Hi, I’m Kim West, the Sleep Lady and in today’s video blog, I’m going to answer Sarah’s question:
“My daughter just turned 10 months old. She’s been sleeping through the night since she was about 4 months old and is never really giving us any resistance. She’s asleep in her crib by 8:00 p.m. and wakes somewhere between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. This week she started to wake crying around midnight and even with multiple rocking attempts, she will wake as soon as I lay her down, kicking her legs and giving me her silly little toothy grin. The longest I allowed this to go on was until 3:30 a.m. when I gave up and we went to the couch to sleep on a recliner.
“I hate any type of co-sleeping but I just have to get some sleep. She crashed and slept on me until I have to get up for work at 6:30 a.m. Since then I’ve tried rocking her or giving her a bottle, giving her Tylenol and it just seems she wants to be awake and with her mommy. If I try to just leave her in her crib to play independently or she has done a little waking in the night for months, she‘ll start crying immediately and I hate to say I’ve tried to see if a minute or two of crying will wear her down a bit but it doesn’t. I can’t say that I love being up for hours in the night but it’s not the end of the world. I just do not want to start a bad habit. We’ve worked so hard to create a routine for her and I don’t want her to think that we’ll wake up every night and go sleep on a couch together. Any suggestions to change these bad sleep habits?”
Make Sure Your Baby is Napping Well
I do have a few suggestions! It looks like she sleeps from about 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. Is she getting enough naps? I see that you are working, and I gather outside of the home. I would like you to find out from her daycare, nanny, grandparent, or whomever is taking care of her:
• Is she napping well?
• Does she go to sleep independently for the naps?
• How long were the naps?
• When is her last nap?
All of these factors have to be considered to figure out whether 8:00 p.m. is the right bedtime for her. It may need to be a little bit earlier. Also, are you positive that she is awake at bedtime? This is extremely important because if she doesn’t know how to go to sleep awake at bedtime, she can’t apply that skill to when she wakes at 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 a.m.
Be Consistent in Your Response
Another thing that will help is if you can just pick one method for how you’re going to respond to her both at bedtime and during the night. Remember there may potentially be some crying at bedtime when you begin to put her down more awake. A consistent response to her at bedtime and during wakings during the night is essential. Giving her a bottle or rocking on the couch, sporadically which will create more wakings and more crying).
Use either The Shuffle or timed checks for a consistent response and know that unfortunately it’s going to get worse before it gets better. This is because of the infamous intermittent reinforcement that we all do out of desperation. We don’t mean to respond inconsistently but you’re tired and you have to get to work and you want some sleep and we end up making our problem worse or causing a new problem.
Because of inconsistencies, now your child doesn’t know exactly what’s going to happen when she wakes up:
• Am I going to be given medicine?
• Am I going to be giving a bottle?
• Am I going to be rocked?
• Am I going to get out of the crib?
Initially, this change will make your child cry more Remember, it’s going to get worse before it gets better as you help her learn thatthis is the way mom is going to respond and you’regoing to do the same thing every single night until eventually she’s sleeping through the night.
I hope that helps.
Video filmed by In Focus Studios