14mo old still not sleeping...what can I do?

Sarah - posted on 04/17/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My son is 14 mo. old, and has slept through the night (11:30pm-6:30 or 7am) all of 5 times. We have been couch bound because neither my hubby or myself beleived in co-sleeping. But that is what it is turning into. One of us stays on the couch so the other one can have a good sleep, and my son sleeps on blankets on the floor after about 30-75min. in his room at night. I feed him to sleep, he still insists. (but its the only time) He usually wakes up 2-5 times after being on the floor to be held by the one on the couch. He wakes up fussing and if you try to do ANYTHING other than lay him across your chest he screams. Thus, waking up my Hubby and 3yr old daughter. (who sleeps like a rock!) For a while after he would fall asleep we could put him on the ground but now he wakes right up and screams. He is forcing this co-sleeping thing on us and we do not know how to get out of it. I have heard of laying a mattress on the floor of his room and talking him back to sleep but I know that will just make us sleep on the floor of his room with him next to us.
We are very tired of our arrangement and wish to sleep with each other again and NOT our baby!
Please help!!! :)

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Sebastine - posted on 04/19/2010

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He basically wakes up because he wants you to hold him and he knows that if he cries, you will. You just have to develop a routine and stick with it so that he knows what to expect. Do a feeding, then give him a bath, maybe a story, and put him in the his bed. Whenever he wakes up, just go into his run and gently lay him back down. Please keep in mind that the first couple of nights you might do this 10 or 15 times and he will cry his little head off. It will be hard on you, but trust me, it will only take a about a week or so before he realizes that he has to sleep in his crib and that no matter how hard he cries, your not going to take him out. He'll be sleeping through the night in no time!

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Kara - posted on 04/19/2010

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I HIGHLY recommend the book 'Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child'. It has been my guide for my children, 3 years and 14 months as well. We all know how gut wrenching it is to listen to them scream at night, and I know that several moms are against them crying at all. But for MY family, we sleep trained our children to go to sleep in their own beds. We have our night-night routine, then kisses and off to bed. I feel that just like I respect their needs for nourishment and playtime, I respect their need to sleep.
When we trained our children how to sleep without us, it was a hard time. But within a week EVERYONE was sleeping better. My 3 year old even had a relapse over the holidays and I consulted my sleep book, came up with a new plan and just stayed consistent.
I agree with not giving him a feeding. Take away the sleep associations and teach him how to go to sleep by himself.
I feel for you! Good Luck!

Lora - posted on 04/19/2010

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I had this same problem with my daughter. When she was 10 months old, we finally had to get tough. My husband and I were so sleep deprived that we made the very difficult decision to let her cry it out in her crib. It was hard, one of the hardest things Ive ever done, to stay away and let her cry. But it has worked. Kaylyn almost never wakes up in the night now, and when she does, she usually soothes herself and goes back to sleep easily. I would suggest putting a toy that your child is attached to to bed with him at night. Kaylyn has a doll that she takes everywhere with her. When I lay her down at night, she grabs onto that doll and goes right to sleep. And a bonus with using a doll instead of a pacifier, I wont have to break the habit later on. Good luck, its very hard to stand back while your child cries, but you and your husband deserve to be able to sleep with each other at night!

Anna - posted on 04/19/2010

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i agree with everyone else, i went through the sam thing a little bit and finally i was fed up so i did what i read in a magazine. you put the baby in the crib and put a chair next to the crib. each night you move the chair back a little bit until youre in the hallway. by the time youre in the hallway your child will be excited to go fall asleep with his new found independence. trust me it works. my boy sleeps through the night more too now that hes in his own crib and puts himself to sleep. he can self sooth now.

Beck - posted on 04/19/2010

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This is an earlier post from me about my son who was having sleep issues at 6mths. You may get some tips from it. I am against cry it out, even at 14mths. Good luck
I am writing this because I have posted similar responses to several posts of Mums who have bubs of various ages having trouble sleeping. I thought I would put it all in one spot and if you were having troubles maybe something I say would help.

