Needing to Get My Son's Poor Sleeping Habits Under Control.

Updated on February 26, 2008
C.B. asks from Flemington, NJ
62 answers

Ugh where do I begin. I have been dealing with my son's poor sleeping habits since he's been two weeks old. He is now 17 months old and still not sleeping properly. A little past history....In the begining he was colic which I beleive was one cause of his poor sleeping habits, we put him on alimentum and pepcid and he could not tolerate any regular formula, really not even the allimentum, from colic was teething, before i lost my mind I started bringing Mason into bed with my husband and I in order to get some sleep( in the middle of the night, he never went to sleep with us from the start). Now let me bring you up to speed...I rock Mason to sleep at night with his bottle. I lay him down after he is sleeping he will sleep anywhere from 3 to 7 hours when he wakes up I give him another bottle change his diaper and in the bed with us he goes. The problem with that...Sometimes (like tonight) he wakes up and screams when you lay him down, other problem..sometimes it takes him a long time to fall asleep which leaves me no time to myself, as I am a working mother and I have to go to sleep shortly after I FINALLY get him to sleep. My plan...Make a schedule stick to it to get a routine. Still rock him to sleep until his body adjusts to the schedule. Then I plan to use the Supernanny routine (sitting in sight of him but not say anything until he goes to sleep, then will move a few inches away each time).. My concerns..I strongly beleive that sometimes he is still getting belly aches in the middle of the night... Also I beleive that some kids are just not good sleepers and I beleive Mason is one of those kids. I have tried the cry it out (even though I am not a strong beleiver in it) He will cry for an hour long then fall asleep for 20 minutes and wake up again. Which makes it hardly worth the effort. My question... Has anyone had experience with the method that i'm planning on using? Any success? Also what do I do if I use this method and he falls asleep but wakes again later on, start over again? Also, this seems a little crazy but I was actually thinking of putting him in a toddler bed to see if for some miraculous reason he feels "less trapped" and will sleep better? I am listening to him cry in his crib now becuase he will not go to sleep and I am very stressed. Hopefully this request wasn't too long and confusing.. help.

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K.B.

answers from New York on

HI C.-
I used the Supernanny method with my youngest. I used to rock him to sleep also and he would wake as soon as I put him in his crib, or within 30 minutes after putting him down. After several weeks of this, I had to do something! I too worked and had two other children. It was very tough at first, he cried so much. BUT, it did work. It took me about 1 1/2 weeks. If you are going to use this method, do it. Don't give in. That will only make it harder to use any method. After the first two nights, the crying did diminish and it was much easier to deal with. You'll feel terrible, but it will work. He is a great sleeper and I have no problems getting him to bed now. I had to do this when he was about 1 year old and he's now 3 1/2. Best of luck!

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J.H.

answers from Utica on

Cereal vs. Bottle at bedtime made a HUGE DIFFERENCE for us!
We were putting our son (who has reflux) to bed each night, with a bottle and being rocked. Almost every night I'd be up every couple hours with him, as he'd be screaming and either want me there next to him or to pick him up and rock him to get back to sleep.
About a month ago, we changed his eating schedule to have the last bottle about 3 hours before bedtime, and about a half hour before bedtime he gets cereal (I use the "Goodnight" one, that's supposed to promote calmness and a good night sleep also). Since then, he has slept through the night, anywhere from 8-11 hours!
We have still had the occasional wake up at night, but it's 99% better now than what it was.
Also, he does better with whole grain or multi grain cereal. Rice cereal seems to upset his stomach and get him on the wrong track again.
Good luck!

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L.L.

answers from Buffalo on

Dear C. B.,
First of all, you have my compassion over this very frustrating and tiresome situation! Because you mentioned colic in his infancy and that he was a poor sleeper as a baby, I would suggest from my experience with 3 children that you rule out food allergies. In the old days (before you or I were born) mothers knew if they had babies that cried A LOT that the baby probably had an upset tummy! This is why more often than not, parents of "colic" babies found that if they switched formula and kept at it they found a solution.

Is your son drinking a milk-based formula or milk? Frequently the two main culprits are dairy and gluten. I would recommend a book called "Is This Your Child" by Dr. Doris Rapp, M.D. which you can get from your local library. Dr. Rapp is internationally known for her expertise in allergies and health. Let me know if you have any questions or how else I can help you.
Blessings to you,
Love,
L.

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C.B.

answers from New York on

C.,
I am so sorry for what you are going through. Lucky for me I have not had sleep issues with my boys. I do know a couple people who had some difficulties (perhaps not to the extreme of your childs) and transitioning to a toddler bed made a world of difference.
On a completely other note....I have a friend whose child never slept more than 3 hours (even at night) this started when she was an infant. The child never slept or napped no matter when, where or how she was put down. The parents finally did a sleep analysis at 4 years of age and it was determined that she needed to have her tonsils taken out (don't recall the exact explanation for this). But now she sleeps. I am not saying that the problem is his tonsils. But maybe there is something going on healthwise that is somehow impending his ability to sleep.

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M.V.

answers from New York on

The toddler bed worked for me. I also introduced him to TV. Although they say it's bad for a child that young, I was at my wits end. The TV was only on at bedtime and I would sit on the floor nearby. Once he was asleep I would put the night light on and go about my business. Just so he wouldn't be afraid of the room or bed everything was decorated with familiar characters. This was 15 years ago he is now 17. To this day he puts the TV on before going to bed, on timer and he drifts off. My daughter on the other hand couldn't keep any formula down when she was a baby. At her first doctor's visit she had lost over 2 lbs in two weeks. I was devasted. She went from 7.7 to 4.13. I wasn't offered any medications just advice. The doctor had told me to feed her a certain way and in a certain environment. It worked! Mason should be on regular milk now. Maybe he is lactose intollerant. I think your right some kids are just bad sleepers. You need your sanity and your rest. Try the toddler bed. You do need a schedule. It will be difficult to stick to at first but don't give up. As for the nanny, she is awesome. Good Luck!

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F.P.

answers from New York on

My son had some major (and still has a few problems) with the sleep situation. My neighbor's baby can sleep a full 12 hours. He goes to bed at 8 and doesn't wake up until the morning. If I put my son to bed at 8, he will wake up at 3am!!! He also sleeps between my husband and I. Plus sometimes he kicks my husband so have the time my husband ends up getting up in the middle of the night and sleeping on the couch. I feel so guilty. Anyway, the consistant schedule is the key. Even though my child sleeps with us, (we are also working parents), if I put him to bed at 10:30, he will sleep a full 8 hours. He just doesn't sleep more than that. He takes a regular nap (another key important feature) for 2 hours a day and he is fine. He just doesn't sleep like other babies. Also, don't feel weird about a toddler bed. We just bought one at IKEA and intend on putting him in it this weekend and our son is only 16 months. He just screams if we put him in the crib for HOURS!!!! It just wasn't worth our sanity. Now our crib is more of a toy box. Good luck.

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D.G.

answers from New York on

Hi,

First, I'd bring Mason to the doc and make sure that he does not have reflux. The fact that he falls asleep with a bottle, then lays flat and wakes up screaming could mean that he has some reflux. We had sleeping issues with my son falling asleep in our bed. What we did is as follows:

(1) Get a toddler bed. If you think he'll wander, get a gate and put it in his doorway (after he falls asleep). My son loves firetrucks so we got him a firetruck bed from Toys R Us. They make race cars and stuff too. Let him pick out one he likes. The bed we use still uses the crib mattress. Make a big deal over the new bed, how great it is!!!

(2) Have a lamp with a 20 or 40 watt bulb in it. Have it on for your routine, it gives light but not super bright like an overhead light.

(3) Make a routine. Our routine went like this this...shower/bath and into pajamas around 7:00. At 8:00 have snack and/or bottle. At 8:30 go upstairs and brush teeth and change diaper. Read 3 books, lights out, listen to a CD (we use Disney lullabies). My husband or I sat on the floor with my son while he fell asleep. For some reason he just needed us there. He just turned 4 and we told him now he's a big boy and we won't sit on his floor anymore.

(4) We have a nightlight on in his room (one of those ones that goes off when it's light and on when it's dark).

