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.

Your friend

I catered to mine until they were a little older, and like you found that I wished I had done it differntly. That being said, I found a kind of alternate route to letting them cry it out worked. Let her cry it out, but go in first at five minutes, lay her down, reasure her and leave. Put the timer on because you will need it. Wait ten minutes before you go in again and lay her down, reasure her, each time add five minutes to the time. This takes time and you may not seem to make much headway at first, but I promise after several nights it will get better. I could never leave and not go back in and this was a good alternative for both me and the baby. Good luck.
M. T.

I don't agree with crying it out but there is a way to fix this problem. Before my daughter was born I read "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" by Tracy Hogg. She has books for older kids as well, "The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems" and "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers." I suggest you read those but I'll try sum up what she says. She suggests NEVER leaving the room when they're crying because they feel like they're being punished. How can you punish them just for wanting Mommy? She's basically going to cry but with you there explaining "You're only going to sleep" "It's just a nap" and other reassuring things. It's normal for her to cry because you're changing the rules on her...she's confused. Stay there with her keep putting her back down to sleep everytime she stands up. The first time or two she will eventually fall asleep from exhaustion. For babies, it takes about 3 days but for an older child it may take a couple weeks to full integrate itself. I really suggest that you read the toddler book - it explains everything thoroughly and truly lets you know you are doing the right thing.

I totally agree with shannon H... Try to comfort her as usual and slowly change the routine for comfort, perhaps by laying her down and stepping away and speaking to her, even if she begins to cry again she will be soothed and eventually she will reason that mommy is not gone from the universe just because she cannot be seen or touched at the moment of her need . Every child is different and to be honest... only you can judge what is best for her. Loving your child will not damage her so do what your heart tells you.

You can go in to her room but you can't pick her up and rock her. she is old enough to understand. You lay her down and give her a little back rub. You may need to stay in the room on the floor for 30 minutes and just ignore her. This may take many nights but eventually you will break the habit. Also, try and watch Supernanny. You have to break the bad habit that you started.

Dear S.,

at the mothering website (mothering.com) you can find lots of great information about sleeping. There are numerous resources from experts for mothers who want something other than 'crying-it-out' (which I personally wouldn't recommend) and you can print articles to show those people who keep insisting on this traumatizing method.

My son slept next to me in bed until he was two (if he woke up, we nursed a bit, no one had to get up and rock anyone, we fell back asleep), then he moved to his own room, and now that he is almost three he sleeps through the night BUT I still put him to sleep (i.e. stay with him until he has fallen asleep). Which is really rather nice and cozy.
The crying out method, according to the excellent resources on the mothering site, is not developmentally appropriate (that's why they cry so much...) and traumatizing, and while they can 'get used to it', they are not able to 'soothe themselves' but rather just 'give up'.

Children are afraid of the dark and of being alone for very good reason. They are absolutely right to be afraid, because they aren't equipped to defend themselves from anything, which means they need an adult both physically and emotionally.
Good luck,

Your daughter just needs reasurance that you are there for her. Sit in a chair next to crib. On the first night your going to pat her if she even stirs. While patting her make the chchch....sound. On the secound night make the chchch.. sound and if that dosen't work then pat her. By the third or fourth night the sound alone should work. I then got a two way income for my daughter so I could do the sound with out going into the room. After about a week I never needed to do it again. My daughter got so use to the sound that now that she is 4 I now do that sound when I'm holding her after a spill and it seems to help her calm down faster. Good luck.

I know your situation well, rest assured that this stage will not last forever. My kids woke up multiple times a night till they were done getting their teeth in. Both of mine slept with me until about 17 months and then moved to their crib. My daughter as well would cry to the point of making herself sick if I didn't come. My son just would keep crying and calling till I came. I really never got past the waking up to check on mommy stage until the teeth were all in so I can't really give you any suggestions but can help you feel better by letting you know that by about 21 months they all of a sudden started sleeping by themselves through the night. Once the teeth weren't waking them, they didn't wake up to call for me.

Hi there! Well, girlfriend, I'm in the same boat you're in. I've got a 21 month-old and we've always let her just fall asleep in our arms and then we put her to bed. It was all fine until a few months ago and now she's up almost every night wanting to come to bed with us. We know it's our fault and I've laid a guilt trip on myself for it, but when I talk to other parents I find out that it's not so uncommon. I've also stopped the guilt trips and just let myself enjoy this sweet time with her. She won't do it forever and, although we'd get more sleep if we'd let her cry it out as an infant, this is also a time to embrace just because...it won't last forever. I know there are people out there who strongly disagree, but I just feel like whatever works for your family is probably just fine! Enjoy this time with her, but if it's at a point that it stresses you out then maybe it's time to make a change. I did buy that little seahorse nightlight musical toy for her to hold while falling asleep and I think when I'm good and ready to make the change I'll just sit on her floor for a few minutes at a time to encourage her to stay in her bed and fall asleep on her own.
Good luck!

