13 answers

(Help!) My 8 Month Old Doesn't Want to Go to Sleep Anymore...

My daughter has been so good at bed time up until this past week. With all of her new found mobility, crawling and such, sleep seems to be the last thing she wants to do. I would prefer not to just let her "cry it out" but at the same time I would like to get back to our established bed time routine. When I do leave her in her crib she just stands up and blabbers and eventually just cries "ma maaa, maaa" It's too sad to bear. I'll pick her up and she instantly cuddles and almost falls asleep on my shoulder and then suddenly -PLAY TIME again, over and over and over until she's so exhausted she passes out and my evening has disapeared. Suggestions please...

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Maybe try putting a small safe toy in the crib with her so she can play with that until she falls asleep. If she is playing by herself and not getting stimulation from you she may drift off to sleep on her own. The toy would give her something to explore while her body is relaxing.

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L.-

You will be fine and so will she if you let her 'cry it out'. It is less stressful in some ways to just pick them up and stop the crying, but will prolong your goals. I have 5 children, the youngest are twins, so we are experts at the cry it out!!! There is usually someone crying in the house, at times its me! If you can outlast her on the crying, she will eventually (3 nights, I've found is usually max) get into the routine again. It isn't cruel. They go through many, many phases in sleep patterns, but when they learn that mom isn't always going to placate their wants, they tend to mind better when they get to be toddlers and it begins again!!
You've gotten some great advice with other mom's, I just wanted to encourage you that crying it out is a fine tool to use provided they are safe, dry, not sick etc. Once I've eliminated any of those factors, I let them be. Even my infant twins (5 months) have a great nighttime sleep because of this method. Now I expect as they grow we will be using it quite often like with the other kids!

Take care & good luck, whatever you choose to do, just be consistent and you will be successful.

D.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,

My husband and I have twin two yrear old daughters, and we have the same issue every once in a while. Once they establish the pattern, and know HOW to get you back to the room, they (she) will do it until you break the pattern.

VERY IMPORTANT... be ready! You almost need to meditate before she goes to bed, and tell yourself that you WILL NOT pick her up. Let her know, before bed time, that you will not be taking her out of her room tonight. Tell her that, once she goes to bed, she will stay there. Even though she is too young to understand your words, it will help you to stick to it once she does go to bed.

Be ready for her to start crying when you put her to bed. Tell her you love her, and walk out of the room. Set the timer for five minutes and don't go back until the five minutes is up... plug your ears if you have to. When the time is up, go back, DON'T pick her up out of the crib, let her know, "Mommy's here, but it's sleepy time," tuck her back in, and leave the room (even though she will probably still be crying). Set the timer for five more minutes, and do the same thing (go back, let her know mommy loves her, etc.). She will be able to sense that you are serious about not taking her out of the room as long as you believe it. This time, let her know that, "Mommy won't be back for a while now." And set the timer for ten minutes. After you've done the ten minute routine twice, move on to 15 minutes. The first night, you might have to wait for her to cry it out, but it shouldn't last for longer than 20 minutes. The first night will be VERY draining for you, but it will only get easier. For me, my daughter fell asleep in one hour the first night, twenty minutes the second night, and right away the third night. I hope that this helps... good luck!

J.

1 mom found this helpful

L.,

You'll just need to let her cry it out; had to do the same thing with my son at about the same age. He's now 3 and half and has a very routine schedule, which is good for kids. Do reassure her. If you put her down once and she cries 3-5 minutes, go back to her, pick her up and tell her it's the last time you'll come back, because now she needs to sleep! Then, it will probably be a 15-20 minute battle until she cries herself to sleep. (Feels like about 4 hours for the listening Mother!) But, this will only last a few days until she realizes you're not coming back. At this age there is also the separation issue, along with the play all the time issue, so you're needing to put up with both. Keep a really regular sleep schedule as this will help. She's a little baby and needs to go to bed early, if possible, not past 7:30 p.m. New parents tend to put their kids to bed too late (I did) and later this leads to problems, including tiredness. Remember, the more she sleeps the more she'll want to sleep. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe try putting a small safe toy in the crib with her so she can play with that until she falls asleep. If she is playing by herself and not getting stimulation from you she may drift off to sleep on her own. The toy would give her something to explore while her body is relaxing.

Hi L.,
I HIGHLY recommend reading "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr. Marc Weissbluth to understand biological sleep rhythms and how/when they evolve. While he does state that the "cry it out" method is the QUICKEST way to get results, he does give other options. I used the controlled crying with my daughter for the most part until she was older. You didn't say what her sleep schedule is like right now, but at 8 months my daughter was going to SLEEP by 6-6:30pm every night, waking at 6;30-7am and napping around 9am and 1pm for at least 1 hour. Dr. Weissbluth is very adamant about an early bedtime and I have found that my daughter sleeps SO much better and longer with that early bedtime. I think the hardest thing as a mother is to distinguish between a baby's WANTS and NEEDS. Of course she wants to play, but she needs to sleep. You will get some protest crying but be strong. When she starts crying, wait 5-10 mins before responding. When you do respond, don't pick her up! Be silent and lay her back down, maybe rubbing her back for a minute until she calms down. Then leave the room. If she starts crying again, repeat the process but wait longer to respond. Continue lengthening the response time until she falls asleep. You may have to do this for a week or two, but be consistent! If your bedtime is later, I recommend moving it to that early hour ASAP. You may notice a difference by just doing that. Email me if you are interested in hearing more about Dr. Weissbluth's methods. He is amazing and if I lived in the Chicago area he would be our pediatrician!
Sincerely,
L.

