Please Sleep Child!

Updated on September 27, 2017
L.S. asks from Morrisville, PA
15 answers

My 15th month old is constantly waking up tired after naps and in the mornings. He wakes up grumpy and clingy. He's yawning and looks exhausted.

He is breastfed. About 3 times a day give or take. It's on demand. He gets 3 meals plus snacks and water and a little juice during the day.

He gets up to nurse 1-2 times a night to nurse on a good night. I have put a box fan in his room to block out noises. I make sure the room is dark when he is sleeping.

During his nap, he often wakes up 1-2 times but will sleep for up to 3 hours. ** Edit** His nap is not always 3 hours. It could be an 1 and half hours or 2 or 3. He gets one nap most days. It's around 12.30-1. Some days he takes a small cat nap around 9.30 for a half hour.

His bedtime is between 7-7.30. He gets up anywhere from 6-8 in the morning. Often depends on when he got up during the night.

I don't know how else to help him. There generally isn't a reason he gets up. He's just upset. Anyone have ideas or tips to help my sleep challenged toddler?

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H.M.

answers from Dallas on

I totally support breastfeeding. I still did it till about 15 months. But by then it was only at night at bed time. If he woke up after that I would give him a paci or a Sippy cup. He should not be waking up hungry like that at night. I agree with the others you might try to put him down a little later. If he's snoring or even breaths very heavy take him to an ENT. Good luck!

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S.S.

answers from Atlanta on

WOW!! Your kid sleeps A LOT!! He might be getting TOO much sleep.

Try having him go to bed later, say 8:30 or 9PM and see how he does. I would also make sure he has a schedule. Don't let him sleep past a certain time.

While I totally support breast feeding, at 15months? He should be good for the night. My boys get popcorn or something with protein, like a granola bar, before bed and yes. they brush their teeth after eating it. Just helps them have something in their bellies.

Listen to his sleeping. Is he snoring? If he's snoring, I'd take him to the ENT and have his tonsils checked to see if they are enlarged and possibly blocking his airway when he sleeps.

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W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

At 15 months? He should be sleeping the night through. He shouldn't be waking to nurse. He might need more food during the day.

Take him to the pediatrician - tell him/her what's going on. Track his food and sleep for 2 weeks prior to the appointment - how long he slept, food, etc. and behavior. Then work with the pediatrician to get to the bottom of his sleep habits.

I think he's sleeping too much. I would also see if he's snoring. If he's snoring, he could have sleep apnea - yes - even toddlers can get it - or his tonsils could be obstructing his air way.

My first instinct is to say he needs more food - maybe a snack before bed so he can sleep the night through?

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Z.B.

answers from Toledo on

Waking in the middle of the night at 15 months is not terrible unusual. And I absolutely understand nursing him if it helps sooth him and get him back to sleep. But I'm wondering if him might begin to sleep better at night if you do not allow nursing. This might mean someone else comes to him at night while he gets used to the idea (which might not be a bad thing for you). I wasn't able to nurse my kids as long as you have, so I don't know how easy that would be. But if he knows he won't be able to nurse, he might go back to sleep on his own.

Waking during a nap is definitely not quality sleep. Do you nurse him back to sleep when he wakes during a nap? I would actually not try to get him back to sleep if he wakes during a nap. If he wakes, I would just consider the nap to be over.

It might really help him to try to get him into a more age appropriate routine. It sounds like he might not be getting the quality of sleep he needs. If he usually takes a 3 hour nap, he probably only needs 9 to 10 hours of sleep at night. You might want to consider waking him up in the morning so that he'll get a really good nap and a good night's sleep.

Consider saving nursing for daytime hours and maybe just before bed. I think it's time to work on sleeping for longer stretches of time.

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F.B.

answers from New York on

By way of comparison, my toddler at 15 months slept from 7:30 pm till midnight. Had about 4 oz of milk in a sippy at midnight and slept till 6:30 am. He napped for 1:30 to as long as three hours starting after lunch. There were a handful of occasions when he woke up clingy and irritable, but those were when he hadn't had his full complement of sleep.

He now sleeps 11+ hours at night and around 2 hours during the day at 20 months.

Speak with your ped or a nurse on staff. They will tell you what you should reasonably expect.

Best
F. B.

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

Ok, so he gets a 3 hr nap and he sleeps from 7:30pm to 6am (let's say 11 1/2 hrs).
So roughly 14 hrs of sleep per day - maybe a little more.
Guess what?
He's not sleep deprived!

