Sleep Regression

Katherine - posted on 03/19/2014 ( 7 moms have responded )

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My son is 17 months old and I think we are suffering through the dreaded 18 month sleep regression. Sleep had been fine for months - going down without a problem and sleeping 11 hours in his crib - it was wonderful! About a month ago, he started waking up crying through the night. This wasn't a huge problem - he went right back down if my husband or I went in and settled him back down with his blanket and bear. But over the last few weeks, it has become awful!! He is fighting us at bedtime, naptime, and waking up throughout the night, screaming and crying. He's also clingy during the day. I know there's some separation anxiety but I have no idea how to handle this. We've tried letting him cry but he WILL NOT settle down - one night he screamed and cried for 3 hours straight. I can't listen to the crying anymore plus we all need sleep. I work full time and have to get up early 5 days a week.
The only thing that seems to work is sitting in his room until he falls asleep. Of course, that's against all the advice out there but we don't know what else to do. If he hears or sees us leave, he just starts crying all over again. We have a good bedtime routine, we've tried letting him cry for 5, then 10, then 15 minutes etc. Everytime we go in the room, it just starts all over. He is perfectly capable of putting himself to sleep and had been doing it for awhile before this started. Nothing has changed at home - same parents, same house, same daycare, etc. Is there anything we can do besides just wait and hope it passes as suddenly as it started?? Anyone have a similar experience?? Please help!! We are in desperate need of a good night's sleep and don't know how to calm him down without being in his room with him.

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Amanda - posted on 03/21/2014

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I had this issue with my daughter when she was around that age. She was waking up in the middle of the night and I found out it was growing pains so I would take her to her crib, rub her legs with lotion and put on a movie (volume so low she cant really hear it but it kept her attention. IDK if it will help but it did wonders for us.

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Martha - posted on 04/15/2015

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I had a wonderful pediatrician from the get go that assured me that the less I "babied" my child for the better... For reasons like letting your infant cry to help build up their lungs and to protect them as well as you from being clung together! Lol. It was hard for me not to want to hold my child when she cried but learned quickly to tell the differences in her cries to know exactly why it was that she might be crying. That's a big thing parents need to look into and to simply just learn to understand and be able to tell the differences apart of all their child's cries! It helped me alot for sure!! Definitely learned real quick that my child is spoiled rotten and craves attention lol.

Janelle - posted on 07/22/2014

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We have been having the same issue with our 19 month old son. It is usually when its time for bed does he cry. The crying out method does not work for me as after 20 minutes of crying hysterically, I know he will not go to sleep. I end up rocking him in my arms to comfort us both then put him down again. If he keeps crying we put on Curious George and he watches one episode. He usually seems ready to go back to bed after that. I do not think there are any quick fixes, most of the blogs I have read say to tough it out for this phase because if you have a good sleep routine established then this will pass as a bump in the road. Good luck.

Katherine - posted on 06/03/2014

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Thanks - it is very nice to know I'm not the only one suffering. This is worse than infancy! At least then you know what to expect and they're usually awake because they're hungry. We suffered for about 6-8 weeks and then, bam, overnight he started doing great again. Then he started again last week. My husband and I are at a loss. We're hoping this passes quicker than it did last time. It definitely seems related to separation anxiety as he is very clingy during the day and cries when either of us leaves a room. Let me know if you find any secret quick rememdies!!!!! I need one!!

Val - posted on 06/03/2014

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Sorry, I hit 'Post' too soon.....can you tell it's my first time doing this? Lol! Anyway, two weeks before she turned two, we went to put her to bed as usual and out of nowhere she wanted me to rock her to sleep and she was crying hysterically! I rocked her every single night until she was about 15 months. Everyone told me I shouldn't keep rocking her at that age but I loved it and so did she lol! I finally gave in one night when my husband said I can't rock her forever, and that's when she went down just fine (well the first couple of nights were rough on me and her so I had to leave the room and daddy was the strong one who didn't give in to her crying). Then she went for months going down fine. Since that night when she completely changed, I did rock her to sleep every night and at naptime for about a week (I didn't care what anyone else said, she's my baby and I can rock her if I want to lol), then she stayed with her grandparents a couple of nights and they let her sleep in their bed every night (my husband and I have never once let her sleep in our bed, except maybe once or twice if she was sick or crying in the middle of the night). Ever since she got back from her trip with Grandma and grandpa, either me or my husband has to lay with her until she falls asleep. We converted her crib to a toddler bed on her second birthday but then she left for her trip the next day. We don't know what to do either. I can't just put her down now and leave because she can just hop out of her "big girl bed" and follow me, crying hysterically. We have been trying shorter nap times, but that just makes her crabby. She has gone from being the perfect sleeper to only taking a 1-2 hour nap (maybe) and usually fighting it and not falling asleep until midnight and only sleeping about 8-9 hours at night. She woke up crying in the middle of the night a couple of times and she has come over to our room and climbed into bed with us a few times. We are still struggling with laying down with her but just tonight, my husband sat next her instead of trying to lay in that little bed, and she went to sleep. She has been changing almost every day so I think its a phase and will end very soon. She told me goodnight the other night and I just got up and walked out without saying anything and she stayed in her bed for about 15 minutes and then she found me to come lay with her. We are getting there I guess just slowly. Sorry for going on so long but just know, we are right there with ya! If we figure something out soon, I will be sure to share it with you. Good luck :)

Val - posted on 06/03/2014

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Oh my goodness, you sound just like us right now lol! I have a daughter who just turned 2 in April. She was always the perfect sleeper and napped just as good. We used to be able to just lay her in her crib then walk right out and she would sleep 10-12 hours all night through. At naptime, we would just say "it's time for a nap" and she would go right down and sleep 2 1/2 to 4 hours. This went on for a very long time and it seemed like we all had the schedule down perfect..... then someone flipped a switch or something!!! She's my first and only child right now so I'm still learning of course. I did have practice with my sister's 3 girls who are now 5, 8 & 11, but it's different with your own. She just completely changed her sleeping routine out of the blue one night.....it was exactly two weeks before her 2nd birthday.

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