Hi this might be just a phase, my 9 1/2 month old did the same thing when he began crawling and cruising- it was like he was "sleep crawling" and would only go back to sleep when I picked him up and changed his position, or a few nights we had to get up and walk and sing him back to sleep. From what I read, it is normal for them to want to practice their new found abilities even in sleep so hopefully it will pass. Go pick her up and place her back in her crib try patting her back or singing to her, a little bit of crying is okay, telling her it is night night time. My husband and I now have or son in our bed and he seems to stay asleep better
good luck

Hi L.. My son is 7 months and he's not refusing to go to sleep but can be challenging at times. I'm readng and recommend no-cry sleep solutions. Does your baby have a lovey or something she just adores? Do you have a bedtime routine yet? What time are you getting her down at? I found that my son does better when we start around 6 or 6:30 and he's asleep by 7:30 and up in the morning by 6-6:30. He wakes up about 3 times at night, which we are currently working on, and I REFUSE to let him cry it out, I do not believe in it - it's cruel & horrible. He takes 3 1-2 hour naps during the day. I would suggest writting out what you and your daughter do; her patterns and work from there and read a few of the books that were mentioned by others or the one I suggested. Results will not happen over night, it may take a few months or it may take a few weeks. Just don't give up.

Best of Luck
T.

In the first year of life, babies are changing so much, including their sleep habits. I don't think you can ever "go back" to anything with an infant. Crying it out is so cruel to your little one who is just so excited about what she is learning to do! Babies will sleep well for a few months or weeks and then go through a little phase of not doing so well (in adults' eyes) for a few weeks and then it will pass. No matter what you do, you can't force sleep on a baby and it's likely this phase will only last a very short time. You can't force her to sleep. I would just ride it out, give her some extra love right now, and she'll find her own new (and hopefully better) sleep routine soon. Crying it out does nothing but make her insecure in her attachment to a caregiver, as she is crying out for attention and help and her needs are being ignored.

Hello, I remember those days, my daughter is now 5 and still doesn't want to sleep. TALK to her, I know it sounds funny but it worked for me. I could not bear the tears and often picked her up too until I had no time to myself. Finally, I sat down in her room on the floor with her and told her.. "Hunny mommy loves you very much but you need to get some sleep and mommmy has lots of things to do. I don't want you to cry so I need you to be a big girl and try to go to sleep and in the morning we will play. I told her that I was not going to come get her anymore. It was bed time. I laid her down said her prayers and walked out. She was only about 10 months old but it is amazing what they understand. She cried for about 3 minutes and then fell asleep. The crying lasted only a few days but I made sure that the first thing I did in the morning was play so that she knew that when I said something I meant it. Even now at 5 I have to make deals with her... now it's not playing it's donuts at 7-11 before school.

You must stick to what you say! =) hope this works for you.

L.

Put her in quiet time in her crib. Give her a quiet toy and tell her that it is quiet time. I used to play music we had a CD that was an hour of quiet lullabys. Mine had to stay in bed until the CD was over, most of the time they fell asleep. If they didn't they at least rested for an hour.

Hi L.,
My son (now 14 months) went through the same thing. They are only testing us to see what they can get away with. I did the exact same thing as Jill below. I think it's very important not to pick them up when you go back in. I would go in give him a hug and rub his back for a second just to let him know I was still around, but it's bedtime. You will get through this. It's very hard to hear our babies cry, but you can do it! Good luck :-)

A.

The sleep problem phases tend to be short, unless you prolong them by reinforcing them--they just FEEL like they are lasting forever because you, too, are sleep-deprived.
Probably the best book I ever read was when my daughter was about the same age...it has the obnoxious title of "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems" by Dr. Ferber, but it is one of the most highly-recommended books in the world. What I learned (when I read it while rocking her to sleep, sometimes at 2AM!) was that my daughter had a food problem, not a sleep one--I was feeding new foods to her in the evening, when she was fussiest and wanted the comfort of her rice cereal and familiarity. Changed the feeding pattern and the same night, she slept like a log! The book was fascinating, and I re-read it when we went through entirely different sleep disturbances at 2-1/2 years of age; I HIGHLY recommend it.

I started feeding my daughter a hot cereal before bedtime. This has become our routine. She knows after she has her cereal, it will be time to wind down. This also helps satisfy her through the night. As far as a method to get her sleep, I put my daughter to bed and if she wakes up and starts crying while I am laying her down, I give her a kiss, tell her I love her and walk out of the room. If she continues to cry, I go into the room after 10 minutes. Without picking her up I give her a hug (sometimes a long one depending on how hard she is crying), give her a kiss, tell her I love her and walk out of the room. If she continues to cry I repeat extending the amount of time before I return each time. This lets her know I am still there and it is okay to go to bed. The first night I did this it took her an hour and a half to fall asleep. The second night it only took 10 minutes. Good Luck!!!

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