16 Month Old Has NEVER Slept Thru the Nite

Updated on September 29, 2009
N.L. asks from Los Angeles, CA
21 answers

Hello Moms! My 16 month old daughter has never slept thru the night. she wakes every few hours (2-3) to wake for a feeding. (she gets soy milk from a bottle). she drinks anywhere from 3-7oz at a time which also means diaper changes constantly. she falls back to sleep well shortly after without any rocking, dancing, etc. i prop her head, give her bottle, and change her while she is drinking. i've had no real issues with this but am now a bit concerned because we are expecting our 2nd child come january. what i'm envisioning is very little sleep for neither my working husband (who has volunteered to take over caring for the 16mo. old at nite once the newborn arrives) nor myself.

We have never been fans of the cry it out method. I'd rather tend to my daughter when she needs me at all hours, but i do feel that her night feedings are more habitual. BUT BUT BUT, not sure what other options i have. weaning (reducing/limiting the amount of milk she gets per feeding), using water instead of milk. these are just some of the options i have heard/read about. are there any others????

Please help!!!! Thank you!

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L.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Try diluting the night milk with water. Add more water and less milk every couple of days. She will stop waking up for water. This worked with both of my boys and no one was crying! Good luck!

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N.D.

answers from Reno on

I have no suggestions for you =} But I was YOU not that long ago. My oldest (girl, now ten) didnt sleep thru the night until closer to two, she also took a bottle once during the night, I slowly switched the milk to water then she just got tired of it. I mixed the water with the milk until it was mostly water. She didnt take bottles at any other time and I was not wanting to loose any more sleep. Then when my second child came (son now 5) he was still waking for milk too, but when he was 14 months old I brought home our third (son now 4) Those first few weeks were hectic and there was not much sleep for mommy! Blessed my baby who slept thru the night before his big brother did! Start mixing the milk with water and soon she will no longer even bother getting up for it, also have Daddy start taking over NOW so that the baby is not taking YOU away from her. She will relate the loss of Mommy to the sibling, not something you want to happen, so if Daddy starts before baby gets here you will have more luck. You never know, she might just be wanting you and if Daddy comes in to give her milk it might take the joy out of night feedings. Good luck and the good news is that no matter what, you will survive and soon enough both children will sleep thru the night. =} I also raised my three kids with out the cry it out method and they are all just fine and happy and sleep and use the potty and all kinds of other stuff that they are suppose to be doing =}

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J.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi N.,
You had a response from a nice woman named Nora, I believe who suggested the exact thing that we did with our son. I was also not a fan of crying it out. We tried it with our oldest because I found out I was pregnant with my second son and I was working horrifically long hours and needed sleep, but it never felt right. My husband really pushed it and the boy was sleeping through the night by the end of the week. I personally think that it changed his personality and vowed to never do with my second. When we found the same sleep issues with our second son, we changed his nightly habit of drinking milk to water. He wasn't happy at first but eventually (in about 3 days) lost interested in drinking something when he woke up. At this same time, we bought the boys matching beds and sheets, etc. He started sleeping through the night and now is a better sleeper than my oldest! Go figure.
Good luck with whichever solution you choose.

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C.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

The issue you are facing is that your daughter does not know how to soothe herself back to sleep. Waking throughout the night is normal:http://www.lullabyluna.com/2009/04/sleep-ponderings-from-...

You have never given your daughter the chance to learn this important skill by tending to her needs constantly. She needs to learn how to soothe herself to be a good sleeper. Crying it out is the easiest way to do this- you need to see this differently- she is protesting change- very natural to human nature, right? And she isn't at the age of understanding the purpose... so she cries to show her disapproval for the change- it doesn't mean that it is wrong. My three year old would prefer to run through parking lots not holding my hand, oblivious to traffic, BUT because that is dangerous, despite his protests he has to hold my hand. This is our role as parents- to choose what is best for our children (and ourselves).

Sleeping through the night is best for your 16 month old, you, your husband, and your new baby. We cannot reach our full potential as parents (patient, kind, deliberate) when we are constantly living tired and exhausted.

Here is another resource to run through as you think about bedtime routine, naps, sleep environment, etc.: http://www.lullabyluna.com/2008/12/happy-new-year.html

You can do it- it will probably only take a few days- and you will be sleeping through the night and your daughter will be on her way to well-rested, sleeping through the night.

