13 Month Old with Sleep Problems

Updated on September 11, 2009
J.C. asks from Colorado Springs, CO
5 answers

My 13 month baby girl used to be the best sleeper. Recently she has been waking up at about 1 to 1:30 a.m. standing up crying for a few seconds, sitting for a few minutes, back and forth for as many hours has I let it go on. I usually go in there and lay her back down, tell her to go to sleep and then leave, then of course she starts again as soon as I leave. I usually only do this once or twice and do not pick her up or give her anything to drink. For the past 4 days she has been consistent with this and I usually go in her room after 2 hours and pat her chest until she is in a deep sleep so we can both get some sleep, but it doesn't always work because she may only sleep for 15 minutes and then start the whole process again. My major concern is her being up for so long during the night, why doesn't she just lay down and go back to sleep, I know that she understands by now that I am not going to pick her up. This morning I woke up and realized I didn't hear her so I went in her bedroom to check on her and she was just sitting up. It kind of freaked me out because I had know idea whether or not she just sat there for hours this morning without falling back to sleep or if she just woke up (usually she cries when she wakes up in the mornings). She takes a nap in the mornings for about an hour and then in the after noon for about an hour, usually no later than 4:00 and goes to sleep at night at about 8 or 8:30. The only thing that has changed in her routine is that she used to nap in her playpen down stairs during the day and I have recently started putting her in her crib for all or her sleeping and not using the playpen for naps. I know that she knows how to lay back down and go to sleep because weeks ago she began standing up in her crib and crying at night and after a few times of laying her down she got it and that was that, but this seems like a whole different problem. Is she just having problems sleeping or what, I am worried about my baby girl has anyone had this issue? Thank you for taking the time to read this long explanation.

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for the good advice, especially Katie, you were right on the money. Almost as soon as I put her on one nap during the day, the night time was a breeze. I knew she just seemed so restless and not in pain; to those of you who advised that pain might have been the problem. She is sleeping great at nights again, I think the milestone thing can probably be an issue too because she is learning how to walk and all the things a 13 month old does so that really eased my mind when that was mentioned. Sometimes you just don't think of everything on your own and that is why I love this website.

More Answers



answers from Boise on

I agree, that this is most likely a milestone thing. 13 months is a prime time to start walking, and there are always sleep issuesduring those times. It sounds like you are okay with letting her cry it out, and if you can stand to do that for 3-4 days, she should go back to normal (that is what my son has done during his milestones).

You also mentioned that she wakes up crying in the morning and gets a total of about 2 hours of naps during the day? You may want to look at that too. I have been told that you know your child got enough sleep if they wake up happy. My son usually wakes up talking and babbling to himself, and after awhile, may get upset that I am trying to sleep a little longer, but it is usually a happy wake up. You may want to try putting her to bed earlier, depending on when she wakes up. Also, I have read that naps should be at least 1.5 hours and no more than 3 hours so that they can get the full cycle of sleep in. You may want to try combining her naps? Are you waking her up, or does she only sleep for an hour? Is she waking up crying from those? You can also move those earlier if necessary. My son is 16 months, and he usually gets about 13.5 - 14.5 hours of sleep a day. I don't know if this is truly an issue or not, so sorry for offering unsolicited advice, but my ears always perk up when I hear that kids wake up crying.



answers from Denver on

Just to look at a different perspective, are you sure she's not getting sick or cutting some teeth? This doesn't seem like normal milestone development to me. If she is waking up so much she probably is in some sort of pain. Have you tried giving her something before bed for teething pain? The pain is worse at night because that is when the growth hormone kicks in. Also, I wouldn't do the wait two hour thing. It 's obvious she needs help. She's not old enough to be manipulative--her brain development simply isn't that advanced at her age. You can always re-sleep train her. But I would look for an issue with pain first. Most obviously teething. If that's not it there are some other things that could be causing this, but try that first. If it doesn't work I have more ideas for you.
Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

If she has recently begun doing more as in possibly starting to walk, she may be excited to try those skills at night :) The more milestones that my daughter hit especially around that age caused her to lose a little sleep at night. If I were you I would switch to one nap a day, even if its a little longer than an hour. I would make sure that she has a nice full meal within an hour or two of bedtime, that always helped my daughter to sleep better. Many people swear by not letting their baby have a nap later than 2:00pm for this reason.
Is she teething? That can also cause her to be restless at night. At 11 mos my daugter went through a phase where she HATED her crib but it passed rather quickly. You are doing the right thing by comforting her and not giving in by giving her a bottle or anything at night and comforting her in her crib, thats good for the long run, so good job :) Hang in there, if shes not teething then its just a phase. Try to let her fall asleep on her own without you being there, she may become dependent on you being there for her to fall asleep, just go in and comfort her and then leave, go back again if she needs you but it shouldn't take too long until she learns to self soothe again. Good luck!



answers from Salt Lake City on

As kids hit developmental milestones, especially brain development & growth, they can have sleep issues come up again, even after they've been great sleepers.

I would suggest deciding whether you want to go in to her right away or let her cry until she falls asleep/morning. By letting her cry a while and then go into her, you're kind of teaching her to cry longer because she knows eventually you'll go in to her. So go in right away and help her settle down, or don't go at all.
My personal opinion would be to go in right away. A few months my daughter hit this point I actually started letting her sleep with me when she woke up. That way we both got a full night's sleep (I was pregnant so I really needed it!) After the new baby came we started moving her back into her bed once she was asleep and it was a fairly easy transition (she was 2 1/2 by then). I also had my boys sleep with me, and began transitioning them out around 3 years old. They are all amazing sleepers now, going to their own beds at night at rarely coming in during the night (when they do, it's easy enough to send them back to their beds). They are 11, 8, and 6 now, btw.

Good luck! Remember that she is only a baby for a short time. You don't need to make her grow up too fast!



answers from Boise on

I agree with Jodi P...

Sounds like there is more then milestones going on her life....two hours of crying is saying that. I would hate to find out that she is in pain, whether it's from teething, ear ache, or even growing pain's, and know that I didn't comfort her. I would start giving some tylenol/ibuprophen and maybe some Hylands teething tablets right before bed and see if that helps any. She may just need her mom at night, and she herself may not even understand why. Taking the time to confort her now will not hurt in the long run, once you are sure she is over the hump you can always try again.

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