14 Month Old Who Rarely Seems to Sleep

Updated on November 16, 2008
C.S. asks from Newport Beach, CA
10 answers

I am hoping that I will get some good advice on this. My 14 month old daughter just doesn't seem to need much sleep. I try to get her to take two naps a day. She will sometimes only sleep for 10-15 minutes each time. She also wakes up in the middle of the night several times crying. I have tried patting her back in her crib without picking her up, but she continues to cry until I pick her up and nurse her back to sleep. This usually takes 10-15 minutes each time. If I try to put her down before she is in a complete deep sleep, she cries and I have to start all over again. This sometimes happens 3-4 times a night. Also, she goes to bed at 8:30PM and gets up at 6AM. I don't know if her little body just doesn't require much sleep or what? The only way that she gets to sleep is if she falls asleep nursing or in the car. I am trying to wean her during the day and in the next month or so wean her completely. She has 6 teeth now and bites my nipples which is very painful. Anyways, I feel bad complaining about it because I think I expect a lot because my first daughter was such a great sleeper. I am just concerned because I have read literature about how important sleep is for children. She also seems very cranky and irritable when she only takes the 10-15 minute naps. I know that she is still tired and just fights it. Pleas give me your input and advice on this. It is very appreciated.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter is the same way. At 14 months old, you can drop the second nap if your child doesn't want it. For us, it's all about where she sleeps. She hates napping in her crib and will only sleep in our guest room. This is not all that convenient because my nanny has to sit there next to her while she naps because she is afraid she will fall off the bed (even though she surrounds her with a makeshift blockade of king size pillows). Is she naps in the guest room, she can nap for 2 - 2.5 hours. If she dozes off anywhere else (ie., stroller), it's 15-20 minutes. We've tried everything as well but have given in to the guest room for naps. As for the night time wakings, I suspect that your daughter's molars may be coming in. My daughter is 15 months old and went through the night wakings too last month. Now that they two molars are in, she is sleeping better through the night. Tylenol also helped for that.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Sounds like your daughter only needs about 10 hours a sleep at night, like my daughter. She might do better taking only one nap a day, around noon and sleep for 2-3 hours.

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answers from Honolulu on

Yes, as the others said, try and consolidate her naps into 1 nap... at about 11:00-12:00.

Also try "white noise." We use a fan on "low" when my son naps.

Also, your daughter may just be high needs or sensory sensitive... my daughter was that way. If there was the tiniest noise, she would wake or would not sleep. I could not even flush the toilet when she slept. And she did not like being hot...it made her cranky. And she had bad gas. Also, she was a "needier" baby, versus my son. So I had to adjust. It's just the difference in personalities...

Also, make sure your daughter is getting enough intake throughout the day... if a baby/child is hungry they can't sleep.

She is fussy/cranky because she is over-tired... over-tired children actually CANNOT sleep very well, and will wake up more. Over-tired children can even become more "hyper" misleading the parent into thinking they are "not" tired, when when they actually are.

Very important is: Have a CONSISTENT pre-nap & pre-bed routine with your daughter. I think, with your girl...she NEEDS more structure and a set routine in order to settle down and calm down. With my kids, from the time they were babies and still now...I allow for 1/2 hour in order to just wind them down BEFORE their nap or bedtime. If my kids are "rushed" and plunked down quickly and swiftly, they will NOT feel settled down and this sabotages their ability to sleep and reach a calm mentality. Before putting them to nap or bed...we go to a specific room in the house and we call it the "Quiet Room"...then I turn off the lights, and we lay down on pillows in the room, we read or they can watch a "mellow" show that they like (we like "Little Bear")...then they can have some milk... and then change into pajamas, and then bed or nap time.

I guess your girl also, does not seem to self-soothe. So this is hard. Have you tried giving her a lovey? Something to cuddle... a pacifier ?(although I know this is controversial), a night light? A crib toy?...ie: my son LOVES his Fisher Price Ocean Wonders crib/musical toy & he turns it on at will to hear the music before he falls asleep. Or there is the "Cloud B Twilight Turtle Constellation Night Light" which you can find on www.amazon.com It has great reviews and it a really great item.

Maybe too, she is not ready to wean. By the time they are this age, they CAN INDEED learn not to bite Mommy... you just need to tell her and teach her.

Ya know, by this age, there is also something called "night terrors." Maybe she is waking because she is having bouts of this? Its normal and purely developmental... just look it up online.

ALSO, you could try and just give her a bottle or sippy cup of water in her crib... my son, just likes to cuddle the bottle when he sleeps and he "twiddles" the bottle nipple with his fingers to sleep....it comforts him. It's just an instinctual thing, to want to grip the nipple...because this is like "Mommy" and where "milk" comes from, and its comforting for them. So, my son has just found his own thing to soothe with, and me by observing this, I learned from him. Even if the bottle is empty, my son does not care... he just likes to hug the bottle and play with the nipple to sleep. It does not bother me. He knows how to self-soothe.

Try and find something that your daughter will self-soothe with... it's worth a try.