My son was an angel child, he would sleep and eat happily for those first few months. I fed him to sleep all of the time and in the end we were co sleeping, one because I loves snuggling with my bub and two because it was SOOO Hard to lug my legs out of bed for yet ANOTHER night time feed!

By 5 and a half months we were OVER it, I was cranky cos I wasn't getting enough sleep, we were worried about my husbands health cos he needs sleep due to risk of seizures and we NEEDED to FIT our gorgous boy!! Corey was still in our bed waking every 45mins-hour and to get him back to sleep quickly I would feed him, over and over and over! This would mean during the afternoon we would flop into bed together and sleep all arvo.

I knew there was a sleep school in a near by town but I knew they did controlled crying at at 6mths I couldn't do it! BUT I knew that if nothing else worked we would HAVE to do it. I went out and brought several 'no cry sleep solution' books. The one that changed our life was DREAM BABY GUIDE by Shayne Rowling. An Austrlian author. It is 700+pages long and uses a lot of tecniques within the whole 24hrs to lead to healthy sleep patterns. I dont believe tht controlled crying is the only way!!!! and wanted to do what ever I could to help his sleep without it. My husband took three days off work and we planned nothing so we could tag team for three days if thats what it took. We started using the routines from the book and within 2 days we had a complete different bub! My husband even thought about going back to work cos we had him sorted with no tears!

I will tell you a few things from the book that may help you but obviously to get the full effect you would need to buy the book. Now I am not saying we have a 'perfect' sleeping bub all of the time, teething still effects his sleep from now and then BUT we have come a huge way and taught him many skills.

My bub is a low sleep requirement baby, meaning they only need 8-14hrs sleep in 24hrs. We do the following and it works a treat!! plus its getting better and better!! The book goes into lots about sleep requirments and the different nap times for different ages but if you are just after info re sleep routines this would help.

Corey, now 12mths, wakes usually around 7am (sometimes he sleeps in however I wake him by 7.30 to keep the day on track) he has a bfeed then breakfast (cereal and fruit)
9.30 milk (bfeed) and fruit for morning tea
11.20 lunch - meat, vegies, carb (rice / pasta / potato) then desert (yoghurt)
12noon bed time (usually sleeps 2-2.5hrs!!)
2.30 milk (bfeed) and arvo tea (cheese on toast / avacardo and ham on crackers, piklets etc)
5.20 tea (vegies and carb)
6pm Nudie time (clothes off play)
6.15 bath time
6.30 out of bath
6.35 milk (bfeed)
6.45 story time
6.55 into cot

Its the sleep time routine that makes the difference, my Mum and sister in law can also follow this and we do the same where ever we are so Corey always knows what is expected.
We also do the nappy change, story then bedtime routine at 11.45 before lunch time sleep.
Cuddle on couch whilst reading - household calm, whilst reading we say before, during and after we say "nearly time for nigh, nigh" "nearly time to find teddy" etc
We say good night to anyone at home - kiss
then into bed room
We lay bub in our arms and rock him whilst we sing twinkle, twinkle, (often now he wants to get into his cot cos he knows he is tired and ready for sleep) then lay him in his cot with his teddy (loves his bedtime ted)
We tuck him in tight - shoving a towel rolled up down either side to keep him in firm. Corey starts on his side. We dont have to tuck him as tight now that he sleeps so well.
We then rub his back and legs and say
"sshh, sshh, sshh, sshh time to sleep"
" sshh, sshh, sshh, sshh mummy and daddy love you"
"sshh, sshh, sshh, sshh nigh, nigh"

we repeat this twice, then stop rubbing and walk out. Corey now never needs re settleing but at first if he did put up a fight we would go in, after a couple of minutes only - shut the door behind us so there is no confusion that he is getting up then repeat the sshh, shh..... and out. It only ever took going in twice maybe three times (usually if he was over tired). We never have to go in twice now.

