We Need A Little Advice...



My (almost) 14 month old won't sleep through the night, and I don't know what to do about it!

A few weeks ago we finally conquered the "cry it out" strategy. We literally just let him cry...for hours...all week. But at the end of that time he started sleeping through the night much more soundly. His burst of crying shortened to minutes instead of hours and the frequently reduced significantly, like from 4-5 times a night to 2. We all started sleeping better.  


However, there are still those days, or nights rather, where he wakes up screaming and crying for what feels like an eternity. In reality it's probably 20-30 mins, but when you are 33 weeks pregnant and desperate to go back to sleep 20 mins is pretty close to eternity.

We're not sure why he still wakes up so often. I always thought that if he learned to self-soothe and go to sleep on his own, then he would stop waking up and crying for prolonged periods of time. I thought this whole "cry it out" thing was a parent's secret weapon for teaching babies NOT to cry at night.

The real struggle here is what to do about it, and since we have at least one of these episodes about every other night it's really starting to present a problem.

If we go into him to check on him and make sure everything is okay, he just gets mad and the crying will continue for hours! If we go in to soothe him and rock him, then we feel like we're taking steps backward and we don't want to do that! We all suffered way to much to get to where we are now!

However, continuing to ignore him just doesn't feel right. He knows how to just go back to sleep now, and he's crying anyway. What if he's in pain? What if he's wet through his diaper? What if he had a bad dream?

And no, I can't just listen to his cry and tell you what's wrong. His "I'm in pain" cry sounds exactly like the "I'm really mad at you" cry. If we went in every time he was seriously crying, we'd be right back at square one!

So here we are. Desperate. 

My mothering instincts say we just lucked into were blessed with a little boy who isn't a good sleeper. I truly believe that time will eventually see all of us sleeping more at night.  But in the meantime, I want to help him sleep better if I can. I want to have confidence at 2 am knowing that I'm doing the best thing (or at least not the worst thing) for my family.

So here is where you come in. Help me! Share your old wives tales. Tell me the horror stories from when your children were little. Quote scripture about how weeping only endures for the night. Something. Anything!

And while your at it, if have a good idea for how we can improve our sleep habits go ahead and include that too. My pillow will thank you!


  1. Oh Boy, this is a tough one, but I'll give you some thoughts. I have 6 wonderful blessings, that are all so very different! 4 of mine did pretty well learning at a young age to fall asleep on their own and sleep through the night. 2 of mine struggled much more with it. (one of them is my 7 month old, but he's learning! :o) I try to follow (mostly) the Babywise principles. It's a great book with so much wisdom! There is a big relation between eating patterns and sleeping patterns. Your little one is a little older than my Micah, but right now we're trying to make sure he eats his meals (cereal) right after he nurses. That way he's taking full meals and not snacking. Try to keep his meal times regular.
    If your sweet one wakes in the night, I would peek around the corner, make sure his leg isn't stuck in the crib, or something like that, and wait about a minute or two. Sometimes they fall asleep on their own. If mine didn't fall asleep, then I would go in, comfort them, maybe sing for 10 seconds, tell them Momma loves them and they need to go night night. For me, I just had to check on them and comfort them. Sometimes they cried when I left, sometimes they fell back asleep. If you know they're fed, at a good temperature, and not sick, then I would let him cry it out. I would check on him and recomfort every 15 mins or so...I just can't go longer than that! :o) He should be sleeping through the night soon. Remember, this too shall pass and before you know it, he'll be in high school, and you'll look back and wish you could relive when he was 14 months old. I know everyone says it, but it's true. It goes by too quick. My boy came to us last night with what he's looking for and praying about for Bible College. sniff sniff

  2. For the most part the Bear slept pretty well from the beginning but every once in a while he'd wake up and now we're into a whole other set of sleep issues (sleeps by the door and not in his bed). For us what worked was him being weaned, putting him down when he was drowsy but not waiting till he was actually asleep, and giving him special things to sleep with. We were very cautious about him not sleeping with anything in his crib but when he moved to his toddler bed we gave him a small pillow, a blanket, and a teddy. That has seemed to help. He likes having those things with him. When we first started I was still paranoid about things being close to his face so after he fell asleep I'd make sure they were further down in his bed.
    I'm not a huge fan of cry it out but it does eventually work...sometimes. My thoughts are this: the only way they can truly communicate is through crying and if he's crying something is up. Even if it's just being lonely, he's still telling you he needs something. I say let him cry a bit, no more than you would let him cry when he goes to nursery at church (10-15 min) then go comfort. Try reading a book, singing a song, even a cup of water (you'd be surprised), eventually you'll find that thing that help.
    Once the second one gets here you'll be surprised how much you'll let your older one cry it out! With two screaming babies, somebody's got to learn to self-soothe!

  3. This is difficult since every mama craves sleep when she is pregnant. That being said, 4 of my 5 babies didn't sleep through the night until they were at least 18 months old. (The 5th was a fluke and loved to sleep!) Sometimes I was ready to scream, but I always figured a child's need to feel secure was equal to their need for sleep so I always held them and soothed them and did what I needed to do to have them sleep happily, even if it meant night waking.

    I found that as my children grew a little older (between 18-24 months), they began responding to reasoning. If I said, "Gavin, you need to go to sleep and I'm not going to pick you up," or, "We're not getting up until we see the sun," he understood. He didn't always like it, but he knew he needed to obey. Even if he child cried, it wasn't the desperate, angry cry of a baby, but the tired cry of a toddler who was winding down to sleep.



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