All the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Just a quick note from someone who was in your shoes many years ago.

My little ones are now 16 and 18 years old. My 16 year old was a "normal" sleeper as a baby, toddler, and now teen. My 18 year old was a "bad" sleeper from day one, and is still a person who simply needs less sleep than the rest of us humans. He sees it as a gift and has used his "extra" time to become quite a film buff and avid reader.

My opinion is that children are people, and that people are all different. Use your motherly instinct as a guide. My motherly instinct never let me let my kids cry themselve into giving up, or force them into a pattern that did not fit them.

Both of them are now happy, healthy, straight-A students and very pleasant young adults. Rare, but true.

I wish you and yours all the best.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C., your daughter requires a minimum of 13-14 hours of sleep a day. What has happened is that she is dependent on you to help her fall asleep so that when she comes into a light sleep cycle, as she will do very frequently, she is poing to need you to help her fall back asleep every time. She needs to learn how to soothe herself to sleep without using the sleep aids (nursing, car rides). Until she learns to fall asleep on her own things will not change for you. I am a sleep consultant and parenting coach. I can develop a step-by-step plan for you where we can get your daughter sleeping on her own through the night, and taking long naps in a matter of a few days. please visit my website at www.theindependentchild.com and give me a call. At the very least get yourself a good book like Healthy sleep habits, Happy child by Marc Weissbluth. Good Luck,
K. Smith



answers from Los Angeles on

It might be time to transition her to 1 longer nap. I usually put my 18month old down after lunch and she sleeps about 2 hours. The night time hours sound about right, but I agree with letting her cry it out. It is difficult and heart wrenching, but she is not learning how to fall asleep, or go back to sleep on her own. Everytime you go in there and soothe her or feed her, it reinforces the desire to wake.
Good luck



answers from Los Angeles on

Have you let her cry it out when she wakes up in the middle of the night? I know its hard, I am constantly doing that with my 18 month old. I visit my sister who live a few hours away. We stay for at least 2-3 days. She always wakes up in the early, early morning so, I just bring her in bed with me so she will stop crying. I just don't want to wake up everyone in the house. So, when I get back home, I have to retrain her to stay in her crib. It only takes about 2 nights for her to sleep through again. (only till 5:30 am, she is an early riser) But, she has been waking up during the night for forever. It is what it is, and they will out grow all of that and sleep through the night.
As far as naps go, some kids just don't need tons of sleep.
You just got the short end of the stick. I'm very lucky and my baby will sleep for at least 2 hours, and a few times a week, can even get her to take 2 naps a day. (since she is up at the crack of dawn) Between my daughter waking up during the night, and my husband waking up at 4 am for work, I'm lucky if I get 5 hours of straight sleep myself. I find myself going to sleep no later then 9:30 pm. I'm just exausted by then.
Your lucky you got to breast feed for so long!! I only lasted 8 months. She doesn't need it any more in the middle of the night. That probalby should have stopped 8 months ago.
But, getting back to the sleeping issue, when she wakes up at night, just go in there for a few seconds to assure her that you are there and then leave. I do that to my daughter and when I leave she screams. It only lasts a few minutes then she goes back to sleep. It teaches them that you are there, but they need to be independent and go to sleep on their own. This process can take 3-4 days to get her to understand that you will not stay in her room. You must be consistant, and she will learn quickly.
Good luck to you. Your not alone.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi Shelly,
I so understand what you are going thorough! My daughter was the same way, I even went to a sleep clinic to solve the problem. They said do the cry-it-out way and that works a little here and there. The ONLY thing that stopped her waking up was the end of breatfeeding. Once that was over she slept a TON better. I stopped at 14 months as well. She takes one nap a day from 1 hour to 1.5. Bed at 8-5/6am. Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

I waited until 14 months to deal with the same problem with my daughter. We tried the sleep sense approach and it worked well but it. Took a few weeks before it worked consistently. Now she goes down easily and sleeps 1.5 to 2 hours at naptime and 8 to 6:30 straight thru at night, for the first time. ALSO - reducing to 1 nap a day around that time proved necessary because she was fighting us so much with both naps. Was early to give it up but she was clearly ready and slept so much better as a result.



answers from Los Angeles on

The hardest thing us, as a mom, will EVER have to do is NOT giving into our 'mommy soft spot' and laying there listening to our babies cry. I have been there with my son. However, as awful as this next thing is going to sound, it has worked for me. LET her cry. What you are doing going in her room and rubbing her back is, in my opinion, the PERFECT thing to do. Let her know you are there for her, kiss her, rub her back, then gently whisper that is time to go to bed and quietly leave. Yes she will cry...and cry...and cry...Go in every 5 minutes, then 10 then 15 etc...if you have too and do the same thing WITHOUT picking her up. Gasp! Yes it's going to be a ROUGH couple weeks with many pots of coffee for you and your family until she adjust to the new routine, but she sounds like a smart little toddler and will catch on quickly. [As she caught on that you will pick her up when she cries...] In the long run a full nights sleep [baring any illness] is your much needed and deserved reward!
Hope that helps! Hang in there!!

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