“How do I get her to let go of that bedtime bottle?” – so many times I saw this question on forums and blogs, that I decided to plan ahead.
As in, ahead-ahead.
Timothy was a bit over 7 months when we decided to try and switch his bedtime routine, which was falling apart (or so it felt, anyway).
Almost since Timothy’s birth, it used to be like that: my hubby brings Timothy upstairs to his room, changes the diaper, puts the pj’s, tries to have a chat – and then dims the light and passes him on to me for nursing. The nighttime nursing used to be 45 minutes… then 30… then 20… and lately – probably due to a 6 pm dinner – 5-8 minutes. And Timothy kept getting more and more unhappy during the changing sessions, to put it mildly. Screaming his head off is a more accurate description. And we didn’t want to put him to bed earlier than 7:30 pm (or he wouldn’t see his dad).
So to get him off of the nurse-to-sleep routine AND get him ready to start teeth-brushing (we have two teeth! and brushing them before the nursing is kind of pointless, right?) we decided to switch over the going-to-bed thing.
So we chose a day, and went ahead with the new scenario. Shortly after 7 pm, I brought Timothy upstairs and nursed him (no light-dimming). Having eaten, he got extremely happy and excited, babbling, wiggling, laughing. So hubby had a much happier job of changing and dressing Timothy than it’s been for the past couple of months. And then hubby set in the glider, sat Timothy in his lap, and they read a bedtime book – Timothy excitedly slapping the pages and babbling something at the book.
Real quality time!
Then hubby put Timothy in bed, whispered good-night, turned the humidifier (aka white noise) on, lights off – and left.
That first night Timothy wasn’t a very happy camper going to bed. He stayed up for maybe 40 minutes, moving around, complaining on and off (started crying in honest once – so we went in and gave him the paci), and finally cornered himself against the rail and fell asleep.
Since then it got better.
Now that’s what we do every evening: nurse, change, pj’s, book, nighty-night. Next step – brushing his teeth! Or, rather, his tooth 🙂
So it seems that to get rid of that nighttime bottle, you need to start early. At least, that’s what worked for us.
PS Bath has never been part of his bedtime routine for a number of thought-through reasons, which I will share at some point later.