Our youngest daughter is now almost 15 months. I came across John Rosemond's books almost 6 months ago, and realized that I needed to change the way I approached her sleep (she was breastfed every 2 hours of the night, and I was exhausted). Since then we established regular bedtime at 7pm. She gets one feeding before I go to sleep (around 10pm), but lately she has been waking up at 4am (I breastfeed her. We tried to let het cry but it goes on for 1.5h - we tried this for three weeks and returned to a breastfeeding) and then at 6am she is wide wake but tired again at 8am and then she naps until 10am.
Is this "normal" for a 15 month old? Compared to our previous situation, I am glad that I am not getting up every two hours during the night but it feels like she is fed a lot at night still but I do not know how to turn this around.
I must say that she started walking two weeks ago, so I am wondering if that has anything to do with it.
Thank you so much for helping us out!
When kids go through stages of growth, their sleep is often fractured in some way. They might stop napping or, as in your case, waking up at night. I'm not a fan of "crying it out" when the "crying" part goes on for longer than 10 minutes. So how do you help train this little one to sleep through the night?
Stop the middle-of-the-night breastfeeding. Just don't go there! Instead, when she wakes up, go to her with a bottle or sippy cup of water. Don't pick her up or turn on a light, etc. You don't want to give her a reason to want to get up, so you pat her back, offer the water, with minimal talking to her. Lay her down, stroke her cheek or back, hum softly, to calm her down and back to sleep. Repeat as necessary. The first couple of nights might be a bit rough, but I promise this will work if you're consistent in going in after 5 minutes or so of crying, but don't pick her up, don't breastfeed her, etc. Offer comfort, but from a little bit of a distance.
She'll soon get the picture there's nothing exciting to get up for and start sleeping longer. And yes, some kids wear themselves out and take a morning and afternoon nap. One of the best books on how much sleep a child needs at various ages is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I still consult it from time to time, and my kids are between the ages of 10 and 16!
Let me know how it goes, and hang in there!
Sarah Hamaker, Certified Leadership Parenting Coach
Author of Ending Sibling Rivalry, out now!
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