(5) STICK TO THE ROUTINE. It will take a long time, especially the first few weeks. (Crying, putting him back into the bed, etc.) Once he gets used to it and as he gets older you may need to change it. We made bedtime a bit later and then only 2 books, etc. If he gets up in the middle of the night, go sit on his floor in the dark with the music again.

Tips: Don't go to bed too early. Both my boys do not need alot of sleep. If they go to bed at 8, they'd both be up at 4!!!

Also, have the bottle downstairs, in a sitting up position, and stay upright for awhile so everything settles before going to bed.

GOOD LUCK!!! Be patient, it takes time. :O)

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L.R.

answers from New York on

Off to an appointment so SORRY for the brevity. My twins had acid reflux and slept in car seats for 5 months due to digestion issues. Are still on alimentum and we got them off zantac last month. Here's what I would do (take what you need from this and toss the rest:

Go see the GI again to see if any GI issues

If not, use babywise, weissbleuth, contented happy baby, your instincts...

You need rest and so does your baby. You have to help him LEARN how to sleep otherwise life will continue to be miserable.

We did the patting and reassuring, no picking up at 5-10-15 minutes. They then eventually went down. Now one cries for a few minutes (I think it's even seconds --- YES it is hard) and one chats and then they sleep. Of course teething, colds, nosiy neighbors, life all get in the way of our schedule.

BUT we stick to it so that there is a foundation for them. Bed at 6:45 and up at 7:00 am. Then nap at -- windown before with some music -- 9:00am and 1:00pm (now 1 year old).

HOPE this helps and Good luck...........

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W.O.

answers from New York on

Dear C.,
I sympathize with your son's sleeping problem as my daughter was not a sleeper either. But once she became active with crawling and walking, she began sleeping much better. By 17 months, your son should be sleeping at night. Therefore, my question is his eating habits. You didn't mention it, but is he on solid food? He may be waking up because he is hungry; formula does not fill them up for long - especially boys. My son was hungry from the start. At 2 months I began introducing cereal, by 6 months he was eating baby food (and lots of it), and by 1 year he was eating pork chops, spagetti, and anything the family ate (and he was always the first one done at a meal). He was also always a good sleeper! He ate so much and with such vivaciousness, I feared he would end up with a weight problem, but he never did. He is tall, thin, and very athletic.
One word of advice: introduce Mason to veges before fruits and you will have no problem getting him to eat veges. Fruits are naturally sweet and children will always take to them.
As far as bedtime goes, I agree with you that letting them cry is not good; it only makes bedtime a fearful experience for them. As the "Nanny" says, a bedtime regiment is important. Ours was always bath, then book or singing and rocking, and into bed. (I swore they went to sleep to tune out my singing voice - whatever works.)
The main thing is to listen to your child's needs and every child is different. Keep trying different methods until you find what works. Parenting is about trial and error.
I hope this helps, W.

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M.J.

answers from New York on

HI,
I had the same advise for another mother a few days ago. Dr. Ferber's How to Put Your Child To Sleep. An awesome book that has helped my 5 year old and 6 month old sleep 10-12 hrs a night by 6 weeks. It is a little harder to break bad habits than start with good ones. My 5 year old wasn't started on this method until he was 6 months when my sister-in-law told me about it, but it has been a life saver. My 6 month old goes to sleep awake at 8 pm and wakes up at 7 am to eat, then goes back to bed until 10 am. no afternoon nap, but he is happy all day. You need your sleep as much as your son needs it. Try it out, I swear by it! It saved my life and my children can put themselves to sleep no problem.
My boys didn't have belly issues, so that maybe something you need to consult a specialist about. I know that when my belly hurts, it is hard to fall asleep. Good luck. I hope this helps.

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M.C.

answers from New York on

Hi C.,

I don't really have any answers for you BUT, why are you still giving him a bottle when he wakes during the night? My doctor (and most books) say that they do not need a middle of the night feeding past the age of 6 months. This may attribute to him waking up (because he is used to it)during the night. Also, why don't you try weaning him off his bottle and giving him a sippy cup a while before bedtime versus right at bedtime. Obviously, you can't do all of this at once but if you start changing things up, it may help you develop a schedule you can live by. My daughter had sleeping issues up until @ a year old (she's 16 mos now) for various reasons (teeth, dreams etc.) I kept getting up (sometimes 3-4 times a night). I couldn't get any sleep either and finally I stopped getting up (of course I listened and even peeked in on her but she never saw me. Within a week, she was sleeping soundly. She still lets out a yell or cry every once in a while but puts herself right back to sleep.

Good luck!
M.

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C.M.

answers from Elmira on

A few things come to mind. Because he has been colicky since a baby a have a few things that I would try first just to be sure there isn't an underlying problem.

First, I would try to figure out if he has a food allergy. Foremost I would eliminate dairy for at least three weeks to see if that is causing any problems (stomach aches etc.) This is a little bit hard to do because there is dairy in so many things but if you can make it through a couple weeks you should be able to see if that is a culprit.

Second, if it were me I would also take him to a chiropractor just to be sure that he has good alignment.

If both these have no influence then I would begin being much more proactive in helping him learn how to go to sleep on his own and then stay to sleep. From what I have seen on supernanny I think that is the best approach. I have 10 children and they all sleep through out the night for the most part. sometimes we have issues but it is usually when I am just to tired to bother being firm about the sleeping schedule routine. I do not have kids that cry throughout the night etc, they just fall asleep and stay asleep. Even my 4mo sleeps through the night (from 10pm to 7am) now.

Hope this helps a little bit
C.

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P.H.

answers from New York on

C.,

Putting your son in a toddler bed will only increase the number of issues you will need to deal with. Trust me, I have two children, 6 and 3. My second was a much better sleeper because I learned the hard way (and I mean hardway), with my 6 year old!
Ferberizing does work it there are no other issues you need to be concerned with, and it sounds as if you do still have some worries. So , that said, you would probably never be able to follow through with strict Ferberizing, and need to find a modified method of putting Mason to sleep which also works within your comfort level.
Try to remember, that your presence at bedtime and your response to his cries do inhibit him from learning how to comfort himself. Rmember also that Mason has had the chance to learn that crying out results in comfort from you.
While you search for a method that suits both of you, and I can not say that I know which that is, I would reccommend the No Cry Sleep Solutions book. This method, as it suggests, does not revolve around letting your child cry for extended periods of time, which most parents have problems listening to, especially with 1st children.
Does your son have any comfort objects, or lovies, other than Mommy?? That may or may not help you..just a thought!
Lastly, and don't forget, once our children start eating solids, their need for nourishment through the night greatly diminishes. I weaned my child's desire for a bottle with water instead of milk, and at 11mos. she stopped waking for that extra feeding at 4am.

Every child is unique however..so I wish you the best and hope something I have told you proves to be helpful!

P. H.

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L.D.

answers from Utica on

Oh! I wish I had some great advice for you, unfortunately, I don't!! I just wanted to say Hang in there! I promise it gets better (until you are the mother of teenagers and are up worrying about them driving) but somewhere between now and then you WILL get a good night's sleep. All of the sudden life gets easier-I promise! :)
Have you talked to you DR just to be certain to rule out any medical issues? Not getting a decent night's rest is bad for everybody, if your DR doesn't take it seriously enough, I would consider another DR.
Don't hesitate to ask other's for help, do something to take care of yourself. I was very bad about doing that and it eventually caught up with me and my whole family. We really have to "feed" ourselves to be able to be our best for our family. For some reason, we moms think we have to be supermoms and give, give, give but never take care of ourselves. It doesn't work and it doesn't make us our best!
Do something to get some rest, get a night away...something!
Take care!! Let us know how it's going~

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D.R.

answers from New York on

Hi C.,
I can relate. My 2nd child didn't sleep more than 2-3 hurs at a time until she was 5. I know what long term chronic sleep depravaton can do. My kid had night terrors. I learned lots about night terrors and spoke with other parents with the same issue. Once we figured out a routine, she and I both got back to sleep alot quicker.
I think you're right in that some kids just don't sleep. Each one is so different.
My 3rd daughter had trouble falling asleep. Thanks to her, I learned foot massage, essential oils, some Reiki and even some shiatsu techniques to get her to settle down.
There are many ways to solve this.....
You mentioned he was sensitive to formulas when he was younger, and also that you think he might have belly aches. I'm wondering if maybe he's not doing well with dairy? I would have to caution you, soy may be worse than dairy. Soy formula and soy milk is really not digestible for anyone and may have even more health dangers associated with it than cow's milk.

