I never thought I would have a year-old baby who still isn’t sleeping through the night, but unless Dylan gets it all figured out in the next few weeks, that’s exactly the situation I’m in. It’s not ideal by any means, but as long as 1) he stays asleep from his bedtime until at least 11 or so, giving me those mission-critical few hours of downtime, and 2) he wakes up only once or twice and goes back down with a minimum of fuss, it’s doable. I GUESS.

It’s certainly not as bad as it used to be, what with the screaming and the screaming and oh yeah the scuh-reaming, but I do hate the inconsistency. I put him to bed at 7 and it’s anyone’s guess as to what happens next. He could sleep straight on through until 6 AM (very rare), sleep until 2 AM and wake up demanding a bottle (fairly common), wake up at 9-goddamned-thirty and refuse to go back to sleep until midnight then wake back up at 5 (not sure what this one was all about but it happened last night and suuuuucked).

During the Time of the Wee-hour Screamfests I’m not sure if we made a real, textbook attempt at crying it out or not. There were definitely some nights when there was a whole shitload of crying, but I was so addled by the whole thing I kept going in or not going in based on random data points like how clinically crazy I felt at any given moment, rather than the scheduled comfort visits as recommended in various sleep training methods. Sometimes he would cry no matter what I did, so what was there to do but put him back in his crib and pray his furious blattings eventually exhausted him while I lay in my own bed staring at the ceiling praying for death relief? I’ll tell you one thing, that kid had stamina. He could outcry any Ferber expert, and he could outcry any AP fan who dared to bring him into bed, where he would yell and kick and thrash his way around the mattress.

It was so awful for a while that I hardly dare complain about having to get up once or twice, but still: dude. It’s been almost twelve months. Riley slept like a champ starting at eight weeks, and I honestly just assumed that’s what babies did, unless, you know, you screwed things up somehow. Ha ha ha. Ha?

On the plus side, there is no feeling in the world like a baby nestling into your chest, making himself comfortable in order to fall asleep on your body — even if it’s at 3 in the morning. I know he won’t do this forever. Every day I hope he’ll stop, and then I think: wait.

In other news, do you mind if I take a moment to plug Bodies in Motivation? Because seriously, there is some very cool stuff over there, and I can say that because the majority of it isn’t written by me. There are awesomely inspirational success stories, calls for reader advice; a growing list of bloggers who are sharing the good, the bad, and the totally-relatable; and much more. If you’re not already visiting, I’d be honored if you stopped by. Any feedback is more than welcome!

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Allison
Allison
14 years ago

I love Bodies In Motivation! It’s my new favourite website, I spend way too much time on it when I should be working. Heh. But anyway, great site, Linda!

Crystal
14 years ago

Have you ruled out food allergies? Perhaps on nights that he doest sleep so hot its because he ate something that didnt agree with him??

My son had screaming fits at bedtime. Took us a while to figure out the screaming fits took place on the same nights he had Macaroni Salad from the deli.

Not all food allergies present themselves as the turning blue, throat closing event we all imagine.

Turns out he is allergic to eggs and the mayo in the salad made him sick. Stopped the mayo, and the screaming fits stopped.

Arent kids fun puzzles?

Liz
Liz
14 years ago

My 3-year-old has decided her bedroom is scary, so we’re going through the exact same thing with her. She used to go to sleep in her own bed, then come into ours at 2 or 3 am. The last few nights she has gotten up right after storytime, and then cried and cried until we let her get in our bed. What do we do now?

Kelly
14 years ago

You got lucky with Riley. Most people I know don’t have 3 year olds who sleep through the night and the ones who claim they do are lying.

Eve
Eve
14 years ago

I’m right there with you Linda. I have a 9 month old who doesn’t come close to sleeping through the night! She’s super inconsisten too. The worst is when she wakes up at like 10 and it takes HOURS to get her back to sleep. Or when she wakes up at 4 and you just know she’s up for the day…

Anyway, it makes me feel better to know I’m not the only one awake in those wee hours of the morning. Here’s to hoping the new year brings more sleep!