My oldest was the same way. I always rocked her to sleep and she always got up multiple times a night to be put back to sleep by me. I never let her learn to self-soothe. We tried the cry it out method when she was 12 months, then again when she was 18 months and again when she was 2 years. No age worked...she always cried so hard, screaming for mama, and throwing up. I caved everytime. She's now 4.5 years old and she still sleeps in our bed with us. She never got comfy in her own bed, no matter how hard we tried....we try every few weeks to move her to a pallet on the floor next to our bed, but she always ends up in bed with us. So I'd like to say that it'll be alright and she'll figure it out, but in our case....she still is afraid to be alone and has no idea how to self-soothe at 4 years old! We did her a great injustice! My 13 month old learned quickly....we put her to bed in her crib in her own room at 5 months and let her "cry it out" for about a week....she is now a champion sleeper! So, I don't have an answer for you with your 19 month old...we're still working on out 4.5 year old co-sleeper!!! I just wanted to share my story and commiserate with you. In all honesty, i'm not too upset about sharing our bed with her...she's such a cuddle-bug! :) But I know she's going to need to be moving into her own bed soon...
Best of luck!

Do what your heart tells you to do. I could never let my baby lay in the dark and cry alone. What works for one doesn't work for another. I'm a grandma now, but don't regret anything I did. I rocked my first one to sleep till he outgrew it. When the second one would wake up to nurse I took him to bed with me, mostly because I was too tired to stay up with him. That started the habit of him sleeping with us. When he was old enough he would come to our room when he woke up at night. We didn't mind and when he got bigger I put a pallet down on the floor next to the bed and he would sleep on the pallet. He eventually outgrew the need to come to your room in the middle of the night. The best thing is that now that my son has two daughters of his own, I love hearing him complain about the times when they wind up in his bed.

Do what is right for you and your baby.

It's so hard to let them cry it out at any age and I'm sure at this age it's even worse. I'm sorry you're going through this, it's tough. How many naps is she getting and is she sleeping well during those naps? If she's over tired or over stimulated she may not be able to get productive sleep which makes her wake up at night so often. The more kids sleep, THE MORE KIDS WILL SLEEP. It's funny and counter intuitive to try to put your kids to sleep earlier rather than later in the evening so they can sleep longer but it totally works. Also if they are skipping naps they will likely be very poor night time sleepers. Not always but often. Sounds like she can't stay asleep all night which is the underlying problem. Once you get good sleep established you may not have to worry about going to her when she calls because she wont' be calling out to you as often.
Good luck!

I never let my daughter cry out either for the same reasons. She would wake up 3-4 times a night to nurse. Finally, around 18 or 19 months, I decided I wanted to get pregnant again and I felt that it was time that she learnt to sleep through the night. After a 3-5 days of hell, she took to sleeping through the night. It was the hardest thing in the world to do but since she could speak by then, my husband and I would just tell her that we loved her very much but that she needed to sleep.
Having said all that, I apparently didn't learn from experience. My 13-month old son wakes several times a night and recently due to him having tubes put in, I couldn't nurse him at night. My husband and I decided to wean him from nighttime feedings. Over a three-week period, we tried the same method and he did not give in. He is teething now (getting six new teeth at once) so we are going to wait until all his teeth are out and try again. I guess he just isn't ready.
I believe strongly that you should do what feels right for you. People constantly tell me I shouldn't nurse at night or for so long, etc but I just do what works for my family. Right now, I would like some more sleep but overall, I am ok with the arrangement.

My child is 3 now- but she was always rocked to sleep and I never let her cry it out. I did the rocking whenever she woke up and she grew out of it eventually. I always try to remember that everything is just a phase-

Now she sleeps through the night and is too big to be rocked and I miss those special times.

Hi S.. I know that this is a very frustrating time. We didn't let our daughter cry it out at 19 months, but I wanted to tell you that there are other options. A book that we really liked was "The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers" by Elizabeth Pantley. This is what we used to help our daughter sleep better through the night and it worked. I was in the same placce you are with no one that I knew who wasn't telling me to let her cry it out. My husband and I were not willing to do this, and it was a frustrating place to be. So, if you need some more moral support, send me a message. I think it was definitely the most difficult thing that we've been through so far in my daughter's 3 1/2 years. Hope you get it figured out soon and you get some good sleep.
- P.

