62 answers

19 Month Old Sleep Issues

My daughter has always been rocked to sleep. She's now 19 months old and still wakes up 1-3 times a night wanting to be held and put back to sleep. We've never let her "cry it out" for more than 5 minutes. She just gets louder and louder and then starts coughing and sometimes even throws up. I know a lot of you will tell me my only option is to let her "cry it out", but I want to hear from other Moms who did this when her kids were my daughter's age and not an infant. I think it's a lot easier to let them cry it out when they are younger. She cries out "MAMA, MAMA" and doesn't understand why I don't go in there. I wish I had done it differently from when she was a newborn but since I didn't, I NEED HELP!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

You ladies are the BEST! It's so great to have "friends" I didn't even know I had! So it's now 2 1/2 months later and I finally have some news to share! I dreaded doing what I needed to do so I kept putting it off. Based on on of the recommendations, I got "The sleep easy solution" DVD and it was a life saver! I would recommend it to ANYONE having sleep issues! The website is www.sleepyplanet.com. Starting the 2nd night, she went to sleep on her own with no crying. Not only that but she's not even waking up in the middle of the night anymore! AND, she's sleeping for 11 hours on most nights whereas before it was maximum 9 hours. Every morning, sIt's been a God send for both Mommy and baby! Email me if you have further questions!

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Hey S.! As the mother of 3 kids, yes the answer would be let her cry it out. But first, instead of rocking her, lay her down in bed and rub her back until she falls to sleep. See if that helps with her not waking up so much. I did this with my 2nd & 3rd and they still like their back being rubbed - 13 & 5 yrs old respectively. I believed it help with their sleeping. Let me know if it helps.


go in and let her know that you are there but do not pick her up, maybe rub her back for a few minutes until she calms down and leave and if she starts crying do the same thing againg she will eventaully learn to calm herself, don't go in her room as soon as she atarts crying let her cry for a few minutes and then go in with eveytime waitng a little longer until she gets use to it eventually she will sleep all night

Good Luck,

My daughter is 21 months old and she still needs help soothing herself to sleep frequently. We moved her to a mattress on the floor in her room so I can lie down with her when she wakes up at night. If it's late, I can fall asleep with her as well. Her transition to this arrangment (from rocking to sleep every time) took a little time. She complained a bit, but now it takes very little for me to comfort her. Now that she's more verbal, she will also accept explainations better, like when her Daddy has to comfort her and explains that Mommy is busy working and cannot come lie down with her.

I'd be more than happy to go into more detail, but I hear a toddler getting herself into trouble. :-) Good luck! Sleep issues are hard!

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S., don't let her "cry it out." I've owned a daycare 7 years this year and have helped people with their children every bit of 24 years. I want you to know that sids is real. I believe that something instinctively made you cradle her alot. She may need it. You may not understand why right now, but it will become evident some day when she is able to communicate with you. She may be an individual who needs to feel support from those closest to her in order to be successful at her interest. I think you have an anointed star on your hands. When I get children (every once in a while they come) that need warmth to sleep or stay asleep, I never neglect to fill the need. These children are usually very affectionate. You should be able to see that now. Lots of hugs and kisses, very playful. Give her/him what he/she needs.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree. She obviously needs this right now. My son didn't start STTN until he was 19 months old anyway. He stopped nursing at night at that age. HE went on to sleep very well. He still occasionally needs comfort (2 1/2) and I never hesitate to give it. Do you remember what it was like to be scared in the middle of the night? I do, and a warm hug is the best cure.

Is waking up taking away from you in any way (as in, you are so exhausted you can't function during the day)? If not, why do you need help? This country is so fixated on children self-soothing and not needing any help from parents, sleeping on their own at 6 weeks old, and always sleeping in their own beds. If you only "need help" because others make you feel like this is not the norm, you don't need help. It may not be the way all children are, but many are. What's more...YOUR child needs this, and that's what's important. If you can still wake and function the next day, do what your daughter needs. And I think "crying it out" isn't what y'all need.

Hi S.,

Been there and its hard, my son woke several times nightly, and I could not let him cry it out, its just not fair. I read an article about "the sleep lady",Kim West, she is a social worker who specialises in sleep issues, the book is available on her website, thesleeplady.com and its a gentle guide to teach your baby, toddler, to sleep, there will be some tears, but it works, and you are not leaving your little one alone to cry, you are being consistent, and reassurring for her. the process takes a bit of time but it is well worth it, my little boy is sleeping soundly, all night, for over a year, and my baby, 5 months is an excellent sleeper, because of this book, its a must for any parent wanting to get a full nights sleep.

Good luck with this, if you choose the sleep lady method, just keep in mind, its a skill you are giving your child, and skills take time to learn, wishing you all the best whichever path you take.