Divrchk
Divrchk
14 years ago

My daughter was the same way and she was my second… It took well over a year for her to sleep through the night. Our situation was very similar to yours – she’d usually wake up once and take a bottle and go back to bed. I have friends that were horrified that we did this but the alternative was way less sleep. It was a choice of listening to her cry for HOURS or spend the 10 minutes and give her a bottle and get back to bed. Good luck. I think you’re choosing the lesser of two evils. It is doable and it does end.

danielle
danielle
14 years ago

Have you talked to your pediatrician? Mine gave me some good advice for our big one. I can’t remember it now but I’m visiting him again for the little one on Thursday (who mysteriously is also not sleeping through the night at 9 m.o.). I’ll pass along whatever advice he throws my way.

Anne L.
Anne L.
14 years ago

GAH. I feel your pain on the no-sleep. My 10 month old daughter is doing basically the same. Last night it was a blissful 8-11 sleep for her, then up till 1, then up at 3:30, and 5, aaaand finally, 7. And you know I do love my Mom, but if I have to hear her say “SHE JUST NEEDS TO LEARN TO SOOTHE HERSELF”, I may just incinerate her. Maybe. Tired much?

Kalisa
14 years ago

Love BIM. Have shared it w/ the other ladies at work who have all resolved to get into a fitness routine.

ikate
ikate
14 years ago

10 months. 10 fucking months until my little angel slept a complete 8 hours without waking. She was still up and down until about 15 months and since I was the “bottle” until 18 months I did all the waking with her. Then we got about 10 good months of 11-12 solid hours – and oh my god did I sleep…I pretty much went down with her each night and slept like the dead. I was beyond exhausted. But now, at about 27 months we are back to waking 2-3 times a night and I keep thinking “how did I survive this for 10 months?” I’m not sure I can live through a second child.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought to myself “if she’s crying it means she’s alive, so I think I can go back to sleep” – ah, the mind of a sleep-deprived parent.

Harper
14 years ago

Now, I’ll know that there is someone else out there awake at 3 am. I look down at him eating and the bliss that he feels in my arms and it hits me… one day he’ll be in another woman’s arms securing that comfort. AND I’ll be gone.

t.cup
t.cup
14 years ago

yeah…. i had one of those kids that slept through from 7 weeks. and then i had another one who only JUST started sleeping through the night at about 8.5 months. and you know what?? i actually sort of MISS waking up and seeing him around the clock. clearly, sleep deprivation has messed with my head.

Jenn D
14 years ago

My first daughter slept through the night starting at 8 weeks or so. I too thought that it was normal. My second daughter is 19 months old, and she STILL gets up at least once every night.

Lisa
Lisa
14 years ago

I had to give myself a paradigm shift when I was up, again, with my daughter in the wee hours, last year. I remember thinking to myself, “Oh good Lord. How can I think about this diffently?” because I was getting pissed off about it. And I had the thought that in the span of my lifetime, my little one is going to be small enough for me to hold for a very short time. There will be a day, when I will think, “Hmmmm, the last time I held her on my lap was over a year ago. Oh God. If I knew that was going to be the last time, I would have held her longer”. We only get them in this size for a relatively short time. It’s hard to see that when they’re so needy during the night, but it won’t last forever–and that’s why I want to hold her while I can.

Sonia
Sonia
14 years ago

This might not be comforting, but I can sympathize. My 8 year old (sorry!) has always been a great sleeper. Unless he was in pain because of his brain malformation, and then it was GLARINGLY obvious why he was awake. The last 3 years since his neurosurgery, he’s been back to the fantastic sleeping. Until the last 3 or 4 weeks. He’s not hurting. He’s not cold. He’s not broken out in hives, coughing or barfing. He’s just…….. awake. Goes down around 8pm (puts himself to bed!) and around 11pm or 12am, he wakes up and wants to PAR-TAY! There have been recent nights when he hasn’t fallen back to sleep until 4am, and then is just rotten because he’s tired the entire next day. He’s mostly non-verbal, so my husband and I have sort of come to the conclusion that he’s at that age where shadows are scary, or he’s having nightmares. I’ll tell you what, it is a RUDE awakening (heh) after all those years of 12 hours of sleep in a row! I don’t have a solution, just wanted you to know that I feel your pain!

