Getting the toddler to sleep through the night

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asc

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hello all,

I would really appreciate some advice from moms out there.

My 15 month old, Elijah, still isn't sleeping through the night, and it's really starting to wear on me and my wife. Most nights he still wakes up 2-3 times. On one or two of those times, it's difficult to get him to go back to sleep without giving him a bottle of milk (we use formula in the middle of the night for convenience). Sometimes he just keeps crying without milk that it's hard to deny him, and in the past when we've tried to not give him milk he cries so hard that he vomits.

Thanks for your help.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
How much of a nap does he take during the day? Both of my children are high energy children, and I found they could not sleep more than two hours in the afternoon (and be up by 4) in order to get them to sleep all night.

Here are some other things to consider:

If a child is teething, his mouth may be hurting and the milk makes him feel better.
If a child is not getting enough to eat, he may be waking up hungry.
Check to see if he is warm enough or too hot

In general, with my children, I took into consideration all the reason why I couldn't sleep and tried it on them.

Chamomile or lavendar oil can also calm a child and help them sleep.
 

Guido's Brother

Puritan Board Junior
We've had tough kids and I have to say that I really sympathize with you. Our newest addition is five months old and she's angelic -- I guess we finally hit the baby jackpot.

But as to what to do, my only advice is patience (this won't last forever) and if you can, trade off on the night duties with your spouse.

I've heard Christians argue that parents should ignore their children in cases like this because God ignored Jesus' cries on the cross. Not only is that a poor exegesis, it's also cruel. I think there may be a point where you have to wonder if you're being manipulated, but if your kid is going to start vomiting or passing out because of his crying, I can't see how a loving parent would not get up and give some comfort. Especially at 15 months, I think your child just needs some extra TLC and patience from mom and dad.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
How much of a nap does he take during the day? Both of my children are high energy children, and I found they could not sleep more than two hours in the afternoon (and be up by 4) in order to get them to sleep all night.

Here are some other things to consider:

If a child is teething, his mouth may be hurting and the milk makes him feel better.
If a child is not getting enough to eat, he may be waking up hungry.
Check to see if he is warm enough or too hot

In general, with my children, I took into consideration all the reason why I couldn't sleep and tried it on them.

Chamomile or lavendar oil can also calm a child and help them sleep.
:ditto: and try a Lavender bath before bed with plenty of water play (they sell lavender baby bath).

And very much ditto to Guido's brother...whatever someone else tells you, don't CIO, a child that age usually has a reason for crying or being awake. You're the adult and will need to figure it out or deal with it for now. They grow up all too quickly, so it's just for a time ;)
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
asc;

My 15 month old, Elijah, still isn't sleeping through the night, and it's really starting to wear on me and my wife. Most nights he still wakes up 2-3 times. On one or two of those times, it's difficult to get him to go back to sleep without giving him a bottle of milk (we use formula in the middle of the night for convenience). Sometimes he just keeps crying without milk that it's hard to deny him, and in the past when we've tried to not give him milk he cries so hard that he vomits.

Thanks for your help.
Sometimes it's that they are hungry, how much is he eating at night for dinner? How much solid food?

If you are still bottle feeding him formula at night have you considered mixing a bit of rice cereal in the bottle? Maybe try that before you put him down at night so that his tummy is full..and see if that helps.

I know when my kids were babies I'd put cereal in the last bottle of the night and they would sleep--all night..
 

Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
:ditto: The cereal in the bottle was helpful for us with our oldest, gives them a nice full tummy.
 

asc

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks for the questions and suggestions everyone.

How much of a nap does he take during the day? Both of my children are high energy children, and I found they could not sleep more than two hours in the afternoon (and be up by 4) in order to get them to sleep all night.
He usually naps just once during the day, about 1-2 hours.

Here are some other things to consider:

If a child is teething, his mouth may be hurting and the milk makes him feel better.
If a child is not getting enough to eat, he may be waking up hungry.
Check to see if he is warm enough or too hot

In general, with my children, I took into consideration all the reason why I couldn't sleep and tried it on them.
He's been fussier at times, when he's been teething, but even at his best he's still waking up 1-2 x a night.

He's a fussy eater at meals sometimes, so we tried a snack at bedtime recently with his last bottle. It didnt seem to make a difference.

He maybe a little cold with it being winter; he hates blankets and always kicks them off. But again, putting him in more clothes didn't help.

Chamomile or lavendar oil can also calm a child and help them sleep.
What does one do with the oil? Rub it on them? Thanks.

