Hi. I’m Kim West, the Sleep Lady, and today I’m going to answer Zion’s question:
“My nine-month-old wakes for bottles during the night that I know he doesn’t need. Sometimes it’s as often as every three hours. I’m guessing he can’t put himself back to sleep. My older two were the same until I cut out bottles altogether; but, they were older when I did this. He’s still just a baby and he shares a room with my four-year-old daughter. I’m constantly worried that he’ll wake her up. I give him the bottle, otherwise it can be up to two hours of restless sleep. How do I manage sleep coaching with two children sharing a room?”
Two’s A Crowd? Not Always!
It is a little bit more difficult to sleep coach our children when they’re sharing a room but it’s not impossible. Here are a few ideas:
- Consider temporarily separating them.
Put your four-year-old daughter into another room and take some time to explain to her that the baby is going to learn how to go to sleep without having a bottle and you don’t want him to wake her up.
Let her know that she will be sleeping in this other room (or on the floor in mommy and daddy’s room) for just for a few nights and then she’ll be going back into her room.
- Keep them together.
If you would like to keep him in the same room you will first need to explain to your daughter what is going to happen. “Your baby brother is going to learn how to sleep through the night without a bottle just like you did.
He will cry, just like you did when you learned, but mommy and daddy are going to come in and help him go back to sleep. You can just roll over, put your hand over your ear, and go back to sleep.”
Start the Process on a Friday Night
Start the process on a Friday night when the weekend does not have too much packed in. This may give you some extra time to catch up on your own rest or trade off with your partner.
You will need to make the decision about keeping your 4-year-old in the room or not. Either way, I would gently sleep coach your baby using The Shuffle.
Make A Feeding Plan
You have to decide whether you’re going to keep one feeding or get rid of all of them. You can even reduce the ounces in the bottle for each feeding or if you are keeping one feeding, reduce the ounces in the other bottles except for the one you are keeping.
Start The Shuffle at bedtime after a great day of naps. Have a soothing bedtime routine and then place him in his crib awake. Stay with him, sitting in a chair, and offer him physical and verbal reassurance. Have your plan of how you’re going to address each night waking.
Decide if you’re going to feed him (and how much) or not feed him. When you make a clear plan it will be easier to stick to it in the middle of the night.
Bring Your Daughter Back In
In about a week he should be largely sleeping through the night. He may still be rising a little early, though. Then you can bring your daughter back into his room and finish the sleep coaching from there.
Video filmed by In Focus Studios