Toddler 13-23 Months
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LOVEY: Make sure there is a lovey in the bed with the child. A lovey can be something that is already known to the child and in use for bedtime, a new one that the child assists in picking out, or use an old one in addition to a new one so there are two (or 3). Make sure that the objects DO NOT make any noise, music, or have lights. The goal is to ensure that the lovey provides comfort but doesn't become a distraction that keeps them from sleeping. The lovey can be a small stuffed animal, a very small lovey blanket or even a ripped up old t-shirt of yours that your child can become attached to and thus associate with sleeping. “Wear” this lovey (place it in your bra for a couple of hours per day for a few days before you implement the schedule changes so that it gets your smell on it, or sleep with it). The lovey should be something that is portable and easy to replace if needed. It is good to have several so they can be switched out if needed if one is soiled. Even if your child doesn't want a lovey, use it daily with each nap and bedtime, during the pre-soothing routine so they become accustomed to it being there and has your smell with them. This should be done as soon as possible so it can be something your child associates with sleep. Feel free to use wubbanub (paci loveys) listed below or something that you have already. This lovey should stay in the room at all times. It should not be used as a play object outside of the bedroom.
PACIFIERS: It's good to have multiple pacis. Use this or any kind your child takes to. Even though the baby will be unable to put the pacifier into their mouth on their own, litter the crib with lots of pacis so they can be used as needed by the caregivers. It is advisable to wait to introduce the pacifier until breastfeeding is established (1-2 weeks). But if the child is fussy and it is known that a good feed was had, then it is fine to offer a paci for comfort.
BUMPERS: NO BUMPERS, TOYS, BLANKETS, ETC SHOULD BE PLACED IN OR UNDER THE CRIB OR BASSINET!
CRIB TEETHING GUARD: This helps eliminate your child from chewing on the wooden crib rail as they are pulling to stand especially when teething.
SOUND MACHINE: The sound machine listed below, although expensive, is preferred because the quality of the sound can be controlled. It is useful for the gradual phase as well as once the implementation process is completed. A simple box fan or an app on your phone can be used in its place as well. The sound machine will help drown out extraneous noises from cars, dogs, siblings, etc. Keep the sound machine close to the bed at medium ‘volume’/speed for now. Eventually, though, eliminate the sound machine (after a few months of the child sleeping through the night). The idea is that once the child is ‘trained’, small noises, even if they wake your child, will not interfere with them soothing themselves back to sleep. It can be used occasionally and intermittently for many scenarios once it's eliminated including if there are guests at the home while the child is sleeping, there is a thunderstorm, the TV is on for the parents, or to use during travel. The sound machine is not something that should be used ‘forever’ because it becomes a crutch, eventually, that the child comes to depend on and cannot sleep without. Therefore, use it at the beginning of establishing good sleep habits but ultimately eliminate it by decreasing the volume of the sound every few nights until it's completely off.
TIMER: These timers can be set:
Once the child wakes so the next sleep interval can be determined. If cues are noticed earlier, the timer can help determine what those intervals are and similarly if you can look on the timer and see how long your child was able to stay awake (3 hrs, 6hrs, 7.5 hrs, etc).
Each time a caregiver comes out of the room, during the implementation phase, so that it can be known how long you must wait before going back in the room to soothe (1, 3, 5, 7, etc minutes).
Once the child falls asleep so it can be known how long the nap length was.
ALL TRACKING APP: This list of apps track sleep, diapers, feeds, it’s a makeshift monitor and has a sound machine app as well. Check it out and see what calls out to you. But feel free to use what you have as well.
NIGHTLIGHT: It is good to have a basic night light in the room. There is an example below but any will do. You want it to be bright enough so your child can see where they are when they go to sleep as well as when they wake up in the middle of the night. Ensure that it is not too bring that it hinders your child from falling asleep. Avoid blue nightlights.
BLACKOUT CURTAINS: Make sure to use them in the room for naps AND bedtime. The room should be pitch black, even during the day for a nap, with the exception of a night light. The goal is that the child should be able to ‘see’ where they are when going to sleep as well as upon waking. Once the child is sleeping through the night for a period of 1-2 months, allow some light to enter the room, but not a lot. Below is a link for blackout film which can be used temporarily in your child’s room to block out any light that comes in on the sides of current curtains and darken it more so. Or simply use black garbage bags to block out the light. Turn off any other lights especially lights from electronic devices and keep them off during cuddling time and bedtime routine with the exception of a lamp that can be on during book time. If your child is used to sleeping in their room for naps and it's not too bright, getting new curtains may not be necessary.
VIDEO MONITOR: It is a good idea to have and keep the video monitor close by during the implementation process as well as during the gradual process in order to visualize your child at all times to help determine why they are crying or if they are sleeping or not. If your child is crying because a limb is stuck in the crib or they are fussing because they want to be picked up, you will be able to determine the situation best if you can see the child but the child can't see you. Of course, if they are crying because a limb is stuck, go in and help before the interval is up during the implementation phase.
BOTTLES: These bottles claim to help babies who are gassy and report that babies do similarly with this bottle as they do when breastfed. If gassiness is not an issue, any brand baby bottle is fine to use. Attempt to use a smaller nipple to help your child to drink less in the middle of the night and a larger nipple size during the day to help increase intake. Eventually, the goal will be switching your child to sippy cups for milk and water.
CUPS: The goal is for your child to ingest 16-20 oz of milk during the day. It can be offered in an open cup or sippy cups listed below. Use one type of cup for water and the other for milk. Eliminate juice from the diet and use it only for special occasions.
INFANT TOOTHBRUSH: Use a toothbrush without toothpaste, to brush your child’s gums and teeth after the feeding they have before bed. It is a good habit to get into now and it will help wake them up if trying to fall asleep at the bottle after a feed and before bedtime.
PLATES: Make sure to incorporate fruits, veggies, and protein into all meals, if possible. Use a portioned out plate to help with the visual for your child.
INSTANT POT: Use this cooker to make fast and nutritious meals that can be ready so less time has to be spent on dinner and bedtime can be on time.