M
M
14 years ago

My little one didn’t sleep through the night until she was 16 months old. I was still nursing at the time and am an AP fan. Before 16 months I truly felt she still needed me at night, but there came a time when I knew I was being played and it got a little ugly at our house for a bit. One thing that really helped was giving her a sippy cup of water in her crib at night. She still gets one every night at 2.5 and its almost empty most mornings. Of course now I wonder how she will ever night time potty learn!

Jan
Jan
14 years ago

Right there with you. I put my 10 month old to bed at 7:00 and he wakes up numerous times each night. He usually only cries for a minute or two and then back asleep. Around the 5:00 mark he screams bloody murder so I feed him and he’s good until 7:00. It seems like forever since I’ve had more than 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Ugh.

nonsoccermom
14 years ago

Wow!! I could have written this post myself. Kid #1 – great sleeper from about 8 weeks in. This one, well, she turned a year on 12/27 and there seems to be no end in sight. And like Dylan, there is no pattern, no predictability, I just find myself hoping that she’ll stay down for at least a few hours at a time. And keep thinking that surely, SURELY, she won’t need me to go off to college so that I can tuck her back in at 2 every morning. Right? Please?

Joceline
Joceline
14 years ago

I hear you on the sleep! My now 15-month-old son was on pretty much the same unpredictable “schedule” as Dylan despite various efforts recommended by anyone and everyone. We tried it all, and it all failed. I was miserable and ready to punch the next person who offered assvice. Magically, at 13 months, he started sleeping through the night and we’ve had very few hiccups since. I really hope the same happens for you!

Ally
Ally
14 years ago

My 21 mo didn’t start consistently sleeping through the night until she was 18 month old! She would wake up only once for a while, and only for a drink of water – but we still never had an uninterrupted night of sleep until very recently. But hearing that Riley slept well at 8 weeks makes me hope that maybe with my next one, i’ll get lucky and the baby will sleep through right away? does that kind of thing really happen?

Brenda
14 years ago

Oh, I totally get you on the part about putting him down or not putting him down based on a random number of data points… I remember carrying my child for three hours straight (both while standing and sitting) and quietly sobbing and feeling sorry for myself, thinking about how I was going to make it through the next day, month, year.

No matter how specific the Ferber or Weissbluth steps are, IN THE TEXTBOOK, it’s so much more difficult to apply them to your own baby. I tried CIO on my own first-born and after a few traumatic nights it was over. He slept through for a month, then it all exploded and we were back at square one. I gave up after that and he eventually stopped waking up in the middle of the night at 2 years old!!!! At least as he got older, he got easier to reason with because he knew he had to remain in bed and would close his eyes when patted on the behind.

You do what you have to do, then suddenly it’s all over and you kinda miss and don’t miss those days when they so desperately need your comfort in the middle of the night.

Sara
14 years ago

my nephew turned 2 last month and he still doesn’t sleep thru the night. he only sleeps a couple of hours and then cries and screams until someone comes to get him. he’s now started crying so hard he throws up if they leave him alone, hoping he’ll go back to sleep. they’re taking him to a naturopath next week. good luck, hope yours doesn’t go that bad!

Jamie
14 years ago

Same exact situation here, only we’re only 7 months in. My three year old also has been sleeping like a champ since 7 weeks, so seriously WTF KID?

