Soothing Back to Sleep…
This question comes from Kim who writes:
Why does my 13 month old wake up between the hours of 2:00am and 4:00am and just needs to be patted right back to sleep? I don’t take him out of his cot but it takes a toll on me to stand over him and pat his back until he falls asleep again.
Well Kim, You want to think about how Jacob falls asleep at bedtime. If you find that part of your bedtime routine includes putting him in his cot, and then standing above him patting his back, in a way he’s falling asleep on his own but in another way he’s not.
It sounds like he’s incorporated your patting into his strategy for sleep so that when he wakes up in the night, he’s thinking I’m awake. I’d like to go back to sleep but I need my mum to come back in here and pat me. It probably doesn’t take you too long but I’m sure it takes a toll to get up a few times a night just to go in and pat him.
Again, it’s about strategy so even it was a dummie or a bottle or you were breastfeeding him every time you went in, in some way he’s connected you into his strategy system so that when he wakes he needs a repeat of all that. So, when you put him to bed at bedtime it’s okay to pat a little bit but maybe do it more intermittently so that you pat and then you withdraw and then you pat a little more and then you withdraw. Watch carefully and when he actually starts to fall asleep, make sure you’re not patting him anymore.
Need Getting Used to…
Again, it’s going to take him some nights to get used to the difference, especially if he’s really dependent on you patting him. He might protest a bit to the change to his strategies but if you’re consistent for a week or two, you’ll find that you can back away and pat him a little bit less and a little bit less each night so that eventually you can just put him in the cot and he’ll be able to do the whole thing by himself.