September 22, 2008,
A.H. asks from Grand Rapids, MI on September 18, 2008
18 Month Old Waking During the Night
I have an 18 month old son who has slept through the night since he was 8 weeks old. About 3 weeks ago, he came down with an awful cold where he was congested and was waking up about every half hour or so. Although it is usually a big no-no in our house, we let him sleep in our bed that night. Since then, he has gotten up every night MULTIPLE times. He's over the cold and he goes down fine for his naps and at bedtime, so I don't think that it's his ears, but every night after 1:00 or 2:00 AM, he starts crying and standing up in his crib. I go in, lay him back down, cover him back up and walk out. He goes back to sleep but then it starts back over anywhere from 20 mins to an hour later and continues non stop until he gets up for the day at 7AM. I've tried to let him cry it out a few times, but he gets so upset that he starts coughing and shaking uncontrollably. Any suggestions? I'm so sleep-deprived, I'm walking around like a zombie!
M.K. answers from Lansing on September 22, 2008
Have you tried a white noise machine? A friend of mine swears by hers. Apparently, the light background noise helps the young one sooth themself back to sleep.
A.M. answers from Detroit on September 19, 2008
We had the same issue at 20 months. She slept through the night and then we went to visit my inlaws where she woke up several times. She was teething but the Motrin had been helpling her slept. After that she was waking up on the hour from 10pm to 3am and no one was getting any rest. This went on for months. We changed her nap lengh, her bed time, we started using nite time diapers since she was yelling diaper. Finally, at her two year check up the pediatrician said that there is no reason for her to be waking up (like the requests for water or klenex or kiss or diaper or kitty that she was yelling to get me to come). The Ped said that she had gotten herself into a pattern of repeat waking and that she didn't know how to just roll over and go back to sleep and worse yet, we couldn't teach that to her. She had to learn on her own. The Ped also said that there is absolutly no harm in her learning to go back to sleep. Crying herself to sleep does not harm her in any way. She told me about studies that show it actually does more long term harm to come to her all night and not let her learn that she is ok by herself in her crib. It helps her self esteem that she doesn't need mommy to go to sleep. She can do it all by herself. Now, when she told me this I was not looking forward to a hard week of rough nights, but I also knew that I had created this problem and I needed to help her correct it.
So we did it. I was so hard not to go in when she cried. But, my husband helped reassure me and she only cried for 15 min and it worked like a charm. No kidding. After letting her cry the first time she woke up she slept the rest of the night. The next night she slept through the night. Luckily for us she was a quick learner and she only wakes up on nights when she has a cold and a sore throat.
There are two ways of parenting and each thinks there way is best so you need to decide how you want to parent and what works best for your family.
Good luck and I hope this helps you.
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C.L. answers from Detroit on September 18, 2008
maybe he's going through a growth spurt and needs mom during this time?
maybe you could take 10-15 minutes to rock him back to sleep, then put him back to bed completely asleep and he'll sleep.
or have him sleep on a mattress in your room on the floor?
The book The No Cry Sleep Solution is good too.
L.U. answers from Lansing on September 19, 2008
Check out his gums for red,tender, swollen places. He might be cutting some teeth....that can cause some sleep disturbances. If he has tender places, oragel or other topical numbing medicines will help.
Now, if the gums are ok, then what you are probably dealing with is Separation Anxiety. Kids around 15-20 months start to panic when they are alone. They do not have enough understanding and development to understand that when you leave the room that you are not vanishing from the face of the earth. Out of sight IS out of mind to them.
To help them learn that you are not gone forever when you are out of sight, games like peekaboo or "where's the button" help a lot. And, to get some sleep, make a cassette of you reading a story to them, or singing, or something in your voice, and play it to them at bedside at bedtime. Very comforting. They do outgrow this stage as soon as they are old enought to understand that you are still in the world. You child may cry when you close the door to go to the bathroom, too. To have a shred of privacy in the bathroom, keep talking or singing so they can hear your voice through the door.
Take care, L.
C.W. answers from Detroit on September 19, 2008
Wow, I'm right in the middle of the same thing - my 8 month old has a bad cold this week and I've been rocking her and sometimes bringing her into my bed. There is no way I would let a sick baby cry alone in her crib. But I can definitely see that when she's better, we're going to be in your boat! She has always been an amazing sleeper until now - but she's having trouble even falling asleep for naps. This is starting to sound more like a question than advice! I guess it is - will you please let me know what works for you when you figure it out?!
My plan is to sit next to her crib quietly after she starts feeling better - I heard that worked for someone. I don't understand the cry it out fad - Spock introduced it in the 60's and then there was a big backlash against it. Now Ferber, etc. are capitalizing on it all over again. Hope there's another backlash soon! Just my opinion...
C.T. answers from Detroit on September 18, 2008
I know youdon;t want ot but you have to just let him cry it out. I did that once when my son got sick around the same age and it took me about three minths to get him back to normal. I let him get back in the bed with me while he was sick and lord why did I do that. But you j ust have to deal with it but you have deal with it you have to be firm. ANd tell him "Look you have eto sleep in your bed and you can;t not get back in the bed with me." They understand what you are saying they just don;t like to hear it. It took me a minute to be firm about it but I got tiredof being tired and I put my foot down and he got the point. Good Luck
C.M. answers from Detroit on September 19, 2008
I don't know what the big "no-no" thing is about bringing your fretful children into bed with you. They need you at night as much as during the day. If he goes back to sleep and you all get your much needed rest, what's the harm? Maybe he just wants his Mom and the comfort you give him. He could be waking for any number of reasons, teething, loneliness, growth spurt...whatever it is he can't tell you yet so all he can do is cry. We had ALL THREE of ours either in bed with us or on the floor by the bed. We all got the sleep we needed and eventually they all made it back to their own beds, or they slept together, the short way in a double bed. They were like sleeping kittens! Maybe you could put him in with your 3 1/2 year old. We just did whatever it took to keep everyone sleeping at the right time. I never thought the crying out thing was good for anyone. Just love on him, give him comfort and reassurance...he will get over it.
S.K. answers from Lansing on September 19, 2008
We went through this when our son was about 16 months old. I'm not 100% positive but I think it was his first molars coming in. We just gave him tylenol and rocked him for 10 min. or so. It did get easier in about a week but it seemed like the longest week ever!! Good Luck!
C.H. answers from Detroit on September 19, 2008
My daughter too slept through the night since 8 weeks old, however, there are a couple of times where she went thru "phases" (at least that's what I called them) where she started waking up again in the night like that, the last "phase" being at 18-19 months. I'm sorry I don't know the right answer, other than we put up with it, until one night where she just stayed asleep again!