Sleep Disorder? Melatonin?

Updated on May 25, 2008
S.S. asks from Campbell, CA
41 answers

Our 15-month-old son will not sleep. He refuses to go to bed, he wakes up in the night wanting to play or crying and unable to get back to sleep, even if we bring him in bed with us. He slept fine during the night (he was never a good napper) until he was 7 months old and suddenly all hell broke loose (at that point he was sleeping 10-11 hours a night without waking up). Now we are up at least once a night with him and he doesn't sleep longer than five hours in a row. We don't give him a bottle when he wakes up and I don't even give him water as this makes him want a bottle. We have tried letting him cry it out, we have tried sitting beside his bed until he falls asleep, we have tried rocking him, patting his back, singing to him, having a regular bedtime routine, letting him stay up until he is exhausted and climbs into our arms to fall asleep, etc. We have read all the books, visited all the web sites and nothing is working. He simply doesn't want to go to bed and when he wakes up wants to sleep with us or he won't go back to bed again. We are too exhausted to argue and so he generally comes into bed with me anytime after midnight. His naptimes are equally as exhausting, although I can usually get him to sleep in my bed by lying beside him for half an hour - but up until a month ago I was going for long drives with him every afternoon just to get him to sleep a bit. We recently when through a two-week period when he would fall asleep on his own after crying for five or 10 minutes and then sleep about 5 hours. But this is the only respite we've had in eight months and he's showing no signs of going back to that. He is getting his last molar, but this can't just be teething as we never get a break -- this goes on EVERY NIGHT!

I recently read about melatonin and wondered about giving it to a child his age. I am willing to try anything short of sleeping pills! Does anyone know anything about melatonin or if it has to be prescribed? Any other suggestions? And please don't say cry it out, as we really have tried this and it doesn't work for him at all. He gets hysterical for at least an hour (still after a week) and then generally ends up sobbing all through dinner as he knows bedtime is coming.

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I.S.

answers from Seattle on

I know a little of what you are going through. I noticed my son slept better once he started walking at 13 months. I attribute improved sleep (for all of us!!!) to physical activity. So my suggestion to you it to tire him out. Take him to the swimming pool. Let him run in a park or field. My best wishes and luck to you.

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J.L.

answers from Seattle on

You might consider taking him for a sleep consultation -- I think that Swedish Med center has a sleep clinic.

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D.D.

answers from Seattle on

Children's sleep patterns change all the time is what I've experienced with 3 kids. It's as if their bodies were programmed for a different planet! Try not to give him naps in the afternoon. Make him stay awake all day. Then don't make an issue of bedtime. Make bedtime a happy time with stories, time with Mom or Dad. Give him a special sleep toy to sleep with. He can put the toy to bed then put himself to bed.

Teach him that bed time is a happy time by makeing it happy. It may take a while, but he will eventually succumb to tiredness if nothing else.

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J.S.

answers from Portland on

My deepest sympathy to you for the exhaustion you must feel. My oldest was very much like that. I tried dr. spock, crying it out, working him out before bed. You name it, I tried it. He could cry for an hour with the best of them.
What we found through our (very experienced) doctor and over time proved true was that he is a wakeful person. He needs less sleep than others.
Our first step, which helped, was to eliminate nap time altogether. I know it sounds strange for a child that young not to nap. Especially since my nieces and nephews all slept much more. We also discovered that he didn't need to go to bed as early. Eliminate naps, and adjust bed time a little later. Stick to the routine and don't worry if he comes to your bed, he'll grow out of it.
Then be clear about what is ok with you and not. If he still wants to get up very early, but you do not, see if he will be quiet in bed with you. Otherwise, set him somewhere safe so he can read a book or play with a favorite toy while you get a half hour extra sleep. If he's not happy with that, stick him back in his crib to sleep. If he fusses with that, then back to the safe play place. After a few times, he will likely get the picture. The worst thing you can do, as I found out, is to allow the emotions to rise. Make it as cut and dry as possible. 7am was my cutoff. Anytime earlier, was non negotiable. And when I needed a nap because of a rough night, same thing, you play quietly in here with me while I nap, or you can go to a different room where you are safe and play while I nap. At first there really is no nap for mommy, but then once he got it, I could get a half hour sleep. He wanted to be in the same room with me at all times unless he was sound asleep.
My son eventually stopped coming to my bed at night. It took a while, but it was much more peaceful at our house once those adjustments settled in. We were even willing to get a bigger bed so we could have more space to sleep.
He had night terrors for while and I was confused about what was happening until I realized what it was. He outgrew that also. Not sure the two are related, but in case it is, read up.
Melatonin is an idea we have tried, and I would wait until you make the other adjustments for a while, then think about it. I didnt think it was such a good help. Mostly because he still needs less sleep. Even if the melatonin helps him get to sleep, it doesn't keep him asleep.
As a wonderful older lady once told me, let them sleep with you and sit on your lap, because all of a sudden one day, they're grown up.
My son is ten now and sleeps well in his bed, in fact likes to sleep there, and still needs less sleep than others. He is healthy, and well adjusted.

