Toddler Sleeping

It has been a while since I have updated Harvey’s sleeping patterns – in fact not since he was three months old.  Sleeping was never much of an issue with us as Harvey learnt to put himself to sleep by the time he was about 3.5 months old.  His bed time has always been around 7pm.  Harvey would normally get up and have his milk once in the middle of the night.  He is also an early bird like his Mum and Dad – although much earlier!!!  His wake up time is generally between 5:30-6am….  Yes, sleep has been fragmented for us for quite some time, though occasionally we have period of a week or two where he sleeps through the night and even until 7am!

For the day time, here is the common toddler sleep routine:

  • 7 am: wake up
  • 1 pm: nap of no more than 2 hours
  • 3 pm: wake up
  • 7 pm: bedtime.

Harvey never complied with the above.  As mentioned above, Harvey is an early bird so his common routine is:

  • 5-6 am: wake up
  • Either around 10:30-11:30 am or after lunch 1:00 pm: nap of no more than 2 hours
  • Depending to when he has napped (morning or noon): Harvey won’t have another nap until his evening bed time
  • 7 pm: bedtime.

Note:  Harvey dropped day naps time to once a day since about 13.5 months old. 

Once Harvey turned 1, I wanted to completely stop his night feed, though as he seemed to be drinking all of his nighttime milk I thought he was actually hungry or going through a growth spurt.  This went on for several months until we came across a period of 4 nights in a row where he would get up and desperately want milk about 3 times per night!! It’s also worth mentioning that Harvey gets very uptight when he wants his milk and gets very worked up to the point of getting a rash.  So naturally we thought he actually was hungry.


As most parents would do, it was time for some teamwork.  We both sat down and evaluated the situation, trying to understand Harvey’s behaviour towards the milk bottle.  Here is our analytical process map:

harv routine 2

We then realised that milk + bottle was simply comfort for Harvey’s!!  And it was definitely time to stop!  So we began root cause analysis by looking into his bedtime routines.  The bedtime routine is usually carried out by Jarrod which was:

  • Brush teeth
  • Read
  • Milk
  • Bed

It was easy to see where we went wrong with this routine – and was the reason why Harvey associates his milk as the bedtime comfort.  To overcome this, we switched the routine to:

  • Milk
  • Brush Teeth
  • Read
  • Bed

Harvey easily adapted with the new routine.  We were expecting him to take at least a week to adjust e.g.  still getting up in the middle of the night and wanting a bottle or two.  We were also prepared to go cold-turkey if we had to unless he escalated to the point where all the rashes break out during his tantrum.  But luckily for us, we didn’t have to.  Yes Harvey did get up briefly but for a bit of a cuddle, but then went back straight to bed without the need for milk!

So, no drama for us and our sleep has gone back to normal.  Well when I say normal, I mean that we generally get up once to give him a quick pat/cuddle if he has a nightmare or cannot find his Teddy.  The very early rise and shine in the morning still continues though……..


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