-----Added 1/24/2009 at 08:06:57 EST-----

We've had tough kids and I have to say that I really sympathize with you. Our newest addition is five months old and she's angelic -- I guess we finally hit the baby jackpot.

But as to what to do, my only advice is patience (this won't last forever) and if you can, trade off on the night duties with your spouse.

I've heard Christians argue that parents should ignore their children in cases like this because God ignored Jesus' cries on the cross. Not only is that a poor exegesis, it's also cruel. I think there may be a point where you have to wonder if you're being manipulated, but if your kid is going to start vomiting or passing out because of his crying, I can't see how a loving parent would not get up and give some comfort. Especially at 15 months, I think your child just needs some extra TLC and patience from mom and dad.
Not being very experienced, I don't know if it's cruel to push him to sleep through the night. We're checking to make sure there's nothing serious keeping him up and haven't been able to find anything. So I don't know if we've just gotten him into a bad habit or if he really needs the attention and formula in the middle of the night.

Lately at night we haven't been making him cry much because it's much quicker just to give him a bottle.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
LadyFlynt's suggestion of bathing them in lavendar baby bath probably works the best. If they baby has lots of time to play and relax, it helps them wind down and rest.

Another thing you can do is by some lavendar essential oil which can be purchased at most health food stores. I used to put a drop of it on cloth and place it near the head of the bed so my children could smell it while they slept. I would not put it directly on the baby's skin unless it was diluted with some massage oil, and then I would check a spot to make sure he's not allergic to the oil.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
asc;


He's a fussy eater at meals sometimes, so we tried a snack at bedtime recently with his last bottle. It didn't seem to make a difference.
What type of food are you feeding him? is he still eating baby foods, or are you giving him table food?


Not being very experienced, I don't know if it's cruel to push him to sleep through the night. We're checking to make sure there's nothing serious keeping him up and haven't been able to find anything. So I don't know if we've just gotten him into a bad habit or if he really needs the attention and formula in the middle of the night.
No, it's not always cruel to let them cry--unless like your son they are making themselves vomit, if you ignore it.

However, It could be he's just wanting a little more attention, is the baby waking up in the middle of the night as well?

How much one on one attention is he getting during the day? do he and the baby take naps at different times or at the same time?


Lately at night we haven't been making him cry much because it's much quicker just to give him a bottle.
Well, stop pinching him and maybe he'll sleep through the night..:lol:

I'm sorry, I couldn't resist the wording on that one..'making' him cry,


It could also be that he's just one of those children who don't require a lot of sleep, maybe try cutting his nap time down during the day and see if that helps..
 

asc

Puritan Board Sophomore
What type of food are you feeding him? is he still eating baby foods, or are you giving him table food?
He's eating table food and drinks whole milk, except in the middle of the night, when we use formula because it's simpler.

is the baby waking up in the middle of the night as well?

How much one on one attention is he getting during the day? do he and the baby take naps at different times or at the same time?
? I'm not sure what you meant, as it's the "baby" I've been talking about. But you might be getting confused by my avatar picture. It's almost a year old, so this is the baby in the picture, who's now a toddler. Thankfully, his older brother is generally sleeping through the night. They nap about the same time daily.

Well, stop pinching him and maybe he'll sleep through the night..:lol:

I'm sorry, I couldn't resist the wording on that one..'making' him cry,
doh, poor word choice. But usually when he first stirs in the middle of the night, he doesn't start crying immediately. He's sorta whiney and sometimes calls out for milk. Often if he's given milk quickly, he'll just drink it and go right back to sleep.

It could also be that he's just one of those children who don't require a lot of sleep, maybe try cutting his nap time down during the day and see if that helps..
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Also, is he going to bed at a regular time or when tired? If going to get after ALREADY tired, fizzled, etc, that can interfere with sleep...they are so tired that they just don't know what to do with themselves. Also, the bath is a good buffer and wind down to bed time rather than going from activity to bed.
 

christiana

Puritan Board Senior
If that is the older one he may be having a little trouble with his place in the family due to the younger one. Nothing wrong with allowing him more milk, more time to adjust to life changes. He may be clinging to his babyhood. If milk in the night is all it takes that would be a very easy fix!!
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
We've had tough kids and I have to say that I really sympathize with you. Our newest addition is five months old and she's angelic -- I guess we finally hit the baby jackpot.

But as to what to do, my only advice is patience (this won't last forever) and if you can, trade off on the night duties with your spouse.