Our children are our greatest teachers! I encourage you to continue to investigate what the cause is and look to lots of different possible solutions. Hang in there!

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H.S.

answers from New York on

I have so much compassion for your situation- i've been there and I'm there again. First, the idea that we should sleep long stretches is relatively new (last 100 or so years- Ben Franklin got up in the middle of the night and sat naked smoking a pipe and thinking great thoughts!) 7 hours is a great stretch. I have three children, only one of whom is a 'great sleeper' and even that is only sometimes. With my oldest son I did the Ferber (sounds like super-nanny) to get him to go to sleep so I could have a couple hours to myself. But when he would wake again at 2ish we would just take him into our bed. It seemed less stressful than going in every 10 minutes in the middle of the night- and once I'd had a few hours to myself- and time alone with my husband- I was fine to be with my baby again. As a working mother I think it really helped me to keep the bond with my son strong.
As for the stomach issues you are probably right- between my three children they are either allergic or intolerant to almost everything. We have soy, rice & cow milk in our fridge. Maybe he doesn't need the middle of the night bottle- maybe if you just keep him 'sleepy' and bring him into your bed you will all be better off. I think the middle of the night bottle might be about comfort not hunger, and you are ultimately more comforting than a bottle. And you won't cause gas:-)
Check out Sears & Sears on sleeping, also Penelope Leach and Ferber (just browse in B&N- no need to buy them all). Whatever you decide consistancy is key- that is why Penelope Leach is easier- she lets them cry - but not for as long as Ferber- so it is less painful for you.
Good Luck!
My older son is 7 and we actually have to wake him up some mornings now!
Amanda -mother of 2 year old twins & a 7 year old boy-

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K.M.

answers from Albany on

This is what worked for us - for all three kids. Naps started when just beginning to be tired - a bottle, two books, a few "friends" and sometimes a wooden puzzle (the kind with knobs). Play alone and then nod off eventually. It takes a while to get used to, but playing with a toy seems to help. At night our kids have a baby yogurt right before bed - no hungry tummies in the night. Read two books together and then say goodnight to everything - lights, books, bears, family, Elmo - everybody sleeps! :) Everything stays in the crib except puzzle or hard toy. I think your son is just not used to falling asleep by himself - and really never has had to do it, so it will take time. But when he wakes up he wants you to help him go back to sleep. But don't go for the toddler bed, because he'll get out on his own and come to find you!! Once he can fall asleep and stay asleep he can have a big boy bed. :) Good luck!

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J.L.

answers from New York on

Hi C.

I'm a nanny living in New York please feel free to call me. ###-###-####

Its sounds to me you have to start at the beginning (No rocking) people get mislead from the soothing of this as you have found out its a short term fix. I have always put newborns to bed while they are awake. That is a huge tip as babies children know where they are when you put them to bed and are not startled by when they wake up they are not in your arms. Put a cd player attach to the crib put soothing music even stories that you can tell so he still hears your voice. He needs to learn how to put himself to sleep key factor. Little steps do not take him to your bed whatevery costs. This will only take 1-2 weeks of really hard work but believe me it is worth the 2 weeks of no sleep to a longterm lovely sleep pattern.

Also why are you giving him bottles he is on solids and doesn't need these bottles in the middle of the night. It has just become poor habits and needs eliminating. Please call me I can help you. There are too many things to write. J.

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J.C.

answers from New York on

I sure do feel for you you! I have a 21/2 yr old and a 17 month and they both are not good sleepers! My 17th month old was colic as well and teethed from 3 months on. I was desperate and let him sleep ina swing for 9 months of his little life. My older son wakes in the middle of the night and comes in our bed as well, but doesn't sleep sound. Matt only takes one nap a day and it can be anywhere from 1/2 hr to 3 1/2 hrs depends on what we did for the day.
To make a long story short, yes I have tried everything, because like you I do not beleive in the "cry it out" method ( even thu everyone I speak to swears by it" .
I tried the SuperNanny way and the only problem I have is that Matt seems to think if I in the room it is play time or he should be with me, so it really did not work for me. We are currently just going in giving him his bottle in his crib ( forbidden I know but he goes right back to sleep after he is done with the bottle), so far it works one night and than maybe not another you just have to stay with it. A big bed might cause you more harm than good becaue he is so young. Is he a good eater,try some cereal in the bottle for the 2nd feeding it might hold him over? Or try putting him down later? Good Luck I'll be thinking of you around 3am :)

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P.B.

answers from Rochester on

Hi! I feel your pain! I've just started reading the book "Solve your child's sleep problems" by Richard Ferber. Oh my - it's an eye opener! It has some great background info on sleep (which I never cared about until my daughter had sleep issues), as well as some great tips. I've learned that the cry-it-out method is often misused ... this is the book that explains the correct (and nicer) way so everyone sleeps in your house!

Good luck!

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M.P.

answers from New York on

Kids are amazingly good at holding on to things they like - such as having mom rock you to sleep every night. Although there's a possibility your son still gets stomach aches, I would guess that the most likely thing is that he just loves your company, day and night. My children go through the same thing periodically. I have tried the SuperNanny technique with my 3 year old daughter with some success. It's not as fast as the cry-it-out technique was when she was a baby, but I don't feel that approach is right for an older child. Anyway, good luck! It's so important to have a little time to yourself and with your husband at the end of the day.

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D.D.

answers from New York on

I used this method when my daughter was 18 months old. She kept climbing out of the crib and I was afraid she'd hurt herself so I took the one side of the crib off and put up a rail. The first 2-3 nights, it was quite an adjustment. The fact that she could get out of her crib was actually quite unsettling for her. We made sure she was sufficiently fed, changed, story read, then off to bed. I started out putting her in her crib, then immediately going to the furthest spot in the room near the door and sitting on the floor with my back to her. I started out going to her during her screaming every 3 minutes or so, then I'd extend to to every 5, then worked the intervals up. I wouldn't say anything, but I'd rub her belly to know I was there. It was hard as hell! The second night, I sat outside her door. We had put up a gate at her door. She ended up falling asleep on the hard wood floor (that was really hard for me) by the door, but by the third night, she started to get used to the new situation. I still had to sit with my back to her and she fell asleep on the floor again, but once she was out and I put her back in her crib she didn't stir. By the fourth night, she fell asleep in her crib and I didn't have any problems after that. Honestly, it's going to rip you apart to hear him cry, but if he can feel the security of knowing that you're there, he will be able to calm himself down. The thing is that you have to force yourself to go through that hell week. You have to trust that the outcome will be more than worth the miserable couple of days you will have to go through. It's amazing when you see the change, when you see that look of terror just disappear as they realize they're okay and can sooth theirself. Follow the supernanny routine, it absolutely works. My 3 year old daughter has been a fantastic sleeper ever since then so I know it was good for her in the long run. Good luck! (BTW, those couple of nights you won't get as much sleep as you usually do, so make sure you don't have anything really important for the next day set up!)

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M.T.

answers from New York on

Hi C.,

Does your son have any medical diagnosis? Is there a medical reason why he wakes up in the night, and a reason why a 1 1/2 year old needs a bottle in the middle of the night? Toddlers don't need middle of the night bottles, unless there's some medical reason.

He may be just a bad sleeper, but he needs to learn to be awake without causing you to lose a night of sleep. I'm not a believer in those cry it out methods, but it is time to teach him to fall asleep on his own. When I had infants, I held them much of the time, wore them in a sling, always picked them up when they cried (and I did work fulltime). I don't mean to sound harsh but 17 months is simply too old to be rocked to sleep with a bottle. He likely has a full mouth of teeth and he's spending the night with milk coating them, not good. And by this age, he should have learned to fall asleep on his own, have been put in his crib awake after his bedtime routine. I'd work on this first, if it were me. If he doesn't know how to fall asleep on his own at bedtime, he wont' know how to fall asleep on his own if he wakes up at night.

