He only wants mom at bedtime – how do I help?
Having only one person able to do bedtime can be incredibly exhausting for that person – be it mom or anyone else. If that has become a problem in your household, consider calling in some back-up if you can. It’s a great opportunity to get other caregivers involved if at all possible.
One way to help your little one learn to fall asleep with someone else is to have the other caregiver, let’s say grandma, just go for it and do bedtime with your little one. Make sure that you and grandma have reviewed the bedtime routine so that everything is the same for your little one with the exception of who is doing it. When grandma does the bedtime routine and starts sleep training, think about whether or not you want to be in the house or not – if you need to take a break and go for a ride or walk around the block and you are confident your baby is safe at home with grandma– go for it. It will take some persistence, but your little one will learn to fall asleep with another person doing the bedtime routine.
Another way to do this is to make the change a bit more gradually. For the first few nights, have grandma in the room with you when you do the bedtime routine– but you still do all of the bedtime routine. For the next few nights, you stay in the room at bedtime, but perhaps have grandma do the first few steps of the bedtime routine and you finish it. For the next several nights, have grandma do the whole routine with you in the room for the second half of the routine. Finally, fade your presence during the routine and just have grandma do the whole thing on her own without you in the room. It will take some persistence, but they will both get the hang of it!
The final thing to think about is whether or not your little one can fall asleep on his own at bedtime. So, when mom does bedtime, does she put him down awake and let him fall asleep on his own? Or, does he usually fall asleep with mom in the room? In general, helping him learn to fall asleep on his own at bedtime will help him be able more easily after a bedtime routine with anyone.About Dr. Erin Leichman