Thursday, October 21, 2010

Toddler not sleeping through the night

Questioner: Jennifer

Subject: Toddler not sleeping through the night

Question: Hello!

I am a young mother of two wonderful boys. My youngest is 1 1/2 and he still wakes up in the middle of the night to take a bottle. Not only does he wake up to take a bottle he is still sleeping in my bed.
I need to find an effective way to get him to sleep so I can sleep at night as well. He is a big boy (33 lbs.), so I am not sure if he is just hungry or just in the habitat of waking up and taking a bottle. Not only do we both not get sleep, I am going through diapers like made. Once he has a bottle if diaper of course gets wet. Please help wil any advice that you can.


Answer: Hello Jennifer:

While I am pro-sleeping with children and not a advocate of giving children bottles before bedtime for the obvious reasons (bedwetting). I think I have an answer for you we both can live with! It is more important, critically important to stick with the routine over a schedule. So if you get off of your schedule you need to adjust the time and NOT the routine.

I strongly advocate setting a bedtime routine. (Now notice there is a big difference between schedules and routines!)

A routine allows a child to be conditioned for sleep. Here is what I suggest you adhere to:

1. 30 minutes before bedtime start checking the environment for noise and reduce it. Is the TV on? Is the stereo on? If so turn them off or put some really relaxing music on that promotes sleep.

2. Turn the lights down. Bright lights and loud noises are too stimulating on a little one's underdeveloped nervous system.

3. Let the little one know that he will be going to bed in 30 minutes.

4. Bedtime story time. (You can do this before or after bathe time).

5. If you bathe him at night then go have fun with bathe time. Give him some one on one here and keep it simple. Who doesn't love to have their back washed with love?

6. When he gets out have fun getting him ready for bed. Massage him. Make this a part of your nightly routine and you will both benefit from his head to toe massage!

(Include some aroma therapy, recommend Gentle baby essential oil put on a cotton ball and stick it in the air vent of his room. The smell will relax you both through the massage and for bedtime.) You can find it at

7. Put some nature music or the heartbeat sounds on in his room. He will probably sleep quite deep after his bedtime massage.

However, you will notice as the weeks go on and you keep this routine that he will begin to get tired earlier when he sees the cues it is bedtime and will sleep longer.

This is not a one night cure! Your consistency is the key to your success. It must be consistent so he will be trained to go to sleep and stay asleep!

Take care!
Dr. Mary Kay Keller
Hassle Free Bedtime? Click here!

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