Sleep Training-Toddler years
Good morning mums. I’m a stay at home mum and I would like advice on 2 issues. How do I stop breastfeeding and co sleeping? Which comes first? I don’t get enough sleep because baby is always breastfeeding at night regardless of how we feed. I think she just uses nyonyo as a pacifier/ comfort. We are 20 months.
Mum, Baby and Love Answer:
You stop co sleeping first then breastfeeding; as long as you are co-sleeping you will most likely breastfeed. I would advice move baby to the next room. That way you are not tempted to just let her sleep in your bed and also you will avoid the moving to the next room transition. Come up with a routine that the baby and you will follow strictly and everyone at home will enforce it. At 20 months, baby should sleep max 2 hours during the day, we do 1-3 pm if in your current routine baby sleeps earlier in the morning you can do your nap 12:30-2:30, do not be tempted to let her sleep for longer, she will be too rested to sleep through the night. The day should look something like this.
7:30/8 am wake up latest time to wake up 8:30
12:30 Milk/yoghurt (max 100 ml)
Play: Baby can snack if the want between this time and shower time, popcorn, whatever snack you give
8:00- Milk and sleep
Make sure that baby is well fed, please note that dinner is given earlier so it has time to settle, if baby is too full she will not sleep well and snacks are allowed so that she is not too hungry and make sure it is not sugar snacks.
Be very consistent with making sure that you follow what you have set out to do, she will protest because she has been sleeping with you for 2 years, so do not be tempted to give into sleeping with her for just one night, it will undo all the effort you have put in.
You can move her into a cot or a big bed, if big bed make sure that it has a bar to stop her from rolling over, give her her favourite toy to sleep with or a blankie that she will associate with the new transition, be strong to follow through with the training.
Depending on how baby takes up the training, you can put her in the bed and see how that goes, you can start with day naps then move to night time sleep or you can decide to go all out from day one. If she is sleepy and will not accept the bed, you can:
- Have someone hold her till she sleeps then you put her in the bed, someone not you because she can smell milk off you and will want to feed to sleep.
- Put her in bed and have someone hold her (co sleep) until she goes down then she can leave her.
Because baby is used to waking up in the night, it might go on for a while, give water instead of milk, again someone else would be best to do this, if you don’t have someone then be very strict with the no breastfeeding at night policy.
When baby wakes up at night, don’t rush to her, wait for a few minutes, she might go back to sleep on her own, if she doesn’t, pick her up, give her, her toy and lull her for a few minutes before putting her back to bed. If she starts crying, place your hand on her back and do the shhhh shhhh till she sleeps or starts to drift off to sleep, then just wait in the room for a few minutes before you leave her. Again be consistent with this.
When children learn how to put themselves to sleep, the night waking reduces because if they wake up, they can go down on their own without crying.
Remember whatever you do, if you are not consistent you might as well not start, and since baby has had a system already, it will take you being diligent to make sure that she gets into the routine.
If you follow the routine well, the baby should be able to sleep through the night without waking up.
- No activity = no sleep, they need to get tired to sleep.
- Too tired = no sleep, they tend to fight sleep when they are too tired, the day nap is important
- Too much TV= too little sleep, especially in the evening, it leaves them too high to want to sleep
- Lights out- it helps them drift back to sleep, too much light will make them wake-up completely and it saves some coins
- Do not let her stay up too late, set bedtime so that you can have time for yourself and other adults.
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