Does she nap during the day?
One solution would be to go to her, tell her you love her and you are there, make her stay in bed and go back to sleep. Under no circumstances should you pick her up and rock her, you actions actually confirms her behavior. Eventually as she responds to staying in bed and sleeping, you will be able to leave her in bed, and she'll sleep through the night. It's a process.
If she naps during the day, shorten her nap time. Is she getting out during the day? She might need more exercise. Find some creative, constructive idea to keep her busy. Try to tap into her energy level.
Crying it out might not be the right option for her. Go to her, but do not pick her up. Remember, it's your presence she need more than anything. Reassure her that you're near, she's not alone and you will be there when she needs you.
If it persist, I would check with her doctor. And stop blaming yourself. This will not help you solve your problem. Don't regret what you can't fix.

That's a tough problem. My son who's 16 months recently went though some sleeping problems. I hadn't rocked him to sleep previously, but I never let him cry-it-out either. He had been a very good sleeper and then all the sudden he didn't want to be left in his room alone. He was teething pretty bad, but I'd given him tylenol for that. He was also getting to the separation anxiety stage. My huband and I found that if we laid on the floor in his room until he fell asleep and then quietly snuck out he was fine. I still sometimes have to do that because he will stand up and look for me so I just reassure him I'm there, then he goes to sleep. When he wakes up, unless he's hungry, which happpens on occasion, I do the same thing.
Good Luck and hopefully it will pass, his only lasted about a week and a half.

Good luck. Both of my sons still sleep in the room with us because I couldn't let them cry it out. My 3 1/2 year old sleeps in a toddler bed at the foot of our bed and sleeps through the night. We are going to try moving the bed in his room this weekend. We also have a 22 month old that still wakes up for milk in the middle of the night. He cries and wants to get in bed with us, but he too has a toddler bed beside ours. The new trick that seems to be working so far.. for the last couple of nights at least is to hold his hand while he falls asleep, then take it away. He feels secure that way, but doesn't have to be with us. None of this may be helpful to you, but I know any little thing at this point has to help. I am finally getting almost a full nights sleep.

It certainly would have been easier to work this out earlier, but it only gets worse. So, bite the bullet and do it NOW! Plan on a week of difficulty, but it will pay off in the long run.

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.


my daughter just turned two and she did the same thing until probably a month or so ago. we didn't really do anything different, she still wakes up a few times a week, but it ns not as bad as it was. we tried a toddler bed for about six months and that didn't do any good; so we have a twin bed and she shares a room with her big sis. i think it is just something that they grow out of when they are ready, my other daughter was sleeping sound and all night from about six months. you might could try to let her fall asleep in your bed and then do a transfer to her bed, i do that a lot with mine or i lay down with her and let her watch a movie in her bed. every night is different with my daughter--she is very active ALL the time. another thing we do is, my husband puts her to bed when he is here(and she stays for a while). i hope i could help and good luck.

My name is K., and I agree with you on the cry it out. I am a mother of a 7year old, and twins that are 3. All of my children woke up alot too. My theory on cry it out develops too much of a sense of Mommy is not here for me when I need her and creates a feeling of abandonment and insecurity. My Theory! Not saying I'm right, but just how I feel. Even though you are tired, (I understand) just keep in mind you'll never get this time back, so enjoy that.

I have a 20 month old who is going through some sleep issues as well. as a baby always a GREAT sleeper. then we had to rock her to sleep and right before one yr. let her cry it out and it worked. but know she is starting wake up in the middle of the night and completely freak out. it is heart breaking. my new strategy is to go into her room, lay her gently back down and rub her back and her hair. then sit in a chair right next to her bed and let her know I am there. it seems to work if we do it right when she cries, but I don't know if I am just enabling her to need me to go back to sleep. I've heard she may be going through a growing spurt which is causing her irratic sleeping. I hope. I am tired. I have resigned myself that I will never have a good night sleep again until she leaves at 18 years old. oh well. maybe try sitting in with her. I am curious to what other moms have been through with this. 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!

Ok I do have a daughter as well that is just getting over this same thing... believe me it is a lot of work especially when you are doing it on your own and you can not roll over and say "Daddy its your turn!" This is what I have been doing and it seems to be working. I went out and bought some lullaby cd's and some nature cd's. I still rock her to sleep and make the um um um um sound. So I will put some music on low, pick her up and @ the same time either singe her the song that is playing @ that time or make my sound. I walk around while Im doing this. When she is Knocked out I put her down and leave the cd on repeat. For the first 2 nights she did get up and I went in making the sound or singing the song and tucked her back in either rubbing her belly or her back. I also play with her hair. If she is crying really bad I can not help to pick her up though. I will rock her and put her back down (yes this does make you go 2 steps back when you give in, but you never know what if she had a bad dream or she is scared) It has been a week and she only wakes up about once instead of 4 times a night. Now she will get up and whine put then she will make the um um um sound and move positions then w/in 5 mins she is back out. Well good luck on that... Like I said it is a lot of work because mommys have more feelings then baby, when they cry you want to do anything to make them stop, not because you are annoyed by it, but because you love them and you know they are hurting. What mom wants there child to hurt. You will get through this.

