Getting kids to sleep soundly is one of the most exhausting challenges of parenthood. Luckily for parents, Cloud b is on a mission to help through all stages of development. Our Q&A series offers expert recommendations to help solve your real family sleep issues – typically, issues most parents have to navigate. Here’s our latest with help for 15 month old twins waking up at night.
Renata posted this question for us on Facebook:
We have 15 month old twins who still wake up in the night (probably 3-4x a week) and won’t go back to sleep without a bottle. They will scream for hours if we let them (we’ve tried!). What suggestions do you have?
Here’s what moms from our Cloud b community on Facebook recommended:
- Jenny – I have twin girls that loved their milk at night in a bottle too! I diluted the milk a little more each day until they preferred plain water at night than cloudy water.
- Rebecca Michi – Children’s Sleep Consultant If they have a hungry tummy they probably will have a tough time falling asleep. Try giving them just enough to help take the edge off the hunger and give them some more milk during the day. Maybe offer a snack before bed, bananas and oatmeal are good as they induce sleep.
- Dawn – Reducing an afternoon nap, or making sure it’s not too late in the day? Really tucker them out before bed, make sure they get a fulfilling meal so they won’t wake hungry. Not sure…these suggestions sound easy but I’m sure it’s not! Good luck!
- Dany – Maybe try and make sure they get an extra bottle before bed. It sounds like they’re hungry.
- Stephanie – Feed a bit more at supper and if they’re not ready to night wean, feed them if they wake up hungry.
Jessica – Try playing some soft children’s music (like that old Winnie the pooh song) and maybe leaving a board book or 2 in each crib for them to entertain themselves with when they wake up.
And, here’s what expert Kim West, The Sleep Lady, had to say:
Just like all children, they have to learn how to put themselves to sleep without nursing to sleep. If they don’t know how to put themselves to sleep at bedtime without nursing, then they’re not going to know how to do it in the middle of the night whether it’s 12 o’clock, 1 o’clock, 3 o’clock, it doesn’t really matter.
Introduce The Shuffle
For babies six months and older who are having trouble with sleep, you can utilize The Shuffle (you can find age-appropriate guidelines in my book, Good Night, Sleep Tight). If you find that one of your babies is a champion sleeper and the other needs help, consider temporarily separating them at night until everyone has good sleep patterns.
If you have two (or more) babies that need The Shuffle, I suggest that you sit between the cribs, which will allow you to move between the babies and soothe them in turn. With this approach, you should be able to offer reassurance with just your voice after a few days.
If you have a baby who is incredibly loud and waking very frequently, this can be very disruptive for your other babies. If this is the case, I would encourage you to consider separating them until your disruptive sleeper is sleeping soundly through the night, or only waking for a night feed if needed. At that point, you can return the babies to their shared room.
It’s a little challenging, I will tell you, at this age. It’s not impossible but it’s challenging and you’re talking about several weeks of incredible consistency on your part. But eventually all of your hard work will pay off in sweet sleep for the whole family!
We hope this advice helps, Renata! Let us know how it goes.
Have advice for Renata? Share it in the comments! Also, if you want help with your family’s sleep issues, let us know in the comments below and we’ll try to answer them in future blog posts.
Sleep. Be healthy. Be happy!
About The Sleep Lady:
Kim West is a mother of two teenage girls and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for twenty years. Known as The Sleep Lady® by her clients, over the past sixteen years she has helped tens of thousands of tired parents all over the world learn to listen to their intuition, recognize their child’s important cues and behaviors, and gently create changes that promote and preserve his or her healthy sleep habits.
West has appeared on the Dr. Phil, Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, TLC’s Bringing Home Baby and CNN, and has been written about in a number of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Baby Talk, Parenting, The Baltimore Sun, USA Today, The Telegraph, The Irish Independent and the Washington Post. West hosts the sleep section of The Newborn Channel, played in maternity wards in hospitals across the country.
West has spoken to numerous parenting groups across the country about the importance of children’s sleep and how to gently teach your child to go to sleep and sleep through the night.
West is the author of The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy with Joanne Kenen. She is also the author of 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies (2008) and The Good Night, Sleep Tight WORKBOOK (2010). Both published by Easton Studio Press.
Kim West received her master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. She lives with her family in Annapolis, Maryland. Visit her website at www.sleeplady.com