Good Luck

C., mother of 3, sleep consultant, sleep blog writer

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P.K.

answers from Las Vegas on

My son did the exact same thing. In fact the first time he did sleep thru the night I ran to his room when I woke terrified! I don't love the cry it out deal either. At that age it just seems like torture for everyone involved. I started the transition by taking away the bottle slowly. I'd only put a couple of ounces in so he'd run out faster. I also tried water...that didn't work! Gradually I'd reduce the number of bottles I was giving him. He was taking 3 bottles so I started by eliminating the middle one. I'd go to him and rock him just without the bottle. I started putting him down while he was still crying and patting his back until he was calm enough for me to try to leave the room. Sometimes that worked and sometimes it didn't. My son finally started sleeping thru the night and I feel like I have turned back into mommy instead of momzilla! Everyone in my house is happier. Good luck. It's tough but eventually she'll quit with the bottle and waking up all night. If she hasn't quit by college send her out of state! I threatened my son with marrying him off to people who eat broccoli. I don't know if that did the trick or not but at least I could laugh!

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C.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

If CIO doesn't feel right, you don't have to do it. There are alternative to CIO. Try reading "The no cry sleep solution" It's going to be a lot of hard work, and it takes time, but I think you'll feel better not letting her cry alone. I've been using the author's methods for about a month and I'm starting to see results. My child was waking up every hour or 90 minutes to nurse. (up 8 times a night) then it went to every two hours (or up 5 times a night) It's slowly getting better and better. Last night he only woke up twice and using her methods, I was able to get him back down in 7 minutes. I feel this was the right thing for us. I really recommend reading her book. She wrote it when she had a 12 month old who also woke up 8-9 times a night to nurse.
Hang in there. It was tough for me. Please email me for moral support if you need it.

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N.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

You've already gotten a lot of advice, so I'll keep it short. Make sure she's getting enough to eat during the day. I slowly reduced the amount of milk to an ounce or two and then switched to water. She would fuss a bit when I'd come in with water, but would fall asleep with a couple minutes of rocking. The night waking slowly tapered off, and we are both happily sleeping through the night (until baby #2 comes in Feb...)

Good luck!

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D.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

why is she on soy? have u also tried almond? its yummy..soy is hard on the belly to digest..have u researched? i wasn't a fan of CIO but...my son sleeps thru the night..its such a payoff for about 2 nights of CIO..now my son is 3.5 and i hear a lot of parents complain that their 3 year olds are not STTN..that they wake and come in and want attention or want to watch tv etc..i did CIO when my son was 9 months old..and i had wished after that i had done it sooner..i get sleep..i also did CIO in the morning when he started to wake at 5am demanding tv..
i couldn't function on the little sleep i was getting and he was cranky
so that is my only solution i don't know any magical way to make a child STTN w/out CIO...my son now stays up a bit late..tonight was hard..he stayed up til 11pm..so now i have to work on getting him to sleep earlier but he's sleeping in til 10am most of the time..and it's nice..i figure i'll enjoy this b/c soon he'll be in school full time..now he's only in 2 afternoons a week..and when full time starts we'll be getting up early..
i am for CIO b/c in the long run it pays off..my son is a very happy child..people comment on that all the time..smart and happy..
he gets sleep ..i get sleep..i'm happy too..i was miserable when we weren't getting the sleep..he literally CIO'd for 2 nights..first night was for 24 minutes..2nd night 5..

your daughter is used to waking and getting attention so she will keep on..i would say start by CIO on the first wake up...don't be too harsh..or leave a bottle in with her that she can drink on her own if she wakes.

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A.K.

answers from Sacramento on

I had the same issue with my thirteen month old...I never wanted to let him cry it out, but I started to feel that between the wet diapers and constant need to drink my son couldn't sleep through the night even if he wanted to. He drank every three hours about 4 ounces so what I started to do was dilute the formula down ounce by ounce to where it was 1/4 th formula and 3/4 water. I did this for a week or two and also started to institute a strict nighttime routine where he got a bath 1 hr before bedtime at 8. And then one night, I moved his crib to his room(was in ours) and reassured him every five minutes when he cried for a bottle. The first time I did this, I let him fall asleep with the bottle but didn't respond when he awoke besides reassurance evry five minutes. It took twenty minutes to stop crying and then he slept through the night. Second night, less than one minte of crying! Next two nigts, no crying at all! And now I can put him in the crib awake but drwosy and he'll just go to sleep. So I guess it is a matter of when you are ready to do it, to try letting her cry. It was shocking how quickly my son adapted, it may work the same for you. Just commit to three nights of no bottles and if it doesn't work, you can always go back to what you are doing. Just try to think that three nights of cry it out won't do anything to her long term. Try reading Ferber's "solve Your childs sleep problems" it really helped me get mentally ready to sleep train. Good luck!

