15 answers

Need a New Bedtime Routine

My daughter recently turned 1. Since she was born I have always rocked her to bed with a bottle in her room, with no lights on and door shut. Until she was 11 months she was up at least 2 times a night (on a good night), so whatever worked to get her to bed was ok with me. She had always gone to bed fine, and sleeps well in her crib. One night when she was about 10 1/2 months I was putting her to bed and she wasn't acting tired (she's never had a set bedtime because she naps at all different times during the day). She got a little upset, and I didn't want to force her to go to bed if she wasn't tired, so I let her down and out of her bedroom to play. That was probably one of the biggest mistakes Ive ever made! Every night since then when I try to put her to bed she cries and cries until I let her down. Im kind of a softie, so I dont let her fuss for long, but I don't give up right away either. Im also not the type to just put my baby in her crib and let her cry, that breaks my heart. So we have been battling bedtime ever since. Im definitely not a night owl, but she will stay up until 11pm or after. When it gets to be later in the night I know she is tired but for some reason she fights sleep. I have no problem putting her down for naps (I follow the same routine as bedtime) and I never let her nap past 4pm. She does not nap often during the day (maybe an hour, 2 at the most) so I am pretty sure she's not over sleeping then. I have tried alot of different things like turning all the lights and tvs off in the house before I take her into her room, and follwing the same routine every night. She gets a bath every night at 7pm. I have tried the Johnson & Johnson soothing bath washes and lotions, which have not helped her. I have tried warming her milk, and letting her sleep with her blankie (which Im pretty sure is the only reason she sleeps through the night some nights now). Has anyone else gone through this before? Any advice on how to get her to fall asleep before 11/12pm, but without a huge struggle? (when she was 0-7 months old I couldnt get her to stay up past 6:30 or 7!!!) Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!

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Thanks everyone for the great advice! The problem I have with naptime during the day is that I worl part-time. On the days I work my grandmother watches her. She just lets her nap whenever she acts tired, and alot of time holds her the entire time she sleeps (because she will wake up crying when she puts her down). On my days off she sleeps fine in her crib, but I realize now that Im a push over during the day too. If I rock her to sleep for a nap and she doesn't fall asleep, I just let her down to play then too. Hopefully we can get a set nap schedule during the day and that will help at night! Thanks for all the tips!! They are very much appreciated!

Featured Answers

Regular nap times will probably help, and you've gotten a lot of other good advice. My daughter was a challenge sometimes at naptime, but at bedtime we rarely had a problem, because I always slept with her at night. Co-sleeping worked for us.

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I agree with what others have already said: she's overly tired and she needs a regular nap time & schedule. I also cannot say enough things about Weissbluth's "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child," which has also been recommended to you. It is hands down the best book I ever read as a first-time parent. You have to get her grandma on board with the same routine. It will be challenging the first couple weeks (grandma needs to be prepared for some crying during those weeks, and, like you, she HAS TO stay consistent and not go to your daughter when she cries.) Best of luck to you.

What you need to do is set a routine. A 1yr old shouldn't be up at 11pm, a decent bedtime for a child that age is 7pm-8:30pm, somewhere in there. You need to start a bedtime routine about an hour before actual bedtime, so she knows its coming. Run a bath, put lotion on her, put her jammies on, give her a small snack and drink, then move to her bedroom to read a book, listen to soft music, snuggle a little with her in her chair, and then put her in bed.

At this point she knows you are a 'pushover' an will let her out if she throws a tissy, so you need to get past that. She will throw a fit, she will cry and throw her stuff out of her crib, but you need to just let her calm herself. Dont let her scream and get sick, of course, go in and comfort her, but just pat her back and shush her reassuringly.

And I always nursed my boys to sleep until they weaned (my oldest was about a year, my youngest was almost 2 when he weaned from nursing) and I've never had a problem putting them to bed, and now at 7 and 4 they are fabulous sleepers. So rocking/nursing to sleep isn't a problem, but you do need to have a routine set up, keep it the same every night, so her body can gear up for bedtime, so as the routine follows through she knows what is coming next. But you need to buck up and follow through, and get her to bed at a decent time. An overtired child will fight sleep. at her age she should be taking at least one long nap a day in the afternoon, and possibly a cat nap in the morning. And her bedtime should be around 8pm, with hte bedtime routine starting about an hour before her actual bedtime. Stick with it, and she will be in bed in no time. but you can't waffle on it, stick to it and help her adust.

