i need bedtime advice

Melissa - posted on 03/25/2010 ( 12 moms have responded )

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my 15 month old wakes up 2 to 3 times a night,i give him a snack and a bottle of milk before bed and check to make sure he's dry,so how can i get him to sleep through the night?

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Margi - posted on 03/25/2010

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Hi Melissa, Thanx for answering. It sounds like your little one has a good appetite and manages to sleep for 3 to 5 hours before waking. I would suggest fiddling with his food schedule a little. If he is napping at 12 and having dinner at 4:30 then he's probably lunching before his nap. If you think about the last part of the day he's having something to eat about every 2 hours. Maybe he's waking because his stomach is telling him it's time to eat. I would suggest trying a snack before his nap, lunch when he gets up and push dinner back to 6ish. Also, activity should be higher between lunch and dinner to help his body get tired and actually 'need' sleep.
I've been a nanny for over 20 years and some things work and some things don't. See what you think and you can try my idea or not. I would mention that I have had occasions where it helped enormously to stop the child from having a nap during the day, and another occasion where all we needed to do was wake the child from her nap after 1 and a 1/2 hours. I hope these ideas help a little. Would love to know how you go. Good luck and kind regards.

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Julie - posted on 03/30/2010

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I do agree that there is a time to just be strong and let the little one cry. What I described about going back and picking her up briefly, I did up until she was still about 4-6 months old. I guess I was trying to balance the need to give her a chance to fall asleep on her own against the basic need of the littlest babies for security. Yes, there did indeed come a time when I would not go back in to her. In my daughter's case, it worked well. She is a very good sleeper who virtually never gets out of bed once I have put her down for the night. Well, enough for now. No book tonight. :)

Kimberley - posted on 03/29/2010

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bath story nite lite close door be consistent let them cry they will get over it do not play one more time , one more time , tell them you love them good nite . be strong harder on you then on them

Julie - posted on 03/28/2010

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Hi Melissa,
The other moms have talked about adjusting feeding times and increasing activities in the afternoon so your son is tired by bedtime. Sounds good. Something that hasn't been mentioned so far is the routine immediately before bedtime. I'm sure you have one. I suppose most parent's do. Something I found helpful with my daughter was to do the last stages of the bedtime routine in a semi-darkened room. In our case, I began this from the very beginning. Her last bottle would be given in the rocking chair in the living room...all living room lights off and the only light coming from the next room. As she had the last bottle, I'd sing to her...several different songs, always ending with the same two songs. As I neared the end of the last song, I'd get up from the rocking chair and carry a sleepy (BUT NOT YET SLEEPING) baby to her bed. With the last words of the song, I'd kiss her and lay her down in her crib. Of course, as she got older, that routine changed a bit. For instance, instead of a bottle in the rocking chair, it would be a sippy cup. Later on, at about age two, we no longer did the rocking chair bit, but instead had a bedtime story (lights on, of course), and then I'd turn the lights off and lay down with her to sing just two songs...the same two I have finished with every night since she was an infant. When the songs are done, I pray for her, kiss her goodnight, and leave the room. This kind of a routine provides some very predictable clues that it is nighttime and time for sleep. I have been fortunate in that my daughter was fairly easy to teach to sleep on her own. At 4-1/2 years old, she virtually never has a problem sleeping. I realize not all children are as easily taught. From what I understand, though, it seems that your little guy does not have so much trouble falling asleep initially, as he does staying asleep. It helped me a lot to read that ALL babies wake up several times in the night. What is important is that the baby learns how to go back to sleep on his own. In light of that, you may want to ask yourself how he falls asleep to begin with. Do you stay with him until he falls asleep? Did you stay with him until he fell asleep when he was littler? Did he habitually fall asleep in your arms as he was having his last feeding? I know he is older than that now, but old habits die hard. If this is the case, he can still learn to comfort himself back to sleep when he wakes in the night. It will just take a bit more patience and consistency to give him the chance to learn a new skill. What Marie-Christina and Susan said about waiting a while to give him a chance to go back to sleep on his own seems to be very good advice. When Rachel was still learning to fall asleep on her own, she would often wake up and talk to herself. I'd just leave her be in that case and she would almost always fall asleep in a little while. But sometimes she would cry. In that case, I'd wait a while. If she seemed to be getting more upset instead of settling down, I'd go to her and pick her up. I'd sing ONE song only to her as I STOOD by her bed, (not sitting down in the rocking chair), and then put her back down at the end of the song. The song was as much to give me a limit on how long I would hold her as it was to comfort her. This gave her a chance to calm back down if she was getting upset. If she cried again, I'd wait a little wile longer than I did the first time. After a while, she caught on. I don't know if any of this will be helpful to you, but this is what I found worked for me. Best wishes.

Asriani - posted on 03/28/2010

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Some baby wakes up at night eventhough their stomach full. I guest just try to hold him and give him something to drink again to make him full again and check everything to make him comfortable. :)

Susan - posted on 03/27/2010

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Very sound advice about waiting a while when he wakes to see if he'll go back to sleep. This can be hard to do at first because a mother's instinct is to go see what's up and to comfort her child. However, the wait-and-see strategy worked very well most of the time for my daughter. Playing very actively in the afternoon and then more quietly after supper but before the bottle certainly helped to get my girl to sleep longer at night.

Good luck!

Marie-Christina - posted on 03/27/2010

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I agree with Margi, the food schedule makes a big difference as does play time before bed. My husband plays with our son, chases him around, roles the ball to him etc and when he does that, baby is tired and will sleep through the night. If he is left to play by himself, (like when daddy is travelling) he wakes up). I also found with my son that waking up in the middle of the night becomes a habit. If you have adjusted his food and you are sure everything is okay (not too warm or cold etc), don't go to him, let him fall back asleep on his own. Maybe he has also (like my son did) gotten used to the fact that when he wakes up, mom will come play with him. Now, he wakes up sometimes at night and I hear him baby talk (I am a very light sleeper) but I leave him and he falls back asleep until morning.

Melissa - posted on 03/26/2010

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thanks for the advice, he only takes about an hour and a half nap anyway and when he doesn't get a nap he can't stay up latter than 8 o clock. but, i will try the meal thing,thanks again.

Melissa - posted on 03/25/2010

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well,bedtime is about 9 pm. he sleeps till somewhere between 12and 2 am. for the first wake up and then wakes again around 3 or 4 am. he eats agood breakfast, light lunch because nap time is around 12 pm. and a good dinner at around 4:30 pm. he gets dessert at about 6::30,7 pm,and his bedtime snack at about 8:30pm.

Margi - posted on 03/25/2010

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I was wondering, before I offer any advice, if you could say a little more about the situation. What time is bedtime? How long does he sleep before waking? Is he waking distressed and crying? How often does he eat during the day including the "pre-bed snack and bottle"? This will give me a better idea of what suggestions to make. If you like you can send me an email instead but your information may help others to be able to help you :-)

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