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N.L.

answers from Albany on

Hi, have you taken him to the doc. for these problems? My daughter is now 18 and she was 8 wks. early. She had problems with all kinds of formula and at 7 months I put her on milk mixed with water( her doc. said to try this). This seemed to help alot. She never wanted to fall asleep on her own and that cause many problems. I tried letting her cry herself to sleep and after a couple of nights she would go on her own. Your son seems to demand alot of your attention and I see all of the moms have different advise about this, I feel the more love and attention you give your child the better. Let them know the limits and stick to it. I feel that a trip to his doc. is in order and expain everything. He may have digestive problems. I would also try cereal at bed time. I don't know how much solid food he is eating but at his age he should be eating mostly what you eat. I have 3 teens and they all were eating table food by 1yr. and they had their own big kid bed. I think they felt less "trapped" and if they got up in the night they would grab a toy (I always had a gate up on the door) and they would fall back to sleep.
I hope this gives you some other options.

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A.W.

answers from Glens Falls on

hi, my daughter is now three and we went through all the same stuff except i breastfed for just under 3 years. i night weaned her at 21 months on the suggestion of her pediatrician that children past 9 months don't really need nutrition at night and eating in the night could be producing stomach aches which might contribute to the waking up screaming thing. the weaning process was miserable, crying, screaming all made worse by the fact that she slept with me and she knew the boobs were there, but couldn't have them! honestly, it helped only slightly. i never tried any sleep techniques though i read a lot about them. i visited a shaman who taught me some "night protection" techniques and that is what helped. the screaming at night lessened by at least 80%. at three she no longer nurses and she sleeps in her own bed (on the floor right next to our bed). she still wakes up at night, sometimes only once and sometimes 4 times like last night because she was sick but it's not as bad as it was before. i think the most important thing is consistency. when i was night weaning it was miserable-but only for 3 or 4 weeks and the whole time it got better gradually. whatever you do i would say keep with it, don't give in and if you can let your partner take over the night time routine-mom's can be pushovers and give in (i was a single mom at the time and late at night was the only time i wished i wasn't!)

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A.F.

answers from New York on

C.-
the SuperNanny method sounds very similar to Dr. Farber method, called the Progressively waiting technique. i had a lot of sleeping issues with a set of twins. they were premature/had colic/teething etc. for teething i have found a great product called Gentle Naturals Homeopathic Teething Drops, it is basically chamomile and i usually find it at Target. As far as the sleep issue goes, at this point he is playing you like a fiddle. i too was once a working mom and know the guilt that you feel trying to let your baby cry, but what helped me is that the child and the mom were both much happier when they both had a good night sleep. my youngest son i guess you would call a "bad" sleeper. he has been my challenge and i have had to sleep train him multiple times. we are finally sleeping through the night although he wakes up at 5am! Dr. Weissbluth also has a book i found helpful. be firm and let him cry! Good luck, A.

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K.R.

answers from New York on

Hi C.-
When my son was born and first came home from the hospital, he would scream constantly with gas pain. I tried everything to try to figure out what to do. My pediatrician (who I no longer use) told me to take him to the emergency room. He was only a week old and "mother's intuition" told me to figure out another plan. I did some research, found another pediatrician, and put my son on soy formula. What a huge difference. He wasn't screaming anymore, and he was sleeping ALOT better (so was his mother) You should speak to your pediatrician about switching to soy. Also there is a device now that helps babies with colic. If you go to the website www.onestepahead.com, you will see it.
I hope this was some help.
Good Luck,
K.

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C.B.

answers from New York on

I sent you this directly as well, but I think it's good public knowledge for people whose kids have sleep problems.

I did not read all the responses, I'm sure there was a big "crying it out" vs. not debate. My point is that I am almmost positive your son has food sensitivities that are keeping him up at night from what you described. My daughter was exactly like this, and it turns out she was crying from pain. We finally figured out she has gluten intolerance (also known as celiac disease because it's genetic). Putting her on a gluten-free diet made a difference within DAYS. Her blood test for celiac had been negative (there are false negatives sometimes) but I went wth my gut instinct and was right.
Some children just have a dairy intolerance, which is easier than cutting out gluten, but can take a bit longer to see results. If he has ANY other symptoms of a food sensitivity or celiac (rashes, excema, diarrhea, bad smelling poop, constipation, bloated abdomen, bags under eyes, etc.) then I'd suspect it even more strongly.
Anyway, PLEASE consider these as possibilities. Silent reflux is another possibility, my kids still have reflux at age 5 (twins) and my baby has it as well - I've had it as long as I can remember.

Before ANY parent tries any form of sleep training, etc. they should absolutey rule out ANY possible medical/dietary causes.

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E.M.

answers from Rochester on

I totally feel your pain! I am going through the same thing right now with my 16mo son Holden. It's very frustrating since up until two months ago he was sleeping very well, even going down awake and putting himself to sleep. We also dealt with colic, and I did not try the cry it out method until he was over a year. It worked then, but hasn't worked since. I saw an episode of Supernanny when the parents used the method you mentioned in your post. I am at my wits end, and will try just about anything. I love my little bug so much, I want nothing more than to cradle him, and make him feel loved. But, I work too and need sleep....3-4 hours just isn't enough! I hope someone can give us some insight. SOON!

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M.B.

answers from Albany on

C.,

I agree with whoever said you should rule out anything medical going on.

After that if you are still having trouble, I saw that someone already recommended Dr. Ferbers book Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, and I have to agree. It was a fantastic book! I got it from the Clifton Park library. My son is 17 months old and he sleeps from 7:30-8pm until 7am. The only time he gets up is when he is teething or sick. Otherwise he sleeps all night. He also naps from 1-3 or 4pm every day. BUT it was NOT always this way! :) I nursed him to sleep until he was 6 months old at which point I decided it was time for him to learn to go to sleep on his own so i rearranged our schedule so that he was on a routine of Eat, Play, then Sleep (as recommended in the book Babywise). It took a few days but he got it. Then all the sudden he STOPPED sleeping and would only go to sleep in his infant seat - it was very strange, if i put him in his crib he'd scream until i put him in the car seat and then he'd be asleep in seconds. I was SO frustrated! And someone recommended this book to me and it worked. I learned from reading the book that he had a "wrong" sleep association - that he associated his car seat with sleep - which made sense because at the time he had been sleeping a lot in it. And I needed to help him learn correct sleep associations. So it took 1 night of using the method in the book. It took 2 hours - he cried - I went in to him like the book suggested (at 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, then every 10 minutes after that). I reassured him that he was okay, that it was night night time, and that he needed to go to sleep. I did not pick him up. I felt horrible letting him cry but i did not know what else to do and I felt it was important that he learn to sleep on his own. The next night we went through our bedtime routine and put him in bed and he was RIGHT to sleep - not a tear! The book talks about how children can learn new habits very quickly - usually it takes 2-3 days - i think. Anyway, the book really helped us!! I hope it gets better for you!

M.

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G.V.

answers from New York on

Hi C.,
I want you to know that I understand how difficult this is for you. You should discuss your concerns with the doctor.This will eliminate the possibility of a medical condition. As a new mother my first child had disruptive sleep patterns, as he matured he and I developed ways to cope, by napping intermittenly. Be well!

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K.H.

answers from New York on

I have been exactly where you are (I too am a working mom and have a 28 month old who has had quite a few issue in the sleep arena!) What I found finally worked is being able to be CONSISTENT. This is really hard when you are tired and absolutely HATE to hear your child crying (which was/is me). I did find though that when I was consistent she got the message and our nights were sooo much better. I did find staying in her room only prolonged the process. What we did was let her cry it out and after several long nights it finally worked! When he gets a little older you can also tell him he needs to stay in his bed until the sun comes up - that is now what we are doing...best of luck and remember that you need to take care of yourself too (and not feel guilty for it!) because it will only make you an even better mom.

