Elisa Noemi, my 14 month old, will not go to sleep and stay asleep if she's not in my arms, help, I need to sleep, what can I do?????

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Esther - posted on 03/09/2009

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Hi Sarah - I'm right there with you! My son is 14 months old as well and he still wakes up once a night (sometimes more) and also won't go to sleep unless he's in my arms. I work full time and my husband travels frequently so I'm beyond exhausted too. Also, he's not getting any smaller or lighter so having him fall asleep in my arms and then trying to transport him to his crib without waking him up (just the right moment, trying to get up as smoothly as possible, avoiding the squeeky floorboards etc.) is becoming more and more challenging so something has got to give. However, call me crazy, weak or masochistic or what will you, but I'm not willing to let him cry it out. So what is a mom to do?



I've been trying another tactic again for the past week or so and I do feel like we are making progress. My son is also not attached to anything, except us, although he does like a pacifier to go to sleep. For the last week or so I've been making our existing bedtime routine a little more elaborate and I'm incorporating a lovey that I picked (since he could care less) into the routine in hopes of having him get attached to it or at least associating it with sleeping.



When I put my son in his PJs at night (low light, sometimes some soft classical music in the background) I keep the lovey on the changing table with him. I don't make him hold it, it's just there. Then we brush his teeth and we brush the lovey's "teeth" too. When both are ready we go say goodnight to all the stuffed animals in his room and the animals in the pictures on his wall. We give the stuffed animals a kiss and then put them down to "go to sleep". We wave "bye bye" to the animals in the pictures and tell them see you tomorrow! Then we turn off the lights (and music) completely, go sit in the rocking chair (with the lovey) and I give him his last bottle. When he's done with his bottle but not sleeping yet (defininitely drowsy though), I take him to his crib, give him a kiss, put his blanket over him and say "night night". I then go sit down on the floor with my back against the crib and from that moment on I try to ignore him completely unless he really starts crying.



Ignoring his is very difficult. I almost feel like I'm under siege. I hear the pitter patter of his feet walking back and forth behind me in his crib. He'll try to make me laugh, he'll try to pull my hair, he'll throw pacifiers down my shirt, he will throw his stuffed animals, his blanket, his lovey and whatever else he can think off out of his crib to get my attention. He'll do his fake protest cry (just a "wah" shout, no tears involved). He'll start laughing. He will do whatever he can think off. I try to ignore it all and also try not to laugh. When I throws his pacifiers out I will hold one up so he can grab it but I don't look back and I don't say anything. If he does start crying and getting upset I will give him a hug or pick him up briefly and then put him down again and start ignoring him again. I have to say though, that hasn't really happened much yet.



The first night I did this it took about 30 mins for him to finally lie down, stay down and go to sleep (something to keep in mind, you may want to start the routine a little earlier than normal to allow for more time before she's actually asleep and not mess up your schedule too much in the morning). The second night 20 minutes, the third night 10 mins etc.



I'm not doing this yet in the middle of the night (don't have the energy) but since I started this he has slept through the night twice (which is unheard off) and on the nights he did wake up, it was much easier to get him back in his crib and off to sleep. Last night he woke up, I went in, he fell asleep again almost instantly (or so I thought) so I got up to put him down and he opened his eyes. I put him down in his crib anyway and he was fine with it. He rolled over and went right back to sleep. A week ago that would have been unimaginable. If he would wake up and I would put him down he would immediately jump up and demand to be picked up again or get hysterical, so I really feel like we're making progress. Hopefully with patience and persistance we will get there eventually.



BTW - I tried something similar to this before but I would sit down in the chair next to the crib where he could still see my face. That did not work at all!! Sitting on the floor with my back against the crib seems to be acceptable to him though.



Sorry for the long story but maybe there is something in here that will work for you too or that you can put your own spin on. Good luck!!

Beth - posted on 03/09/2009

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Quoting Sarah Elizabeth:

Elisa Noemi, my 14 month old, will not go to sleep and stay asleep if she's not in my arms, help, I need to sleep, what can I do?????