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S.B.

answers from San Diego on

Let me just start by saying that one of the best gifts you can give your children is the ability to sleep and sleep well. It is learned right along with eating, talking etc. My first child didn't sleep through the night until she was 12 months old and I got up every night to feed her. Then the night before her 1st birthday, she slept through the night and did it every night after that. My second child was a disaster. He was getting worse and worse as the months went on and at 6 months old, was waking 5-7 times a night. I knew he was not always hungry, but he would not sleep. I would go in and feed him and I would just be falling back to sleep when he would wake again. I had black circles under my eyes and I was exhausted. I never thought I could do the "cry it out" method so I was just going to him whenever he cried. Then a friend of my husbands mentioned a "sleep specialist". We were so desperate that we spent the hefty $550 and hired her. Save yourself the money and take my word for it...LET YOUR BABY CRY IT OUT!!! From someone who never thought they could do it, it was the best thing I ever did and the best money we ever spent. She helped me understand what the crying "really" meant from the child's perspective rather than why I "thought" they were crying. YOu will not beleive the difference in your childs mood after they actually get some REAL sleep. My son is the best sleeper now and I feel very good that I was able to give him that skill. Your babies/kids do not think you are abandoning them or not attending to their needs. What they need is sleep and crying is just one way some kids have to learn how to do it. I am now on baby #3 who is currently 4 months old. I am waiting until he is 6 months old before I let him cry it out. I feel they do need to eat at night before that point but once he is 6 months, I will be doing exactly what I did with my middle child. Here is the key, you have to let them cry it out at the start of the night and not just in the middle of hte night. Do not let them fall asleep with a bottle or breast and then lay them down. They must learn to put themselves to sleep from the start, so when they wake up in the night, they can just do the same thing again. Also, once you start you CANNOT give in. If you do that you will create a monster problem. Stick to your plan and no matter what do not go to them. Good luck and just trust me on this one. I was a skeptic but it works :)

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M.

answers from Las Vegas on

At 12 months old children need to be off the bottle. Both of my kids took 6-7 a day so when they turned one, I took away all bottles and replaced them with sippy cups. Your daughter is probably drinking bottles throughout the night because she is conditioned to do that. If she takes 2-3 during the night, then cut one feeding out. Let her cry for a few min. (by no means should she cry all night). Within 5 min, she might go back to sleep. Do this until all night feedings are stopped. After children turn one, they are supposed to be getting most of their nutrients through food. She shouldn't need to be eating in the middle of the night. Make sure she eats well before bedtime. I know it's not easy, but the bottle isn't good for her anymore.

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S.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

a child who sleeps well on a consistent schedule is a child who will not only thrive physically but mentally. They say that children grow when they are sleeping. I don't think it's just limited to their torso and limbs, but their brain too.

a good sleeper is healthy, happy..and i think even mentally prepare for learning in the future.

i don't think you have to do the CRY IT OUT method (cold turkey). But consider maybe something like the Ferber method. I didn't have my children CIO (although early on..around 3 months, i was very tempted, tried for half a day and quit). It's not for everyone. But i did make sure that no matter what, there was a set time for napping, eating, snacking everyday.. Not on demand. And outside of that time, there are no snacking..no exceptions. But it helped to regulate my kids and they are only hungry during that time. That goes with sleeping too. My kids are not allowed to just fall asleep anywhere, whenever. There's a set nap time. When they were a lot younger (before 1yo), if they didn't take their nap or took a really short one, they had to wait until it was time for the 2nd nap to go to sleep..(i didn't allow them to just doze anywhere they like, whenever they like).

i hope you find your answer.

btw, my son is 16 months and he takes one nap a day from 1-3 and goes to bed at 8p.m. until 7:30 the next morning. So i'm positive your daughter will be find without her nighttime feedings.

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

Is she teething?

Next, How is her growth/weight gain, per her age?
If she is not getting enough intake, throughout the day... from various sources, then perhaps she is hungry. Is she eating solids pretty well by now?

How much milk does she drink during the daytime? During the daytime, is she still feeding every 2-3 hours? Is she mostly "drinking" or eating solids?
Sometimes, if 'drinking' mostly milk all day... then they get too full to 'eat' solids. But then they will still be hungry, because a liquid diet is not filling.

Since she is past 1 years old... perhaps, ask your Pediatrician how much milk she should be drinking??? Versus, just what she is drinking.