I am a stay at home mom with 2 great children

They are only young once and she needs you- be there charish the moments. You can sleep when she goes to college!!

I actually think that it is more difficult and really don't agree with letting a child less than a year old "cry it out". Crying at that early age is the only way that babies can communicate. If their cries aren't answered as a baby they may lose faith that you are there for them as the caregiver and parent. We started putting our daughter to bed awake after she was a year old (not quite as old as your daughter). It was 2 nights of crying and then she was fine, but you have to make a committment to yourself and for the well-being of your daughter to stick to your guns and not give in, no matter how long it takes. It sounds like she hasn't learned to self-sooth to fall asleep. "Crying it out" doesn't mean you ignore her and not go to her when she is crying. What you do is when it is time for bed you do your night time routine, whether it be take a bath and read books, etc. Then you take your daughter to bed, telling her "it is bed time". Being in a crib will be helpful because she won't come out. She will cry. you tell her you love her, kiss her, and that you will be back to check on her. You let her cry for 3-5 minutes and return to the room to comfort her verbally. Telling her that you are still here and that you love her--do not pick her up or hug and kiss her because she will grab on for dear life. Then leave the room again (she will still be crying). Return to the room after a little bit longer (if it was 3 minutes the first time, double it). Again verbally console. My husband actually had to do this part for me because it was so hard to hear the "mommy, mommy!". Then just repeat the process until she falls asleep. After 3 times of returning to the room, (each time a little longer to return), the nest times you return to the room you do not say anything at all. Just go in so she sees that you are there, but don't engage her with talking because this is what she wants and she will continue crying and whatever she is doing to get you to come back to the room and interact. It may take a long time the first night, especially since she is older, but she will eventually fall asleep. Our son did the coughing and vomiting thing also. When he vomited, we cleaned him up and then started all over. Children need to know that you are in charge and that they do not have a say when it is bedtime. As far as the waking up in the middle of the night...do you have a night light in her room? This helped for our son because he would wake up and he couldn't see where he was. With him too our sanity and sheer exhaustion led us to just eventually not go to his room when he woke up in the middle of the night. If you have a baby monitor, turn it off.
Believe me, you are not being a horrible mom although it feels like it when your daughter calls for you. You are being the best mom you can be by helping her become more independent to fall asleep on her own. You are also taking care of yourself by getting a full night sleep...finally! It is hard, but you can do it!

One of my friends read the LESS CRY SLEEP SOLUTION it was featured on Good Morning america, I think. She has had great results. My husband and I personally just co-sleep with our 19 month old. WE love having him in bed with us and we all get a great night sleep.
Here is a website for the book...

we had the family bed until the age of, what, almost four, with my oldest. he still wants to sleep with someone sometimes, and he is seven now. i don't mind a bit. my girl, now three, was totally different- she didn't like a cuddle routine, or stories, or anything- when she was ready to sleep she wanted nothing to do with anybody. so, my point is, everyone is different! maybe try having your 19 month old in bed with you? it may be a solution, it is for many many people. but you may not want that.... well, that's what i'm thinking. you are a great mom!

Hi S.!

I have four kids and know what you are going through. Each child you have will be different. Some will not need to cry it out, they just put themselves to sleep and others need a lot of coaxing. I know that when you daughter cries "Mama, Mama" it just about kills you. But think logically and not emotionally for a minute....is she fed? Is she dry? Is she in any way going to hurt herself in her crib? Is she sick? Okay, if you have gone down the list and she is perfectly fine, then tell her you love go and go to sleep. Shut her door and sit outside with a timer or clock. After 10 minutes of crying, go in, DO NOT TOUCH HER!!!, stand a bit away from the crib, calmly tell her you love her and go to sleep. Shut the door and count 15 minutes this time. Go back in and do the same thing. Don't touch her, tell her goodnight and shut the door. Keep doing this in increments of 5 minutes more each time. YOU ARE NOT HURTING HER PHYSICALLY OR EMOTIONALLY. You are teacher her how to problem solve and put herself to sleep. Your job as a mom is to teach your children to be self sufficient, happy, adjusted, people. It starts right now, at night, when she is making you feel bad for not rushing to her aid. She will learn in one to two nights that going to sleep is not a tormenting thing. You will learn a valuable lesson as a new mom, that teaching your children is gut wrenching at times. but for her benefit in the long run. You don't want to be a "helicopter Mom" hovering over your child's ever move. They need to develop who they are as soon as possible and they can't do that if you are constantly jumping in and doing things for them. You are a GREAT Mom because you love your child so much and you are concerned. You are going to cross many many more bridges just like this one. You can do it! Once on the other side, you will look back and think, "that wasn't so hard. why didn't I try that sooner?"

Good luck, take your vitamins and know that God has entrusted you with this special little girl. You will always make the right choice.

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