I don't remember what age my son was when we decided he needed to be putting himself back to sleep. But whenever it was, we used the technique that I had seen on Super Nanny. I (or my husband) would go in and sit in the floor near the bed with my back to him. Making no eye contact. Not talking to him. Every time it happened, we would do the same thing except each time sit and little farther from the bed and closer to the door. Eventually it got to where he didn't need us in there at all. That may or not help you, but it worked for us.

I promise that at some point in the future she will sleep through the night by herself. I do NOT like they "cry it out" and have never used it on any of my 3 kids. Follow your heart. Try reading "The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night" by Elizabeth Pantley and William Sears. It has some great ideas. Until then remember...she won't go to college needing to be rocked back to sleep so enjoy these moments they will soon pass.

Have you tried going into her room and patting her back....not picking her up? What about just laying down with her close to you? Don;t feel bad about not letting her cry it out! I never did either!

Buy the Super Nanny Book and watch Super Nanny on TV. They may even have a Super Nanny website. The techniques work if the parents will stick with it consistently.

You have received some really great advice :) The 'Cry It Out Method' breaks my heart and there's a reason it's so 'hard on Moms' and that's because babies were not designed to be ignored! My son slept with us until he was 18 months and then we moved him into his own room so all my advice is dealing directly with an 18/19 month old :)

First you'll want to start with a solid, calming bedtime routine that involves Daddy too if possible. (More about that in a second)

I totally agree with the whole 'go to her and comfort her' and these tips might help too...when you go to her, don't make eye contact (it can be really stimulating) but rather rub her back, speak in soothing tones, sing softly or hum...by 19 months my son could understand me clearly so I would softly remind him that now it was time for sleep, his little body was growing and needed rest...I was here for him, Daddy and I love him...etc. Just soft tones, softly singing and rubbing his back and as he'd calm down I'd sit next to his crib and keep it up...then I'd scoot a smidge closer to the door...still singing..and then a smidge closer, etc...until I was sitting in the doorway (back against the frame). He was rarely asleep but knew I was there...slowly I would close the door, still singing softly (so he knew I was there even when the door was closed) and I would just sing more and more quietly until I stopped and if he didn't fuss I walked away. If he started to fuss a little I'd just resume singing softly to remind him I was there but didn't go in right away.

The goal is to instill in her the confidence that if she needs you, you'll be there for her! You're laying the foundation for confidence and in my personal opinion, you're helping build a trust in her Heavenly Father too...it won't be hard for her to understand that she has a Father in Heaven (God) who loves her and wants beautiful things for her life because she knows a similar relationship for her own reference...YOU!! What a great, solid foundation for her to build her life upon.

For specifics, the first night we tried all this: I'd lay him gently in his crib, he'd cry so I'd rub his back (he's a side sleeper), softly close my eyes while singing, humming, or softly shushing. If he'd try to get up I'd gently lay him back down, my eyes still closed (obviously lightly so I could see but it was dark enough in his room that he couldn't tell) and I would keep my calm, quiet song going the whole time. If he pushed up or sat up, rather than hold him down or keep pressure on him (eek!) I would just gently lift him and put him all the way back down...I didn't want it to be a battle of wills, who could push harder or to give constant pressure for him to resist but rather consistent follow through...if he tried to get up I would just lift an inch or so and then gently lay him back down like I had to begin with. Then like I mentioned above, he'd be calm enough that I could stop rubbing his back and just have my hand resting on his back, then I could lift my hand but still be at the side of the crib, then I'd sit on the floor next to his crib, then start to slowly move away, a few inches at a time. With each move, if he became upset a lot then I'd come back and calm him but usually he'd just fuss a little and I'd stay where I was, shushing and continue my singing. He'd settle back down, a little more comfortable with my extra 6 inches away. I did this each night for about three or four nights and it got gradually a lot easier. I was finally able to lay him down, he wouldn't fuss!

Just a couple other things...sometimes little ones have an even harder time going down when their overtired and you can build in some sleep cues by using the same type things for both bedtime and naptime. This will sound crazy but we instituted a 7pm bedtime...hear me out and don't assume I'm nuts...REALLY!!!

