Many parents face sleepless nights when there’s a baby involved, and we’re all guilty of letting our baby into our beds from time to time. Parenting expert Kathryn Mewes, answers one reader’s question…

Q.) My 10 month old refuses to sleep in his cot so gets in with us at night. I’ve tried letting him cry it out but he just won’t settle. I am pregnant and due in a few months and really want him in his own bed by then. Please help!

A.) I have great sympathy for you. You must be exhausted and I fully understand you wanting your son to sleep in his own bed.

You are right in that he does need to be left to ‘shout it out’ and this is so hard to listen to but I don’t believe there is any other way with a child of 10 months. He is now fully aware of the routine you have of him coming to your room so breaking this is not going to be easy.

I would suggest you try the following:

  • Ensure his bedroom is very dark, if you haven’t got a blackout blind you can try sprinkling water on the glass and line the windows with tin foil.
  • Make sure his bedroom is warm and cosy and he is not able to climb from the cot.
  • Give him a clear bedtime routine that involves bath, milk and a story before being placed in his cot while he is still awake.
  • Leave the room and accept he is going to shout. At first he will be shouting for you. He then accepts he needs to settle alone and will shout due to not quite knowing how to do it.

IMPORTANT: Listen for the pauses rather than the shouting. For as long as there are pauses he is thinking about how to settle.

Do not enter the room as you are likely to disturb him trying to settle. The more you go into the room the more frustrated he will become.

REMEMBER: He is shouting because he wants to sleep, not because he needs you!

I have been guiding children to sleep for 20 years and if you can remain consistent and leave them to settle themselves after a shout you can have this resolved in three consecutive nights. Please make sure that you have someone to support you and that you feel 100% ready to make the change. You need to feel strong enough in yourself to see this through three nights. Good luck!

Parenting expert Kathryn Mewes is brought to Baby London in conjunction with Milton. Well known as C4’s Three Day Nanny, Kathryn’s expertise covers sleep problems, eating and weaning, behavior and discipline. |

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