Today, I have a question from a mom who downloaded my free 5 tips from my website. She writes, "I've been working on implementing your tips for about a week now, but I'm having a really hard time keeping my baby awake through her bottle at the bedtime routine. What can I do?"
Well, that's a great question. Really, when you're working on helping your child sleep well, the number one rule is to make sure that you keep your baby wide awake through any feeds. That's the breast or the bottle.
Nine times out of 10, the problem is all around the sleep prop of getting to sleep on a bottle or a breast. Parents are correct, in expressing some concern around that because if you don't break the connection your child has between the bottle and sleep, it'll make the whole process harder.
It will cause night wake ups because when they wakes up in the night, they'll still have this idea that they needs a bottle in order to get back to sleep at night. A few things you can try.
Move the Feed
Number one would be move the bottle up in the bedtime routine. Most people have the feed as the last step. That can be really tricky.
Especially, if they're not napping great yet, then they could be really, really fatigued by bedtime. By the time, they've had a bath, and you've got their jammies on, and you've read some stories, and then you're going into a feed, they might be way too fatigued to even attempt to stay awake at the bottle.
Then you're really fighting an uphill battle where you're tickling and talking to them and trying to keep them awake, and they're so tired they really can't even help you out any. I would suggest you can even move it up to before the bath.
So a bedtime routine you could try is something like this: Go to the feed, then the bath and the jammies and the stories, and then bed. That will really help break any connection that they have in thinking the bottle has anything to do with sleep.
If that seems like a bit too far up in the routine, then move it to right after bath. That can really help, too, because children tend to be a little stimulated from the bath. Most children really like their bath, so they'll be a little more awake when you get to the feed.
Change Is A Good Thing
Then you can move into the next steps. The good news is the better naps start going, the less fatigued she'll be by bedtime, so that's something to look forward to.
The more the separation between the bottle and sleep develops, the less likely they will be to even try to fall asleep at the bottle. You'll find in a month or so, even if they are really tired, they won't use the bottle.
There won't be a connection there anymore. They'll happily have their feed, and then put themselves to sleep just fine when they gets to the crib.
If you haven't downloaded my free 5 tips for helping your child sleep better, you can do so right here!
I am a Pediatric Sleep Consultant who works with families to help them resolve their littles' sleep issues. As a mom of two littles herself, Katie has walked in the shoes of her clients and is passionate about helping them re-discover peaceful sleeps in their own homes.