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E.S.

answers from Albany on

Cut out refined sugar and any artificial coloring in processed foods. Feed him yougurt. Natural foods. Bananas and milk before bed as a snack should be a calmative sleep producing snack.
Perhaps the sitter during the day lets him sleep excessively so she has a quieter time. Thats something to consider.
Best regards,
E.

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L.T.

answers from New York on

write this exact message to moxie, she is fantastic! http://moxie.blogs.com/askmoxie/ this is the best blog and she has answered so many questions like this. just email her directly and she may post it and have her readers comment which is soooooooooooooo incredible.

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M.P.

answers from New York on

First I would like to say that my 16 month son's name is also Maison. As you see I spelled it w/ an "i" in it, had to be different. Anyway I have been pretty lucky as far as his sleeping habits. We started sleep training @ 6 months when it is easier b/c they are less aware. Sometimes Maison will wake up in the night crying but it's usally teeth (i think) and I will go in after a 1/2 hour or so give him tylenol sit w/ him a few min. then it's back in the crib. Maison loves books so I will let him take a book to bed & it helps w/ the transition. Yes he will sometimes cry when I leave then after a min. he is fine. In my opion the reason Mason can't go back to sleep when he wakes up in the night b/c he's used to falling asleep w/ mommy. I also beleive you shouln't give him a bottle anymore in the middle of the night b/c the goal is to get him sleeping through the night and you don't want him used to that. As far as letting him cry it out vs. the Supernanny way of sitting in the room, I believe it depends on the childs personality of which method to use & which way you feel comfortable w/. I know the crying out method sucks and that you tried it but I also know it can take up to 2 weeks to work (didn't say how long you tried it out)and w/ either method you have to be strong and not give in (even though it is easier) and hopefully after a week or two you should have a sound sleeping baby in his crib. Another suggestion to try is have daddy put him to bed maybe it will work b/c it sounds like he's used to you putting him to bed. He is probably have some separation anxiety issues also, which is normal. It also helps to have a bed time routine, we do bath, lotion, pj's, story, milk then in your crib. That way they know what to expect. One other thought is how is Mason napping during the day? I know for my Maison if we have an over stimulating day &/or he misses a nap he doesn't sleep as well that night. One last trick, I know a mommy that would put toys in the crib and the baby would play until she fell asleep then she slowly took the toys out one by one and that worked for her. I know I just gave you an overwhelming amount of info. Hope it helps and good luck. Remember to be pesistant!

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M.K.

answers from New York on

Sounds like your son and my 23 month old should get together for a 2am play date! My son was getting up every 1-3 hours. Some nights I'd get 4 hours during his initial stretch of sleep. I weaned him off the breast and stopped taking him into bed with us. He's in a toddler bed now, so I usually get him to sleep by sitting on the floor next to the bed and then get anywhere from 2-6 hours (usually it's 5 hours now). He seems to get up around 2/2:30am now on a regular basis. I get him a bottle and give it to him in his bed. Sometimes I sit and wait for him to finish whatever he'll finish and take the bottle. Other times, I'll give him a smaller bottle and just go back to bed myself. He usually gets himself to sleep after the bottle. Then at 5:30am, he's up again. At that point, I'll take him to our bed and give him another bottle. Then he wakes up around 6:45am before my husband's alarm goes off and though I can lay in bed for a bit, he's basically up for the day.

It's still a tough schedule and I know I don't want anymore babies, because his newborn sleep schedule lasted a year and a half. In fact, he's teething the 2-year molars now and he was up every hour or two last night.

I agree that some kids are just poor sleepers. They are more sensitive to their environment and energy around them. I've always been a light sleeper and still am. Even those rare nights when he sleeps 6-7 hours straight, I wake up at least once out of habit and worry.

BTW, my daughter HATED her crib and NEVER slept there more than 3 hours per night. At 15 months we converted her crib into a toddler bed and viola! She was happy and sleeping there 5-8 hours from the start! Of course we transitioned her slowly from our bed to hers, but it wasn't very long or hard.

My son also get to sleep easier in the bed. Sometimes I sit next to his bed, sometimes I sit on a chair in the room or lie down with my dahghter in the same room. He's okay even if I just give him the bottle and leave most nights. Some kids like the open feeling of the bed and knowing they can get out if they need you. It's worth a shot.

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H.K.

answers from New York on

There are safe and respectful ideas in Nighttime Parenting or a book called No Cry Sleep Solutions.
They grow up fast so enjoy snuggling your little ones!!
H.

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T.J.

answers from Rochester on

C..
My girlfriend had the same situation as you. Her 15 month old was not sleeping through the night and she had to sit there and rock her to bed with a bottle everynight.
She did do the Supernanny plan.
She ended up placing her daughter in the crib and handing her a bottle then she sat silently across from the crib and just waited until her daughter fell a sleep. She continued this and every night she would move closer to the door. Toward the end she would sit in the room but not in sight. If her daughter did start to fuss she would simply say, "Mommy is here, it's ok." He daughter realized that even though she could not see her mommy she was still there for her. In the last few weeks she has now been able to giver her daughter the bottle and leave the room. It has been successful. If her daughter does wake up at night she does not take her out of the crib, but she will give her another bottle and follow the same steps.
Hopefully this works for you.
Side note.... My son's name is Mason as well. He is also very fuzzy. He is only 5 months old and has just started to sleep about 5 hours straight for us. We still are working on a full nights sleep to.
Good luck.-T.

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M.K.

answers from New York on

i would try and put him down while still awake but sleepy. he needs to learn to put himself to sleep. maybe standing near him singing a song or reading to him. but, also, in the meantime i would take him to the doctor to see if he is suffering from acid reflux. mother's intuition is usually right. if you think he has a tummy ache, you are probably right. i would also prop the mattress up a little in case he is. my son, who is 16 months, has gerd and is finally starting to sleep through the nite. you might have to try a variety of things to see what works but you will have to try it for a few nites in a row before you disregard it. good luck and remember you are not the only mother that is going through this. it's not easy but you and mason will work it out.

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J.L.

answers from New York on

Ugh is absolutely right C.. I can definately feel your agony, pain, frustration and whatever other word fits.

My recommendation would be to try and revisit the letting him cry himself to sleep. It's going to take more than one night though, but hopefully eventually he will learn how to soothe himself to sleep -- I can imagine that he is probably getting quite heavy and rocking him to sleep must be exhausting.

In terms of a toddler bed, that is only going to give him more mobility -- as in getting out of his bed and then into yours. Trust me -- that is exactly what happened with my first daughter. She is now three and thankfully sleeps through the night, but there was a period that was very frustrating.

With my second daughter, who is seven months old, we started about two weeks ago to let her cry herself to sleep. For the first two days, it was pretty tortuous. But then she started to go down more easily. She still sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night, but now I let her cry until she goes back to sleep. Thankfully, the duration of her crying has shortened so that it is no more than a half hour. I know it probably sounds uncaring to do that, but babies actually need to learn how to go sleep on their own. There is a good book that may help you -- "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr. Weissbluth. It's a bit involved, but he does give info on scheduling nap times and bedtimes that helped us immensely.

I hope this helps and good luck.

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Y.L.

answers from New York on

Hi C.,
I have a 17 month old too and she is a poor sleeper as well. I feel like it is my fault though because I have a 5 year old son, and his schedule determines hers and so she has never had a consistent schedule. What i find is that sleep begets sleep - in that the more they can sleep, the less overtired they will be and the better they will sleep at night. Is your child on one nap or two? Mine is on one but will occasionally still take 2. Could you put her down at the same time every day for her nap/s and then at the same time at night, with a long drawn out bedtime routine - eg. bath, dinner, bottle, brush teeth, books, bed? I find that I do that with mine and she could sleep for a few hours, but then wake again say at 9pm. She will not go back to sleep and usually stays up till 11 or midnight before going back down and then she will have to be woken in the morning. I haven't really worked out what to do yet with that! From the books, I think what the babies need is consistency - same bed, same time, same routine... it's so tough though! I hope that he will sleep well for you soon.
All the best, Y.