I've heard Christians argue that parents should ignore their children in cases like this because God ignored Jesus' cries on the cross. Not only is that a poor exegesis, it's also cruel. I think there may be a point where you have to wonder if you're being manipulated, but if your kid is going to start vomiting or passing out because of his crying, I can't see how a loving parent would not get up and give some comfort. Especially at 15 months, I think your child just needs some extra TLC and patience from mom and dad.
I've only heard of one person ever making that argument, not "Christians," but I agree it is a bad argument! God was not ignoring Christ!

How much of a nap does he take during the day? Both of my children are high energy children, and I found they could not sleep more than two hours in the afternoon (and be up by 4) in order to get them to sleep all night.

Here are some other things to consider:

If a child is teething, his mouth may be hurting and the milk makes him feel better.
If a child is not getting enough to eat, he may be waking up hungry.
Check to see if he is warm enough or too hot

In general, with my children, I took into consideration all the reason why I couldn't sleep and tried it on them.

Chamomile or lavendar oil can also calm a child and help them sleep.
:ditto: and try a Lavender bath before bed with plenty of water play (they sell lavender baby bath).

And very much ditto to Guido's brother...whatever someone else tells you, don't CIO, a child that age usually has a reason for crying or being awake. You're the adult and will need to figure it out or deal with it for now. They grow up all too quickly, so it's just for a time ;)
We did let our older son cry it out, and we were still adults who loved our baby. Our younger, she didn't need to CIO, because she just slept.

I don't have advice, so sorry for posting here, (well, accept, maybe put him to sleep later) but I did want to mention that I have heard that lavender gives boys breasts. You might want to check on that yourself, obviously, to see whether you believe it.
 

SemperWife

Puritan Board Freshman
You sound like you have been pretty thorough in your investigation of the problem. And others seem to have given some pretty good advice.

One thing not mentioned was the possibility of a physical issue. It may be a shot in the dark, but have you thought of acid reflux/heartburn? If not that, maybe some other physical problem. It may be worth a trip to his doctor to check it out. It might not hurt to try.

I mentioned in a routine exam that my son had a raspy voice. The doctor thought it was no big deal. However, in a later conversation with a colleague, she was told that maybe he should get checked out just to be sure. It turned out he had Acid Reflux....all from a quick mention of his raspy voice. You just never know...

I hope you find a successful solution! Losing sleep is always difficult. And not knowing how to help your little one is really frustrating! May God be gracious to you and your family!
 

Honor

de-cool
I'm with Sonya... my son had acid reflux (he grew out of it) but it made life horrid. (there were lots of other issues too). if it is the acid reflux the milk might be soothing him. I would try putting two books or something under the bedframe at the head of the bed to elvate his head slightly... not dramatically just a little..and if he sleeps on his tummy try getting him to sleep on his side... the tummy will push the acid up.
good luck and try everything... can't hurt
 

moral necessity

Puritan Board Junior
Is he perhaps a light sleeper? Are either of you two light sleepers? We ran a quiet fan in the room of our child, and it drowned out the noise of other things, and even the noise of silence (if that makes any sense), and created an atmosphere that sort of soothed them to sleep. We also kept the door nearly shut, so as to keep most of the light out of the room.

Blessings and prayer!
 

SpokenFor

Puritan Board Freshman
Organic Night Night Balm by Badger - A Natural Sleep Aid for Children
^^great stuff... apply to the feet!

Sleep begets sleep. Make sure he is actually getting a long enough nap during the day. (Napping toddlers are happy toddlers)

The waking up for milk may have become a habit at this point, rather than a need for food. Also, having milk/formula in the middle of the night can lead to cavities, even if not all the teeth have come in yet. Offer water instead. You can also slowly begin to water down the milk until it no longer tastes so yummy.

Does he co-sleep with you or with his older brother or does he have his own bed? When my youngest was that age, we got a queen sized bed for her and her older sister and they both began sleeping through the night almost immediately, all cute and cuddled up together. They now have their own twin beds, but insist that we keep their beds pushed together.

Hope that's helpful.
 

