28 answers

14 Month Old Keeps Waking Up, Standing in Crib Crying

How do I get my 14 month old son to sleep for longer stretches and what do I do when he is standing up in his crib and crying 3 -4 times per night? I used to be able to play his music and he would go back to sleep, but now that he is standing up when I get to him, that doesn't work. He is a happy kid who eats a lot, but sleep is not his strong suit. He has a great bed time routine that starts with a big dinner. He goes to bed at the same time every night. We have been doing all these things since he was around 4-5 months old. He has never been a good sleeper. My lack of sleep feels cumulative and I'm beyond tired. For those of you who have been here, any advice? And when does it get better :-)?

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Oh that must be so exhausting. I've found a lot of good sleep advice here: www.pantley.com/elizabeth

And if he's teething, try Hyland's homeopathic teething tablets.

Best wishes for good sleep!

I too was frustrated when my son wasn't sleeping through the night by 1 year. I didn't get any let up till about 18 month about the same time he was done teething. He might need some Tylenol if that's the case. They go through phases. Also look at how many naps he is getting and for how long. Looking back - I think he he too long of naps. He loved his naps but they didn't help with night time.

My son sarted this when he was about 13 months, I found if I did not go in he would fall right back asleep. It is kind of hard the first night , but after that he slept through the night.

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Where do I start? I'll try to be brief. I have a 2 year old. He has gone through sleeping spurts. We have tried 2 different methods. When he was aobut 9 months, we tried an online book called "Sleepsense". This worked for a short period of time. Then after he turned a year old the struggles returned. He ended up sleeping in our bed just so we could get a little peace. After a year of waking up exhausted from being hit with various limbs of our son on and off all night, we realized something had to be done. We simply followed "Supernanny's" advise on her show and we are sleeping peacefully now. If you have not watched the show, I can go over it with you in detail in an email. Just let me know. Who would have guessed that applying something from a reality show like that would work? It did for us and if she were here I would give her the biggest HUG ever!

Best Wishes for a good night sleep,

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, i have a great solution. there is a book called "how to solve your childs sleep problems"...i don't know the author, but it saved me when my 4 year old had a nightmare about snakes, and then WOULDN'T go to bed at night. it was horrible. it will be hard for you to do it, but if you follow the steps, he will be sleeping through the night in about 3 nights. IT WORKS...i just had to get the book for my daughter who's 15 month old son was doing the same thing. he now sleeps through the night. it is VERY important that you do it. you need sleep to be a good mom. and what you are going to do will be hard, but necessary. let me know how it works! thanks, V.

1 mom found this helpful

If you can emotionally put up with two hours or so of crying he's probably old enough to let him cry it out. It usually doesn't take more than a few days. You have to be at the right point of exhaustion to harden your heart and not respond to his crying. I had to do it with all three of mine. When I knew they no longer needed to feed during the night, after 6 or 8 months in my case, and I was so wiped out I was about to lose it, I let them cry. Sitting there listening to them cry in their rooms is agonizing, I know, but it worked. I think the longest one was about 2-1/2 hours.
For me nothing was worse than the preschool years. They were adorable but I was so worn out all the time. It gets better the older they get. You are tired tired tired, and then one day it's all over and you're all nostalgic and wish they were babies again.

I feel for you! I have a 10 1/2 month old and a 2 year old and it took them both almost a year to sleep thru the night. I'm also an "older" mom, and it's hard!!!

Few of things that helped both of them: 1.) Warm bath before bed. 2.) Warm milk/formula/breastmilk 3.) Bowl of baby oatmeal to fill their tummies 2.) Tylenol and oragel if teething 3.) NOT going into the room to sooth them every time they cry (but you have to start in short time increments - this was a life saver for us - we started with 5 minutes, then 10, then 15... then they finally started giving up crying and sleeping thru the night after about 3-4 days of doing that - it was REALLY hard on us, but paid off in BIG ways) 4.) Stopping breastfeeding and the bottle if formula fed also helped them both sleep thru the night. GOOD LUCK! It will happen eventually, that is the good news!


