How do I help my 23 month old baby to sleep well?

Babies and toddlers can have trouble sleeping well through the night, and a bad night's sleep affects both baby and parents. What can I do to help my 23 month old sleep well through the night?

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9  Answers

13 40

Oooh yes the wonderful world of an ever changing toddler with ever changing sleep patterns.

Routine. We have yet to find the magic one, as life doesn't really happen the same way every day, but by controlling what you can control as much as possible e.g limit the stimulation or cut stimulation completely for the hour preceding bedtime. That means no daddy wrestling time (boy we have to repeat that direction every night). No Ben 10 or Nick Jr cartoons. No MTV classic - no TV period for our guy.
Soothing singing songs (even boring songs). Stories, repeated over and over and over. Cuddles. It's as much about security as it is about soothing.

Our boy suffers night terrors if too hot or if he's had a super stimulating day, so he sits up, yells out for us but we cant do anything much. He hears us talk to him soothingly and either continues sobbing, is soothed or needs a bottle for comfort. We are really just rolling with it but they're becoming fewer and further between.

Also if you're lucky enough to still be a napping household, sleep begets sleep. On the days where he consistently still naps, sometimes short, sometimes looooong - he sleeps better than if he's napless, strung out and crashes out early. Those nights end up being rubbish sleeps.

So my key to somewhat-success is in summation:
Naps (if you still can), settled pre-sleep time, consistent routine and boring them to sleep. Every night. I look forward to his registering daylight!

3
19 27

I completely agree. If ever there's a day my 23-24 mo old doesn't nap, look out! Sleepless night ahead! And some down time before putting them to sleep helps bedtime. We read 3-4 books, say prayers, and sit/talk for a few minutes. Also, I was amazed at how easy they put themselves to sleep if I simply say "I'm going to go put my pajamas on" or "I'm going to go kiss your brother/sister goodnight now", and leave the room for 5-10 minutes. All four of our kids wants to sleep with us (my fault for starting that as babies), but if we put them to bed in their own beds, they sleep there much easier. It's not easy-all 4 kids are different, but it does seem to get easier.

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26 44

It depends on a variety of things.

Does the baby take a bottle or breast before bed?
If bottle, try giving them a little cereal to help them stay fuller longer. Full babies sleep longer and don't wake up as much to feed.
If breast, try to hold off feeding (after dinner, but before bed) until bedtime. Some nursers like to suckle to sleep. This will also have them the fullest for a more restful sleep.

Does the baby sleep in his/her own room or co-sleep with Mom/Dad?
If in own room, try putting in a musical nightlight box to comfort them to sleep.
If with a parent, try letting them sleep in their own room. Sometimes they need to cry it out to understand that they are okay. Go in after 15min or so and pat their pack, let them know they are all right but bedtime is bedtime.

Routine, routine, routine.
I never 'scheduled' any of mine...except for a set bedtime. Littles need routine. It helps them to know when things will happen. When my oldest was little, he would get up all hours of the night and early morning. I finally told him that if it was dark out, that meant it was time to sleep. He could play quietly in his room, but he had to stay in his room until Mum & Dad got up or it was light outside. Dark means night night, Light means you can get up. It really helped him (& us) a lot. Once he got the concept, he would tell us to go to bed when the sun set! LOL

If absolutely all else fails you can do 1 of 3 things.
1) Put him/her in their room and let them totally cry it out until they fall asleep. It's hard, but with some kids, it's really the only way for them to learn to sleep on their own.
2) Get some Melatonin (comes in pill or liquid) and give them a dose (it generally comes in a few different dosage sizes). Melatonin is an over the counter natural remedy that your body naturally makes. You cannot OD on it. It is not bad or 'drugging' your child. It is a natural sleep aid. Your body naturally produces melatonin & serotonin to regulate & control sleep & mood.
3) If nothing else works, give them 1/2 tsp of Benadryl (it will not hurt them, many pediatricians even recommend it, and it is non-habit forming).

