Parenting involves a lot of work around “readiness”. And there’s good reason for that. Ultimately, if a kid isn’t developmentally ready for something- no rewarding, pleading, punishing, nagging, or anything else will be able to make it happen. The problem? There’s no way to actually know when your child is ready or not.
With any luck, we’re on the road to getting our toddler to sleep without a bottle and sleep through the night. How? By doing the exact same thing we’ve tried many times since, at 5 months, or baby refused to fall asleep without a bottle in their mouth.
At the same time, we’ve also started sleeping in a separate room. (yes- our toddler is now smugly dominating a queen size bed while the toddler bed we bought sits forlornly in the corner. Baby steps.) Which, by all rights, should have been a recipe for disaster- trying to get our baby to fall asleep without a bottle and alone?! Two transitions at once?! That’s way too much, surely!
Turns out- the biggest transition for kiddo is getting used to all the extra sleep. Go figure.
This is the same toddler who, just a few months ago, screamed bloody murder when we tried to put them to bed alone. The same toddler who spent 4 straight days barely sleeping when we refused to give them a bottle until we finally gave in. And, yes, we even tried both. We tried all the tips, read pretty much every book. At the end of the day- our toddler wasn’t ready.
The biggest sign that they were ready now? Honestly? Nothing. Nada. There was no indication that this was going to work, we just once again reached our breaking point and gave it a try and it took.
Well, I suppose that’s a slight oversimplification. We’re also being a bit smarter about it- so maybe we’re the ones who are finally ready to do it right.
Kiddo is still initially going down with a bottle, and we’re slowly, about 1 oz a week, reducing the amount in it. Apparently some parents have managed 1 oz a day, our attempts to do this have failed. Kiddo also does still need one bottle in the middle of the night night, and we’re figuring out how to tell thirst vs. comfort. If it’s just wanting for comfort- they can figure out how to settle down without it. Thirst is another story, even my partner gets up for drinks in the middle of the night. We’re dwindling that bottle as well, and trying to encourage daytime drinks instead. We’re not being woken up to a soaking bed anymore, kiddo is sleeping for 6 hour stretches without needing anything. It’s not perfect, but it’s progress.
I doubt this is the end of our issues with kiddo’s sleep. It’s always been a constant up and down. For some reason, kiddo seems to think that sleeptime is the right time to get nourishment and keeps ending up trying to get almost all food/drink while asleep rather than awake. I’m not sure how much of it is normal and how much of it isn’t, but it’s what we’ve got to handle.