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K.W.

answers from Portland on

S. darling, I feel your pain and have been sorely tempted to fool with melatonin. But from my readings I saw that it is not generally recommended for small children. One of the reasons is that effective use of melatonin depends heavily on the correct dose, and it's hard to calculate for a little one. There has not been enough testing. And the possible side effects and interactions just made me give up the idea.

Our 21 month old is very similar to your ds. She has done better since giving up the morning nap. If you haven't done that yet, do so! He will adjust after a few days. If you have done that already, it may be time to give up the other nap as well. Ours is flirting with that, sadly, but she does get very tired at midday so I'm not willing to go there yet.

Blessings on you 3 and please remember this WILL end. Remember how you felt your pregnancy would never be over?

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I.S.

answers from Portland on

Chamomile tea is safe enough, you can purchase it at the grocery store. 4 cups of boiling water over 1 tea bag, cover, then let it cool to room temp. 1 packet of Stevia powder (natural sweetner)if needed. Store in fridge and can be reheated as needed or served cold. You may have to experiment with strenght and sweetness to fnd a combination that works well for your family. A good remedy for frustrated parents as well. The family can have a tea party. Good Luck

I. "herbaliva"

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D.M.

answers from Anchorage on

I have a child that was never a good sleeper. (she gets it from me;) I gave up trying for naps around 18 months as she never slept anyway and it just drove me nuts to try and convince her to sleep. We did teach her quiet time and we would all sit around and read for an hour. She was adorable as she would grab one of her books and mimic whatever position we took. Some soft music helped too. She could play with anything that didn't make noise as long as she gathered it before quiet time so she didn't have to go get it. She slept much better at night and we had to have a VERY strict schedule for bed time. We also kept some toys in our room so she could play next to us and we could catch some more z's. Baby proofing was vital!
Can he have access to some soft toys to playwith when he wakes up? You could also try a sleeping song that he can sing when he wakes up. Soft music, turkey, and warm milk are wonderful too. I put creamer and cinnamon in the milk too.
You may want to have his levels of melatonin tested. My understanding is there are side-effects and interactions to deal with.

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A.D.

answers from Portland on

Hi S.,
Wow, this sounds very difficult to endure for all of you! I'm just wondering if you have health insurance and a supportive doctor? We were referred to the pediatric sleep clinic at OHSU. Luckily, our problems subsided before we got an appointment, but perhaps you and your doctor could look into this. It sounds like he may have some sort of sleep disorder and that you could really use some help and support in getting it figured out!
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the referral, our doc, etc.
Take care,
A.

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E.K.

answers from Seattle on

It does sound like you have tried everything. But in case it is a hormone-sensitive (seratonin) thing, have you tried having him outside for long periods? Try 2-3 hours outside on the grass, before lunch and naptime? Or put him in the backpack or stroller and get some fresh air? Daylight and sunshine and fresh air does wonders for most kids.

I had a non-sleeper too and I know this is exhausting beyond belief for anyone who hasn't done it. Outdoors time worked every time for us, and one on one comforting time (lots and lots of it) worked for us, eventually. I was also a driving-nap-mom for 17 months! The only naps I got. And they were 40 minutes at longest once he finally went down. Make sure you check with the doc too and see what their suggestions are. Good luck.

