15-Month Old - New Sleep Habit- HELP!

Updated on April 30, 2010
J.W. asks from Sebastopol, CA
7 answers

My 15-month old son has a new sleep habit that we're not sure how to address. No matter how much we feed him prior to bedtime, he'll wake up 4-hours later to nurse or be rocked. Once we get him to fall back to sleep, he'll only sleep in our bed or his infant car seat stroller. If we stick him back in his crib, he'll jump up wide awake and stay up for at least an hour. Because of this, we've been putting him in the stroller or the bed. We're not sure why he won't go back to sleep in the crib. This habit started a few weeks ago and doesn't appear to be a phase. Any advice?

I'm looking for any suggestions except CIO. I have had some friends use that method to some success but it is not something I am willing to do. I'm looking for advice on some more gentle methods to get him to remain in his crib throughout the night.


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answers from Chicago on

I applaud you for looking for gentle methods...I am against CIO also! He seems to clearly be waking up out of habit. 1st stop the habit of putting him in the stroller or the bed, immediately. Go into his room & rock or pat or nurse him back to sleep. After he goes back to sleep more quickly (in his crib), then you can work on minimizing the patting / rocking / nursing. I truly do not believe babies were made to cry themselves to sleep. I nursed, then rocked my son to sleep & he was and is (at almost 4 yrs.) a TERRIFIC sleeper, who falls asleep w/out assistance & sleeps 12 hrs. straight. I also nursed my daughter (now 18mo.) to sleep, then replaced that w/ standing near her, & now sit in a chair by her door 'til she's asleep. She is not sleeping through the night, granted, but we are working on it & dealing with it & are still not willing to make her cry herself to sleep. I think it's even more damaging at these older ages b/c my daughter understands everything & would be heart broken & totally feel abandoned if we just left her in her room to cry. I have heard CIO backfiring on many parents...even years down the road, so again, I applaud you for looking for another method!


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Something might be waking him up. Have you tried white noise/soft music in his room all night? Can you put books in his crib fro him to look at for that hour? Just a few thoughts.
We ended up doing CIO and it was honestly not as bad as I thought it would be. We knew he was "OK" and just needed his habits changed. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Our son started waking in the middle of the night at around a year and the doctor gave us the most effective and SIMPLE solution.

Change their bedtime by 30 minutes for 5 days, then go back to the regular bedtime. our son usually goes to bed at 7, so we had him go to sleep at 7:30 for 5 nights. And it worked (the first few days he was a bit fussy in the middle of the night, but we let him cry/fuss - it only lasted 10-15 mins then he went back to sleep). It's apparently some internal clock of theirs that gets messed up around this age.

Good luck and let me know if it works for you too!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi there,
I have 5 kids and my youngest is 16 months. I never did CIO until the last baby.
Here is the issue though, at some point my kids had to learn to sleep on their own and it always ended up with them learning to do this and that usualy involved them crying and not wanting to be made to sleep in their own room, sleep when it was time to sleep, stay in their own bed, etc! It seemed harder when they were older because they are bigger and fight harder. I understand the not wanting them to cry and wanting a gentler method.
Your baby is now entering a phase where he needs boundaries and he needs to hear no. He will only start to assert his will and if you let it grow it will grow into a monster. We have all seem them right?

I did it both ways and so i know that i came to the conclusion that i needed to set the tone and the schedule, not let my little one do that for me. It was harder in the beginning and i had to get over myself but i can say my baby is so happy and smiley and easy going. It hasn't damaged him.
With any parenting decisions you make, there always needs to be discernment and wisdom.
I knew that if i put my baby down and he woke up when "he shouldn't" then i would check on him and usually i could tell the difference between just waking up and learning how to go back to sleep or his diaper was dirty.

I know you don't want to do the cry it out method and i respect that so i think that tracy's way may be the best for you. I think though that you have to remember whatever you do, think long term. Do you always want him sleeping in a car seat or stroller? Decide what you want and stick to it.

Good luck and love your little one.. it does go by so fast!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

We did Dr. Sears' method, which involved staying in physical contact with her until she fell asleep. We would put her in the crib and keep a gentle hand on her, no talking. The first time took about 45 minutes; the second (same night) was maybe 10 minutes less and the third was about 10 minutes. After that we had a good sleeper. She was younger than your son, and even with her being younger many kids take longer than she did. I'd recommend starting on a weekend. If you can make it a long weekend, even better.
Sleep training was - hands down - the best gift we ever gave to our daughter... and to ourselves. I have an older son whom I didn't train... he is 16 and still not a good sleeper. If I could go back and change one thing, it'd be that.



answers from San Diego on

Hi J., At 15 months he should be past breast feeding, he should be on 3 meals and 3 snacks a day, and using a cup on a regular basis. If you go in his room at night he will continue to wake up, at 15 months CIO as mom's put it these days is a form of discipline and training, except for teething or him being sick there is no reason for him to not be sleeping through the night accept for you alowing a bad habit to form. if you stop going in eventually he will learn that and stay a sleep or put himself back to sleep.J.



answers from San Diego on

Do you nurse him to sleep initially at night? I only ask because he might associate that with sleep, so when he wakes from a natural sleep cycle, he is probably looking for something familiar that gets him back to sleep (nursing, rocking, stroller, carseat). I had a sleep fighter and I never did CIO. I nursed until he self-weaned at 17 months. One night, when he was 15 months old, I went out with a girlfriend and my husband was on bedtime duty. He said he was going to make our son sleep in his crib all night. I told him the only rule was that he couldn't make him cry it out, so he stayed with him until he fell asleep. When I got home, the house was silent. We did what the previous poster did and stayed with him until he fell asleep everynight, but didn't pick him up/nurse/rock. Within a week he had broken his habit. I think it also helped that we changed up the routine with dad putting him to sleep and staying with him--so he knew nursing wasn't an option. This was just our personal experience... I hope there is something that will work for you. Good luck!

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