Honor

de-cool
we let both the boys cry it out when they were little... 1 year old for child #1 and 9 months for #2.. we would do our normal bedtime routine and make sure they were good and fed... then we would say goodnight and that was it... they would cry until the would go to sleep... if they threw up then we would silently go in there and clean them up and walk out the room. With #1 I couldn't do it... Hubby had to tackle me outside the door... he then gave me a roll of quarters and told me to go down the block to the local pool hall and play pool until he called when the baby was a sleep... I was there 2 1/2 hours.. the next night I was there only 2 hour and 15 mins. and slowly VERY SLOWLY the time decreased. by the end of a week and a half he was asleep 5 mins after we lay him down and with no cring and no waking in the middle of the night. it was the same story with #2 but this time I had the resolve and didn't have to go to the pool hall... In my humble opinion it was WELL worth it.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
We did let our older son cry it out, and we were still adults who loved our baby. Our younger, she didn't need to CIO, because she just slept.
I'm not familiar with CIO; cry it out? What was it like?
Well, CIO (yes, cry it out) is like Jessica said above.
I don't think it is something you would start out of nowhere with a 15 month old (I think that is your son's age), as it is more what you do with the baby at first. Also, it is what you do when you put them down to bed at the beginning of the night, more so than in the middle. If a baby is crying when you put them down, you have just seen him and know all is well. In the middle of the night, you would probably want to check on him, like you do. However, with our children, when they would consistently wake up at a specific time (say 3 am) every morning, then at some point, we might have let them cry then, so as to break that pattern.

I have a 14 month old. If she was waking in the middle of the night, every night, this is probably what I would try:

The first night, I'd go in, pet her until she is calm, and leave. Maybe even pick her up, this first time. But I wouldn't really rock her. They say, start how you want to end up. I do not want to have to rock my daughter to sleep when she's four years old.
So I go in, calm her down (very quickly), and leave. I don't get very far, b/c she's probably going to cry again immediately.
She cries, I go right back in, pet, leave.
She cries, I go right back in, pet, leave.
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Eventually she will get that I am not taking her out of bed, giving her milk, etc. This is what she gets. It may take three or so nights of doing this repeatedly for it to work.

For your son, this is out of nowhere, maybe, so he might be really confused, so it might take a lot of petting.
My daughter went through this stage around 7-8 months, after sleeping through the night from seven weeks on, so it was a shock to my system, but this is essentially what we did.

Now if she awakes, I go in and give her a pacifier, and she is fine.
As you can see, every baby is different and lots of different things work. I would try to find Secrets of the Baby Whisperer from the library, if you think you'd like to try the petting approach. That's where I got it, and I'm sure she explains it much better!

Also, if you give the baby a bottle before naps and before bedtime, you might want to try to break that habit. That could be why he needs milk in the middle of the night, as well. If that's what cues him to sleep, he really may NEED that to sleep. With my daughter, she "needs" a pacifier. If she wakes up and cannot find it herself, then she may cry. I am going to have to work on cutting this out eventually as well--it just isn't a nightly problem, so I haven't worried, yet!

From the start, we did what the BabyWhisperer called EASY: Eat, activity, sleep, you time. So baby eats when he wakes up, then plays or bathes or some activity, then sleeps, (and thus you have "you" time). You follow this pattern for nap time, too. She, and other people who believe in sleep training (controversial!), say to separate bottle and bedtime. This way, baby is not dependent on the bottle for bed. When they are really young, you do give them their final feeding right before bed, but at 15 months, I think you could manage to give him his last milk a while before bed, that's what we do, anyway.

IF our daughter is having an off night and does cry when we put her down, and the petting doesn't work, then we might let her cry it out, but honestly with this one, we haven't had too much of that. With our two and a half y/o, we had tons and tons of nights with him crying himself to sleep. Looking back, I prefer the calming method.
 

Jesus is my friend

Puritan Board Junior
:pilgrim:Well

Many of the other folks seems to have seems seasoned advice esp. the mothers,Thank God for them! (My wife is the best) anyway she would have the best tips but she,like children is sleeping

We noticed what we though was one huge thing with Joshua our second he was a horrible sleeper for the first 8-9 this was very hard on my wife and then we moved into our first house:banana:and the very first night and then on an amazing sleeper,why?,we believe it had to do with the smell and proximity of the Mother,I am not a brilliant:think:however there have been studies showing the powerful bond between mother and child esp. if mom is the only one who feeds and even moreso with breastfeeding moms,My boy Joshua could no loger smell my wife in the crib next to our bed and whammo! he slept like a adult.he had his own room and free from mamas wonderful smell

