My son is two years old. Though he is an early riser, he goes to bed and sleeps quite well. However, he wakes every night sometime between 3 and 4 a.m. and wants a bottle. We only give him about 2 1/2 ounces of watered down milk, put him back into bed and we don’t hear another peep until 6 a.m when we all get up. Is this behaviour something I need to alter or is this just him?
This is not uncommon at all. However, if you continue to feed his wants, it will never end. There are several reasons your son has developed the habit of waking in the night, from anxiety to potty training to just being a light sleeper. To change this pattern, try moving his bedtime earlier by 15 minutes each night until it stops. This may mean eventually putting him to bed a whole hour earlier. Toddlers need to go to bed much earlier than we think. There is absolutely nothing wrong with his bed time being around 6-6:30 p.m. at this early age. If he still does wake in the middle of the night, keep watering down the milk and offer less and less. Over time you must then soothe him back to sleep without the milk. Just enter his room and assure him with a tender ‘shh, time to sleep’. He may not take kindly to this but the habit has to be broken so that he can learn how to put himself back to sleep. I suggest you do this over a weekend as it may leave you a little sleep deprived for a night or two. Sweet dreams.
Published in August 2010