Israeli sleep coach, Batya Sherizen is taking questions from Kveller readers. Send your problems to email@example.com.
My son is 13 months old. We co-sleep. We usually go to bed anywhere from 10-11 pm depending on what time my husband has gotten home. I usually nurse my son to sleep and then he gets between 2-3 am to nurse and then 5-6 am to nurse and then he gets up for the day anywhere from 7-8:30 am. I’m exhausted and would really like to get more than 3-4 hrs of uninterrupted sleep a night. He naps twice a day usually for an hour between 10-11 am and for another hour or so between 4-5 pm. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Jordana
It sounds like he is already on a consistent routine during the day – which is great! His main issue here is his sleep dependency issue in the nights. Co-sleeping has many advantages, but it can also be extremely difficult to teach a baby not to nurse so frequently when he is pressed up right against you all night. Assuming you want to continue co-sleeping and that you’re ready to make a commitment for 2-3 weeks of improving his sleep, I would do the following:
1) Ensure that his bedtime is at a time where he is not overtired, as 9-11 pm at night can be very difficult for such a little one. Over tiredness can cause frequent night wakings so it’s crucial that his bedtime is at an early, predictable time.
2) Next, you need to teach him how to fall asleep without nursing. Nurse him until he is calm and relaxed, but not fully asleep. From there cuddle him/hold him tightly until he is asleep but don’t give into nursing him.
3) Any time he wakes at night repeat the process of nursing him until he’s calm, then hugging/holding him to sleep.
As the days progress you will see that he will gradually become accustomed to falling asleep without nursing. From there you can decide if you’d like to continue cuddling him to sleep or use other tactics. Good luck!
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