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D.T.

answers from Portland on

I wouldn't give the melatonin to such a young child. If you want to give it to him I would ask your ped. Like most things this is made for adults not children. I have given my son melatonin in the past (he was 8) but have since stopped. You can build up a tolerance to it and then it doesn't work. I would try cutting out the naps and just have a quiet time and see if that helps. Try playing music. Do not use tv it stimulates and doesn't put them asleep. Put him down earlier than you want him to go to sleep, play some kiddy music or get a story that plays on a tape or cd. If he has ten thousand stuffies on his bed cut it back to a couple. The less stimulation the best.

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A.W.

answers from Seattle on

Have you discussed this with your pediatrician? They can usually refer you to a sleep clinic where skilled professionals can evaluate your child and their sleep process (either at home or at a clinic) and give you solutions (or at the very least, ideas/suggestions) to help you and your child get a good night's rest!!

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S.J.

answers from Portland on

I can understand the frustration with not sleeping through the night. But it sounds to me like he is waking up when he is hungry. My six month twins wake up every 3-4 hours (not at the same time) to feed. There is a Back Flower Essence called Rescue Sleep. Here is a link so you can check it out.

http://www.bachflower.com/RescueSleep.htm

I use it when my children are tired but aren't ready to cross over the line to sleeping. It is all natural and not habit forming. It comes in a spray which you can put anywhere, in the mouth, on the skin on the hand. It's a little bitter so kids aren't that inclind to open their mouths for it.

there is also a Hyland's Tablet for Insomnia. I have also used it on my children when they were just too stimulated. It finally let them relax and go to sleep again it's not habit forming and all natural. Hyland's also makes a wonderful teething tablet for the children. The link below is for the Insomnia tablets but once you are there you can look for the teething tablets.

http://www.hylands.com/products/insomnia.php

If you live in the Portland area you can go to any Whole Foods or New Seasons for any of these. I think I have seen Fred Meyer's carry the Teething tablets in the all natural selection.

I hope you can try these before going to Melatonin. They may help and be less controversial since they are all natural. Hang in there it is just another learning curve.

S.

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D.T.

answers from Seattle on

Hi,

I can certainly feel for you. I had a little girl (who is now 3) who did not sleep more than 2 to 3 hours at a time for the first 2 years of her life. She has slept with us since she was 5 months old and the only way to get her to sleep it to lie down next to her. She still sleeps with us and that is the only way to get her to sleep. She just always seemed too busy and aware to sleep. It was tiring and frustrating but I'm happy to report that when she turned 2 she seemed to turn a corner and start sleeping longer and better. Even as a newborn she would sleep for no more than 30 minutes to 1 hour stretches at a time.

So the good news is that based on our experience he will grow out of it. The bad news is that you might have a ways to go.

One thing we did do which I would suggest is seeing a homeopath. She helped us with some remedies and I think it did help the whole sleep thing. I don't know anything about melatonin other than I don't think it's a good idea for a young child. If you let me know what area you are in I could recommend my homeopath. We're in the Seattle area.

I feel for you soo much. It's so hard and it seems like no one else has the problem. It still sometimes takes me 1 to 2 hours to get my little girl to sleep but she sleeps 9 to 10 hours straight now. I was exhausted for the first 2 years and thought something was wrong but it just seems to be my spirited child and that she was very attached to me and didn't want to miss a thing.

Good luck and hang in there. It will get better!

D.

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C.G.

answers from Portland on

Sleep disturbance for a 15-month old is common so before giving your kid anything, I would definitely recommend speaking with your pediatrician. Melatonin has been prescribed for children diagnosed with neurological disorders, such things as autism, cerebral palsy, etc. Seems there has been minimal studies, at best, and few of those describe the effects of giving melatonin to children/toddlers.

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M.W.

answers from Seattle on

If you are considering a supplement, you should probably take him in for a consultation with a pediatrician OR a naturopath who specializes in pediatrics. A lot of people assume because something is "plant based" it is safe--but that is not always the case...especially with one so small who has smaller organs that are still growing.

The chamomile tea suggestion is a good one! I even found that steeping the tea in my daughter's room puts a calming scent into the air.

Hylands teething or Colic tablets sometimes help our girl get "mellow" enough to settle in and sleep well.

Also, you did not mention the specifics of the bedtime routine you have going on right now with your son. Is it consistent EVERY night? Turn down the lights as soon as it's time to start getting ready--that triggers the body to start preparing for rest (not as easy with the daylight savings time in full-swing). He's not watching TV in the afternoons or evenings is he? Even though kids "zone out" while watching, it sends their brains into overdrive at this age and can overstimulate.