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M.D.

answers from New York on

Just to add to the good advice of the other posters -- If he is used to getting a bottle in the middle of the night, he will continue to wake up for it. Can you try substituting water in the bottle or sippy cup and eventually phase it out completely? Or just give him a pacifier? Like a previous poster said, you don't want milk sitting in his mouth all night. My 7 month old son has his last bottle at 7pm and doesn't wake for his morning bottle until 6:30 / 7am ... your son should be able to last that long without needing to eat. When/If my son wakes up before 6:30, I give him a pacifier and he goes back to sleep.

Good luck, I hope you both get some sleep!

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K.F.

answers from Rochester on

Hi C.! I can truly relate. My second son was born three months premature and to make a VERY long story short we had to hold him for his first year before they finally figured out what was wrong. My suggestion and question to you is; has the Dr. done any testing on Mason for abnormal reflux/acid accumulation. My son had 10 times the amount of acid build up in his stomach compared to that of a normal ADULT thus it was extremely painful and caused him to not be able to sleep. Believe it or not the Purple Pill was a result of a study and testing done based on my son after they wrote his finding ups in the Medical Journal(this was back in the eighties). So, if there has not been any "real" testing done I would first suggest having a specialist look into it. Be blessed!

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L.P.

answers from New York on

Hi C.. I really feel for you. It is so hard when you don't have much time to yourself and then you never feel like you get a good night's sleep.
I have 2 children and although I breastfed them to sleep from the beginning, there was always a point where I had to let them cry it out. It is not fun, but it usually didn't take long (not more than 3-5 days)...although as I write that I understand that it feels like AN ETERNITY when you're going through it. I hated every minute of it and I didn't do it with my oldest till he was over 2 years old. He was always going to sleep at the breast and then bottle and then sippy cup. It got to a point where I had to wean him off of all those crutches to get him to go to sleep. Actually with him I remember we would sit with him for about 20 minutes at first and hold his hand through his crib because we felt bad, but eventually that just became a new crutch that we had to cut as well. Sorry I think I'm blabbing here. All this to say after we did this (and my son was not a good long sleeper either up until this point) he became the best little sleeper and I understood how much sleep he actually needed. He slept 12 hours after that (he is now 5 and still NEEDS 12 hours) and his naps got much better after that too. My youngest is now 26 months and I went through weaning him and sleep training at about 15 months. Same story really...my husband was the best help because he helped me to understand that really we were teaching them a skiill...that they needed to learn how to fall asleep and stay asleep and he kept me sane! My little guy sleeps great too and I just read them books at night, sing a song all together and plop them in bed. ha. and they go right to sleep.
I have seen teh supernanny thing as well and I think that it works also. I hope that you can work this out soon. It isn't always easy and I know it is hard to listen to your baby cry, but if you can keep in in perspective and get through it you're doing everyone a favor...hope this all made sense. Good luck to you!

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M.H.

answers from New York on

i KNOW YOU POSTED A FEW DAYS AGO, SO I APOLOGIZE FOR TAKING A FEW DAYS TO RESPOND. ONE OF THE PROBLEMS IS THAT YOU ROCK MASON AND THEN PUT HIM INTO THE BED SO HE DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO COMFPRT HIMSELF AND GO TO SLEEP ON HIS OWN. ALSO, NO BOTTLES AT BED TIME(UNLESS THERE'S WATER IN IT) BECAUSE HE CAN GET CAVITIES FROM THE MILK. PUT HIM INTO HIS BED AWAKE. YOU CAN READ BEFORE BEDTIME TO WIND DOWN, BRUSH TEETH AND THEN PUT HIM TO BED AND LET HIM PUT HIMSELF TO SLEEP. YOU CAN GIVE HIM A DOLL/STUFFED ANIMAL SPECIAL BLANKET, WHATEVER IT TAKES FOR HIM TO GO TO SLEEP. CHECK ON HIM, REASSURE HIM, BUT DON'T TAKE HIM INTO YOUR BED OR YOU WON'T GET HIM OUT. GOOD LUCK

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J.A.

answers from New York on

Hi C.,

i completely sympathize with your sleep issues.... it must be very distressing to say the least.
From your description, it sounds as though your son has you trained to give him attention when he wants it. My daughter is also 17 months and the last thing she ever wants to do is take a nap or go to bed at night because there is so much to do, and so much to explore.
However, she has been trained and knows the routine. She does have some nights when its a struggle to get to bed, but in general i put her down in her crib and i don't hear a peep from her till 7:00 am the next day. Once i got her to do that, it changed my life!

i had a lot of anxiety about establishing healthy sleeping habits from the beginning and a friend recommended this book to me: Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. i read it religiously and followed what he said and i have to say it truly did work. Unfortunately it will have to involve the cry it out method. It will be tougher for you because your son is 17 months and he's more aware, but he will eventually learn to fall asleep on his own.... that is the goal. You shouldn't have to rock him to sleep, have night feedings/diaper changes, or stand guard as he falls asleep (ie super nanny method you mentioned) or bring him into your bed... in fact, i hate to say it, but all these things are preventing him from establishing good sleep habits. It will be really hard to hear him cry, and he's going to be pretty mad but after a couple nights he will get it. A couple nights of hearthache are worth a new routine of falling asleep on his own, and eventually staying asleep.
Well that's my two cents. The book really helped me a lot, i hope it does you too.
Happy sleeping!

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T.L.

answers from New York on

Although I do not have an answer, I have the same problem with my daughter who is 14 monmths old. Right now she is teething very badly, 4 teeth in 6 weeks and 4 more on the way. So I do not want to discomfort her any more than she already is. But I am going to try the toddler bed when I am ready. I believe she feels less trapped and more comfortable in a bed.

We had tried the crying out method for 8 days and only made her worse!!! Maybe you should also try giving your son some mylecon before bed, he may have gas.

Good luck!!!

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J.N.

answers from Buffalo on

Hi! first off, i think you've done the best you can given the circumstances and you need a break. he needs to learn how to fall asleep on his own. clearly b/c you rock him & give him a bottle and put him down asleep, he has never learned how to fall asleep on his own. the experts say to never put a sleeping baby down b/c they need to learn how to put themselves to sleep, just as adults do. not everyone agrees with this but i do believe it's true b/c it has worked for me. so, everytime i got up in the night to nurse my son in infancy, i put him back into the bassinet awake & let him fall asleep on his own. same went for the crib. don't get me wrong - i REALLY wanted to rock my baby to sleep & watch him sleep & have that experience but i knew i'd be kicking myself later. what i do is hold him, rock & cuddle with him when he gets up. that way, we are getting the closeness & attention we both need but he is able to get into his crib and fall asleep alone. - (he is 16 months just let you know.) as for the nanny method - i think it works. although i may sound like i know what i'm talking about in what i said above, i had a hiccup in the process about a month ago, and it is why i can relate to your problem.
my son got the flu & was sick for a couple of days. he was clingy & miserable. he got a TON more attention from mommy during the sickness & i cuddled in our bed before his bedtime with him & it completely threw off his regular routine. his regular routine is bath(every few nights), p.j.'s on, new diaper. then into our bed to read books(which we have done since he was only a few months old, then lights out in our room & t.v. on for just some backround light & i give him a sippy cup with milk in it (i went right from a nursing for 12 months to a sippy cup because our peditrition said it is very hard to transition a child away from a bottle)...anyways - when he's done with the milk i tell him it's time to go night night in your crib...we then go into his room & i stand by the crib & hold him for approx. 30 seconds - he is laying on my shoulder during this time...i then ask for a kiss & lay him down, rub his back for a second & walk out. some nights he falls right to sleep, some he may cry for a minute & i go back in, pick him up, stand right next to the crib again, rub his back for a moment, and lay him back down. when he cries he's just telling me he still needs me. so i go in and give him what he needs but also make a clear statement by my actions that he needs to go back into his crib...and he then falls asleep.
back to the hiccup - this is really long, sorry!!! after he was sick, when i put him into his crib - he screamed holy hell & when i went back in there to comfort him for a moment he pointed his arm twards the door & screamed!!! this went on for several nights, i let him scream it out and that didn't work. eventually i brought him into our bed out of desperation for sleep to calm him down and he fell right to sleep. when i laid him back in his crib he screamed even more. finally i thought he'll just have to scream in out and after 15 minutes he threw up everywhere in the crib!! that next day i called the doctor. the doctor said he wasn't surprised. any change in their normal routine at this age can make a big impact & b/c for those few days he was sick & spent an extra few minutes in our bed completly threw him off. doctor said he's seen kids at this age throw up, bang their head against the crib & hold their breath, just because they can't verbalize their needs & if crying doesn't work, they then try something else out of desperation - so sad!!! because i told him that my son was fine and would stop crying if i brought him into our room told the doctor that he was not sick or something was wrong with him - (i thought maybe he had a bad dream - something scared him, or maybe he was in pain..that's how hard he was crying!!) but my son just wanted to get his way. long story short - - the doctor said if we can handle cleaning up the throw - up & listening to him cry for a few nights, it would eventually stop. we needed to send a clear message that we loved him & were there for him but he needed to fall asleep in his crib. so, the first night he screamed as soon as i walked out of the room, after i did the whole routine we had been doing since infancy. he screamed & i went in every few minutes, not after 2minutes, then 4, then 6, and so on or whatever the books say...you know your own child and every few minutes worked for me. so after a while of doing this, clearly the screaming was not working for him so he threw up. we cleaned it up and put him back down. he was mad again but this time i stayed in the room to let him know that i was not going to leave him alone but he needed to go to sleep. after an hour or so of screaming and me going to him every few minutes, picking him up, kissing him & putting him back down, he eventually got the point and fell asleep. it took about three nights for us. but - we just needed to re-establish an already existing routine. it may very well take you alot longer b/c he really doesn't know how to fall asleep on his own. i do believe though, if you fight through it, have a TON of will power to make it work, and are consistant with what & how you do it....it will work!!!! please feel free to e-mail me if you need some support- [email protected]____.com good luck!!!!!