OH, and LOVE Bodies in Motivation. Thank you for that :)

denese
14 years ago

i was initially excited at the empathy i found in this post and comments, then realized, SHIT. this could go on for another year? or two? my daughter’s only 5 months old and i’m already pondering putting her back in my womb and starting over.

and if my mom keeps telling me “just feed her lots of cereal right before bed, it really helps” i swear to jeebus…i’m so tired i don’t even know what i’d do.

my mom is staying the night with ruby next weekend while my husband and i stay in a hotel after his work holiday party. HA HA MOM.

Swistle
14 years ago

ACK, sleep issues are TEH WORST! I have, in order of appearance:

– one who had a lot of sleep issues as a baby and even now has trouble getting to sleep

– one great sleeper who occasionally becomes difficult for nightmare-type reasons and then goes back to being great

– one terrrrrrrrrrrible sleeper with many, every-changing issues

– one excellent-beyond-excellence sleeper who says “I’m tired” at 6:45 and then sleeps through until morning even if other kids in his room cry

– one jury-still-out sleeper, who is sometimes excellent and sometimes issue-ish

Erin
14 years ago

I hear you! My little one is just a few days older than yours and he just started sleeping through the night. I was content when he got down to one waking per night and then one day I was just done. He cried, a lot, for a couple of nights (I invested in a couple pairs of good earplugs) and now he’s all better. It was hard to give up that special middle of the night mommy and baby time. The only time he ever snuggled.

The sleep is nice but I kind of miss our cuddle time. Kind of.

Katie (The Yap)
14 years ago

I don’t know how you do it: You get in my head and you take all my thoughts and you write them down in a way that is so funny and so true and so RIGHT. The whole
“random data points like how clinically crazy I felt at any given moment” line? Perfect.

Stacy
Stacy
14 years ago

My twelve and a half month old slept blissfully through the night from 3 months until 9 months and then started waking in the night. It’s now been almost four full months and I am awake with him at least twice a night. I don’t have any advice for you. I’ve tried to let him cry. I have rocked. Nursed. Sang. Cried.
Reading these comments, I guess I’m not all that unusual. Either way, I’m getting pretty tired. How about a posting Linda about how to get caffeine into your body fastest?

paul
paul
14 years ago

Not that this is going to help at all, but our first (2 1/2 yo) has always been a sleeper, from the get-go. And our second (1 yo) has NEVER been one.She wakes up virtually every night, and ends up in our bed virtually every night — she seems to sleep much better when snuggled between us. I tell my wife that at least we’ll know what time she’s coming in from dates when she gets to high school.

On another topic, I have been reading and enjoying your blog for some time now. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

Nicole
Nicole
14 years ago

Bodies in Motivation is my new favorite site. I love that there seems to be at least one new post a day and so far I have enjoyed every single one. I spend waaaaay too much time checking all of your sites as well as other bloggers that I follow. Wish I could find a way to make money reading other people’s blogs. ;) Thanks for starting up BIM!

Anyabeth
14 years ago

Man, the comments about everyone’s first baby slept but their second one never has are scaring me out of having another baby.

My daughter is almost exactly the same age as Dylan. Overall, she is a pretty good sleeper (SORRY) but I take endless amounts of crap about still giving her a bottle each morning between 4-5.

I do know that on the nights when she gets up multiple times? I am semi-suicidal so I am gritting my teeth on your behalf.

Jenn Perryman
Jenn Perryman
14 years ago

First, I love Bodies in Motivation and I’m motivated, thanks to you and your co-horts. Second- Dylan sounds pretty normal to me. Mine is just now 2, but I sleep when I can, love the times I get the entire night and am resigned to anything less. I find if I go to bed expecting to wake at 3am then when it happens, I’m not so upset. They are taking in so much information, and teething (all those teeth!) and new foods and new sights and well, I don’t like it, but I get it. I do hope Dylan figures it out soon though, for your sake! I’m always amazed in the difference between 8 hours of broken sleep vs. 8 hours consecutive.

