16mo old won't sleep longer than an hour without being touched or nursed

Elizabeth - posted on 05/23/2011 ( 6 moms have responded )

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My sweet 16 month old is a momaholic. She was EBF and started solids at 11mos. She is still over 50% breastfed but has a varied diet with no allergies. She had been a preemie but has no lingering health issues or delays. She has always been a high need baby but she is also the lightest sleeper ever. She will not sleep longer than about a hour without being touched or nursed. I can rarely get an hour or two but she is very peaceful when cuddled, even without nusing about 1/2 the time. I'm sort of ok with this. Her sister wasn't a great sleeper as a. baby but is great now. And her daytime and nighttime needs are similar. It inconvenient but I can wait for her to have better sleep maturity. However, I would like to rule out some other underlying health issue. This is not new or acute. She has always been mostly like this. I'd also love to hear if anyone wants to share some honest experiences with very poor sleepers.

We won't be doing CIO, we cosleep but she sleeps on a palette in her room at naptime and until lights out for mommy. I would love some thoughts and a little commiserating. :-)

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Elizabeth - posted on 05/28/2011

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Thanks for the encouragement ladies! I need to continue to have patience and keep trying some different things. This week we put a mattress on the floor for her bed instead of the palette that she's been on and suddenly naps are a lot higher quality. I have gotten the occasional 1 1/2 nap and a smidge longer at night. she's a baby that likes squishy. Although she also just started teething with her last 2 canines so it'll be a bit grumbly for a bit from that too. :-)

Cheryl - posted on 05/27/2011

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Oh Sweetie....I was recommended a book by Sheyne Rolwey - Dream Baby Guide...and all I can say is that I followed this, and as a result I really understand now what our babies are trying to tell us and in turn how to respond, reinforce and provide a secure loving environment without the lack of sleep that so many suffer. It is so far from the control crying strategy and really works! My 17 month sleeps through the night and during his day sleeps. I really recommend that you purchase or borrow from the library..Take the time to read, its not a reference book it's a complete review. I have recommended this book to a number of friends who now swear by it too.......I'll give you an example: Our child was thanks to the book sleeping without a problem and self settling.....we flew a few weeks ago to the UK, a diffident time zone and yet still went to sleep without an issue. A month later we returned home, with a couple of nights disturbed, we are now back to normal.....Try its worth it!

Karen - posted on 05/26/2011

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Okay, I totally understand what you're going through and it is very hard. My daughter woke up a minimum of 5 times a night until she was 2 years old (and went through many long months of waking 8-10 times) when she changed to 3-4 times and now at 2.5 times it's 2-3 times. My guess is if you've lived through what I have, you've probably tried every (gentle) thing you can think of to help her to sleep and it just makes no difference! The conclusion I've come to is that some kids are going to have trouble sleeping no matter what the parents do.
Does it seem that your daughter is super sensitive to all types of sensory input? (Touch, sound, sight etc.) If so, do some research on SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) - it may ring true for your situation (not that it'll change anything - but it can help to understand). Also, have you considered getting a white noise machine? They can be really helpful for the super light sleepers (my daughter used to wake up if I turned my head at the wrong time!).
Other than that all I can say is hold on! Keep loving and holding and parenting that baby of yours. Get as many breaks as you can to keep yourself fueled for the night. Oh, and remember to drink lots of water! Us longer term BFers sometimes forget that we still need lots of extra water and that can make a big difference for your own energy level.
HUGS

Elizabeth - posted on 05/25/2011

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I should clarify that I get a good deal of sleep, as does Anna. Hers just only happens when she is cuddled or right next to someone. She will barely stir, reach over, and if she can touch someone she'll usually go right back to sleep without fussing. If she wakes much she will often want to nurse, but that's not even every time. Because my concern is that she get good sleep, she sleeps with me and we try to get her to nap a few times a day for as long as she will. If i don't feel like she rested well one day, she'll spend most of the next day strapped to mommy in a baby wrap.

The issue is how often she wakes and the extreme difficulty in getting her to nap. But honestly, without this issue i don't know how much sleep i would get. it forces me to go to bed. He sister was not too dissimilar to this and is now a great sleeper at 3 1/2 - long nap, good long sleep without waking at night. Although she was more just a big night nurser - every 2-3 hours until she was about 18mos. But she napped well and could even sleep through sometimes. Anna cannot, will not.

I'm also thinking she may have some version of night terrors, which they say can be a sign of a bit of sleep deprivation when they happen this young. She wakes up crying and wailing, eyes closed, sometimes even if i'm holding her. it's odd.

I mostly have faith that this will get better, but we have a bug in our doctor's ear about it, as well as the Early Childhood Intervention folks (they came out to check on her for a little speech delay - nothing major, but we talked about the sleep thing too and they said it's not too abnormal and to keep an eye on it).

Melissa - posted on 05/24/2011

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You need some rest, momma. At her age she should be sleeping more independently. I've seen it happen with other children that still need their parents at age 4 to sleep. I began sleep training my kids at 3 months. They learned to fall asleep on their own or with some sleep aids (white noise Teddy, soft blanket). I don't rock or hold them once I place them in bed. Even so my 2 year old is a light sleeper. We don't really let her CIO we rescue and letnher watch TV then put her back to sleep. She gets only one rescue and back to bed. She's rarely not gone to sleep after one rescue. In the end we had to cut out her nap and now she doesn't need to be rescued.

Sara - posted on 05/24/2011

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Oh my... that is difficult. My daughter isn't the best sleeper but not on your record. My daughter is 17 months old and she sleeps well from 8pm till midnight but then she is awake and sometimes till 4am. I have blamed teeth throughout as she is now teething her last 4. You honestly must be shattered. I have a friend whos baby is similar and only started sleeping a little better once she was running around and generally speaking her daughter is just over active and seems to never tire. I coslept till 9 months and one day she just wouldn't settle and that was it own room own bed, and now (even though she is still not walking) she has a single sized bed. I do believe that it can't be forever it just feels like it at the time. XX

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