Hi. I’m Kim West, The Sleep Lady, and today I’m going to answer Marcella’s question:
“I have a nine-month-old who I can only nurse back to sleep. He wakes three times every single night. He shares a room with this three-year-old sister, so I don’t know how to go about sleep training. I sleep trained her at six months, but it was way easier to do it when there was just one baby.”
Make A Temporary Adjustment
It is certainly easier to sleep coach when there is just one baby. You might want to consider separating them just temporarily.
Tell your three year old “Mommy’s going to teach your brother how to go to sleep and sleep through the night just like you do. We’re going to have this special bed over here for you while he learns.”
If you don’t have a separate room for her, then put together a make-shift bed on the floor in your room. Then say, “Once your brother is sleeping through the night then you can go back to sleep in your room.”
Or Keep Them Together For Sleep Coaching
If you hate the idea of separating them temporarily then start on a Friday night and prepare your three-year-old during the day.
Say, “Mommy’s going to teach your baby brother how to put himself to sleep without nursing.”
Baby’s bed time is probably earlier than three-year–old sister’s bedtime. Your three-year-old could be with one parent reading books while the other parent is putting the baby to bed.
Have your soothing bedtime routine and nurse your baby with the light on. Do not let him get too drowsy while you are nursing him and put him into the crib awake.. Then stay with him, offering physical and verbal reassurance, until he goes to sleep.
You can read more of the details about the The Sleep Lady Shuffle in my book Good Night, Sleep Tight.
Create A Feeding Plan
Create a feeding plan. If he needs absolutely no feeding during the night, then you can decide to slowly reduce the minutes you nurse him each night before starting sleep coaching so that by the time you get to that Friday night, you’re ready to cut them out completely.
Or, you could do what I like to call a set time feeding. All of these details are outlined in my book and my workbook.
Check with your doctor to make sure your baby is ready to go thru the night without a feeding given their age, weight, health and how much they eat during the day.
Put It All Together
Once you have created your feeding plan and you’re going to go in every time he wakes up and say, “Shh, shh. I know, sister. Sorry your brother woke you up.” Then go attend to the baby and sit next to his crib.
Do that consistently for each night awakening for the first 3 nights. Move your chair every three nights until you are in the hall and out of view. Within 7-10 nights he should be largely sleeping through the night. There might be a little early rising. You’ll have to prepare three-year-old sister for that. You can even help three-year-old sister to tell her baby brother, “Shh, shh. Nighty-night.”
You’ll be surprised how it will suddenly be quiet when they hear their sibling and go back to sleep.
Video filmed by In Focus Studios