We started having family dinner consistently at 6pm, then around 6:30 to 6:40...as dinner finishes up, daddy starts a bath, and I lay out jammies, lotion and a diaper and lower all the lights in the house (I only keep on indirect ones so you can still see clearly but it sets a calmer atmosphere. So we do a calm bath, then (with lights lowered) we dress him in pajamas and calmly go to his room all together. We keep on just enough light to read a story (the rule is one) then we have a prayer as a family, hugs and goodnight kisses with whispered 'I Love You's and Daddy and I sing him a quiet song as we walk out the door and gently close it behind us.

By setting the mood and keeping the routine regular by the clock AND by the process/routine his body naturally starts to calm and it's a lovely experience for all involved.

I truly hope that helps a little...sorry it's so long but it has made a WORLD of difference for our family and I hope it can do the same for yours.

I would give her a lovey (a special blanket) and when she wakes up start by putting the blanket in her hand and rub her back. If she has a security blanket it makes it easier for you because at least you may feel as if you are still there for her.

Well, I may be a little younger and less experienced on this. My first son was born when I was 18 and I also rocked him to sleep up until he was one. The longer you tell her this behavior is okay the longer she won't sleep through the night. When he was one and still wasn't sleeping through the night I was more than frustrated, working full time, and living with my grandma, ew.
BUT I know this isn't the answer you want to hear, nor do you want to do it but letting my son "cry it out" was the best thing I've ever done. And he was old enough to cry out "mama,mama." I left him in his crib with a goodnight kiss, covered him up, and a stuffed toy of his choice in there. I patted his back for about 5 minutes while he was laying in the crib. I would say "Mommy loves you." and walk out. Then the battles began. I left him for 15 minutes then would go check on him, calm him down (FROM OUTSIDE THE CRIB) unless he had pooped, was excessively wet, or had vomited (mine did that too). I would wipe his face from the tears, and sometimes even snot then change the sheets if nessicary. But DO NOT hold the baby while you're doing this. Simply pick her up and let her walk around. Then I would leave him another 15 minutes. I did this EXACT routine every night for about a month and to this day he sleeps through the night. He'll be three on Feb 25th.

I know it's hard, believe me. It was for me too..but for your babe to learn anything you must teach her that you won't reward her(pick her up) for crying. You must leave her in the crib. You CAN'T pick her up every time she cries or that's going to be the way she gets your attention until she's 5. Now do you really want that?

It'll be easier for her in her life to come, so if you do it for her, you won't feel so guilty.

We're not exactly in your situation and we did let her cry out it in the beginning and began having great results on putting her down for her naptime and bedtime....However, around her 23rd month or so, she began doing the same thing...she cries for everyone (even the dog) when we put her down to bed...as much as it breaks my heart, we still have to let her cry it out...if we don't, she will be louder and longer the next time. In fact, she has started putting her hand in her door when I close because she knows I won't pinch and it delayed me putting her to bed one night...they are very observant and know how to pull your strings:)

I've found that many of the children who have trouble sleeping (my girls included) have sensory needs. They may feel better with a blanket on them (try a halo sleeper) and need lots of hugs and sensory input during the day. "bear hugs" and rocking (not to sleep) in the evening before bed are helpful also. Check out The Out Of Sync Child has fun for various sensory ideas for daytime play.

If you do decide to let her cry it out, make sure that she is not hungry or thirsty or wet. Have a bedtime routine and tell her "It's time for bed now, goodnight." Go in there after five minutes if she is screaming, and speak soothingly (don't pick her up) "No, bed time" and lay her back down and rub her back for just a few seconds, and walk away. Ten minuted more of intense crying walk in, lay her down, rub her back quickly to see if she calms down, don't say anything, and then walk out.

I don't go in any more after this because I think it gets very frustrating for the child and the parent to keep going in there. I don't let the child scream (like, the coughing and choking) for more then half an hour. If you decide to go there again it would be better to pick her up and do whatever it is you want to do to calm her down then to keep going in and then leaving again.

I hope these ideas are of some help.
S., mom to four girls

Definitely don't let your daughter CIO. It's just not natural, healthy or safe. Your daughter doesn't understand yet that you are two different people. She still thinks you and she are one person. Our two year old son sleeps in his crib in our room. If he wakes up and is scared, he gets in bed with us and we all sleep soundly together. We always start him out in his crib, but sometimes he ends up in our bed if he wakes up--wet diaper, scared, bad dream, etc. This works for us. Sleep is top priority at our house. We are all much happier and healthier when we get our sleep.

