Parent Tips: That Last Nightly Bottle...and Pacifiers

I read A LOT of books about getting babies to sleep when we had Sydney. There were tidbits in all of them that I used to try to get Sydney to sleep through the night, and eventually, they either worked or she was tired enough and wired appropriately to sleep ten or eleven hours straight. But we still had a lot of challenges with her sleeping through the night consistently until she was four.

                            Sabrina Miller - Four Months Old

                            Sabrina Miller - Four Months Old

When Sabrina came along, she was a pretty good sleeper by three months, but she was still waking up once a night for milk. A friend recommended the book Twelve Hours' Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old: A Step-by-Step Plan for Baby Sleep Success by Suzy Giordano. I'd read it when Sydney was a baby and didn't see how in the world I could follow it successfully with her. There were so many rules to follow, including how many naps they could take during the day and how often to feed them. But I was determined to try it with Sabrina and end the middle-of-the-night wake-up. I followed the 12 Hours in 12 Weeks format of reducing her last bottle by a half ounce each night. It worked like a charm. By the time I got down to two ounces, she stopped waking up in the night for a bottle. She probably figured it wasn't worth the effort for two measly ounces. Things were going well in the sleep department.

At five months, we had another hiccup. Sabrina suddenly started waking up and crying out three or four times a night. Sometimes she’d go right back to sleep when you put the pacifier back in her mouth. Sometimes she'd stay awake crying for an hour or more. I was convinced it was the pacifier after a little online research. Everyone recommended going cold turkey. They warned it might be a painful week, but from then on, Sabrina would be sleeping through the night again.

So, I had our wonderful night nanny, Janis, come take care of Sabrina and got a great night’s sleep to prepare myself for the challenge. Then I rounded up every pacifier in the house, backpack, diaper bag, both cars and my purse, put them all in a bag that I hid away, and declared that Sabrina would no longer be using them. (I'd tried to implement a no pacifier policy before and other family members and nannies just ignored me. But it's impossible to ignore if they can't find them!) By the end of the week, she was only waking up once in the night, and in less than a week, she was sleeping 12 hours straight.  And Sabrina did that consistently until the next hiccup, at age 2.5, when she started climbing into our bed in the middle of the night. That's a topic for another post...

It's amazing how different our three kids are - in so many ways, including sleep. I'm happy to report that with Luke, we never had to do a thing about sleep. He took care of it all by himself, sleeping twelve hours a night by two months. He's woken up during the night less than a handful of times since.