When he wakes and has had a decent sleep (if he ever wakes under and hour we do the sshh, sshh to get him back off for at least 1hr 20mins though usually he goes solid for the 2hrs 2.5hrs) we walk in and say "good sleeping bubba" happy and bright and get him up. This way he knows the difference between when you are expecting him to go back off and when he can hop up.

If he wakes during the night we go in (maybe give him a sip of water), re plug the dummy, re tuck him in and do the sshh, sshh - we are in and out in under 1 min and he always (except when teething and needs a shot of panadol) settles in one go.

He seems to know now when he needs more sleep and that he needs to go back off. He can now resettle himself too which he could never do, occasionally he will yell out once then go back off. We now wait, he will yell out, we wait, he may yell once or twice more and go back off. We were rushing in and therfore always helping him back to sleep. Now we wait only a minute or two and he goes back off. Anymore than that and we go in. Some people wait longer.


We must make sure he doesn't sleep when we are out in the pram or car before 12noon otherwise it can muck it up (occasionally its fine we have learnt to addapt) but we try to hold him out til 12 so he has one good sleep.

We dont follow the routine completly (there is more to it in the book) anymore, we still use many of the day time communication cues etc There is way to much to go into here!! I would recomend that you buy the book (hehehe I am earning no commision I just LOVE it as does a friend and many more people I would say!)

Good luck everyone, its so hard. You try and do the right thing by your bub but sometimes it leads to 'not helping them'. Corey was such a restless sleeper, I actually thought something was WRONG with him!! It was just that he didn't know 'how' to self settle or re settle between sleep cycles.

P.S I never thought Corey would cut all his night feeds (at 6mths) as like you he was still feeding several times a night in our bed just to get him back to sleep. He did in one night! of course I was up still pumping cos I had been used to feeding but that only lasted a few nights. I kept up at dream feed for another month but I dont think he necessarily needed it. After 6mths unless there is a medical condition bubs DONT need feeds over night! (no matter what people tell you... I know I am leaving my self open to 'different opinions on this one!!) I am sure Corey would still take a feed some nights if I offered it but he doesn't want it, when he has been unsettled due to teething some times I have tried of offer it and he isn't interested! :-( ... a dummy or a sip of water does the same job. The first few nights if he did wake his Dad would go in, after that he has been happy to take water from me. Its all about creating sleep associations and the same environment so when they go to sleep its the same when they wake up so they can think 'ok, all the same, goodo, off to sleep again!" This is why its important to be out of the room when they go to sleep, cos of course if you have them back in their cot you are not there when they wake between sleep cycles. We were expecting to HAVE to use controlled crying with Corey at 6mths but never had to using this above routine (and many more hints from the book) - like having a heater in his room set at 21degrees in winter, using a sleeping bag etc and lots of other day time communication things. This is just a wrap up for you... would love to think it works for you like it does us.... fingers crossed for you!!!

Email me for more info if you would like

Sorry, I could go on all day!!

WOW, THIS WOULD HAVE TO BE ONE OF THE BIGGEST POSTS EVER!!

I hope someone gets something from this to help them and their bub get a good night sleep. Don't expect too much though, bubs still need us and it very rare for any bub to sleep 12hrs straight! But for us, we were just dying for 4 hours sleep straight! Now, we hear no peep from Corey from 7pm til 5.30 (when Hubby is up getting ready for work) then he goes back off til 7-7.30am!!! ahhhh Bliss!!!