Consult your pediatrician about a sleep study. It might just be that he has some true sleep issues. Most of all, YOU need to make sure you are getting rest! It can be SO hard to have a difficult sleeper.

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C.T.

answers from Seattle on

I am so sorry. It is so hard to operate without sleep and is so frusterating. My heart is with you. You might contact a natropath. We use both a regular doctor and a natropath. We have used and still use some herbs with my 6 year old and 3 year old (not for sleep but for other issues). Maybe they could recommend something (melatonin or another herb) and the proper doses for a child. I pray that God will give you peace and much needed sleep.

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A.V.

answers from Portland on

You probably get lots of help with the other sleep hints, so i just wanted to let you know what my naturopath said about ME taking melatonin.

While it helps in the short run,it interrupts the production of Seratonin, which in the end it the chemical that induces the sleep cycle, so it will produce more SLEEPLESSNESS in the long run. I used a family bed until my daughter was 3 years old, then had to wean her to her own bed. At 7-8 months old, the only was I got any sleep was to let her sleep with me. It actually forms a deeper bond with the kid, & helps them feel secure in this world to be closer to their parents at night. we are the ONLY culture that puts kids in their own rooms, in their own beds. I think La Leche League could give you more information, they were a great help to me. (even if you don't nurse)

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P.G.

answers from Seattle on

I am so sorry for the frustration you are experiencing. My daughter had sleep challenges too and I somehow lived through it - she is 13 now! Melatonin is an over the counter supplement but although it doesn't need a prescription I would consult a naturopath or a doctor who is open to both western and less traditonal medicine to get advice before giving it to someone so young. I have taken it myself and it does make me really tired before bedtime which is good when I can't turn my mind off but I take a fairly low dose so I'd be extra cautious about giving it to a baby, and if you get advised it is okay I'd start with a really low dose. Good luck with the overall issue - it will likely be something he grows out of but as each night goes by now I know that is not much help! I wish you the best!

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R.R.

answers from Seattle on

I am an older mom to a 5yr old and we have gone through alot of differnt problems, plus I have a daughter who is 36 and was a great child most of the time with a few medical problems. When my daughter was young the Dr.s wanted to put her on meds because she was hyperactive, I gave her 1/4 of the dose and refused to give it to her again, so we found other ways that may also help you in your little one not sleeping. Do not give him Melatonin.
My daughter, the now nurse, would tell you to start with his diet, cut out all refine sugars, ect...
My suggestion is COFFEE, in a child who is wand up, it calms them down. And no it don't stunt their growth. Sweeten it, add creamer to it, buy him a mohca, drinking it warm is great, but iced will do. My son, when I have a mohca asks for a drink, he loves them cold, but will drink them warm. After he has drank some he gets very sleepy. Plus this is what I gave my daughter when the Doc's wanted to put her on meds, and it solved the hyperactive.
My son went through not wanting to go to bed,ect and I found it was the toddler bed we had him in, we got him a reg twin bed and now he has no problems going to be or asleep. he still ends up in bed with us during the night, when I feel him crawling in, I take him back to his own bed, otherwise he just crawls up in the middle, cuddles down and we wake up with him in our bed.
If his room is not a safe cuddle place, and he doesn't feel cuddley in his bed, he won't want to stay there.
Think back to what changed when he was 7 mos. moved his crib / changes his blanket ? anything differnt could have started it now he doesn't know how to go back, only to scream and cry. It has become a habit that he can't break.

You can e mail me and we can get together and talk and see if we can help each other.
[email protected]____.com
Good luck, Don't give up
R.

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J.P.

answers from Portland on

Since he's not napping what time is his bedtime. You may want to try moving it up even earlier. As soon as he shows signs of getting sleepy (yawning or slowing down) you could try starting your bedtime routine. I used to watch children who fought sleeping and once we moved up their bedtime they slept much better. The mother wanted me to come over more often as I got the girls to sleep 2 hours earlier than she did. The same can go for naptime as soon as he shows any sign of being tired go into a naptime quiet routine (rubbing his eyes generally means he's almost crossing the threshhold into being overtired). Maybe try having a night out with your husband and have someone else try putting him to bed to see if that breaks the routine.