He may be having night terrors which are really bazaar. They look like they are awake but they are really not. Look it up on babycenter.com and it will tell you how to deal with it. Good Luck.

I too was frustrated when my son wasn't sleeping through the night by 1 year. I didn't get any let up till about 18 month about the same time he was done teething. He might need some Tylenol if that's the case. They go through phases. Also look at how many naps he is getting and for how long. Looking back - I think he he too long of naps. He loved his naps but they didn't help with night time.

My son did the same thing and I was SOOOOO tired too! I got fed up and just let him cry it out one night and the very next night he slept through the night! That first night was torture to listen to him cry (for an hour) but it was so worth it. He may revert every once in awhile, but luckily the crying sessions do get shorter.

HI A.,
My second daughter was a non-sleeper. In fact, she didn't sleep through the night until she was 4 1/2! She met up with a lot of things in her sleep that disturbed her - sometimes nightmares and sometimes, I don't know what. She could sometimes talk about it, but usually not. However it was clear she just needed the comfort of either myself or her father. I gave her chamomile tea at dinner and before bedtime and that sometimes helped. She also is clearly a very sensitive person (woman now) and needed the grounding energy of being loved and held.
best thoughts, J. Birns

Wow. I really feel for you as I have had so many friends with the same issues. I almost feel guilty because both of my children started sleeping through the night at about 8 weeks. They woke up once in the night to nurse and that was it. There were plenty of sleepless nights during teething or the flu.....but I never suffered with either baby up all night otherwise. My little boy was so easy to potty train because he could not stand being wet. Not for a second. And even if his diaper was dry in the night, he tended to sweat and didn't like that either. I switched to cool, cotton jammies, even in the winter. (He's 12 now and still just sleeps in his underpants). I was thinking also about you mentioning a big dinner before bed. Your little boy might have a tummy ache. Try giving him dinner a little earlier, some non-overstimulating play, and then a nice warm bath before bed.
If he has never been a good sleeper, then this will be a challenge for you as not sleeping is his routine. I gave a friend's little boy a stuffed puppy toy and told him to make sure his baby puppy goes nigh-nigh. Shhhhhhh when baby puppy is nigh-nigh. He patted his puppy and put it to sleep....and vice versa. If he woke up in the night, he patted his puppy to put it back to sleep. Make sure your little guy isn't too warm, doesn't have a belly ache, and give him a snuggy to "take care of". I seriously hope you can get through this, but you need to do it now so that he won't be 3 years old and still up all night. It won't be good for either of you.
Take care and let us all know how it goes.

Here are few things you might consider
maybe he's eating too much and his tummy gets upset or it causes a bowel movement which would wake him

maybe he is too warm or too cold and that would wake him up

maybe he is seeing something on tv that might give him dreams that he can't decipher or causes him confusion or fear (even advertisements or cartoons trigger ideas they can't verbalize to us)

maybe you can let him stay up a bit longer (try 15 minute interval increases 1 week at a time)that might at least give you a bit longer sleep once you go to bed.

Oh that must be so exhausting. I've found a lot of good sleep advice here: www.pantley.com/elizabeth

And if he's teething, try Hyland's homeopathic teething tablets.

Best wishes for good sleep!

Hi A.,

It sounds like you have done all the correct things and have a for him from the start!!

Are you picking him up when you go in in the middle of the night? If you know he is not hungry and just wants attention then try laying him right back down. Don't take him out of the crib but just lay him down and tell him it is still nigh-nigh time and leave the room. Baby steps…talk to him quietly in the dark, start his music, lay him back down again and again and then leave the room. After doing this for a few nights with our daughter I was at my wits end and finally gave up and just walked out of the room. I was shocked when about one minute later she stopped crying and went right to sleep. When this does not work I send my husband in…when the baby realizes that mom is not going to come, then they also tend to give up easier.