As the others said, a child can get bottle rot teeth. You need to wipe her teeth after any bottles at night.

Then there are the approach that you just wean them... from the bottle and adjust them to something else. They have to self-soothe... or use a sippy cup of water instead. Realizing that they child will have a transition period of getting used to it. OR, you give them a "lovey" to sleep with.

THEN, if your child is waking up that much... is she REALLY "awake"? The reason I ask is, a baby/child normally DOES "stir" at night and/or toss and turn or make sounds (just like an adult)... BUT it does not mean that they are FULLY "awake" nor that you HAVE TO go and pick them up... and feed them. MANY times, if you just let them be.... naturally, they can or will go back to sleep on their own. BOTH my kids were like that. So, try and observe and gauge the situation. If your child is not crying/screaming when she 'wakes'... then just let her be. Just because a child wakes... does not mean they 'have to' be picked up and have a 'feeding.' Sometimes it is just normal stirring at night.

OR- What you can try is: DILUTING the milk you give her only at night, with water. It will taste not as good. Right? Then she may just reject it on her own. Don't make it a big deal or bring attention to it... just give it to her as usual. And then she may wean herself from the "habit" herself.

Also, does she nap during day? Regularly? If not... she may very well be an "over-tired" child, and an over-tired baby/child actually does NOT sleep well at night and they wake more and have a harder time falling asleep. Make sure she naps.

To me, if she is only drinking 3-7 oz. when she "wakes" at night every 2-3 hours... that is not really a LOT. It seems like a 'snack' not a full feeding. At this age, they usually drink more than that.

Next, there is no one single method of making a child sleep through the night. You either go according to your child's needs or not, or sense of comfort or not, or natural rhythms. That is up to you. There is no wrong or right answer. Do what you feel is best, as a Mom to your child.

When your 2nd baby comes... well, you will deal with it. We all do. It will be okay. But YES, certainly at that point, with 2 kids, your Hubby will HAVE TO take over with helping. Because you will need to tend to the newborn primarily.

If you really want to wean or change your daughter's night-time rhythms or habits.. then you start now. So that SHE has time to adjust and transition. Once the baby comes... an eldest child should not be relegated to 'new' requirements just because a new baby is around. Your eldest child will have MUCH to adjust to too.

What I would do, is try and not "automatically" giving her a bottle at night, just because she wakes. Try seeing IF that is 'really' what she needs, or is she just stirring at night? Sometimes, if you just let them be, they will go back to sleep.
AND, if she is not a good eater during the daytime... then, perhaps address that, otherwise she may very well be waking up all night every 2-3 hours to make up for lack of intake/calories during the daytime. Some babies/kids do that. It just is.

It can't be helped, that she will be about 20 months old, when the new baby comes home. And yes, it will be less sleep & busier, because there will 2 kids. Regardless if she was a good sleeper or not... because by the time she reaches 2 years old and is adjusting to a new baby in the house.. then other developmental based things will occur, which affect their sleep.

No baby is a perfect sleeper ALL the time. (wink). Don't feel bad or guilt yourself. Your child is not the only one that wakes like that, nor at this age.

My daughter woke a lot too... it was just her. She was sensory sensitive and had bad gas problems. No hard-core methods or approaches would have "changed" her... I tried. I went according to her and her needs and rhythms, not mine. My son on the other hand, was a perfect sleeper.
each child is different.

All the best,
Susan

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M.S.

answers from San Diego on

Hi,
I am sure you have already heard that she really should not be having milk during the nite at her age, due to dental issues ( unless she was a preemie and her adjusted age is under 12 months). What if you don't give her milk - have your tried water or a pacifier? She may just need the sucking for soothing, and not necessarily need the milk for her nutrition.
The pediatrician and the dentists recommend no bottle after 12 months old. As she gets older, it will become more difficult to break her of the bottle habit at night. The Baby Book by Dr. Sears is fantastic. Best wishes.

Blessings...

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T.L.

answers from Boston on

Hi N.,
I think if you read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Dr. Marc Weisbluth you will be able to help your daughter in a matter of days and have her sleeping the whole night, giving you and her the sleep you need. Constant wakings have been proven to affect children's IQ's and neurological development. Think of how tired you are and know that even if she is only half-awake, she is not in the phase of sleep that her brain requires for regenerative purposes. I've known several people where this has gone on for 4-5 years. She really needs her continuous sleep. While it might seem counterintuitive to you not to go to her, she doesn't know that she needs to sleep continuously w/o wakings for her longterm mental development. Mom needs to ensure she completes a healthy sleep cycle every night. A better rested and happier mom and dad are also much better parents.

