L.M. asks from Milwaukee, WI on September 12, 2007
Sleeping Through the Night - Milwaukee, WI
I need some advice on how to get my 14 month old to sleep through the night without needing me to come into his room.
My son is still nursing in the evening, but I am hoping to transition him to two nursings, one when he goes to sleep and one at his usual 6 a.m. I am looking to eliminate his 12 a.m. and 2-3 a.m. wake-up calls.
He wakes up and starts crying and will only lay back down if I go into the room lay him down and pat his back until he falls back to sleep. Sometimes he insists on being nursed and other times he just lays down and waits for me to pat his back. I have tried going in laying him down and then leaving the room. He just cries. I have let him cry for a little bit and then go back in at 5 min, 10 min, 15 min, etc. One night after 2 hours my husband couldn't take it any longer and picked him up. I don't like the crying method, but I can't think of anything else to do.
Any advice would be wonderful.
So What Happened?™
First I would like to thank everyone for the wonderful advice. I took a little bit of everything and tried what worked best. Surprisingly, once I eliminated his bedtime nursing he started sleeping through the night more often. I always assumed that the nursing helped him, but since I removed it he sleeps from 9 p.m. to 4 or 5 a.m. I then nurse him and he sleeps until 8 a.m. When he does wake up some nights I just go into his room give him his nuk, whisper that it is time to sleep and he needs to lay down. He then lays down and I cover him up and leave the room. It also helped that we started running his humidifier at night. It seems to block out noise and help him sleep. He also no longer wakes up stuffy.
Thank you again for all the help.
B.C. answers from Appleton on September 13, 2007
I have no experience personally, my daughter is 18 months, still sleeps in out bed and usually only wakes up when she is teething to nurse. When she was teething and getting up 3-6 times a night I was considering this, but I just rode it out and now she has calmed down with the night feedings. . Maybe it will help you though, its a much gentler approach to the crying methods.
1 mom found this helpful
C.P. answers from Green Bay on September 13, 2007
I wish I had an answer for you. My son is now 27 months old. He did not sleep through the night until he was 13 months old. It was terrible. He was a light sleeper and we made the decision when he was an infant to let him sleep in our bed. He was a very colicky infant and was waking every hour at that point. We felt to get any sleep at all we needed him as close as possible. Well needless to say he cannot self-soothe at all. He has become dependent on mommy and daddy comforting/holding/rocking him to sleep and absolutely will not go to bed until all three of us are in the bed. I do not regret that I choose the parenting style of always comforting my child when he cried nor do I really regret letting him sleep with us. Anyway sorry about the novel. My advice is to keep doing what you are doing. Keep coming in to his room at longer and longer intervals of time. I have read a lot about this method and it seems to be the most effective one without having to ignore your child's crying. Good luck. No matter what just know that this IS temporary. He will stop.
H.D. answers from Madison on September 13, 2007
I went through the same thing with both of my kids. I didn't want to do the cry it out thing either, but in the end that was what worked. The first night was absolutely HORRIBLE. I'm not sure who cried more, me or my son and it went on forever. The second night bad but not nearly like the first. The third was SIGNIFICANTLY better (only cried for maybe 5-10 minutes). By night number 4 it was no longer an issue. With my daughter it only took one night - again it was NOT fun and it took everything I had to not go in by her. But, with Zoey it only took the one night. On night two she didn't call for me or anything. I woke up, but she didn't.
At 14 months he is simply in the habit of having mom come and get him back to sleep. He doesn't actually need to eat, but it's the comfort of mommy he wants. It doesn't help that seperation anxiety is starting at this age too. Does he have a special toy or blanket he likes? Maybe instead of patting his back you give him his "lovey" instead, which you may already be doing.
Good luck - it's never easy is it?
(FYI - You and I have a bit in common too. I've been married for 14 years - our son is 3-1/2 and daughter will be 2 in November)
M.M. answers from Milwaukee on September 12, 2007
I am having a few nighttime issues with my kids right now too, my son is 3 and daughter 1, my daughter doesnt want to fall asleep on her own, and my son doesnt want to nap! Very frustrating! My Dr. recommended the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" By Marc Weissbluth. I have only read a few chapters, and it is something that, for me, takes focus to read. But, so far its good. Maybe it would help?
I do know that in my experience, the crying really makes you feel terrible, but it doesnt last forever, and they learn to get themselves to sleep, and stay asleep with out your help. For his nutrition, he really shouldnt need to eat in the middle of the night. He most likely just needs to learn how to soothe himself.
You need your sleep too! Nobody is happy if Mom ain't happy :) (and well rested!)
R.W. answers from St. Cloud on September 13, 2007
When a child is 14 months they know that you are in the next room. Letting them cry isn't torturing them, but teaching them that night time is for sleeping. Your 14 month old obviously knows that if he cries long enough you will come and get him. This can only motivate him to cry longer. My 12 month old daughter cries EVERY time I lay her down for nap or bed time. Sometimes she will cry for up to 45 minutes, but when I start going in to check on her it makes her cry longer. If she wakes up in the middle of the night I do check on her and lay her back down, but if she cries again I don't go back in.
It is never easy to let a toddler cry, but you need to remember he is a toddler, not a baby.
K.G. answers from Appleton on September 13, 2007
I know sleep training is a controversial topic, but this is what we found for our daughter. We tried the controlled crying suggested by Ferber...seemed like a nice compromise between the Weisbluth CIO method and the Baby Whisperer or No Cry method. Our daughter became very angry when she was crying and we went into her room but didn't give her a bottle or hold her or anything. Since she was getting even more worked up by seeing us, but I'm sure in her mind, us not getting her what she thought she needed we switched to the just letting her cry method. Yes, there were a few nights in a row where she cried for a LONG time, and I hated it. The first night I sat outside her room and waited for her to stop. She seemed to understand with the middle of the night wake ups better than the first bed time put down, that she was not going to get milk, and she went back to sleep much faster in the middle of the night (I think it was less than 15 minutes even). It was really hard to listen to her crying, but at 14 months your son doesn't really need food overnight. I think I read that after about 6 or 9 months or something they don't NEED food overnight. Our daughter is not a perfect sleeper, but she is pretty good compared to some other kids I've read about on the posts. I would definitely want to break this habit before your new baby comes, since with the new one you will already be up a whole lot.
J.A. answers from Madison on September 13, 2007
I can empathize with this situation! My daughters were still waking up 3 or 4 times a night to nurse when they were a year old. It was exhausting, to say the least. I decided we were going to cut out nighttime nursing so everyone could get more sleep. I did it gradually, but what worked for me was just letting them cry when they woke up in the middle of the night. I wouldn't even go into their room. It was difficult, but within a week or two they were sleeping through the night (for the most part).