June 21, 2007,
M.L. asks from Cranston, RI on June 17, 2007
16 Month Old with Sleep Issues
I have a sixteen month old boy who we are having major sleep issues with. He has started to wake up between midnight and two in the morning and refuses to go to sleep in his crib again. Out of sheer exhaustion, I have been bringing him into my bed after trying several times and sometimes a few hours to put him back in his own bed. I will not let him cry it out as many suggestions in other posts recommend. I am not comfotable with this method and feel there has to be another way! My husband and I are becoming very frusturated with the whole situation! He had started sleeping through the night a few weeks ago, but then I had to go away and my husband was with him and when I got back, everything was worse! We have established what I think is a good bedtime routine (video, bath, stories, bottle, bed) and we try to get him in bed by eight o'clock at the latest. I just can't seem to figure out what we are doing wrong! Please help!!
M.T. answers from Springfield on June 18, 2007
I have a 10 and a half month old son. From about 2 months, we started to form a bed time routine. When I say bed time routine, I basicaly just mean putting him down to sleep. We put him down wide awake in his crib at 7:30 each night and within 10-15 mins. he is asleep. For the most part, he doesn't cry. The few times that he has cried (when he started sitting up by himself, pulling himself up), I let him cry for a few mins., go in and tell him it is bedtime, lay him back down (I don't know if your baby uses a pacifier, but our son does for bed time) and give him his pacifier. We also have the Fisher Price Ocean Acquariam and will turn it on and it helps sooth him to sleep. Good luck!!! And you aren't doing anything wrong, each baby is different and do things differently.
T.C. answers from Boston on June 18, 2007
I have a 10year old and a 9 mth old and I hate to be the one to tell you but the self-soothing method works. I did not let my 10yr old son “cry it out” ,as you say, and he slept in my bed on and off until he was 6 yrs old until I had to make him stay in bed. I made him “cry it out”. I can tell you that the older they get the harder it is to fix it. It was starting to affect my marriage and my career. I used the self-soothing method for my 9mth old and she was sleeping through the night in a week. I know no one likes to listen to a baby cry but this is a learning method, they do not feel abandoned or love loss. You need to follow the method to the note and it works. When you first put your child in his crib he needs to be a wake. This will let him know where he is and also that when he wakes up in the middle of the night he is frighten, he is in the same place that he was when you laid him down. If he does wake up and cries or whines give him 3 mins to start then go and so that he can see you but don’t touch him stand by the crib just so he knows that you are still with him. Leave the room and then wait 5mins…continue this until he falls asleep. Increase the time by 3 to 5 mins every time you go in. I know it sounds like a lot but after a week he should be sleeping through the night. The other suggestion that I have is removing the bottle before bed. Two things are happening, 1. Your child is associating this with a bedtime routine and is finding that he may need this again to fall asleep. 2. is that at 16 mnths his digestive system might be telling him that he is hungry and need this again to fall asleep. Bath, stories are great idea I would slowly removing the bottle or give it to him a hour earlier. So you don’t think that I am making this up, I did some reading and also spoke to three sleep specialist from Harvard and Boston Children's Hospital and this is what they recommended. They also gave me the above self-soothing routine (with a little more detail) but if you are not into letting him do this than I can only suggest removing the bottle. Let me suggest to you one of the books that I read “Solve your Child’s Sleep Problems” by Richard Ferber M.D. I know everyone talks about how cold some of his methods are but if you actual read the book it is not it has scientific studies behind it and I actually spoke to him about this and my 9mth old and I left his office thinking why did I not like him before (talking about what people told me when my son was born). Dr Ferber was very accommodating and is a very nice person he over explained things to me and was very patient. The other place that I spoke to was the sleep center with Harvard Medical and although they are rivals of Dr. Ferber they said the same things. I can only tell you what I went through and hope that is helps you or someone else. Good luck with what ever you decide to do.