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V.C.

answers from New York on

Hi C.! Wow flashbacks.. My oldest son CJ had colic when he was a baby and boy I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy! He had the same sleep issues, and when it seemed that the colic went away, teething had arrived. Like you I didn't want him to "cry it out"... We were living w/ my parents at the time waiting for the home we bought to be ready for us to move in, so who wants their child crying in the middle of the night and waking up the whole family?
The MD's would tell me that after 4 mths old I should no longer be going in there to pick him up, by 4mths he should be able to put himself back to sleep-- but like you I rocked him and went to him everytime he cried.
By the time we moved into our house he was about 6 mths old, and I had to do something, I was getting no sleep and my husband worked 2nd shift so I had no help. One night I just did it.. I let him cry, and to be honest the next 3 nights really sucked! But on the 4th night, I put him in his crib I turned on one of those music, light players that attach to the crib and walked out the door. He cried for about 10 minuts, and fell asleep he only woke up once that night cried for less then 5 min and slept till the next morning. I struck GOLD! Now mind you I took myself as far from the babies room as I could during those 3 nights and carried around a monitor that I turned the volume all the way down, I could see the lights flicking but no sound- so it didn't drive me as crazy listening to him scream. He is now 7 and a wonderful sleeper (I have a couple of friends who never allowed their child to just cry it out and at 7 yrs old they can't get the kids out of their beds)
I learned the hard way, so when I had my 2nd son I knew just what to do and am happy to say that by 8 weeks old he was sleeping in his crib through the entire night (and I never had to let him cry it out) : )

There is a light at the end of the tunnel! Good luck :)

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K.S.

answers from New York on

C. - I'm right there with you! My daughter is also 17 months, had the colic, reflux and is lactose intolerant so we've had the crying and tummy aches. I used to rocker her until she would fall asleep with a bottle and the minute I put her down forgetaboutit! I also work and the zombie look isn't in. :-)

We now rock for about 5 minutes and we pray, sing a little and just basically talk to her real low and soothing. Then I tell her that it's time to go to bed but mommy will sit in the chair. At first she would cry and carry on (sometimes up to 30 min!) and finally give up and fall asleep. If I talked it was worse. I would just sit where she could see me but not budge. Now she either falls right asleep or whines for about 5 minutes and goes to sleep.

Every child is different but hope one of these suggestions works for you.

Kristal

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D.M.

answers from New York on

(brief because i have a 1 month old baby in my arms): same history with our 19 month old daughter. she actually had a birth defect of hte small intestine which we had surgically repaired at 4 months. we think this was hte initial cause of all her discomfort and sleep issues. now she's 19 months old and still a terrible sleeper--wakes up every time she moves through another sleep cycle (REM sleep and all that, if you've done the reading like i have).

anyways, our solution was to put a full-sized mattress on the floor of her room and toddler proof her room. that way, if she needs us in the night, we can doze with her in her bed, then go back to our room when she's sleeping. that way, we all get some sleep and she doesn't feel trapped or panicky. when she needs us, she just calls out, or comes to get us. some nights she sleeps through, other nights she doesn't, but at least now we don't have to worry about getting HER out of OUR room...we're just working on getting US out of HERS.

she loves this solution, by the way. much happier than being in the crib. wish I had tried it sooner. hope this helps, and good luck.

p.s. i tried the supernanny approach but my daughter is very spirited and it only resulted in increased clinginess, tears, and frustration on all our parts. she is soooo much better at going to sleep and staying asleep now but it has been a long road, and we are by no means at the end of it. feel free to contact me if you want more details on our approach. we do not believe in cry it out.

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B.S.

answers from New York on

My 18 month old daughter was super colicky in beginning, 2-3 hours every night crying. I was at my wit's end as she only got used to nursing to sleep and nursing BACK to sleep if she woke up. The Baby Whisperer (Tracy Hogg, I think is her name) saved me. I hate the cry it out method so I would not use it. She has a very detailed method in her book which takes a lot more work than Supernanny but I think is more humane (and way better than cry it out). You are going to read that you have given your son a lot of mixed messages with the different things you have done, and it probably is going to take even more work than I did since your son is 17 months (I did this with my daughter at 10 months, cause I was so over the fatigue). You really have to stick to it and not give in. I am so glad I used her method, it's really great..
Good luck,
B.

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A.D.

answers from Philadelphia on

Remember, especially at his age, he is very ingrained in the 'schedule' you currently use. So when you try to change it, it won't happen over night. You can expect it to take at least 3 days and up to a week to change his habits (and unfortunatly, some kids might take longer). Start your changes on either a Thursday or Friday night, that way you have the weekend to do nothing but focus on sleep for everyone. You don't want to start on Monday, when you have a week of work ahead of you.

First- rule out any health problems.

Try to phase out the night time bottle- I have found that putting a sippy cup with water in the crib at bedtime gives my kids something to drink if they wake up thirsty. I also try to give them something to play with- books, a favorite toy, just make sure it is something safe he can play with without supervision.

With my youngest, in order to get her out of the night time feeding habit, I would give her the bottle before bed, then when she woke up in the middle of the night- I let her cry it out- and yes, the first night she probably cried for close to an hour. I know a lot of people think that is harsh, but it is the only way we could get her used to the idea that night time was for sleeping, not eating. And believe me, if you have ever tried this method- it is just as upsetting for the parent- no one likes to hear their baby so upset. But it worked in only a couple nights.

Another thought- unless he has pooped, or his diaper is just saturated, you might want to avoid the middle of the night diaper changes. Sometimes that makes the child more alert and unable to fall back to sleep.

You need to find what you are comfortable with, and go for it. You know your child best, and what worked for one person won't work for another.