I wish someone can give an answer because I also need help with my baby. My name is Jennifer and my baby is 1 yeard old, and she still wakes up in the middle of the night. What other people told me before was to let her cry until she realizes that there's nobody there, but like you say they tend to do other things that can hurt them. Please let me know if you find an answer.

Thank you

Dear S.,

Unfortunately, I'm going to tell you to let her cry it out. It is so difficult when they are screaming your name - you want to run to them. Obviously, if she's throwing up then she needs to be attended to. However, part of her waking up every night is due to the fact that she knows you'll get up to take care of her. I had a similar problem with my little boy. My pediatrician suggested a book to me : Healthy Sleep Habits- Happy Child by Mark Weissbluth. It is a good read. Once you start reading it - you won't feel like a crazy lady. You'll realize that there others who have it worse. I ordered mine on Amazon.com. Try reading it - I think it will help! Good Luck.

Hi S.,
I made the same mistake with my daughter (now 5). I would rocked her till she fell asleep when she was little. Well then she turned two and I was still rocking her until my husband put his foot down. It was very hard because our daughter did not like the change at all. I guess what I mean is to let you know that the longer you wait to make changes the harder it will be. My daughter would scream loud! It took about two weeks till she finally realized this is the way I have to go to sleep. Now she is wonderful. She goes to bed at 8pm without fuzzing or complaining. This is your time to make changes your baby will not be traumatized in any way. Also you will realize how easy it is when you put them down and they go to sleep on there own.

Good luck,
E. M

Hi there,
I always rocked or walked my son to sleep until he got too big, now he's 26 mo and in a big bed. He's been in one since he was about 18 or 19 mo because he didn't sleep in his crib well always better on a bed. So anyway, around the 18 or 19 mo mark I just started laying down with him and saying nite nite, it took a while b/c he thought we were playing, but now he is usually asleep within about 15 min or so and the I can get up and go about my night. I usually do go back in there and finish out the night b/c he'll wake up and I'm too tired to get back up.
I am not a fan of the cry it out..no where else but in the US does this happen..not even the animal kingdom..the mothers always respond to their baby. For some reason this has become the norm. But he is a happy and well adjusted boy minus the tantrums LOL..I know a lot of moms who have lost young children and would give anything to rock them to sleep or have them sleeping by their side again and it's only by the grace of God that you and I have that gift today, so with that said..don't feel like you need to let her cry just to please other moms. You'll find a routine and then before you know it she'll be telling you she wants to sleep in her big girl bed. Best of luck to you and God bless you and your family!

I am a 53 yr old grandma but I do have some advice. You should go in and pat her on the back tell her it's ok but it is bed time now and everyone is sleeping. Even when you go to put her down you might want to tell her that it is night night time. It will take a few days but she will learn. Be patient. My son and daughter in-law had the same problem with their first child. LOL She kept going in and rocking him, I told her that was not going stop him from getting up at night. Then she said well I think he is thirsty. I told her to give him water he will stop getting up. Now Tyler is 3 and has been sleeping all night since he was 20 months. Good Luck

i am an older mom with 6 children and i never let my kids cry it out. babies and small children need the knowledge we are there and we just had the family bed. the youngest slept with us. as they got bigger and older we put a bed for them in our room and when they started school and friends came over they never wanted to be with us again. they wanted their own space. my grand son left the room at 2 his parents were so suprized. children are a gift and they do grow up and leave us, take time and enjoy them and give them all the love you can. as for sex my husband and i worked it out, and we did good. our children are more secure than most they knew we were there for them. they live all over the world now. except for 2 who live near us. please don't push the baby out too soon. D.

Letting her cry is not your only option. Try the No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers. I have heard good things about it.

We don't let babies cry themselves to sleep in our house.

I never let my son cry it out. His sleep issues went on into the twos. I was criticized by a lot of "old fashioned" mothers who swore i was spoiling him. I received all the justification i needed on the first day of preschool when my boy happily marched into class and waved a cheerful "bye bye" - He is one of the most well adjusted kids in his class. He is secure in our relationship and trusts mom will be there when he needs me.

Some kids need more comforting than others when staring out in this world. I beleive in parenting to the child rather than worrying about the "norm"

Dr. Sears has a wonderful book called The Baby Book. It has lots of useful information.

Good luck

I still rock my 14 month old to sleep in the evenings and on the weekends for her naps. We have never let her "cry it out." She was 14 weeks premature and after 74 days away from her while she was in the NICU, I didn't want to not be there for her.

When she wakes in the night I try to lay her back down with her binky and her "pink puppy" and pat her back until she settles down. This has seemed to help the night wakings not turn into all nighters of rocking and shushing.