J.C. answers from Providence on June 18, 2007
I will let you know that I had to let my kids cry. They need to be able to self sooth it's important for them to learn how to control their own emotions, however I also know it's a very hard thing to do. I am going through it with my 8 month old. He's 16 months, have you thought about moving him to a big boy bed? Maybe being able to get up will make him feel better. I put a door gate on my kids room so if they wake up they can't get hurt wondering the house. My daughter was in a toddler bed at 14 months. Your son may not be ready but it's something to think about.
D.L. answers from Boston on June 18, 2007
Sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time. My daughter is also 16 months and we only recently got her to sleep through the night in her crib. I am totally with you on not letting them cry it out, I can't do that! We actually have our daughter in her crib, in our bedroom. She used to sleep in bed with me, but once she turned a year, we started her in her crib. We had a few tough nights in the beginning and she will still occasionally wake up during the night and need to be soothed a bit. I find that having her crib in our room allows me to get up and rub her back and talk to her and relax her then I can go back to bed and if she starts to cry again, I can just talk to her from my bed. We have had good success with this. I do not take her out of her bed or back to my bed. It was hard in the beginning to control myself and not bring her to bed, but I think that has made the difference. She sometimes takes and hour or more to fall back to sleep, but at least she is in her own crib.
I hope this helps. It is so frustrating when kids don't sleep through the night. We struggled for a while, but now our daughter will go to bed by herself and most nights sleeps straight through till 7 or so in the morning. Good luck and I hope things get better for you soon. :)
C.C. answers from Boston on June 18, 2007
Ohhhhhhhhhhh, much as I hate to say the only thing you're doing "wrong" is bringing him into your bed :( however, this is a matter of preference. Quite honestly, my son slept with us until nearly 3 years old as he had bad seizures all the time and it was easier to know if he was ok by having him with us. My last child never slept with us...our first child did and let me tell you, it was forever and a day to get her out of that habit...took until nearly 4 years old! Like you, I'm not fond of the screaming until they fall asleep, albeit, they say that is the better way....but "ohhhhhhh" that is hard. Another thought is to put a small lamp on low or TWO nightlights in his room. It's possible he is just afraid of the dark. (My middle child was from birth till 8 years old!) best of luck and remember....they don't stay small forever and they will adjust at some point...but now is the time to set what you really hope to achieve. Take care.
H.L. answers from Boston on June 18, 2007
maybe try putting a pack and play in your bedroom, so when he wakes up and you cang get him settled down you could have him sleep in there? atleats he won't be in your bed.
good luck, thats a tough situation.
D.J. answers from Boston on June 21, 2007
Hi M.:i too have a sleep problem with my 22 month old daughter, I think i can count on 1 hand how many times she has slept all nite. I blame my husband more than myself as this is his first child, we adopted her, when my 25yr old son was a baby i had no problems with him, but this little scoundral, will not sleep all nite. i tried the let them cry it out, but my hubby paces the room, and paces the room, so he goes and gets her, and I look like the bad guy. She has never been put in her crib awake, she has always fallen asleep in my arms, and she gets up everynite for milk. In fact last nite she was awake 3 times for milk, now thats she is very verbal she yells' milk until you get it. We just moved to MA, so we put her into a big girl bed, we have no schedule whats so ever right now, we put her in bed with us, til she is asleep then move her to her bed, and then when she wakes up we bring her back to bed with us as its easier, so I blame no-one but ourselves for the situation we have caused
R.J. answers from Boston on June 18, 2007
So I browsed through your post and the first thing I thought was, "Oh mama, you're gonna hafta let him cry"...then I read the part where you said you won't do that. Because we disagree on this, I just deleted the email with the post and kept going, thinking I don't have any advice for you. But then I got an email from ParentCenter.com and the lead article is "how to keep your kids in their own beds". Maybe something there can help. Here's the link: http://parentcenter.babycenter.com/refcap/preschooler/psl...