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K.B.

answers from Albany on

i know how you feel, my son now three still has once in awhile poor sleeping habits, he would get up in the middle of the night and i would run right in to him to put him back to sleep, per my doctors advice, she instructed me that specially at 17 months old they dont need a bottle in the middle of the night, and i would guess not even a diaper change, thats gotto be alot of stimulation at night, my doctor too told me to let my son cry it out, which was very hard for me especially since my bedroom was right next to his his crying was very heartbreaking, then i tried something on my own (as seen on super nanny with older children) when he would cry i would go in lay him back down rub his back till he settled and then leave the room, i would go back not saying a word just lay him back down and leave the room, this eventualy worked it did take about a week of interupted sleep for me but i was determined he was going to let me sleep for at least 6 hours + when he was old enough to understand i started telling him while rocking him to sleep (our routine is to rock him to sleep, then when he is asleep i put him in his bed) that i would see him when the sun came up, then when he slept in his crib i would praise him as soon as he woke up, we went through this and he was sleeping through the night he did begin to get out of his toddler bed when we put him in it but again i would do the same thing except when he came into me in the middle of the night i would just walk him back to his bed cover him kiss him and say softly ill see you when the sun comes up, and walk out, this worked i was loving my sleep,
i do have to say i had to start it again but that is due to we moved and now he shares a bedroom with his year old sister and he now only gets up to go to the potty (once in awile) he has been sleeping throught the night with no diaper for 3 months. and since he is potty training you dont mind getting up to help him, because look on the bright side you dont have to change bed sheets in the middle of the night.

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H.C.

answers from New York on

Have you tried taking him to a naturopath or body worker? My son had "colic", cried every waking moment for 7 weeks....really, I'm not exagerating. I had a cranial sacral practioner over to my house. After the first visit he slept for 5 hours, allowing me to see that he was experiencing relief from some very real pain. She came back two days later and he stopped crying for 2 days. Back for the last time after 2 days and he was a new baby. This all at 7 - 9 weeks. Now his sleep/waking patterns are very good (much better than his sister!). Maybe your child is in real pain and tha is the problem. For me, it didn't matter what I adjusted in my behaviour toward him, he just needed to get out of pain. At 17 months it may be a bit harder to detect since now there is learned behaviour in place. I would try a good naturopath or bodyworker....both can be a huge help if you see the right type of professional. But be careful, there are some bad ones out there. Feel free to contact me for referrals if any of this rings true to you.

Good luck. H.

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S.M.

answers from New York on

C.,
I feel your pain. I have a two year old that still does not sleep in her twin bed. I brought my daughter to sleep with me also around alittle earlier than 18 months. For me I still have not found the perfect solution. My daughter falls asleep in bed but every 1-2 hours(not even) wakes up crying and she will not fall asleep alone. I have tried to lay down with her(which works) but once she realizes that I am not there she will wake up again. I tell you they are clever too because when she wakes up and I try to lay in her bed with her she will start crying even more and more harder and louder. Now I have no patience for that no matter how much they say to be patient. The supernanny methods seem like they work really good. If you can stick to that try it. I honestly do not know what to say. I have kept my daughter in bed with me I would just say if you can deal with him possibly crying just for alittle bit then try it...Good Luck and keep us posted

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D.M.

answers from New York on

Hi, C.. I too had trouble with my son falling to sleep at night. I eventually sat on the bed with him and when he went to sleep, left his room. Fortunately, when he went to sleep he stayed asleep. I never had him sleep with me as I know of other parents who did this and the child is 10 or 11 and still in bed with them. Does he nap during the day? If yes, maybe you need for that to stop so he is more tired at night. Also, give him a bath (J&J has a soothing bath formula),play a quiet game with him, try to make him wind down before he goes to bed at night. Not a lot of noise or stimuli that would keep him awake. Read him a book, talk to him in a low voice,have the lights low-maybe this will help. Good luck! D.

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L.D.

answers from Albany on

My oldest had trouble too. I am curious why you give him a second bottle though. At his age I don't think he needs it and it could be why he keeps waking up. Have you tried just changing his diaper and putting him right back to bed, even if it's in your bed? Personally I am not bothered by the babies coming in our bed. It only lasts so long.

Do you have a TV in your room that you can lay in there with him but still have your quiet time as he falls asleep? Or maybe a laptop where you can sit in bed and surf the net or whatever you like to do while he falls back to sleep. This is what I do most nights as I am going through this with my 6 month old. This way both my needs and my son's needs are being met.

HTH!

L.

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S.C.

answers from New York on

Hi C.,
I know what you are going through. Our 9 month old doesn't sleep well and our doctor just told us that we need to let him cry it out... which I am dreading. We tried the Ferber method (twice) and although it didn't completely work for us, it did help. After his bedtime routine, he goes in his crib and will usually fall asleep on his own with little or no crying. Unfortunately, it doesn't last. He wakes up screaming in the middle of the night. We have blamed it on teething and reflux, but I recently read that neither of those should cause a baby to wake up in the middle of the night.

Since the time that I was pregnant, my son has responded well to music. Every night he listens to a CD while he falls asleep. Lullabies are probably best, but he actually loves listening to Laurie Berkner (and my husband and I don't mind her music either).

Also, our doctor made us cut out nighttime feedings at 6 months, and as hard as it was, I'm glad we did it when we did. My husband helped a lot with that, as I was (and still am) breastfeeding.

I hope that you find a solution that works for you and your son. Best of luck to you. I'll be thinking about you when my son is screaming at 2 in the morning!

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J.

answers from New York on

Hi C.,
All the advice sounds good. Is your son a mover in his sleep? When my daughter was 11 mos. old, we started to go through the same thing. I refused to start sharing my bed so I used to bring her to the couch. She would fall back to sleep instantly. After 2-3 mos. I decided to put her in a bed. She was moving around so much in the crib that she was banging into the sides and waking herself up. When I put her in the bed, we did the hand holding, sitting a little farther away every two days. In the end, I told her I had to put away dinner & would check on her in 15 min. She was generally asleep by then. I used to put the gas drops in her bottle in case it was a gas issue. She was on nutrigamen. It worked for me. Hope this helps. Good Luck!

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N.C.

answers from New York on

Hello,
I know first hand that bad sleeping habits are so frustrating.My son is 16 months old and I have recently gotten his sleep habits headed in the right direction.I chose to breast feed him up until this month and got in the bad habit of putting him in the bed during night feedings and he woke up every night at 12am and 4am up until this week.He would fall asleep nursing and the I would put him in the crib(sometimes he would jump up out of sleep as Ibent over to put him in the crib.So I had 2 problems getting him out of our bed and of the breast.And one helped the other so I had no choice to do at the same time.I did try the crying it out and it is not for me or my son.He would cry for 40 min. and then just stand in the crib.So, I started a few weeks before doing a tight bedtime ritual.6:00 bath,6:30-7:00 snack with a warm glass of milk.7:00-7:15 barney or a book,7:20 goodnights.I also introduced him to new bedtime stuffed animal and a very soft blanket for only night.So,about 2 weeks later I put him in the crib tucked him in with the new stuffed animal and he went crazy.So I sat with him,song, and talked but did not pick him up.A couple of times I did give him a hug and a kiss and then layed him down.I was determined not to pick him up so,I wound up moving his crib next to my bed so,I could get sleep.He as aqarium crib soother that lights up and the fish and bubbles go and plays music, so I put that on and he did beter and probably by 1am he was sleeping and until the morning.Next nightmoved crib back to it's regular spot and did the same thing.Turn on aquarium,sat with him and he made me hold his hand 30 mins. into it turned the ligths off(keep music on)in aquarium and told him the fish went to sleep 10 mins. later he was sleeping.So a week later he sleeps throught the night and in his crib.He doesn't need to watch the fish to sooth himself anymore but I do put the music on stil and hold his hand and he is usually out in 5-10 mins.And hopefully ina couple of weeks he won't need his hand held.So what ever you chose to do stick with it because it is so worth it to sleep comfortably.Hope this helps and Good Luck!

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S.P.

answers from New York on

C.,

I understand you completely. I am a mother of 3 - ages 6,5 and 2. Both of my 6 and 5 year olds were wonderful sleepers and I had and still have no prolem with bedtimes. However, my 2 year old screams and yells and actually does the same thing as your child - cries for an hour then only sleeps for 20 min. We end up bringing Mia in bed with us everynight and it is killing us as well. I do believe that it is due to medical reasons as well - she had a thyroglossal cyst removed from her throat and now has to have her tonsils and adnoids removed due to the size so bottom line I think until the medical conditions are all settled, our little ones will still have sleep problems. My advice, take your baby to the dr. to be sure the digestive problems are resolved, maybe his belly hurts at night. Is he allergic to milk or anything else you are giving him at night. I am in aggreement that something is going on with him and he needs you at night.

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