Your little one has probably learned now that you will get up and and that he gets rewarded with sleeping in your bed. You'll have to be consistent. If he's sleeping in his crib still you could try putting that in your room as a transition plan. This way he isn't in your bed but is in your room for comfort. Good luck

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

I like SuperNanny's method. First time the babyis out of bed quietly and calmly take her back to bed telling her that you expect him/her to stay in bed. Then sit on the floor where you can stop them when they get out of bed and calmly take them back to bed only from now don't say anything. Even if they fight, cry, scream put them back to bed calmly. Then go back to your post. I think you can be sitting in the bedroom but not at bedside.

This is difficult to do, especially when you have to pull an all nighter but in the long run you will get more sleep.

In the TV presentation the mother had to do this nearly all of the first night. The time doing this each night shortened. In a week or so the toddler was staying in bed all night most nights. The parents were to not relent and take her back into their bed.

My daughter was having the same difficulty with her son who was perhaps a bit older than your son and her daughter who was in Kindergarten. She stayed up watching TV and everytime they got out of bed she took them back to bed. She did lecture them and perhaps that's why it took her several weeks before she could just tell them to go back to bed and not have to take them. During the last couple of years they usually stay in bed once they're there.

The kids do have a night light and a CD playing their choice in music. I was surprised that a couple of the CDs were not soothing but they still went to sleep at the same pace as when the lullabyes were playing. The volume is low.

We also tried different methods but neither of us was consistent with ourselves or the other. I've found that one has to consistently do the same thing over and over and over before the baby accepts that boundary. Because they are learning to be more independant and because their brain is very immature they test the same boundary over and over and over. The boundary we're teaching is learned more quickly when they get the same result every time. Pavlov tested this theory using a dog. The same thing over and over while remaining calm but firm. Probably not so difficult with Pavlov but definitely trying for parents.

I also agree that quiet time usually has good results. The baby is rested without sleeping. Both of my grandchildren gave up naps early. they had an hour of quiet time every afternoon. I think they kept the morning naps.

Since my grandson has been with his current caretaker (at least a year) he has returned to taking afternoon naps. Each child has their place to sleep. For awhile Chase was choosing the carpeted floor. And they were expected to be quiet. They had to stay lying down. If the child had difficulty staying down they slept in a "playpen." (Can't remember the current noun) That way they had a defininte boundary. Chase chose to sleep in the "playpen" for awhile. The caretaker has several; so several children could sleep within a prescribed space. He even has afternoon naps at home now. He would never nap at my house but when I say nap time now he takes my hand and easily goes to sleep. He's almost 5.

Calm consistency! This caretaker is unflappable.

About melatonin. I've tried melatonin and valeerian and neither one helped me sleep. I purchased them in the Health Food section at Fred Meyer. The label only gives directions for adults. They are an aid for some adults. I wouldn't give a baby either of these without consulting a doctor. A naturopath would be probably be more knowledgeable. They might be able to answer this over the phone. I found that one of the natural food stores, such as Natures or New Season's, had a naturopath working in the supplement section a day or so a week. A couple of years ago I asked her for advice. I don't know if the store still does that.

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B.M.

answers from Portland on

Hi SHelly,
I feel so much for you. I too know what it is like to be so sleep deprived and it makes life so much harder to function. My husband and I give our daughter melatonin, but she has autism and they have studied this a lot for kids with autism as well as with adhd. He does seem quite young to give it to him, but I am not a doc. If you talk to a pharmacist they will be concerned that it will mess with the body's normal function in producing it. What I would be curious to knew is if you might be able to find a sleep study program for your child. Children do tend go in and out of phases, as I am sure you know and have read, but I truly feel for you. I don't know that I have any answer, but I do have a shoulder to lean on if you want to talk. I have been there. My daughter goes through spurts of sleeping well and then she will be awake for 3 to 6 hours in the middle of the night and it just makes me go crazy...I wish we had more answers to all of our questions. Big hugs for you.. feel free to email me at [email protected]____.com
btw, melatonin is found in the natural foods sections of a number of stores. They sell it in a chewable and it tastes like mint..