Establish a bedtime routine and be consistent with it every night. What we we did was set a bedtime and then 30 minutes before bedtime, we gave him a bath, then got him dressed, read him a story, then said a particular prayer, kissed him goodnight and told him it was night,night time and then put him in his bed. Also turning on background music which goes off in an hour (no words). At first, he cried, but after about a week of consistentency, he slept through the night in his own bed. If he cried for more than 15-20 minutes, we would go into his room and pat his back and tell him to go night,night (we didn't pick him up unless something major was wrong). I realize that it is very difficult to listen to your child cry, but it works. Consistency is the key....My son has been sleeping through the night since he was 2 months old. I hope this helps.





 

Mary Jo - posted on 03/09/2009

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My middle child did this too.  Unless she has a bear or blanket or anything that is a "lovey" you ARE her lovey.  Its hard but what I did was put her in her bed when she was tired and kept talking to her to let her know I was still there.  It took several nights and it was very tempting to pick her up because I had another child to get to bed as well.  I know this is no different really that what all the books say but unless you hear it from another mom it is hard to believe they will ever let you sleep again.  You had your husband have to be together on this.  My husband had to practically sit on me to get to NOT go pick her up.

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Karen - posted on 03/11/2009

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I have a 16mth old that is the same way, and has been since she was born. I can not let her cry it out, it simply doesn't work (she has cried for 2+ hrs before and to me, at least, that is not acceptable. We have come up with a solution that does not completely solve the situation, but is working for us right now. Through trial and error, we realized that she sleeps much better on the floor in our bedroom. (I know this sounds awful, but she truly sleeps better there!) We still usually have to hold her until she falls asleep, but most of the time we can lay her down, and she sleeps pretty well. Some nights, she'll even sleep through the night. Most other nights, she only wakes once or twice, whereas, when we were trying to get her in the crib, she would wake up 5 times or more a night. At night, when she wakes, I just hop out of bed and lay down next to her for about 5 minutes, until she is sleeping again. I think she likes knowing she is not alone in the room. Maybe she likes the softness of the blanket we lay her on, I don't know, but for now, it's better than waking up a thousand times a night and listening to her cry.

Mary Jo - posted on 03/10/2009

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I am glad its working.  It really just takes time and commitment to teach them to sleep on thier own.  We are thier first teachers for everything even how to sleep.

Sarah Elizabeth - posted on 03/10/2009

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Thanks guys for the advice!I'm really glad that I'm not alone. We tried the controlled crying method the last two nights and it seems to be working, Elisa got herself to sleep in 16 minutes yesterday and only woke twice last night, it only took me two trips into her room each time before she got herself to sleep again so fingers crossed!!!!!!I live in Italy and a friend suggested a sleep method which is famous here, 'Fate la nanna' (Go to sleep) by Estivill, you go into her room after a total of minutes crying (the minutes increase each trip in) and talk to her to calm her down, you stand a distance away from her crib and talk to her saying 'It's only night night time, Mummy and Daddy love you and we'll see you in the morning, you have your dummies/lovey/blanky in your crib if you need them, have a lovely sleep, goodnight' and then you leave the room, this goes on until she falls asleep and you start again if she wakes up during the night. Fingers crossed it seems to be working, we'll see!!!!!

Alexis - posted on 03/09/2009

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my 1 year old son doesnt sleep through the night. ive tried everythin from leaving him to cry to giving him water instead of milk at night. i even have trouble getting him to sleep. he wont go unless he has a bottle and hes really tired. sometimes it can be 10 o clock at night, even then he doesnt sleep through. an extra problem i have is i dont have a partner to help me. i need something that will help me put him to sleep and give me a proper nights sleep. hes an active baby during the day and you would think that would be enough but still nothing helps!

Kristi - posted on 03/09/2009

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I have a 22 month old with the same problem. He will not go to sleep in his bed and if he falls a sleep and we put him in his bed, he will wake up a few hours later crying. He does not have a stuffed animal or blanket that he "loves" with, he just wants us.  I have no idea what to do.

Sarah Elizabeth - posted on 03/09/2009

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Thanks Mary Jo. Your post was really helpful, I'll def. try a bear or a blanket tonight and try to resist picking her up when she screams herself silly! My husband is really with me on this because we're both sooooo tired and both work full time so sleep is essential!Thanks again!

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