Best of luck!

Okay this is exactly what was happenning with our 18 month old, who is our fourth, and we didn't know what to do because the other 3 had slep through the night from about 3 months on! I asked my doctor, a great pediatrition and he said, "if you had 3 that slept through the night, consider yourself lucky"! So we were lost, our son like yours ate really well, then we did bathtime, he always went down great, then would wake up. Finally a wise old friend told me, "you need to feed that kid an EARLY dinner, fill him up, then give him bathtime, etc. with last bottle. She said we were putting him to bed with too much on his tummy. The first night we tried it, it worked. Now he still wakes some nights, but not all. Good luck. Just know you are not alone, lots of kids are still doing this at his age, and I SO sympathize with your sleep depro!! I thought I was going to loose my mind not long ago...

I hear ya sister! My 16-month-old is THE SAME WAY! Like you, my lack of sleep affects my whole life now... my relationships, my energy level, etc. I can get him to go right back to sleep if he's laying down or sitting, but not if he's standing.

I finally reached out to his pediatrician, and I'm not sure if I agree with all that she said. She told me my son is what they call a 'trained night waker' and his behavior needs to be unlearned. Right now, he feels rewarded for waking up in the middle of the night because I usually pick him and hold him back to sleep or I bring him to bed with me. Unfortuntely, this doesn't work for me either because he's such a restless sleeper, as most toddlers are that I don't sleep anyway.

And unfortunately, her solution is one that goes against everything I believe in. I HATE the cry-it-out method, but to get some sleep, I'm ready to try just about anything. She said it would have to be a 2-week commitment, but if things changed faster, then all the better for us. She also stressed making sure that he doesn't feel abandoned. When he cries, go in and make sure nothing is seriously wrong, then pat his back or head and tell him I love him and that I'll see him in the morning. Then, walk out of the room. If he continues to cry, wait small increments (like 3 minutes, then 7). She said he may cry all night for the first couple of nights, but that eventually, he'll learn that there's no reward for waking during the night.

Last night was Night #1, and he only woke twice. Both times he put himself back to sleep within 10 minutes. I'm still not sure how I feel about it, and I'll modify the plan if I feel the absolute need, but I'm like you... I just need sleep.... Good luck, and I'll be checking out the responses for my own sake as well as yours :)

Hi A.,
Through reading a lot of books, I learned that babies dreams increase greatly when they have some disruption in their lives or have recently acquired a new skill, be it talking, learning to walk or run, anything new and stimulating for them. That could be some of it. Also, can you cut back on naptime a bit? A warm bath and soft music can be very soothing. I assume you have some night light in the room and a few lovies in the crib for him to cling to when he self- comforts in the middle of the night.
My daughter was doing this night waking as a baby and I remember reaching my limit emotionally because of lack of sleep. Eventually what worked was this: After all of the lovely, comforting things that we did together at bedtime (rocking, singing, stories, kisses) I would hug and kiss her and lay her in bed and say goodnight. If she cried out in the middle of the night, I would stand OUTSIDE the door and tell her that I loved her, remind her that she was OK, told her to lay down and go to sleep and told her that I'd see her in the morning. Sometimes she would still cry- once for 45 minutes. She got the point after a few weeks. It's SO hard but you need rest or you can't be a good mommy or wife! Good luck.

Healthy sleep habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Wisebluth it's a godsend! we started my daughter on his methods at about 14mo and had felt prior to that she'd never slept well, now at 4 she sleeps great and actually still naps most days! My son is 2 and he was raised on Dr Wisebluth from day one and has always been a good night time sleeper. It's a great reference book, not one you'll want to check out from the library. My sister and I share a copy and I really want my own because whenever I need to refer to a section, she has it! :)

Hugs, dear. Lack of sleep is par for the course in parenting toddlers, I'm afraid. Just go get your baby when he calls for you. Once he figures out that you consistently respond to his fear and needs, he'll lose that anxiety that is re-awakening him throughout the night.