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M.L.

answers from Seattle on

Hi S.,

I really do feel for you on the sleeping issue. It is very difficult (been there). I have a 6 year old with Autism and he had trouble when he was younger going to sleep. I consulted with his Neurologist (and spoke with many parents in my same position) and melatonin is safe to use. the Dr. said that there were no side effects to worry about. I bought capsules as it was easy to put in my sons chocolate milk. I would open the capsule and put about half in when he was you sons age. It has no taste so my son would drink his milk and never think a thing. did this about 30 minutes before bedtime and he would start getting drowsy. It also helped him to sleep better through the night. As my son got older, I have had to go to the whole pill, but this is more on an as needed basis if he is really hyped up. With the regular routine of giving the melatonin, it trained the body to get tired around 9PM each night and he sleeps until about 7 or 730 each morning. Now I don't have to use very often, but Dr says it is ok to use daily if needed. Hope this helps.

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W.C.

answers from Seattle on

Your son is older than my daughter was when she went through this but I'll share my experience with you. Maybe it will help--it will surely make you laugh.

Emmie was 18 months old and one day she stopped sleeping (five hours a night max)--naps included. She has and older brother (by 2 years) who was not napping and this was our only time to be together.

She was strong willed and had lots of tantrums. When she stopped sleeping her tantrums increased to screaming constantly, and as she was attached to my hip it was difficult. One time I had to take her into the shower with me.Another time I had to put her in the backpack to cook dinner. This lasted three weeks.

Then for a week she slept around the clock. Not a peep out of her.

Then for three weeks she did the no sleep thing--agg!!!!

Then she slept for a week.

I saw a pattern developing so I went to the doctor and asked for help. He first suggested some suppository medication--it worked--once. Emmie figured it out and wouldn't let me do it again. Then he suggested a glass of sherry--(for me) first a 8 and if that didn't work then at 5 and then at 8. Then he said no more naps, even when she wanted to. That helped a lot because she was ready to sleep when she went to bed.

This lasted a number of weeks because I did things slowly.

The final and best solution that your son may be to young for, was I put Emmie in a regular bed. I told her that it was important that she hold very still because she might fall off.

I put those half-bed sides that hold young children in so I knew she probably wouldn't fall out. But she didn't know that. I worked perfectly. Also she developed a pattern, habit of going to bed and falling asleep.

Perhaps some of these suggestions might help. Have you talked to your doctor?

W.

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C.S.

answers from Medford on

Hi,
I feel for you, my son has had sleep issues too and I gave in and just give him bottles. He is 28 months and still wakes up for a bottle 1-2 times a night and I give it to him and he goes back to sleep. We are just working on weaning off the bottle during the day. I had my second baby when he was 15 months so I decided getting rid of the bottle wasn't a big deal and I'd let him use it longer if he wanted to. I'm just saying, if it works, it might be worth your sanity. I don't know anything about melatonin.
Good luck!

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C.C.

answers from Corvallis on

I agree with Alice S. It's not at all unusual for a child that age to wake up during the night. He is probably hungry or at least thirsty. He may be going through a growth spurt. Children's appetites change and he may just need additional nourishment during the night for a while. Don't worry, it won't last forever. Just when you think it will, he'll surprise you and start sleeping through the night again.

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D.P.

answers from Seattle on

Dear S.,

Melatonin is a great sleep help, but 15 months is too young. I think he needs to start skipping his naps and save his sleep time for night. Secondly, bringing him into your bed is a very bad habit to start, you want his bed to be his sanctuary...and teach him that falling asleep is his responsibility and not yours. If this means putting some toys in his bed or crib, so that he has something interesting and quiet to do when he wakes up, then I'd do that. There are also some herbal remedies that you can put under his tongue, specifically for toddlers, that are available at any Fred Meyer in their health food/organic food section. I would also seek advice from your pediatrician...but as a mother of four, ranging in age from 5-20, I would stop making his sleep your responsibility and slowly ease him into the reality that it is, in fact, his responsibility and no one else's.

Good Luck. I know how hard it can be, but one of the best gifts you can give your children is to help them to realize that they can, in fact, sleep without anyone's help.

D.

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M.M.

answers from Portland on

S. - I am SO sorry you're going through this. It's impossible to explain the agony of sleep deprivation to anyone who hasn't been there and I, like so many moms on this board, can truly empathize.

You've gotten great advice and I don't have a magic answer. Just my own two cents.

