food. If you soothe for 25 minutes and get tired and this results in feeding you will create a very negative association to food and crying for your baby.

    • If breastfeeding, you will not need to bring milk but need to make your breast inaccessible.
    • Once it is 4 am you will offer a full feed. This must be offered with a bottle so that you can measure the amount your little one is consuming at this feed and ensure it is a full feed. You can’t go past 4 am because it will affect your day time schedule. This may result in you waking your baby to feed.
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 3
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Bring milk in case you need it, but the plan is to not use it until the designated feeding time. Try an assortment of soothing techniques to get the baby to go back to sleep without the feed.
    • Nights 2 and three are typically the most difficult nights and require extensive soothing.

The most important thing to remember with pushing a feed and soothing is that you get your baby back to sleep without food. If you soothe for 25 minutes and get tired and this results in feeding you will create a very negative association to food and crying for your baby.

    • If breastfeeding, you will not need to bring milk but need to make your breast inaccessible.
    • Once it is 4 am you will offer a full feed. This must be offered with a bottle so that you can measure the amount your little one is consuming at this feed and ensure it is a full feed. You can’t go past 4 am because it will affect your day time schedule. This may result in you waking your baby to feed.
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 4
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Soothe as needed
    • Once it is 4 am you will offer a full feed. You can’t go past 4 am because it will affect your day time schedule. This may result in you waking your baby to feed.
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 5
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Soothe as needed
    • Once it is 4 am you will offer a full feed. This must be offered with a bottle so that you can measure the amount your little one is consuming at this feed and ensure it is a full feed. You can’t go past 4 am because it will affect your day time schedule. This may result in you waking your baby to feed.
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule

The next transition will happen based on weight gain, but to maintain this progress you must stick with your day time schedule and forms of soothing at night as needed.

 

Read more

Transition 4 – 15 pounds

Make sure your baby is ready for Transition 4 of sleep training.

  • My baby is at least 15 pounds
  • My baby is NOT sick
  • My baby has not had a vaccination within the last 48 hours
  • My baby has successfully completed Transition 3.

If you have checked all of these then you are ready to start Transition 3.

At 15 pounds, your baby can go one, 10-hour stretch in a 24-hour period.

Begin with your day time schedule and give it two full days before beginning nights.

Also asses your nursery/ sleep space to ensure you are promoting healthy sleep

  • Night 1
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Bring milk in case you need it, but the plan is to not use it until the designated feeding time. Try an assortment of soothing techniques to get the baby to go back to sleep without the feed.
    • If breastfeeding, you will not need to bring milk but need to make your breast inaccessible.
    • Once it is 4 am you will offer a reduced feed (only 2oz). This must be offered with a bottle so that you can measure the amount your little one is consuming at this feed. You can’t go past 4 am because it will affect your day time schedule. This may result in you waking your baby to feed your baby.
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule.
  • Night 2
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Bring milk in case you need it, but the plan is to not use it until the designated feeding time. Try an assortment of soothing techniques to get the baby to go back to sleep without the feed.
    • Nights 2 and three are typically the most difficult nights and require extensive soothing.

The most important thing to remember with pushing a feed and soothing is that you get your baby back to sleep without food. If you soothe for 25 minutes and get tired and this results in feeding you will create a very negative association to food and crying for your baby.

    • If breastfeeding, you will not need to bring milk but need to make your breast inaccessible.
    • Once it is 4 am you will offer a reduced feed (only 2oz). This must be offered with a bottle so that you can measure the amount your little one is consuming at this feed. You can’t go past 4 am because it will affect your day time schedule. This may result in you waking your baby to feed your baby.
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 3
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • No night feed tonight so soothing is a must
    • Nights 2 and three are typically the most difficult nights and require extensive soothing.

The most important thing to remember with pushing a feed and soothing is that you get your baby back to sleep without food. If you soothe for 25 minutes and get tired and this results in feeding you will create a very negative association to food and crying for your baby.

    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 4
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Soothe as needed
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • Night 5
    • Assess the daytime for calories and total number of hours of daytime naps
    • Soothe as needed
    • Once its morning (6am) leave your nursery and start your day schedule
  • For the next 2 to 3 weeks it is very important to not do any traveling, and to not change your plans/schedule in any way in order to solidify the sleep training process. At this time, it is important to remain consistent with the schedules to have created. If your baby beg

 

Read more