Grace and Peace to you
 

Honor

de-cool
i think I need to ad two things...
1.) we started when our boys were much younger so I have no idea how well this would work for you or even if it's a good idea.
2.) we had a ton of binkies in the bed with our son. when he would wake up it wasn't hard for him to find one... and if you are a mom with a child who has a binkie you know that it's a pain in the patookis to try and find that one measley little binkie at 3am in the dark.... we took 5 or 6 packages of binkies, cleaned them then dumped them in the crib.
 

puritanpilgrim

Puritan Board Junior
The best book I found on the subject of children's sleep is called Babywise. Using the method I have gotten all my children to sleep through the night by 2 months.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
i think I need to ad two things...
1.) we started when our boys were much younger so I have no idea how well this would work for you or even if it's a good idea.
2.) we had a ton of binkies in the bed with our son. when he would wake up it wasn't hard for him to find one... and if you are a mom with a child who has a binkie you know that it's a pain in the patookis to try and find that one measley little binkie at 3am in the dark.... we took 5 or 6 packages of binkies, cleaned them then dumped them in the crib.
Hahaha...flash to the middle of last night, in our house:
Me: (basically still asleep seeing my husband walking around with a flashlight!) "What the heck are you doing?"
Jeremy (DH):"I can't find a binkie anywhere!"
Me: "She has at least two of them in there with her."
Jeremy:"I know, but I can't find them!"
He disappears, and I guess found one with the flashlight, because all was well again!

The best book I found on the subject of children's sleep is called Babywise. Using the method I have gotten all my children to sleep through the night by 2 months.
We did use Babywise with number one, but switched to the method I described above for number two, and they BOTH slept through the night before seven weeks. I would recommend every parent reading Babywise, but tweaking it. I like how they stress scheduling, esp. for feeding, but I think one can go too far if they don't use their own instincts!
And don't tell the lactation nurses!
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
We did let our older son cry it out, and we were still adults who loved our baby. Our younger, she didn't need to CIO, because she just slept.
My advice wasn't an implication that parents who CIO don't love their children. There are sound reasons why one shouldn't CIO for the health of the child.

-----Added 1/26/2009 at 04:53:15 EST-----

The best book I found on the subject of children's sleep is called Babywise. Using the method I have gotten all my children to sleep through the night by 2 months.
The Ezzos are one of the WORST people, next to Gothard to go to for raising children. And yes, I took courses. And yes, I have horror stories of those that propound this stuff to be "God's Way" of "training" a child (see Pavlov's dog...I believe they actually used this as an example during our class). They are also known for propagating unsound "health" information on breastfeeding, sleeping, and babywearing...as well as comments during videos that are borderline racist on these issues.

That is all I will say on the subject: the view of children by the Ezzos, Gothard, and Pearls is somewhere no covenant family should go.

http://www.ezzo.info/



And if you are breastfeeding, a babe isn't meant to sleep through the night given how breastmilk and a babe's digestive system are.
 
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queenknitter

Puritan Board Freshman
First of all, it's just tough. No sleep and all that. It's tough all the way around. So my sympathies. . . . Neither of my boys were great sleepers in the beginning. I talked with my mother-in-law about it, and she remembered that none of her kids were good sleepers. And then she remembered that HER mother-in-law told her that none of her TWELVE kids were good sleepers either. I finally concluded that it was a genetic thing, bred into my children from my inlaws' Ozark background. I mean, think about it -- who's going to get the attention every baby needs in order to survive the harsh life of the prairie? It's the one who cries! :-D I think we've messed up our thinking about what God designed these little ones for -- to be near Mommy, to crave human touch, to eat, eat, eat.

That being said, you're still exhausted. (((you)))

I had the best luck with _The Happiest Baby on the Block_'s techniques. Those worked the best for us.

And quite honestly, that second year of life -- from about 12 months to 24 months -- is rough on sleep. All those molars are coming in. And it hurts! So you don't want the little one suffering alone away from you.

Also those milestones are tough too. Often they'll be restless until they master walking or talking.

As I sit here and type this, my little 2.5yo guy is sitting next to me on the counter messing up my sudoku game. ;) He sleeps great now!! Really great. But just a year ago, I was in your shoes with a really restless, teething toddler. It was tough. My dear husband helped me by taking over the morning routine so I could sleep an extra few hours. There were nights I never thought I'd sleep again. ;) I was wrong, of course. We both got through it. It's one of the rougher patches of parenting, that's true.
 

Honor

de-cool
the sleepless nights is the thing that makes me NEVER want any more kids EVER again... I get cold chills just thinking about the sleepless nights.
HUGS
 
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