"Until his second birthday, your child should get about 14 hours of sleep a day, 11 of those hours at night. The rest will come in nap form.

Your child will still need two naps at 12 months, but by the time he's 18 months old, he may be ready for a single 90-minute to three-hour nap in the afternoon – a pattern he may follow until he's 4 or 5."

It could be that 'waking up grumpy' is just what he needs to do to transition from sleeping to waking.
Does he snore?
If yes - it might be keeping him from getting quality sleep - which means he's tired no matter how much he gets.

Our son was having this issue at 3 1/2 yrs old - his tonsils had swollen up till they were almost an obstruction - they were not infected - he did not have a cold or fever.
Poor kid snored something awful and he had perpetual dark circles under his eyes.
We took him to an ENT and we had his tonsils and adenoids out as soon as he turned 4yrs old.
It was the best thing we ever did!
He slept so silently that the first few nights after surgery I kept checking on him to make sure he was breathing (we were so use to the snoring).
He could sleep and drink and swallow just fine and finally the dark circles went away.
He had a much sunnier disposition once he was getting some quality sleep.
Talk to your pediatrician about it.

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M.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Your child is not sleep deprived - he sleeps 15 hours a day! That is far more than mine did at that age. He might just be one of those people who take a little time to wake up fully, even after a good night's sleep. I'm that way to this day, and so is one of my kids. Make sure you build time into his day to wake up slowly - when he wakes, cuddle in your bed for a few minutes or hold him and snuggle on the couch a bit until he is ready to join the world.

If you want to night-wean him and only breastfeed during the day, you both might get more uninterrupted sleep. Please post again if you want tips for that.

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N.A.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi Bear Family 12,
I know what it is like to not sleep. I was one of those children that couldn't sleep. Statistics state that 1 out of 3 children are sleep deprived. There are several reasons why people can't sleep. Some individuals have problems regulating their body temperature at night and it causes them to toss and turn. That was my problem. Some individuals are not getting enough nutrition that wasn't my problem and that doesn't seem to be your child's problem. Make sure you feed your baby organic food that is very important so they don't get exposed to much pesticides and other chemicals. Your sleep is the most important thing you do. It is important to get to a deep sleep. That is when your body does the healing. When I was in my 30's I found sleeping on a sleep system with magnetic therapy resolved my challenges by keeping my body temperature balanced and allowed my body to get to a deep sleep. I was able to resolve my granddaughters challenges at birth, by introducing the sleep technology to them. I didn't want them to grow up sleep deprived like I was. They love it. It sure makes life easier when everyone can sleep. If you would like more info email me and I will send it to you. ____@____.com
Have s great day

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J.G.

answers from Chicago on

I'm a research nut, and though it's been a while since i had a 15 month old in the house (youngest is 4.5), I remember the sleep issues at the 15 month mark. It's a giant wonder period and their brain is preparing for full on sentence talk (in some cases) by 2. Did you know that kids at 18 months can learn a ridiculous amount of words on a daily basis? So yes, 15 months and 17 months. Sleep issues: tired, crying kid. This isn't on you, or anything you do. This is about the brain developing to run, jump and TALK.

I know you are tired mom. So what can you? If it was me, I'd wean him. I know many people like extended breatfeeding (I have 3 friends breastfeeding 3 year olds right now.) But night nursing isn't needed -at all. Interrupted sleep is interrupted sleep. It leaves you exhausted, and his brain is changing into the brain of a full on toddler. So if it was me, I'd start offering cups to the kid and say, your are a big boy now, you drink out of a cup.

But really, kids don't really sleep till they are older (like 3), even when they are good sleepers.

T.D.

answers from Springfield on

talk to the childs dr. maybe he needs better sleep, less sleep, or maybe he needs a pacifier to prevent him from waking to nurse in the night

D.B.

answers from Boston on

He's not getting enough quality sleep. He needs more uninterrupted sleep for proper brain development. Please talk to your pediatrician about this.

I totally support breast feeding for as long as both mom and child want it, but he should absolutely not be nursing at night. That should have stopped at the 6-8 month mark. He is perfectly capable of eating enough during the day to sustain him through 9 hours or so of sleep.

You say his bedtime is 7-7:30. But it's not really bedtime, is it? It's just a nighttime nap for a few hours, then he nurses, then he naps again for a few hours, then he nurses again. He's sleep deprived over all despite the daytime napping, because he's not getting enough true rest. And neither are you.