Your son may just need less sleep - I know, not the answer an exhausted mother wants to hear - but a number of my friends have children who just need less sleep. I would skip the nap and see what happens.

I agree with your decision to stop the crying it out - the fact that he would cry through dinner in fear of bedtime is enough proof for me to let go of that method. Some kids do great with CIO and some don't.

Have you considered co-sleeping? I was against this before I had a child, but my husband comes from a culture where co-sleeping with babies/young children is the norm and our daughter co-sleeps with us 50 to 60% of the time. We love it and she sleeps 10 to 11 hours a night, in our bed or out.

I mention it only because it seems by your post that your son will go back to sleep if he's in your bed...

I know we are taught in this culture that co-sleeping creates co-dependency in a child or that it spoils a child, but my experience has shown that this is not true. Our daughter is becoming more independent the older she gets. My husband and his family (all of whom come from a culture that co-sleeps) are extremely independent and self-confident as well as very close. And they are definitely not spoiled - far from it. Co-sleeping and discipline (or lack thereof) are actually separate issues, although I realize that we are taught differently in this culture. You can be tough on boundaries and co-sleep.

If you don't want to go this route, I can understand.

I sincerely hope you find an answer that works for you and your little one. As impossible as it seems, this will one day be in the past. Our prayers are with you!

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L.S.

answers from Seattle on

i use melatonin with my 3 year old due to sleep issues. Our pediatrician and the developmental pediatrician at Mary Bridge both said that melatonin was just fine. You can buy it in liquid form at Fred Meyer where the natural supplements and vitamins are for about $6.99-$11.99. When needed, we give 1mg in juice or warm chocolate ovaltine 30-45 min before bedtime. We have been using it since November.

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S.W.

answers from Seattle on

i know it seems a bit young to give up the nap, but it may help him sleep at night. Try powering through the day and then put him to bed a little earlier and see if he is able to sleep the rest of the night. i would also talk to you pediatritian and see if there may be something else going on like an ear infection or something that makes it uncomfortable for him to be laying down. good luck!

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H.B.

answers from Seattle on

My sister gave my niece and nephews Melantonin. She used it for years. They were 2 & 1 years of age and she gave it to them until they were 12 years old I think. They are now 16,15, and 13. They are all healthy, smart (niece is a honor roll student), and there aren't any bad side effects, and it didn't give them brain damage or anything. And they don't need it anymore. It's non-addictive.
You get Melantonin at Super Supplements, Target (in the vitamin section). My mom got it at her health food store.
My sister-in-law uses it for my other nephew as well. It's all natural. No prescription required.
But on the teething subject: Both of my son's weren't the most graceful teethers. My 12 year old would wake up around midnight-1:00am crying, when he was teething. Just after his first birthday-his teeth were coming in two by two, and I felt there was no relief for him. Molars were the worst. I would rub my fingers on his gums before bedtime. If he screamed, yelled, pulled away from me when I touched them, I gave him Infants/Children's Advil just before bedtime. He would sleep through the night. I did this for 5-6 nights straight (after testing his teeth). Then, when they came in, I didn't gave to give him the Advil. I like Advil because it lasts for 8 hours. My 6 year old was an awful teether! He would scream at night. My husband wanted to take him to the hospital. And I told him I wasn't going to ask for a Morphine Drip for his teething! I called my pediatrician one night. He offered to see him (at 10:00pm) and I told her it was teething. She told me I could give him 1 DOSE of Tylenol and 1 DOSE of infants/childrens Advil or Motrin at the same time. One is for swelling and the other is for pain. We got our first night if sleep in 7 nights.
Pain, Swelling, Wheezing, Coughing, Colds, Fevers, all of these are worse at night. I don't know why, it just is. So your son's teething is hurting worse at night.

Good Luck.

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A.S.

answers from Eugene on

This does not sound at all like a sleep disorder. It is absolutely normal for a 15-month-old to wake up one or more times during the night, and after a 5-hour sleeping stretch he could quite likely be hungry, so please feed him! And please don't let him cry it out. He is expressing his needs, and it is your job to meet them, and doing so will help him to feel safe and secure. And it is SO much simpler, and better for everyone, to just sleep with him, and when he wakes up simply tend to his needs, and then you can all go back to sleep. It doesn't need to be complicated or exhausting. He will most likely eventually sleep in longer stretches, but for now he is showing you that he needs you, and by meeting his needs he learns to trust that his needs will be met and to gradually be more able to meet his own needs.