We used a baby monitor and when my daughter started to wake up and call for me I'd go get her before she was upset and distraught. It strengthened our bond and her trust in us. Then she would come to bed and sleep comfortably, secure in her own safety and in our attachment.

I think it's pretty unnatural for a young baby to be physically separated from his parents all night long, and is a uniquely western concept. Of course your son stands up, cries and calls for you. That's what a baby naturally does when he is alone, frightened and feeling vulnerable.

Check to see if he is teething. Also now that the weather is better try going outside once in the morning and once in the afternoon. He may need extra phyiscal activity now that he is older. My oldest had the same sleep issues, she just did not need as much sleep as other children...but doing this seemed to help abit. My 16mo is doing the same and I started the same schedule with her and it is starting work..last night was the third night in the row that she slept through the night....keep your fingers crossed...ahahhah. And she has gotten most of her teeth too. And I know you dont want to hear this but some kids just dont need as much sleep as others.....My oldest is now 7 and sleeps like a log...but didnt really sleep though the night until she was 3 and in preschool.... She not only needed physical activity but mental stimmulation too.... Good luck...enjoy coffee for now...and catch all the little naps you can get....:)

My son sarted this when he was about 13 months, I found if I did not go in he would fall right back asleep. It is kind of hard the first night , but after that he slept through the night.

Hi A.,
My kids are long past that stage, but when they were there
they used to play so hard together, that they literally had
worn themselves out by bed time. Their bed time was 8pm at that age, and we would start winding down around 7pm with a bath and 1/2 hour of a tv show, or a book. things to think about for your son are, does he have a tummy ache?
how much does he nap during the day, and at what times?
Is he hungry when he wakes up at night? Maybe he just
needs reassurance that you are still there. What do you do with him when he wakes up at night? I'm just thinking that if you take him back to your bed, then that is why he
continues to wake up, does he go to bed by himself? When our first one was that age, she would wake up because she was not with us anymore, because we had moved her to her bed once she fell asleep, so we started laying in her bed with her until she fell asleep, and she started staying there longer and longer until she got used to it. Good luck, I hope some of this helped.

It really only takes a night, maybe two of total insanity, but honestly will work.

The little darling has trained you. The next time he wakes you, go into his room, check him over...and only say; "its night night darling, go to sleep"

Leave the room

If he cries, screams, watch the clock, it always seems longer than it really is. I mean time really drags on when your baby is crying for you. He will go back to sleep when he realizes that you are not going to pop in and out. If he climbs out of the crib. Quietly tell him night night darling, and put him back in bed. Don't have conversation, leave the room and wait. 15 mins feels like 2 hrs. But really it will work.

Good luck

(The worst I saw was my niece at age 3, it took my sister 3 nights and Bella cried for over an hour, she could be very dramatic) The sooner you do it the better.

Also you could run the plan by the pediatrician, they are helpful too.

Former nanny and mother of 22yr Son and 19 yr Daughter

He could be teething in whiich case I like the teething tabs from 1800HOMEOPATHY (they have alot of other great tabs too).
You have to be consistant with homeopathy- ie. 2 every hour.
Or the room could be cold or hot, wet diaper.... I know how you feel, my son hasnt been the greatest sleeper either. Seems as hes getting older hes doing better. I had to learn not(still reminding myself) to get attached to any sleeping pattern, especially a good one- they always change.
Good luck!