Regular nap times will probably help, and you've gotten a lot of other good advice. My daughter was a challenge sometimes at naptime, but at bedtime we rarely had a problem, because I always slept with her at night. Co-sleeping worked for us.

Oh B.... you are going to get a lot of responses on this one! I'll let the others take over, but I think you are going to have to lay down the "Super Nanny" law on this one and get tough with an early bedtime! I bet by 11pm her adreneline is taking over giving her a second wind, thus also waking her in the middle of the night and early in the morning. She'll sleep good once you are able to firmly institute an early (Like 8:00) bedtime.

Have you tried putting her down earlier? More often than not, kids are awake and crazy even though they are super tired. I know every kid is different, but our 2.5 year old has almost NEVER gone to bed after 7pm, and he is a wonderful sleeper. I never wake him from naps, and even if he wakes up, eats dinner, and goes back to bed, it's never been a problem. Try letting her nap as long as she wants and making and keeping a consistent bed time. Letting her play may just be making her more tired, which makes her more crabby, which makes her cry, which makes you feel bad and let her stay up longer. It's a dangerous cycle. Teaching kids to sleep is truly the first thing we as parents teach them. For her natural circadian rhythm to kick in, there has to be some consistency.

Good luck!

You have trained her to be up. I understand how you don't let a child cry it out, that isn't for a good nights rest. What I think would help is go back to the beginning. At a set bedtime rock her to sleep and put her in her bed. Stick with the schedule because a body sleeps better with a schedule and a child needs the security of a schedule. Start with waking her up at 7am or 8am, put her down for a nap after lunch if she is on one nap (if she is on two naps get her up at 7, put her down at 10 and again at 2). At night play with her after supper then put her in the bath, brush teeth and read her a book. Then rock her to sleep or just about asleep and put her in her bed. If she starts fussing don't take her out of the bed, rub her back and sing to her or put on a lullabye tape. You will have a few nights of getting use to the routine but soon you will see that she adjusts to it and goes to sleep with no trouble.

Always remember when dealig with children, say no only when you know you are going to stick with the no. If you aren't sure if they can do it or not say you will think about it and if you don't want them to do or have something say no and stick to it no matter what behavior you see. We train kids to throw fits and to cry at night like this by letting them know if they cry or fuss they will get their way. It has to be one of the biggest mistakes a parent makes and one we all make at one time or other. All kids cry and act out more when they don't have enough sleep and that is why schedules are so important.

You have an overtired baby. Good naps during the day equal better sleep at night. Our daughter is about the same age and during the day goes down for a nap every 2-2.5 HR. Then her bedtime is between 7-7:30. Any later than that & we've lost her sleep window & it's difficult to get her down. Highly recommend the Baby Whisperer book previously mentioned. Good luck!

I know what we did is not considered the norm BUT we co-slept starting when our daughter was about 1 1/2. We co-slept till she was 4.

The reason we stopped was because when our little guy got to be 1 1/2, there just wasn't room for 4 of us in the bed anymore! It was easy when he was a baby and small but he moves a lot when he sleeps and getting kicked in the face is only pleasant the first 10 times! LOL. We would have loved to get a Kind size bed so we could have continued but none of the bedrooms in our house would be able to fit one....

So, we moved the kids to a mattress on the floor of our room for about 4 to 6 months. Then my husband and I moved out of our room to another room down the hall. Our plan was to move the kids but we thought it would be easier on them if they stayed in the room they were used to sleeping in. Our kids are now 4 1/2 and 2 1/2 and sleep pretty good in their own room. Once asleep, they sleep through the whole night!

I do agree that you should have her on some sort of routine. My kids always napped at about the same time most days. Even now, our youngest typically goes down between 12:30 and 2:30 and will sleep about 2 hours. Bedtime is usually between 9 and 10 pm. Although we farm so the kids get their daddy time from about 7:30/8 till bedtime. So I would never consider putting my kids to bed at 7pm. Although I have a friend who does NO MATTER WHAT! If there is anything (parade, party, etc) going on after that time, they get a babysitter and go without the kids.

So we stay very flexible with their "schedule" to fit what is happening in our daily lives.

If you want her to go to bed in her crib without a struggle. It will more than likely take the crying it out method to accomplish that. We did not go that route but co-sleeping isn't for everyone either.

Good luck!

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