Q & A: A New Co-Sleeper at 19 Months

Rosemary,

I read your answer to another woman’s problem with getting their seven month old out of the co-sleeping habit. I have a similar issue but my daughter (who is now 19 months) did not start out co-sleeping. She has been sleeping in her own crib since birth, but lately she wakes up in the middle of the night (anywhere between 2 and 6 am) wanting to come to my bed. For financial reasons we currently live in a one bedroom apartment and we have to share a room so she knows I am there sleeping in my bed across the room. I have tried ignoring her, laying her back down with her favourite blanket and sleep toy and telling her it is time for sleep, giving her a cup of warm milk before putting her back down, putting her bed time music back on as well as her starlight night light, and rocking her until she falls asleep again, but nothing has worked. She always gets back up again and screams and cries until I bring her into my bed. I don’t know what else to try to get her to sleep all night in her own bed. her pediatrician didn’t have anything to offer on the subject during our last visit. Do you have any suggestions? Something I haven’t tried? Or maybe this is just a phase she will grow out of? I would greatly appreciate your insight.

Christina B.

Hi Christina,

Sharing a room with your child can be tough. From what you are describing, it sounds like your daughter senses that you are running out of ideas of how to get her to stay in her own crib and she definitely knows that each time, you ultimately give in and bring her into bed with you. Teaching her to stay in her own crib will be a challenge, but with consistency, you can do it! Once you make up your mind that you’ve had enough and that you are ready to make a change, then you will have to stick to some rules: No coming into your bed; no props (milk, music, night light etc.); no picking up. Your plan of action is to sit in a chair, beside her crib. You can hold her hand, rub her back, etc., but no picking up. She will protest, but stick with it. This is a battle of wills and you are supposed to be the winner! Once she recognizes that you are not going to take her into your bed, then you can gradually start moving your chair further and further away from her crib.

You did not mention what bedtime is like, but I’d like to mention that it is critical that your daughter fall asleep in her own crib initially, with as few aids as possible. You can definitely use the same new plan that i have suggested for the middle of the night at bedtime too.

I hope this is helpful!

Rosemary


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