Help, my 7 1/2 month won't go to bed at night

Elizabeth - posted on 09/25/2011 ( 12 moms have responded )




My son had been going to sleep within a half an hour after bedtime ritual (snack, bath, book, bottle) About half the time he would fall asleep if we put him awake in his crib; the other half, he would need us to rock him sometimes need us to sing as we rocked. Either way, he would spend some time letting go of his extra energy with a complaining type cry, but he would fall asleep within a half hour.

Now it takes a minimum of two hours for him to fall asleep. It began the day he started trying to get himself to a standing position. Even though he mastered getting himself to stand and cruising along furniture, he didn't stop fighting sleep.

If he is still awake, the instant he is put in his crib, he gets to a standing position even if he can barely keep his eyes open, he will cruise if he is more awake, when he is tired he will cry a cry similar to a scared cry. If we rock him, he will almost fall asleep, then he will bolt up and try climbing up us, or twisting out of our arms (and the little bugger is strong.) It is a pattern of really tired and almost asleep, then wide awake on and off for 2+ hours.

We start putting him to bed as soon as the area under his eyes start to darken. (first subtle sign of being tired) He is not too hot or cold. We have lights lowered near bedtime.

I am NOT willing yet to let him cry it out and therefore ask respectfully that you do not recommend that. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Diane - posted on 09/26/2011




Well. I'm with LH and agree they will start to feel separation anxiety about then. We also co-sleep, so it was much less stressful for everyone at bedtime. My kids would toss and turn, but soon figured out how to put themselves to sleep even when I was in the bed with them but not really interacting. I found they needed to see us as an example of winding down and laying still at bedtime for them to do it as well.

My kids are now 6 and 4.5 and we still co-sleep, but they can fall asleep on their own and have never dreaded bedtime.

Your son may also be coming into a growth spurt which can also upset allot of routines as his body changes. I say keep him up a little later each night until the routine falls back into place. It might be time to start these little changes to reflect his changing needs......believe me, those changes NEVER cease! You just find something that works and it's time to change it again. Good Luck.

[deleted account]

Elizabeth, I found 7-8mo pretty difficult with my son because of separation anxiety (which usually starts around then for most babies), and also a lot of mental/physical development. It's like they can't stop their minds from racing.

We co-sleep so he didn't have a crib to pull up on, but he would fight sleep and flip over and sit up in bed.

During phases like this, he did much better with a later bedtime like 9 or 9:30. His father would play with him in his study with the lights dimmed, or they might listen to some soothing songs together with him in his lap. Then when he relaxed, I would put him to bed. He often slept quite well after that.

When the phase like this is over, he sorts himself out and bedtime naturally becomes earlier again.

Hang in there. If your son is normally easy to put to bed, it's very likely just a phase and he will go back after a few weeks.

Bonnie - posted on 09/26/2011




Children go through different stages. One day they could sleep 13 hours and the next day only 9 hours. One day they may nap and the next day nothing. He could just be starting to go through separation anxiety and know that if he falls asleep, you are going to leave him.

Carolee - posted on 09/26/2011




I would suggest waiting until he's got his "second wind" and is tired again. It might be less frustrating for you if you just assume he'll be up later.

Michelle - posted on 09/25/2011




Isobel went through that as well. They think they are so clever when they learn something new they like to show off.
With her I just kept going back in, laying her down and telling her it was sleep time. Just make sure you keep the same night time routine. Isobel knows that after a certain show has finished it's bath time and she wanders to the bathroom on her own. After bath it's a bottle on her couch and we dim the lights. She does wander around for a bit after she's had that but when we ask her if she wants to go to bed she usually walks off to her room. Sometimes even runs!!!! It does depend on when/how long she has napped during the day though. Also when I have the boys our afternoon routine is different than when we don't have to go to school and pick them up.
Hopefully it's just a phase and he will soon tire of showing off his new skills.


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Elizabeth - posted on 09/26/2011




Shannon, I had respectfully asked that the cry it out method not be recommended, and although you did not label it as such, you recommended just that. I understand that you were trying to be helpful, but I was looking for other options and find it a little disrespectful.