The thing you must do is wean him at night, and continue to breastfeed whenever you want to during the day. Usually sleep training takes a few nights of crying hell, but that's with much younger children. Yours is really stuck in this habit so I imagine it may take longer. You could
get a book on the subject from the library, talk to your pediatrician, or to a lactation consultant.

Meantime, please don't drive when you're not getting more than a few hours of sleep yourself. It's not safe for you, any passengers in the car, or anyone else on the road.

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

My first baby had a few sleep challenges.

First, I think mine might have slept too much - because later on, I did later bedtimes and my babies all slept more soundly and straight through. So you might want to push back that 7 pm bedtime.

Second, my first born had fluid in his ears - it could last for weeks after the sniffles had long dried up. In the end, he needed tubes. A trip to ENT was all that was needed to assess and fix. Another one of my children needed tubes also. It's more common than you think.

It created pressure when he lay down - so he just didn't get into a deep sleep. May not be related whatsoever, but good to rule out. A regular doctor cannot always tell. Also, helpful if he's had ear infections to keep track of how many.

I didn't breastfeed past about 11 months. By then, they were completely eating and able to take formula/then milk. My oldest had gotten into habit of just waking in the night for a snack, but as others have mentioned you have to cut it out. I would up food at last meal/before bed to see if that helps. But ultimately, you just have to stop providing him with snacks at night. I switched to giving him a sippy cup with water and he lost interest, and slept through.

I had done the 'cry it out' method with this baby earlier. It worked, but not for long. If there is a sleep issue (with mine, it was his ears) it's kind of cruel. I had no idea he had problems so looking back, I feel terrible about it. When it works well (as with my other babies) you let them fuss but go in when you feel you should. It worked well for my others and I wasn't a wreck.

Breast can be comfort too and maybe your son, waking wants comfort (not so much the milk). Does he have a soother? You might not want to introduce that into the mix at this point but he'll have to find another way to soothe if not breast. I had a little bubble light machine in their cribs (attached) by Fisher Price. I'd hear that go off once or twice a night in the beginning and would do the trick. It was just enough to send them back to sleep.

Best to you. It won't last forever. I would try the bedtime a bit later thing first myself, up the food (evening meal) and do a big feed (I did a bottle before bed because my milk supply was at its lowest in the evening after a long day). Good luck :)

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M.6.

answers from New York on

I think I would try to shorten up the night sleeping schedule and try for a slightly more structured nap time. 12+ hrs at night is a long time for no eating and possibly wet diaper. I would shoot for a 8 pm bedtime and wake him at 6 am with a morning cat nap of 45 minutes and afternoon nap of 2 - 2.5 hrs. Some kids really thrive on structured sleep and don't get productive sleep unless it is fairly regimented. One of mine had to be really structured or she was a GRUMP. Too much sleep for her was worse then not enough.

That being said, my grandbaby had a rough patch from age 15 - 18 months where she just didn't sleep well and was a grump. She wasn't teething or sick or really anything. She stopped sleeping through the night and naps were a battle, too. It just took a few months of kind of letting things happen naturally and she got back on a great schedule. To this day, we still talk about that once in awhile - how we never really figured that out.

Good luck!

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Q.1.

answers from Portland on

Waking up tired screams sleep apnea to me but I realize that is because of my own experience.

He may technically be in bed for a enough time but as you said, he is still tired. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and then I looked at my daughter with her circles under eyes and crankiness and thought, "maybe it's hereditary". Looking back on her sleep, she didn't snore but moved around a lot. She would also wake up angry and inconsolable from naps (I was happy when she quit napping).

If I were you, I would see an ENT first to check for enlarged tonsils or adenoids. If that's what's causing sleep apnea then you're in luck because they can't usually hook kids up to test for sleep apnea until they're about 4 (the age where they'll cooperate and not pull off all the wires). Sadly for my daughter, the problem lies elsewhere and probably only solved with orthognathic jaw surgery :(

As someone with sleep apnea, sleeping more just makes me feel more tired since I am suffocating more asleep than I would be awake. My husband could never understand why I didn't just go take more naps when I was tired. Now I know why!

P.S. No one ever complained that I or my daughter snored. It can be silent :(

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

First I would stop night feeding him, he needs to learn better ways to comfort so he can just fall back to sleep on his own. Try just rubbing his back and singing to him so he learns to stay laying down when he wakes at night.

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