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Considering Weaning at 4 Months? What You Should Know

It is no surprise that breastfeeding is sometimes a difficult and frustrating journey. Despite what some might say, breastfeeding doesn’t come easy. As a general rule, once a new mother gets past the 6 weeks mark things can be smooth sailing. However, some moms find themselves revisiting the idea of weaning at 4 months. Four months is a common breastfeeding hurdle.

With the right information you can prepare for what’s to come and rest assured you and your baby can get past this.

Considering weaning at 4 months? What you should know.

Why You Might Consider Weaning at 4 Months, and What You Should Know


The 4 Month Sleep Regression

It is no secret that as humans we need sleep to function. Babies can be unpredictable in that way, but generally your family will adjust and there will be a routine. Then four months comes along and just like that things feel like the newborn days again. What happened?

As your baby’s brain matures, his or her sleeping patterns change. Around the 4 month mark, your baby is starting to cycle between light and deep sleep. These sleep patterns are attempting to become more like yours.

However, every time your baby cycles out of deep sleep and into light sleep there is a good chance they will wake up. Although the growth and development of your baby is right on track, these changes produce a lot more night waking. And once the baby wakes up, he or she will need more help to get back to sleep.

One way to help this change is to offer dream feeds. Your baby needs help staying asleep, so topping the baby off in the middle of a good sleep helps a lot of families.

In the long term, analyzing your baby’s associations with sleep and keeping a consistent routine will help to ease past this dreaded time of less sleep for parents. Do not deny the baby comfort feeds at night, as that can just prolong you baby’s way of adapting and actually increase the amount of wakes.

Supply and Demand Established

By four months, most mothers are totally past most challenges associated with breastfeeding. Engorgement, sore nipples, and marathon cluster feedings are mostly a thing of the past. However, 4-month-olds tend to have other challenges with them. Twiddling, distracted nursing (pulling off, exposing mom, etc.), and teething are just a few.

From 4 months to about 8 months, your nursling should breastfeed at least 5 times per 24 hour period. One of these is likely to be a night feed. However, some babies are so distracted during the day by the amazing new world they live in that you might just get one of those who nurses mostly at night and merely snacks during the day. This can sometimes lead the mom to think she is not making enough. The baby can’t possibly need so much to eat right before bed, right?

By four months your supply is pretty much established. Yes, it can change depending on the baby’s needs, but if your baby snacks all day and has two huge meals at night, your breasts might feel less full during the day. That is totally normal. Your baby is simply making up for calories missed during the day.

Change is Constant

Remember that as your baby grows there will be times where you will have to change and adapt to new routines. Hungry babies will not be happy at four months, so a smiling baby who is meeting milestones is getting adequate amounts of breast milk.

If weight gain or development is a concern, it is recommended that you speak with your pediatrician about what other changes your child might be going through. Most pediatricians will remind you that weaning at 4 months isn’t necessary and most of these changes are a normal, functioning part of infant growth.


Shary Lopez is a late-twenties, nerdy gal living in Tampa Bay. Her family consists of a bearded husband and two children: one eight-year-old daughter and one very adventurous toddler boy. As a childbirth junkie and breastfeeding advocate, Shary tries to lean her family towards natural living while still grasping onto convenience and frugality. You can find more of her writings on Shary's personal blog, Atta Mama. Shary is also on social networking sites such as FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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