20 answers

What Happened to My Good Sleeping Baby?

Hi, mamas,

I have a problem. My baby is now a 14 MO toddler. She has always been a GREAT sleeper. We've been able to put her down awake at 8:30 pm and she just goes to sleep, and doesn't wake until morning. For the last week, she has been not wanting to go down, and then she doesn't stay asleep when she finally does fall asleep. She screams terribly - worse than she's ever done before, so I have a hard time having her "cry it out." Some situations going on lately - she has a molar coming in. She had a cold a couple days ago.

So we've tried the rocking back to sleep, letting her lie in our bed until she falls asleep and even nursing, but she's so restless, she has the hardest time falling asleep. We thought it was teething,so we've given her tylenol, teething rings, etc. She is obviously tired, but struggles.

What happened to our good sleeper, and now what do we do about it?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks so much for all the advice! We started putting our daughter down at 7 pm, and gave her a bit of motrin about an hour before bedtime. She's gone back to sleeping through the night! Her molar is just about popped all the way through, so hopefully we'll have a break from the teeth for a little while. She's almost through her cold - just has the boogie-woogies now. Thanks again!

Featured Answers

Here's an idea, what is she sleeping in? Last winter when my little girl was around 13-14 months she started struggling with sleep. I discovered that I was not dressing her warm enough for the cooler nights. Since she wasn't able to keep a blanket on I ended up buying some of those sleep bags. She has slept well ever since.

It sounds like she might be over tired. Try putting her down earlier. My 2 year old goes down about 6:30 or 7 and my 5 year old goes down between 7 and 7:30. Both sleep until about 7:30 in the morning. She might be growing and need a little bit more sleep. It could be due to teething. Molars are painful. But trying moving her bedtime up, even to 8 might help. When kids get over tired they wind up and have a really hard time winding down.

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I would check into any possible medical issues and then when those are ruled out, I would get the book, "How to Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems" by Richard Ferber. It is fantastic because he explains why these things happen and what to do to help fix them. It is well worth reading. Good luck!

It sounds like she might be over tired. Try putting her down earlier. My 2 year old goes down about 6:30 or 7 and my 5 year old goes down between 7 and 7:30. Both sleep until about 7:30 in the morning. She might be growing and need a little bit more sleep. It could be due to teething. Molars are painful. But trying moving her bedtime up, even to 8 might help. When kids get over tired they wind up and have a really hard time winding down.

My kids had cold symptoms when they teethed, every time. Molars are especially painful. Give her motrin before bed or natural teething tablets. Motrin helped my kids more then Tylenol and stays with them longer. Give it to her a half hour before bed. Also I may say 8:30 is a little late for a 14 mos old. My 7 year old goes to bed at that time.
I would put her down earlier, as being overly tired can cause things to backfire too.
Being too tired can cause the restless behavior. Make sure she takes a good nap during the day and I would say a bedtime of 7:30 makes a lot more sense. My four year old is in bed at 7:30 and doesn't wake until 7am.
They need lot's of sleep at this age.
Kids will change up sleep patterns a ton, growth spurts, teething, even bad dreams start kicking in a lot between one and 4. Hang in there but don't start a habit you are not willing to have to break like rocking, letting her sleep in your bed and so on. Crying it out isn't going to hurt her.

I agree with PP; you don't want to create bad sleep habits just because she's not feeling well. It sounds like she still wants to fall asleep on her own anyway. My daughter went through a phase similar to this around that age after being a wonderful sleeper. It was a rough time for all of us, but my thought was it didn't seem to help if I tried to rock her to sleep anyway. So we had to let her self soothe. I never let her cry longer than 10 mins without checking on her. Pretty soon she fell back into her regular routine and is still a good sleeper and we don't have fights at bedtime like a lot of parents do with their preschoolers.

Hang in there, and check to make sure there are no other underlying medical issues just to be safe.

You have already received great advice, and I would agree with all of it. I just wanted to say that my twins are 15 months and just went through this stage. You are not alone and it, too, will pass. My biggest recommendation besides giving them motrin would be to not develop bad habits at this time even though it is really hard. The first few nights of this we let them sleep with us (and they NEVER have) and we paid for it. Go in, give them motrin (if it is time), rock them for 10-15 minutes to let the motrin kick in and put them back in their crib. Don't go back in unless you can tell there is something really wrong with them. That saved our lives. Now our son every 3 or 4 nights wakes up (he is still teething) and we follow this routine and he goes right back to bed. Someone told me that if adults went through teething, we would need opiates. Good luck to you. I totally understand where you are coming from.

Your baby has become a 'toddler.' Around this age, her brain starts hitting some major growth spurts - they will last until she's about 3 (hense the terrible 2's. It does affect her sleeping. And, as she begins to experiment with independence, she may resist sleep more.

So what to do ... I agree with other posts that she may be getting overtired, and that she might be coming down with a cold, and that she might be teething. So try to avoid/deal with those sleep issues. Also develop a routine, that you follow firmly (if she's really sick, there will need to be some adjustments, but otherwise, stick to it). It should be short (15 min or less) and can include stories, rocking, time in mom's bed (with the lights off!) or anything else that has helped her in the past. Just be patient and tell her "It's time to sleep now." She may wiggle (you can't really stop that) but she must stay lying down (just calmly and gently lie her back down if she gets up and tell her "its time to go to sleep") She may not 'get it' at first, but as long as you are patient and calm, and don't let her control you at bedtime, you'll be setting up a good standard so that when those 2's start and she really tries to assert her independence, it won't be a new thing. And in time, she will grow out of it and develop sleep habits and routines that don't need you right there.

Boy, don't kids grow up fast! :)

My guess is that the 'cold' is just because your baby is teething. My son gets that way when he is cutting teeth. Cold like symptoms and then just cries. We have found that orajel teeth swabs do the trick, along with tylenol. About a half hour before bedtim we would give him a little dose of infant tylenol, and then rub his gums good with the orajel swabs. He sleeps like a baby. :-) It is just that pain I think that keeps them restless.

I would have her ears checked. Sounds like my son. HE slept from three weeks old all night. When he got an ear infection at three months old, he didn't sleep through the night again until he was over two years old. Hope it's something easy like that!

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