Why does my 14 month old wakes up for hours at a time in the middle of the night????

Jamie - posted on 11/13/2012 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My son, who is 14 months old has been waking up in the middle of the night and then staying awake for 1 to 4 hours. This happens sooo many times a week. He has been doing this since he was at least 7 months old. I have tried to figure out why, teething, too much sleep, not enough sleep, too many naps, too few naps, wet diaper etc. but there does not seem to be an obvious reason.



It pretty much goes like this lately....He is asleep for the night by 7 PM, he wakes up a few times and I put him back to bed by holding him and patting his back (we cosleep on mattress on floor in his room), he then wakes up some time after 11:30 and obviously wants a bottle. On a good night he goes back to sleep, on a bad night I lay him on me and pat his back and I somewhat doze off and then realize that he is awake.....this goes on and on until he wont let me hold him and he either lays or sits next to me and is just awake......no crying, won't take any more bottle, keeps touching me and babbling to me....I dont engage with him or turn on lights or get up.....every little bit I try to get him to fall asleep again, but it is pretty obvious that is not tired at all. I have been getting very frustrated with this even more so lately. I will say "Go to sleep" and try to make him lay down, but he only falls alseep when he is ready to I guess. The alarm goes off at 6 AM and I have to get my daughter ready for school, so there are no options for sleeping in and he acts like he is fine even if I have to wake him up (usually my alarm wakes us both). I have tried putting him in the crib (which is a foreign place to him) and he just cries pitifully and I am not ok with that.



He takes Reflux medication, I give him Ibuprofen at night because he is ALWAYS teething.and started early. We have the room darkened with just the light from the clock and also have white noise on in the room. He also takes one nap from 2.5-3 Hours long. So that makes 11 hours at night + 3 hours in the day= 14 hours.....am I missing something here? When he is awake for hours in the middle of the night he only get 10-12 hours which I know is not enough.



I should also note that this has gotten worse since it first started...he has progressively stays awake longer and this now happens 2 or 3 night in a row before he and I both get a normal nights sleep.



What can I do? What would you do? Why is this happening?

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Gigi - posted on 11/14/2012

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My daughter was like that for a period of time, but she was about 20 months old. We tried to put her to bed bit later and cut down her day naps. I noticed that on the nights she sleeps bad she would take 3 hour nap in the day and very soon we had a pattern - she was essentially taking 3 naps - 7pm-2am, 4am-8am, 11am-2pm). To stop it, I would wake her up from her nap after an hour and even though afternoons were very hard for a while she started sleeping better. It took some time to see the change - like few weeks. So if you are making changes (you mentioned you tried some things) keep up with them for few weeks in a row. It takes time to get back on track.

You also mentioned he takes milk in the middle of the night - that is also something that might make him wake up - if he expects to be fed during night he will adjust his eating during the day (so eat less) because he knows he will get more food in the night. Exactly same thing with my daughter and that was most difficult habit to break because she was actually hungry. We lowered the amount of milk every few nights and eventually she stopped.

That said, I think in my daughters case, the problems with sleeping started with her reaching a milestone (forgot which one), but very soon it became a pattern.



It also could be that your son is woken up by you moving at that time of night and instead of falling asleep he wakes up completely. It could be he would sleep better if he was alone in his room, so it might be good idea to help him sleep in his own bed. I would try that after few weeks of "shorter naps", and only if his sleep improved and both of you are rested.



Do you give your son Ibuprofen every night? If so why? No child will teeth all the time, and Ibuprofen is strong medicine. I am not against medicine, but there are alternatives for teething - frozen fruit juice during days to suck on or numbing syrup to put on the gums in the night.

Misty - posted on 11/13/2012

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My daughter is almost 14 months old and did the exact same thing. I was putting her to bed at about 7pm like you are. It got so bad that my husband and I had to start taking shifts. I would sleep from 8pm-2am, and he would sleep from 2am-8am. I started keeping her up until at least 8:30pm. Which then made it where she got a second wind and stayed up until 10pm. Which actually works better for us because now she only wakes up once at night and I put her pacifier in her mouth and she goes back to sleep and sleeps until 8. Plus I would rather have it to where she keeps me up at night, instead of in the middle of the night. I also started giving her a meal (toddler meal) before she goes to sleep, I believe this is also helping. Honestly for my child, I think she just does not want to sleep period, and is forcing herself to stay up.

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