My pediatrician has never suggested for us to CIO, but he has said to try not to get our daughter out of her bed unless it is a last resort. He says you can pat the back, rub the head, sing a song, but try to leave her in the bed and keep the lights off or very low. It is working for us.

Good Luck...

I know how heartbreaking it is to have your little baby cry out for you! However, it really is important she learn how to soothe herself and have that sense of security while in her own bed. The method that worked fantastically for us was I guess a modified version of letting her cry it out. We established the method during nap time. I would read a couple of books to her, rock her for about 5 minutes, lay her down in her crib, and let her cry for 5 minutes. Then, I would go back in and rock her to sleep. After about 3 days of this, I did the exact same thing, except I let her cry for 10 minutes (it may have been more like 8 minutes the first time). After a few days, I let her cry for 15 minutes. When we got to the 15 minute mark, after about 2 days, she just stopped crying completely and started falling asleep on her own. I still made sure to keep the routine of reading to her before her nap and rocking her for 5 minutes for about 2 weeks after she had stopped crying. Also, during all this, I did rock her to sleep at night. But after she got the naptime routine down, I started just putting her down at night, as well. Now, at 16 months, I don't even have to rock her (even though I do for a couple of minutes)! She stays in her bed, wide awake and cooing, until she falls asleep AND she sleeps through the night! I hope this is something that might help you.

Hi S....there seem to many good responses to your question and I just wanted to add that it may seem like this time will last forever and you'll never be sleeping well...but it will pass quicker than you know. Good Luck:)

Hi S.. I know it's hard, I think I cried as much as my babies sometimes.

If you have or can get a portable cd player with a remote control, place it somewhere safe in her room. Put a lullaby cd in it and when you rock her, sing her to sleep always singing these songs to her. When you put her down to sleep always use this cd. During the night, everytime she wakes up, play the cd no matter if you go in to her or not. She'll come to associate the music with Mommy taking care of her. Even if you don't think you sing well, your voice is music to her. Eventually, you'll be able to just use the remote at the first sign of fussing and she'll be back to sleep in no time.

I used the music method at the same time with the following method. You can pick up with where-ever she sleeps most right now, even though I'll outline the whole thing for those with younger babies who are looking for advice, too.

I have an 8 year old and a nearly-5 year old. As newborns, they slept with us because I had c-sections and was breastfeeding. I used both the co-sleeping method and the sleep-in-your-bed method at the same time. Until they were a month old they slept either in my bed at night (since I breastfed it was easier this way) or in the bassinet during the day. At about 1 month, I started placing them in the bassinet on some nights and during the day they would nap sometimes in the bassinet and sometimes in the crib. Then I gradually moved them to all naps in the crib. Since they were used to laying awake in the bassinet or playpen during the day during housework, they would sometimes drift off to sleep on their own. My daughter slept like clockwork and I could take her in about that time and she would fall asleep most of the time on her own. My son didn't have a schedule so I would have to watch his fussiness level. He did not like being rocked to sleep, being sung to, none of the usual helps. I realized that I had to let him learn to self-sooth (he ended up being a thumb-sucker). He would always fuss at nap and bed time, but he didn't want to be held or rocked or swaddled (my daughter loved it). It drove me up the wall since my husband worked nights and my son would always do this during the day while DH was sleeping. My husband said he slept so hard that he never knew I was having a problem. So during the night I had to start retraing him and myself. I started out sitting in a chair next to his crib with my hand on him, I would actually sleep like this - yes, the rail was down, but he was not turning over yet. After he was okay with this, I moved the chair away and raised the rail. If he woke I would stand and place my hand on him. Eventually he would fall back to sleep. When he was okay with that through the night, I moved myself to my bed. I would get up and check on him if he fussed and wait till he fell asleep. Then I started the five-minute wait to see if he went back to sleep. I had to make sure he knew I would be there. I only increased the time when he seemed okay with the one we were working on. Once he was okay with five minutes, he'd only start crying at about six or seven minutes. I'd check on him to make sure he was clean, fed, etc. If it was feeding time, he got that. I just didn't let him nurse for comfort because he was a biter from birth and had drwn blood a several of times during "non-eating-comfort nursing". Eventually, we were making it through the times in between feedings without him waking up and crying. I could even just talk to him from my bed (our doors are so close that to him it sounds as if I'm at his door). Finally, he could sleep through the night. He finally figured out that it was okay to sleep at naptime and didn't fight it so much. Once he found his thumb, it got easier. Now that he'll even go get his bear and put himself to bed. He does climb in bed with us frequently, but that will stop eventually.

