J.B. asks from Lady Lake, FL on July 11, 2007
My son just turned 1 in June. He has been sleeping pretty good only waking up once during the night (usually around 2/3am). However for the last week he has been extremely fussy at night and it takes him awhile to cry himself to sleep. Sometimes it takes so long I go in and get him. How long is too long when you are talking about crying themselves to sleep? He also has been waking up more often in the middle of the night and it's sometimes difficult to get him back to sleep...
It's been a week of this and sleep deprevation is no help while trying to take care of a toddler during the day...any advice would be appreciated...
H.H. answers from Orlando on July 12, 2007
It could be one of many or even a combination of things. If you've eliminated the previously mentioned possibilities, perhaps you need to think if anything has changed for him. Have you introduced any new foods? Something could be disagreeing with him; allergy, gas etc... Are you weening him from a bottle or pacifier? Has his day time routine changed at all; nap times; activity level. etc... Is he having bad dreams? My daughter started needing a night light at that age. She just didn't like the dark. (I have this awesome turtle night light that shines stars on the ceiling) These are all reasons I've run into. I know that if my daughter misses a nap or doesn't get enough exercise, she doesn't sleep well.
I also make sure to make bed time preparation as soothing as possible. I start about 25-45 minutes before actual bed time. I turn off the TV (it's too stimulating), I might give her a warm bath with a massage afterward. I always read a story, and then we turn out the light and sit and talk or cuddle for a few minutes. (On a side note I find that when she starts crying, I can distract her by asking her totally unrelated questions ex: "Listen. What was that noise? Did you like going to the beach? Wasn't it fun when...?) That way she feels she has had enough time with me, but when it's bed time, that's it; it's bed time. My formula for a while was 2 short stories, 2 songs, 2 bed. Now it's down to 1 story, the cuddle time is generally shorter and it's 1 - 2 songs.
It could just be a phase he's going through. For now, I suggest going back to survival mode. Sleep when he does. Otherwise, you won't have the patience to deal with him. Most importantly, follow your instincts with him. You know what you're doing (even it if doesn't always feel that way)
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T.F. answers from Orlando on July 11, 2007
No offense to the other posters, but I think a lot of people blame teething for everything from runny noses to sleeping problems and everything in between. Yes, he may be teething, but if you focus on just that, you won't be solving the long term problem that he needs to soothe himself back to sleep. How does he go down at night? Do you rock him or anything else he is using as a crutch? That one middle of the night waking isn't necessary at his age, either. What are you doing to get him to sleep at 2/3am? I read "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" and it helped me teach my son to fall asleep on his own, and how to cut out each of the night time (and early morning) bottles one by one. I basically hold him while he is crying for as long as it takes for him to calm down (even if it's an hour), then immediately when he stops I put him in his crib. If he cries (not sleepy whinning, but really cries), I pick him up and hold him again until he stops. I do NOT walk around bouncing him or anything else that I know would help calm him faster because I know that would be a crutch that wouldn't be available to him in the middle of the night (meaning the motion of walking/rocking/bouncing by me). Anyway, when he was a teeny baby, this method helped him fall asleep on his own in 3 nights. (The first night, I picked him up and put him back down 30 times in a row, second night was 10 times, 3rd night was like twice). To stop the middle of the night bottles (and recently the 5:30am bottle), I just went in his room and held him until he stopped crying (which could mean up to an HOUR), then placed him back in his crib and he fell back to sleep and did NOT wake the next night for a bottle at all. I'd hear a slight sleepy whine at that same time, but he'd not fully awaken. Good luck. It helps to remember that he is waking and wanting your help to fall back to sleep OUT OF HABIT, not because he is starving or in severe pain (check on him to be sure, but 99% of the time, it's habit so you have to tough it out and teach him you will not give in with a bottle or rocking)
K.M. answers from Melbourne on July 11, 2007
It really sounds like your little one is getting teeth, maybe even his molars are starting to cut!! I would try DR Browns teething tablets, they sell them at walmart for about six dollars. They are all natural and they work like a charm!! When it comes to the crying it out issue, sometimes they are overtired and just cry as a way of wearing themselves down more so they can fall asleep. I would let him cry for about 5-10 minutes if he cannot console himself, go in hug him console him then explain "its bedtime, time to go to sleep now, no more crying we'll play tomorrow." If he starts again, do the same thing, until he realizes "I need to go to sleep, I'm not getting anywhere with this, and I'm okay mommy still there if I need her". He WILL eventually fall asleep despite the voice in your head saying " he's never gonna sleep I'm gonna be up all night, I'm gonna go CRAZY!!!". I know I've been there with both of my children! As a LAST resort if you cannot get him to sleep after about an hour or two and he is REALLY upset and irritable, try a little Tylenol, it's not good to give it too much so use it only in a real emergency, but sometimes they get so upset and irritable they cannot calm down to sleep, its becomes a little like insomnia and the little dose of Tylenol helps relax them and make them sleepy, if hes teething it will help with that at the same time! As far a getting up at night, I'm going through the same thing with my 2 1/2 daughter who thinks its okay to get up and eat pop tarts while watching TV at 3;30 am!!! We just put her back to bed, or if hes still in a crib, go in and say "its bedtime, go to sleep now, not playtime nite nite time, good night" and repeat until he stops getting up. It is not automatic it will probably take 2-3 grueling nights before he stops but after that it should be smooth sailing! Good luck!
S.B. answers from Orlando on July 12, 2007
K.H. answers from Fort Myers on July 11, 2007
i agree, probably teething. give the little one the teething tablets when needed, and use the ambesol. Also, make sure its not too cold in his room that aggravates teeth.