If you stay at home, sleep when he naps. Otherwise, if you can, take the side off his crib, and lay withhim until he falls asleep. He's craving you, and if you baby him while he's a baby, you won't have to baby him when he's an adult. He just needs to know you're there! It's very scary to be aware of your surroundings and realize you're all by yourself in a very dark room. Maybe a futon mattress on the floor of your room until he gets confident enough to move to his own room? You will both benefit in two big ways: He will sleep longer knowing you're right there near him, and he will learn to tune his body to your ( and your partner's) sleep cycles. His rhythm will line up with your own after about a week, and you will all sleep like.... babies! I would recommend reading The Happiest toddler on the Block, it has some wonderful sleep suggestions that don't teach them that you are unavailable like crying-it-out does. All it does is damage your baby emotionally. Good for you for responding to your babies' needs!!!

I finally had to just let my son cry. It was really hard at first and sometimes it took a while but he wore himself out and went back to sleep. Other times I go in when he first wakes (especially when he's not feelig well), pick him up and rock him. He is usually back to sleep in a few minutes. My pedi suggested the CIO method. I hate to listen to him crying but there are times when I would have to rock him all night if I didn't just let him wear himself out. They only stand up because they can and it doesn't occur to them to lay back down to sleep. Oh, when I do go pick him up, I don't talk to him or change him or do anything that may encourage the awakeness.

It gets better, just before you lose sanity. :) I found that these stages seemed to correlate to growth and development spurts, like walking and talking. Mine seemed to be more unsettled and hyped at night during those milestones. I guess the brain is pretty wired. Stick to your bedtime routine. Maybe create an expectation that tonight, no more standing up if you wake. This might sound nuts....but it worked for my daughter (not my son) he needs a book, continous low music all night, a huggie....sometimes my voice from my bed "its still nighttime, your safe , I love you, night night." Next little outburst, a gentle shush, and he gives up and goes back to sleep. Its still waking, but easier than be totally wide awake up and out of bed. I also read "Helping Your Child Sleep Through The Night," Joanne Cuthbertson & Susie Schevill, which offered a lot of subtle improvements to what I believed was a perfect bedtime routine. It also provided a gradual weaning process...weaning of expecting mommy to come in, that was very loving and do-able, and not nearly as shocking as the Ferber method.

I'm 40, stay at home mother of a 3 year old boy and a four year old daughter.

Try keeping him in bed with you, the family bed or in a bed near your bed. The north American way does not feed the emotions of a child. And one does have to give up some of their needs for the needs of their child, which will be different with each child.

Hi A.!

I remember when my son was having "Night Terror's". I took him to the Doctor, and the Dr. told me this was the age that most children change their sleep habits. They are more aware of their surroundings. They remember movies on TV, Books you've read, etc... Basically, this is when they can develope a fear of sleeping in their room.....and especially sleeping alone!

I don't think this is a "ploy" to get your attention. I believe he is afraid, and is unable to settle down enough to stay asleep.
You may have to really look at his room with the lights off, and see everything he see's to determine what could possibly be scary, etc... and change it.
If there is any type of "security" attachment he has, I would offer it to him at bedtime.
Also, a regular bath at night really helps to pre-sooth, especially with that Lavender baby stuff they have everywhere now :0)
The best thing you can do, is to let him know you're there for him without changing the sleeping situations. It's SO MUCH EASIER to bring him to bed with you, so you can finally get some sleep. DON'T! You will start even a more difficult challenge.
Maybe you have to come in more often while he's still awake to show him that you're always there for him. You may even have to sleep in his room for a few minutes at a time to re-gain his trust in his room.
And I'm sure you'll get great advice from Mamasource!

Good luck!
:o) N.

Oh the pain of night time crying. I have a 8 year old that I had this problem with. My 2 year old not so much.
Here is what every Mom doesn't want to here because its the hardest. We slept out in the hallway & on his bedroom floor. The best thing is put them in a crib so they are safe and let them cry. It unfortunatly took 2 months of doing this everynight. BUT it worked now he sleeps through everything. Don't give in make it work. I know as a Mom that you worry about missing the cry that alerts you to something wrong but its instinctive and you won't miss it. Plan on a hard week and then it slowly gets better.
Like my kids know my favorite word is NAP and I hear you on the frustration I sure hope this helps.

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