Another option might be to give her a warm (not hot), non-playtime bath using lavender-scented soap just before bed and then some lullaby music. Remember, most people mean what I described above when they say "crying it out", NEVER crying themselves to sleep or crying until they vomit. Also, if it feels wrong to you, don't do it. If you want to keep rocking her, then do it. If you want to pull her into your bed to get a night's sleep, then do it. It's your family. The only wrong way to do something is if it harms your child.

Remember, I know my way is not the "only" way, just a way that you can try out. I hope you find something that works AND makes you and your precious girl happy again :)


I had the same problem with my child at that age. I would start going in there and check to see if he was wet, hungry or something like that. I also found that I was putting him to bed to early. Once I figured out how long he would sleep, I changed what time I put him to bed. But I still would have problems and so I tried this, I would go in there when the crying would start and talk to him or even rocked him to sleep but I also would wait a little longer each time to go in the room and then he stopped waking up as much now he is sleeping through the night. I hope that this helps a little.

I have had the same sleep problems with my children (5 and 2 1/2) because I just couldn't do the cry it out thing. The one thing that did work for both of them I read in a book and saw on Supernanny.

I put my son to bed just like normal, rocking him, but not to sleep. He would fuss and I would wait until he was upset, then rock him for a minute and put him back to bed still awake. He woke up the first time crying and I waited just a minute, went in and picked him up, said, "it's time to sleep", rocked him for about one minute, said, "it's time to sleep" put him in his crib and walked out. Right after that, he would cry again, I would go in there like a robot, and do the same exact thing over and over and over, letting him cry just a little. The key was to remove myself emotionally and be very plain and matter of fact about it. Now I even say, "Mommy's sleeping..it's night night" and do the routine. At first, he hated this and my husband and I did this for 3- 5 nights almost all night before it took. Sometimes 20-30 times a night we would go in there. He cried a lot, but never for more than a couple of minutes...I wanted him to know we were there for him. He still wakes up an average of once a night, but it is a huge improvement and I am sleeping better. Now he asks to go to sleep at night and says bye bye to me from his crib. It's amazing.Hope this helps!

I had that problem with my girl when she was a baby and what I did was to go to bed with her thats when I sutched her from the crib to the bed just stay with her util she goes to sleep and then leave her by herself i know she will get up in the middle of the night but when she does that go to her bed again untill she falls a sleep again it will take time is not something you are going to solve over night.

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,

I too have a 19 month old that is still waking at least once a night. We recently moved him to a full size bed. (he was sleeping with us) That has helped quite a bit and we've had several nights where he sleeps til 6:30. He seems more comfortable and it is more like mommy and daddy's bed. I still lay with him each night until he falls asleep.

He isn't one that will self soothe. We have listened to him scream and gag for upwards to an hour at a time when I've tried to let him "cry it out". I have issues with the dark and being alone and don't feel it is right to put him in a room that is dark all alone.

We also put an upright fan in his room. The sound it makes is soothing and seems to have made a difference too. I hope this helps. I agree that they are too old to do the "cry it out". But I also feel we should cherish the time they want to cuddle with us because time is flying :) I'm sure I'll do things differently next time.

You might try letting her sleep next to you. In that case you can just roll over and nurse her, if you are still nursing. If not, just knowing you are there may help her go back to sleep.

Crying it out is not a good solution. But I feel your pain; my kids didn't sleep through the night till 4 or 5. It's harder in the short term, but in the long term, enables a kid to be much more secure. Best wishes to you.

You should look into the Ferber method. It worked with my son who was rocked to sleep and was a cosleeper for the first 6 months of his life. I know he is an infant... but hearing your baby cry is NEVER easy. In fact, the first night I cried more than he did. The ferber method is a cry it out method, but you are able to go in your daughter's room and reassure her that you haven't left and that she is ok in timed intervals. If you do the method correctly, she will be sleeping through the night within a week! Best of luck, S.. I know it's hard, it killed me to hear my son cry. But, now I put him down and tell him goodnight and he grabs his lovely, rolls over and is out for the night! BLISS. The book is Solve Your Childs Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber, MD.

Hi S.,
I completely understand. My daughter is 18 months and has been going through the same problem lately and I did let her cry it out when she was younger. She still sometimes cries herself to sleep but I have occasions lately that for days she wakes up in the middle of the night. I'm 99% sure that it's just her molars. She's been getting a lot of teeth in lately. I'm not too worried now about her new sleep issues because I really think that it's her teeth and she was sick for awhile. But it's not everynight. So my thoughts to you is to check out her gums, maybe give her a smidge of tylenol and don't feel bad about helping her go back to sleep and laying her back down. She may be in some pain! Best wishes to you!

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