Sarah - posted on 04/17/2010

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Thank you all very much for responding. I needed to hear it, this is gettting SO old! :)

Courtney - posted on 04/17/2010

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I have to disaggree with an earlier comment: If you give a bottle/cup/ pacifier whatever to a child as they sleep your only going to have another problem later when it's time to stop that. I do agree that it's time to start giving water at night. A bedtime routine is also a must (that was my saving grace) get pajamas on brush teethe a story or 2 and then quiet time, this alerts your child to what is about to happen. Another thing I would like to mention is that it seems like the bedtime is a little late and maybe your little one is over-tired which can cause clingyness and crabby behaviour. When I started putting my baby to bed when she was tired she slept better. Look for signs of sleepiness and jump into the bedtime routine as soon as possible. Most babies this age still need about 10 hours of sleep ex my daughter goes to bed at around 8pm and sleeps till 7am most days. We started co-sleeping and had many similar problems it was a long road, but stay strong and take back your bed. :) Good luck!

Allyssa - posted on 04/17/2010

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I had the same problem with my daughter from the time she was born until now. Put him in a crib/toddler bed/playpen at a certain time everynight, maybe get a music player(my daughter won't sleep without it) that may help some as well. I still give my daughter a cup of water at night too that way if she gets up its there to comfort her back to sleep. What i did was i would rock my daughter UNTIL SHE WAS IN A DEEP SLEEP and put her in her cirb. If she woke up I would let her cry. i hated it. But it has changed my life! Well as in i finally got sleep! After a while shed find her cup and go back to sleep or she'd calm down and fall asleep. They need to learn how to fall asleep on thier own or they would do it until 3-4 years old or so.. My boyfriend was the same way as my daughter and he never learned how to fall asleep alone until he was 4. You do not want that! So try letting him cry during the night for about a week. It came down to me and my boyfriend would lay down and shed wake up and see us and she would lay back down and fall asleep too. It really helped me. I was soooo against it at first but it worked for me and i hope it works for you. theres occasions where she will wake up but she is ALOT better! Hope this helped..

Christy - posted on 04/17/2010

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Let him cry it out in his bed, sounds mean but it's the only way you will get sanity. Put him to bed at bedtime in his bed, and leave him there, give him a lovey (blanket, stuffed animal, etc) to cuddle with. If you maintain the same routine you have now, he will expect it from now on.

Meghan - posted on 04/17/2010

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BTW, go a head and SLEEP in YOUR bed with your husband!!! He only does these things at night b/c he's been conditioned to know that you RESPOND to it and it gets him ATTENTION. NOT because there is an ACTUAL problem. Attention is NOT a bad thing, but this is an extreme, and it's unnecessary. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN ALL OF THIS IS TO REMAIN CONSISTENT AS YOU BREAK HIM OF THIS HABIT!!! if you go back on your commitment even ONCE once you begin "weaning" him, you will have to start back at square ONE!

Meghan - posted on 04/17/2010

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you just have to leave him. get him off of being fed to go to bed. Start by giving him water instead of milk at night, he WILL protest, but remain firm, he'll eventually realize that it is what it is. (my daughter had the same problem) After he'll take water for bed instead of milk, slowly try to get him to sleep with a pacifier instead of a bottle/cup/whatever. He'll pick up on it eventually. You can try giving him the bottle and when he starts dozing off, replace it with the pacifier; you'll meet some resistance at first, but again he'll catch on. Once he's going to bed without food, it should be easier for him to STAY asleep at night. If he wakes up, you can offer water, but I'd just offer the pacifier to him. You have to let him sleep in his own bed! Let him cry it out for a while. when he wakes up leave him alone for a few minutes before jumping in to rescue the day. Gradually extend the time before you go to him. eventually, he'll be able to CALM HIMSELF DOWN (the ultimate goal!) and go back to sleep on his own when he wakes up in the middle of the night. My daughter will still wake up occasionally, but she's learned to self-soothe and goes back to sleep within minutes of waking up at night. Before she'd throw a fit and NEED a bottle to get back to bed. it's HARD to listen to the crying etc, but it is better for baby and parents...they need to know how to help themselves AS WELL AS knowing they can rely on you IF they really need it.

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