When our first baby hit 6 months old, we shut the milk shop at night. We whittled her bottle down until there was just an ounce and then did some sleep training (not the really horrid kind). And blessed be, we finally had a baby who slept for 12 hours a night, without too much of a battle and two weeks’ effort.
But then there were two…
This time around, it’s not so simple. Rosie started sleeping all night at around 18 weeks (woohoo!) but then reverted back to middle-of-the-night feeds at around 6.5 months (oh…). I thought it was a growth spurt at first but here we are, two months later. It continues.
Our house is small, so any disturbance at night wakes the lot of us up. A bottle quickly soothes our littlest one and everyone can be back to sleep within 15 minutes: it’s just easier. This is one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced with having a baby and a toddler.
As any parent knows, a good night’s sleep is essential for keeping the house happy. This applies more than ever when you are juggling more than one child.
Breaking the habit
We’ve decided we need to tackle this problem head on, but as gently as possible. After all, Rosie is our last baby (sniff!) and I’m not going to cattle-prod her into growing up. I’d just like to go back to having a good night’s sleep so I can be at my best for them both during the day.
If you’re going through the same thing, I think the best plan of attack is to rehome your toddler for a short time (days, not months. Unless they’re really naughty). We are lucky to have fantastic family support nearby, so we’re sending her to my parents’ house for two nights, then she’s off to stay with my sister for another two.
We can use these nights to start trying to break the habit, and in the run up to Jenny’s little holiday, start minimising the amount of milk Rosie is drinking in the night.
Another trick that’s helping is giving Rosie her dinner at least an hour before she goes to bed. This way, she downs her final bottle like a student in Fresher’s Week, and that seems to carry her further through the night.
If she has dinner too late, she refuses her bedtime bottle and then wakes around midnight for a feed.
If you have any tried and tested tricks for breaking the night feed habit, please share them below.