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S.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

She doesnt need to have a bottle at night past like 9 mo old. All babies and people wake up several times a night but they fall back asleep right away if they have learned to self sooth. You have given her the bad habit of needing a bottle to bacjk to sleep. The fact that you are not a fan of CIO is the reason you are still feeding a 1 1/2 yr old a bottle in the middle of the night. Plus she should be off the bottle by 16 months. Doesn't your dr. give you these guidelines? If you let her cry for 10 min and fall back asleep it won't hurt her.

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A.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am so sorry you are not sleeping. I have twins, and one is a good sleeper, and the other was waking every 2 to 3 hours for 4-6oz bottle. My husband could not deal with cry it out method. I started to water down the formula, and reducing it by 1/2 oz every night until it was only 2 oz of water. (This was a bit futile-because my husband was not on board and when he fed he gave 6oz-so I encourage you and your husband to be on the same page and be consistant) also I recommend pampers cruisers-and you can also use diaper doublers (internet google search)that should help eliminate a diaper change or two a night.all I can say is start changes tonight, because the older she gets the deeper her memory and the harder it will get to change... At 9months my husband stayed at a friends for 3 nights and I let my sweet baby boy cry it out. (Yes my baby cried for over an hour-it was torture/counter intuitive but it worked)After my husband returned, and jumped up when my son cried and flew into the nursey with a bottle - thus somewhat killing all my work, my baby boy only woke 1 time a night afterwards. So from 4 times to one. Yes it was an improvement but it took another 2 nights of my husband away at a hotel, and my baby boy cried 46 minutes the first night and 12 minutes the second and the third night 2 minuts. And since 10 months -sleeps thru the night. My baby boy is so happy, and not affected by the crying it out- I must say that he was over tired, and became a happier/easier baby after the crying it out...he also started to eat more in the day, when I cut out the night bottles. Bottom line is @ 16 months -baby doesn't need to eat at night-good luck-try water :) and don't be afraid of cry it out-seriously baby needs to learn to self sooth, and fall back asleep. Its truely a gift to give your child the ability to fall abck asleep on their own. Good luck and I wish you an easy transition for your daughter and a joyus additional miracle:)

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N.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

I recommend The Contented Little Baby Book, by Gina Ford. It puts your baby on a schedule and gives you detailed instructions so that you can get your baby to sleep through the night. It worked like a charm for me and my friends who I have given it to.

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M.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi there,
I'm sure that you will have a ton of moms telling you that your daughter should absolutly not be eating when she should be sleeping. You are enabling her and you need to stop or you will NEVER get a good night sleep. It is important that your daughter gets enough sleep too.
Letting her cry is the ONLY way for you to get her to sleep on her own without needing food to do it. If you want to do it slowly, then give her less and less of the milk and then put water in it in the end.
I have a great on-line book that you should read. Please email me at [email protected]____.com and I will send it to you. I had sleep issues with my daughter and this book changed our lives. She went from waking up 1-3 times a night, to sleeping through the night within a few weeks. It has been wonderful and I wish I would have done this months and months ago! Please believe me, if you are consistant and don't back down, you can get her to sleep through the night before your new baby comes.
Good luck!
M.

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M.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

Try having your husband start doing one of the night wakings, without feeding her. Have him just soothe her back to sleep. That should help to eliminate one feeding. Eventually you can do the same with the other feeding.
When I weaned my son from the breast at 18 months, that's what we did. The thing was that the only way he would give up on the feeding was if I was not there. Otherwise he would be literally tearing at my clothes. He never drank from a bottle or had formula, which I chose to just skip over entirely. Getting dad and no food during the night quickly had him forget about that middle of the night snack.
How great that your husband is stepping up!
Take care.

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C.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

To be honest, i very rarely have a problem with my daughter waking at night adn staying up or needing a bottle but that is because we have always kept a pacifier in her crib and if she was to wake up crying we would pop it in her mouth and she would go right back to sleep. My daughter does not take a pacifier any other time during the day or when she is awake...never been interested but she will take it in the middle of the night when she is half asleep because it is soothing for her and helps her go back to sleep on her own. Note: I had to try a couple different pacifiers for this to work. She ended up taking the Born Free pacifier and we have stuck with that. One other thing I swear by is my daughter takes a bath every night....if she does not she will wake up at night and not sleep through the night. I swear!! These would be my to suggestions. I hope something works for you!

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