Last updated on July 12th, 2024

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Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

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I’m Kim West, The Sleep Lady, and in this video I’m going to answer Debbie’s question about her 11-month-old who wakes up at night. Here’s what she wrote in:

My 11 month-old son knows how to go to sleep on his own although there are times when he refuses. Then he needs to be rocked or sung to. But, he wakes up frequently throughout the night and needs to be put back to sleep by rocking. He also nurses once a night.

We know that he isn’t teething and I took him to the doctor to find out if anything else could be bothering him. The pediatrician found nothing wrong.

We have a bedtime routine: bath, supper, bed. And that has him sleeping by 9 p.m. We’re now working on an earlier bedtime. He wakes up between 7:30 and 8 in the morning.  

We’re clueless as what to do now, and very tired.

Thank you for your amazing book, it was actually what we were looking for.  So many people told us to just put him in the next room and let him scream, which I can’t do as a mother. It just feels wrong.

Going to Sleep Awake Every Night

Debbie, I think it’s time to put your son down to sleep awake every night. So, 7 nights out of 7 nights you want him to be awake enough so that he can learn the skill of putting himself to sleep.

Bedtime is the easiest time to learn to put yourself to sleep. If he can master it there, then he can more easily apply that skill in the middle of the night, which is harder — especially as the night goes on.

Be Consistent

When you say “there are times when he refuses and needs to be rocked or sung” that’s when I want you to be consistent and put him down every night, awake enough so that he’s aware he’s being put down.

Sleep Coach Using The Shuffle

If he “refuses to go to sleep”, then you can go ahead and start sleep coaching, Hopefully you  are familiar with The Sleep Lady Shuffle, where you stay with him offering physical and verbal reassurance while he learns how to put himself to sleep. Then you’re going to respond consistently to every night-wakening. You can read more details in my book The Sleep Lady’s Good Night Sleep Tight.

Decide About Nursing

I would decide on whether you’re going to keep the one nursing session or if you’re going to wean that. You may want to check with your doctor as to whether he is ready to stop eating during the night given his age, weight, health and how much he eats during the day. If you decide to keep one feeding, then you can either do a dream feed or a set time feeding. You have my book, so you can read more about that and how to night weaning completely in my book.

Have the Other Parent Respond

You can also have the other parent go in on the non-feeding times, if it’s too upsetting for your baby to see you when you’re not feeding him.

Start After A Great Day of Naps

Make sure to start sleep coaching at bedtime after a great day of naps – any way you can get them.

Early Bedtime Is Great

I do support you in moving your baby’s bedtime earlier . Its important to watch his sleepy cues to make sure he’s not over tired.

Good luck Debbie!

Author: Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

My name is Kim West, and I’m the mother of two beautiful girls, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 21 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. My sleep journey began when I started experimenting with gently shaping my daughter’s sleep by not following the conventional wisdom at the time. After having success (and then more success with my second daughter!), I began helping family and friends and my step-by-step method spread like wildfire, exactly like an excellent night of sleep for a tired parent should!