To all others, thank you so much. If we try to put Donovan to sleep too early, he will fight it and wind himself up. If it's too late, he will cling and cry for 1-2 hours. I discovered that there is only about a 5 minute window between the two. I learned to recognize the very subtle signs that we were at that window. Because this is not typical behavior from him, I was unsure wether I had missed the window several times or if it was a stage due to his development. I didn't want to spend two hours in his room trying to get him to sleep, but once the routine was started and lights were out, I did not want to go into the rest of the house because I didn't want him to learn that if he fought it long enough he could stay up. Thank you for your assurence that it is a stage.

Tonight I ignored his signs and stayed downstairs. We gave him cuddles when he came over and rocked him just trying to calm him down, and let him explore when he wanted that. When he started crying and not coming over to one of us, we decided it was time to try getting him to bed. It took maybe 5 minutes and he was out. It was about two hours after what I would have normally tried. We'll see after a few days if it was a fluke or a solution until he changes his sleep needs again.

The more mobile and independent Donovan has become, the more he has needed frequent but brief cuddles. Thank you for pointing out that this seperation anxiety could also be a source of the sleep change. It gave me more insight into my little guy.

Thank you again.

Melissa - posted on 09/26/2011




My son did this. I took him to our family doctor and he said that it was just a stage that they go through. They seriously are just excited about anything new. He told me not to differ the bedtime routine at all. I would do the routine. On the first screaming cry fit I would go in. Hold him, sing a song, calm him down and then lay him back into bed and walk out. Second time, sing while laying him down. Everytime after that just walking in, laying him down without saying anything and walking out. I felt terrible. But it did make bedtimes go from 1 hour of screaming to about 8 mins.

Good luck. I hope that you all get some stressless sleep soon :)

Shannon - posted on 09/26/2011




Well I am sure I won't win any points with my opinion but have been in your shoes twice. Since when do we let 71/2 month old babies decide the schedule they are on? I know there are those moms who think that but I am not one of them. You are the parent. They are finding out early how to "work the system" as I call it. You need to just him in firm voice Time For Bed. Then put him in his crib and leave. Go inside the door 5 minutes later and say, Time for Bed and leave. Then 10 minutes later and so on. It will be VERY PAINFUL the first couple nights but then it will stop. Super Nanny would agree. So sorry you are dealing with this but won't be the first for sure.

Elizabeth - posted on 09/25/2011




I'm really hoping it's just a phase, but it's a long phase. Then again he WANTS to walk and is doing everything he can to get to that point. If he didn't get so tired and do his complaining type cry and then close his eyes and be dead weight on my shoulder before bolting up, it wouldn't bother me nearly as much.

[deleted account]

You could always just start being really boring. lol

Nah, seriously I have no clue. I always nursed my kids to sleep at that age. My girls were no trouble at all, but when my son was around 9 months it was taking over an hour and a half to get him to fall asleep and stay asleep. I DID let him cry, but I stayed w/ him the entire time and tried to comfort him any way but nursing. It took an hour, but he learned that he COULD go to sleep w/out nursing. I still nursed him every night til he was 3.25 though, so I'm really no help. ;)

I hope you figure something out that works for all of you!

Elizabeth - posted on 09/25/2011




Do you think then that I should ignore his first bout of bedtime tiredness and let him get that second wind and then try the bedtime rituals and putting him to sleep?

Unfortunatly he has no nap schedule. During the day, if we put him down before he is tired, it's like trying to make a river run backwords, if we try to keep him up just a little longer when he is tired, he wails from fatigue. If he gets waked early from a nap, he is clingy and whiney till his next one. Naps range from 1/2 hour to 3 hours. 2- 6 naps a day. 1 1/2 hours to 8 hours a day total. No rhyme or reason to them.

Thank you for your help and for the comment about him finding us fun people. I try to provide the right balence of letting him do his own thing, and interacting with him.

JuLeah - posted on 09/25/2011




I think they reach a point of understanding that while they sleep, they are missing something. They also go through stages based on growth where they need more and less sleep.

You are doing all the right things. Try keeping him up a bit later and spacing his nap so it is further from bed time.

You must have somehow taught him you are fun people who do fun things, otherwise he'd find you dull and ask to go to bed :)

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