I wondered if anyone could share some advice on how I should tackle my daughter's bedtime protests. She's just turned one and is a very happy and content baby that hardly cries or objects to anything. Up until 11months she was a dream to put to bed (naps and night time) she'd settle herself in her cot with lullabies and drift off within 10-20mins without a squark. Then it was all most overnight she seemed unable to settle herself any more at night time only. She will happily drift off at nap times without any issues but despite the fact she is often shattered she seems to fight it and really struggle to settle. She stands up in her cot and throws things out to get our attention. She will cry until we go to her - when we do we will ignore her/not get eye contact and lay her down. This happens for about 2hours until she is shattered so can't help but fall asleep. I've changed tact and stayed in with her helping to settle her by stroking/patting etc and she will fall asleep much more quickly - about 30mins. We also rocked her in her buggy and she nodded off in seconds so she is tired but just can't settle herself. I have a bedtime routine that hasn't changed for 6 months- Bath, milk, play, book, bed etc. This all happened around the time she started to crawl and get mobile so I'm wondering if I just sit it out as it may be a phase or should I start to tackle this now in case it escalates? I just wondered if anyone else has experienced anything similar or may have some advice? Huge thanks
I would give all of the reassurance she needs, but while not taking her out the cot. Full eye contact, lots of care and compassion. shushing, stroking, patting. Lying her back down.
Develop a mantra you constantly repeat. "Sleep time now. We lie down quietly to sleep. Nan night" (or whatever) and whisper it every time she makes a fuss or tries to sit up.
Then over time slowly withdraw the reassurance needed. So after a while maybe you just need to lean into the cot and stroke her cheek (or whatever you do) and she won't try to stand anymore. Then after a few more days/weeks just stroke cheek when she fusses, stand and wait next to the cot when calm. Then start standing a steep step away from cot. Then in doorway. Etc.
This is called Gradual Withdrawal. It's not a quick fix. It might take a few weeks. But it's gentle and kind and compassionate.