How do I Keep My Little One Awake During Their Bedtime Routine?Aug 06, 2021
This is an important first step in getting a good nights sleep!
The number one step in teaching your little one good sleep habits is keeping them awake through their feeds to go down into the cot awake and settle themselves, that's the breast or the bottle. Nine times out of 10, the problem is around the sleep prop of getting to sleep on a bottle or a breast. Unfortunately, if you don't break the connection babe has between the bottle and sleep, it'll make the whole process harder. It can cause night disruptions because when babe wakes up in the night, she'll still have this idea that she needs a bottle in order to get back to sleep at night.
A few things you can try.
1 - Move the feed up in the bedtime routine. Most people have the feed as the last step. That can be really tricky, especially if babes not napping great yet, then she could be really, really fatigued by bedtime. By the time she's had a bath, you've got pj's on, you've read some stories, and then you're going into a feed, she might be way too fatigued to even attempt to stay awake at the bottle or breast. Then you're really fighting an uphill battle where you're tickling and talking to her and trying to keep her awake, and she's so tired she really can't even help you out any. I would suggest you can even move it up to before the bath. Go to the feed, then the bath, pj's, stories, and then bed. That will really help break any connection that she has that 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 a bath. Most children really like their bath, so she'll be a little more awake when you get to the feed.
2 - You can then start putting babe into bed awake to self-settle. 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 feed and sleep develops, the less likely she will be to even try to fall asleep at the feed. You'll find in a month or so, even if she is really tired, she won't use the bottle or breast. There won't be a connection there anymore. She'll happily have her feed, and then put herself to sleep just fine when she gets to the cot.
I hope that helps with even a little part of your bedtime routine.