My baby stays up until 3am and wakes up at 12pm and feeds all night long. How do I get her on a regular sleep routine?

Thanks for your very important question that addresses a common problem that many parents struggle with. The first step toward healthy sleep is to gradually decrease and eliminate all feeding during the night. After 6 months of age children do not need nighttime feedings. In fact, feeding at night can contribute to various health problems such as upper respiratory infections and tooth and gum decay.

To decrease nighttime feedings, you can either do it all at once and simply refuse to give your toddler milk at night. Or you can do it gradually, starting with 25% water and 75% milk, then on the next night 50:50 water and milk, on night three 75:25 water to milk and finally water only.

It will also help to feed your toddler a snack or some milk 30 minutes prior to bedtime in a room other than her bedroom. Do not allow your child to feed at the wake-to-sleep transition. This should help nighttime awakenings decrease over time.

To address your daughter’s schedule problem, try moving her wake-up time 30 minutes earlier every day and do not allow her to nap after 4:00pm.

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Daniel Lewin Daniel S. Lewin, PhD, DABSM is a pediatric psychologist, sleep specialist and licensed clinical psychologist. He is Board Certified in Sleep Medicine and Behavioral Sleep Medicine.

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