July 02, 2015

Q: My 17-month old still sleeps with me and is addicted to playing with my hair to go to sleep. He won't take a regular blanket or stuffed animal. How can I break him from sleeping with me and needing my hair as a comfort?

A: Ouch.  That must get uncomfortable.  Start with making small changes first.  Put your hair up in a ponytail or in a bun (if it is long) and put a couple of pillows between you or sit up next to him rather than lie down at bedtime.  That way you will still be present but you can start to break the habit of him needing your hair.  Keep encouraging another transitional object as much as you can, although he may or may not take to it.  After a week or so, you can start putting him in his crib/bed at bedtime and sit nearby until he is asleep.  Every few days move yourself farther away.  Small and steady changes will be the way to be successful.

Answered by Dr. Jodi Mindell