I am not a doctor, but a mom of quite a few kids (4) and have been down this road more than once. Life gets difficult when mom doesn't get any rest! I hope this helps.

2
15 0

You should take a look at slumberingangels.com . They may have just what you need. Not just for the baby's sleep. But so mom and dad get some much needed rest as well. Good Luck!

0
0 6

Lots of active excessive during the day. Then before bed, a full tummy and a hot bath, then a relaxing environment , and the exact same routine when putting them down... Worked with my four kids, like a charm...

0
39 8

First establish your rules? What are they realistically for children? I just go to bed even if my children are awake or asleep.. Eventually they see you dim the lights, turn your book down and rest your sleepy head on the pillow.... They emulate you

Dawn

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2 16

This isn't really an answer, but my 29 month old has been really bad about sleeping everywhere but her bed. We close the door when we put her to bed and sometimes she will take her blanket and lay in front of the door. I hate her doing this because I think it is a major safety hazard, but how do I fix it. If we leave the door open she will not stay in her room.

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32 17

Look up the book "The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight" by Kim West. She has put together the best sleep solution of anything I have ever heard or seen! I used it on both of my girls and it worked wonders!

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4 11

My children tend to do well and then we have a bad few nights from a sickness of somekind and the habit is broken. In order to get them back into the swing of sleeping through the night I give them Hylands calming tablets, it has chamomile and other safe ingredients for kids. I swear by all of the Hylands products but especially these. 2-3 nights of using these and they are back in the good sleep routine. Then they are not needed anymore.

0
4 11

These tablets are much better than using Benadryl and letting your kids cry to sleep is crucial! If you never let them learn to console them selves then they will be very needy for a long time. It can be hard....go sick outside if it is too hard to hear. They will be just fine. By the 3rd night the amount of time they cry will drop dramatically and they they will hardly at all after that. Be the parent and put your foot down!

7 13

I can't help much, since our 31 month old JUST made it to his own room (after co-sleeping with us since birth) last month. We thought we were smart and made a bed on the floor next to his bed so that we could just "shush" him back to sleep when he woke (since he previously would get up, come to our room, get himself agitated and start screaming and totally wake us all up--including himself). Sad to say, he's still getting up 1-2 times at night, and although the "shushing" works better for my husband, when it's my turn to sleep in his room, he'll just climb out of his bed and lay down on the floor with me. If I try to put him back, he starts screaming...hence, waking himself up again! Now I think we've turned in one disruptive nighttime ritual for another. Hope to see some good answers here soon!! I need HELP too :-)

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2 25

Hi Sleepless Moms, Here's my 2 cents... Agree with some of the above comments (routine routine routine... Consistency is key) and you have to find what works for you (as a mom and as a family) but decide on a plan and stick to it - at least for three or four nights to give your strategy a chance - yes your toddler will fight it any way he knows how but it is up to the parents to make the rules and stick to them The thing to remember is that toddlers are just learning good sleep hygiene at this early stage of life and some of it we have to teach them but some of it they have to figure out on their own. Sleep is SOOOO important for healthy brain development (almost as important as a healthy diet) it is imperative that we as moms are as protective of sleep as we are about their health overall. It doesn't matter if you are a proponent of co-bedding (I personally am not) or having them sleep in their own rooms in their own beds - you have to decide on a plan you feel comfortable with in both the short and long term (do you really want your seven year old co-sleeping with you? If you are then by all means keep doing it although I kinda wonder if that doesn't sometimes contribute to the kids sleep difficulties especially if mommy or daddy snore or kick or are themselves poor sleepers but that is just my opinion). Whatever you decide to try be prepared that the kid will fight it and fight it hard initially but be patient and stay consistent. You WILL notice an improvement in as little as one or two days... But committ yourself to having at least a few nights of little sleep yourself (best to do this on a weekend so you can take turns).

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