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M.W.

answers from Spokane on

I've used melatonin in my home for years. Its a stronger sedating oil than lavendar and has a much more bitter scent, but it works wonders. When lavendar wasn't strong enough to get past the nightmares and mysterious 'fighting going to sleep' nights, melatonin worked. I found it best to apply to the bottom of my children's deet, that way it gets direct application without making the child smell the scent. Good luck!

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A.B.

answers from Portland on

That sounds terrible! I know it's really hard on you both. In all honesty it really could be his molars...I'm not joking! My daughter does the same thing when she is teething of any sort. Fortunately, she already has all her molars but they came in 2 at a time and were terrible. I would try giving him baby Motrin in consecutive doses all day and when he wakes up at night with numbsit at the same time and possibly inbetween doses also.
As for Melatonin, both my parents use it and I have also on occasion but I've never used it on a baby and don't know how safe it would be. Another good sedative would be Sleepy Time Tea. It's camomile and peppermint and very yummy with a little honey. It takes about 20-25 mins to really start working so give it to him with dinner or just after. Hope this helps!

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C.M.

answers from Portland on

Hi Shelly,

We use melatonin at my house but my girls are 9 and 14. We use a small dose when they are having trouble sleeping. My oldest has ADD and it helps her "turn off her mind" so she can relax and sleep rather than think all night.

One of my friends was having similar issues as you describe with her daughter. Her doctor recommended they cut out all preservatives from her diet. This is quite hard to do at first but they did and now they don't have any issues other than the regular little girl ones we all get. You may want to discuss this with your doctor. It seems to have been a miracle for them.

C.

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K.W.

answers from Bellingham on

have you read Sleepless in America? It's an interesting book, designed a bit for older kids. I havea 14 month old daughter and found it helpfull. Also, the author will do a consultation over the phone. Maybe she could help?

R.S.

answers from Portland on

Melatonin is available at a pharmacy, health food store, & some grocery stores. My younger son has been on it on and off through the years. I would consult your doctor before doing this because he is so young and our doctor was the one who suggested it and told us the right dose for him. If it's taken too much it can stop your own bodies melatonin.
One thing I'd like to suggest is you spend a lot of time outside during the day as the sun helps your own melatonin to work. I'd suggest if he's walking to do something active with him everyday.
If he will actually sleep I would let him sleep with you and your husband as it's comforting to him and it will make him secure about bedtime to come during dinner. Anyway I would try that before the melatonin. Best luck, R.

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L.B.

answers from Eugene on

I am not sure about melatonin, but I would go into one of the wholistic markets and check out Calms Forte. My grandson took it when he was small and it helped. Also, they can give you info. on anything with melatonin. Swimming lessons and lots of exercise in the day seem to help, also. And, besides, if you are older parents and this is your only child, relax and let him crawl into bed with you!!! He will grow up loved and cuddled and he will grow out of it. I have experience!!
Nanna L.

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D.H.

answers from Yakima on

Hi S.,
Melatonin is a good sleep helper, and does not need a perscription, it is in the nateral products section of the grocery store and comes in several dose sizes.
HOWEVER, check with the childs doctor and make sure it is ok to give a child that young. Ask the doctor if there may be something else wrong before just giving the child sleep aids.
I gave it to my son when he was 11 and it worked great for a while, then he built up a tolerance to it. Then we had to use other things.
Remember, your child is growing and at times will eat everything or sleep all the time, these are signs of a growth spurt.
Good luck

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D.J.

answers from Seattle on

I don't think this is something you can cry off either. Nor would I be too quick to put him on any form of drug. I know that the dietary stuff I take (kid approved)has helped a lot of people with sleeping disorders and they are finally able to sleep all the way through the night. This may or may not be what you are looking for but if it is email me.

D.
[email protected]____.com

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A.T.

answers from Portland on

hi Shelly-
Giving melatonin to a little one isn't safe unless under adoctor's supervision. It sounds like he has something going on & I would take him to a dotor. Just wanted to give you our pediatrician's number, she's absolutely wonderful & I'm sure she could figure out what was going on. She also does house calls sometimes for no extra. Dr. Kate Wiggins ###-###-#### Good luck & take care.

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