If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s toddler sleep problem video:
Hi, Kim West, The Sleep Lady and today I’m going to answer Jennifer’s question. She wrote in the following,:
“My daughter is 15 months old and wakes several times at night. She’s able to go to sleep on her own at bedtime. We have not had to use the Shuffle for bedtime. She goes down between 9 and 9:30pm at night and wakes between 9:30am and 10am.
A note from The Sleep Lady: I just want to tell you how unusual that is that she’ll sleep late at this age!
“She’s down to one afternoon nap for about two and a half hours. When school starts both bedtime and wake up will be moved up approximately two hours because I have a 5-year old in school. When she wakes during the night, I used to feed her a bottle of milk.
“Now, we use a bottle of water. I need help getting her to be able to soothe herself back to sleep after waking up. My husband and I are at odds in how to solve this.
“He thinks that when she’s ready, she’ll sleep all night. I think it’s become a habit of her waking at night and taking a bottle to soothe herself back to sleep. Any advice would be much appreciated. -Jennifer.”
Use Dramatic Wake Up
I think that the first thing that you should do (especially because you have to switch your schedule around for school) is to start regulating her wake up. I would start waking her up at 7:30 or 8am so that you can immediately start getting her to bed earlier. That’s one of the best ways to start or to shift a sleep schedule. The same advice is given to adults by the way. Your first step is to start regulating the wake up.
In regard to your question about the bottle and her “no problem going to sleep at bedtime”, I wonder if that’s because the bedtime is late and she is very tired and she can still suck on the bottle to get drowsy at bedtime?
Could The Bottle Be Her Sleep Crutch?
Your daughter is a perfect example of how it doesn’t always matter what’s in the bottle, it’s just that there is liquid in the bottle and it allows your child to suck in to a calm state.
Some toddlers will have no interest in a bottle with water in it instead of milk and others like your daughter still want it. Often the issue then becomes “I want more fluid in it” and then you’re going in during the night having to re-fill it.
If you’re giving a water bottle at bedtime, you’re going to have to address that too. It is not clear to me whether the reason you’re not having any problems at bedtime is because it’s late at night and she’s so tired or whether she is being put in too drowsy.
Adjust When Your Child Gets A Bottle
Either way, I don’t want you to panic if she starts to cry and fuss more at bedtime when you shift things up. I recommend you stop putting a water bottle in her crib if you’re doing that and just offer her a water bottle with stories so she holds it while she is sitting on your lap looking at books for example.
I would also slowly reduce the ounces of water in her bottle. Don’t stretch this process out too long as it makes it more painful for everyone. Give yourself about 7 to 10 nights and be done. So, if it’s 8 ounces, I’d go 6, 4, 3, 2oz, done. If you don’t want to move every night, reduce the ounces every two nights.
When you get to that big night where she doesn’t have any bottle during the night you can offer her a sippy cup of water with stories. If you want to offer her the sippy cup of water in her crib I would only give her one and no re-fills during the night.
Make sure that she doesn’t use the bottle frequently during the day to self soothe. I think you’ll be able to solve your problem and get your child sleeping through the night!
The Sleep Lady
Video filmed by In Focus Studios