molly
molly
14 years ago

Making the just-in-case (yea right – more like sure-case) bottle for my 1 yr and 1 wk better-sleeper-than-his-sister-but-NOT-STTN-by-any-means baby as I type. The few times I’ve slept 8-hrs in a row since 2006 always find me waking up in a panic to run and check on them. Husband and I just argued for the trillionth time about WHAT TO DO about the sleep issue again tonight. I hear that Oprah is planning a show on sleep issues breaking up marriages (I am NOT kidding!).

biscuit
biscuit
14 years ago

Maggie is the same age as Dylan. Every night of the past week she has been crying between 10-11 (bedtime is 8) because she craps herself. I change her, stick a bottle in her scream hole + she is out until the morning. HOWEVER, every morning she has crap in her dipe too. All of a sudden she won’t poop while she is awake. It’s weird.

Ninja pooper.

Amy
Amy
14 years ago

I have no wonderful answers for you….I had pretty sucky sleepers, but I can admit it was mostly my fault. I’m a FT working mom (not completely by choice) and would have done just about ANYTHING to get some sleep. At 6 and 4 we still have some not so great nights, but even at that age….you’re right about having a baby/child snuggle into you and eventually go limp with sleep. Nothing like it!! And glad you and JB got through it! NOW GO GET SOME SLEEP!

Naomi in Oz
14 years ago

I hate to tell you this, but in 15 years time you will still be sitting up at night waiting for him to get tired and go to bed in his own bed. Of course he won’t be screeching (or even be in your house) but you will still be awake…in fact, you’ll probably be wondering where the hell he is at this goddamned hour, so having him snuggling into your chest isn’t so bad. I got good at dozing in front of the tv with a head set on.

iidly
14 years ago

rice cereal in his nightly bottle at night for the win. Worked like a champ for us.

Donna
Donna
14 years ago

It’s good that you are writing all this down cuz I swear I don’t remember my kids when they were this age. My grandkids are excellent sleepers, as long as they sleep with you. I don’t get any sleep still cuz they are like sleeping with swamp rats, feet in your face, fist in your nose, you get the drift.
I do remember my son could sleep through anything though, he slept through a black crows concert when he was 8 or 9. 4 rows back from the stage. Don’t ask me how.
I hope you are keeping all these blogs somewhere, if not, you need to, I’d give money to be able to read what I’d have written.

Jenny
14 years ago

My lil guy (almost a year old) seems to have sleep interruptions when he’s hitting some sort of developmental milestone. He’s been a through-the-night sleeper since he was about 2 months old, but anytime he’s about to do something major (crawl, cruise, cut teeth, etc.) we go back to two or occasionally three wake-ups a night. My pediatrician says that it has to do with their sleep cycle, and their brain laying down neural pathways as they learn new things, and a whole bunch of other stuff that sounds fantastic when a guy in a white coat says it. Anyway, I feel ya’.

Oh, and Bodies in Motivation was added to my bookmarks bar as soon as you mentioned it. Great site! It made me start my own “fattie no more” blog.

Joanne
14 years ago

I think in order to have a sleep plan, you have to – well, have a plan. I drove myself crazy with my first crappy sleeper, trying to on the fly decide to let him cry or not. Then one night my husband read a quote to me by Abraham Lincoln (sleep expert?) about how faith without a plan of what to do was really nothing at all. So I made a plan and stuck to it and it sucks but now they are three and one and they both are in bed all night from 7:00ish to 7:00ish. Often my one year old wakes up at 5:00 but 5:00 is too early so I just leave her there until 6:00 which seems more reasonable to me. She hasn’t gotten it yet but I assume she will. I really think that she is playing me – she doesn’t have allergies, or an ear infection, or is hungry – nothing! She just wants to be up and play and the middle of the night is not time for that. With my first, I used to go in and try and comfort him and he ended up SO tired that the slightest noise would make him cry and he had circles under his eyes. I couldn’t take it anymore so we sleep trained him. It sucked but I really feel like it was the best thing for him. I know WAY too many people who have, like, FIVE year olds who can’t sleep and I just am not wiling to do that to my kids or my family. I’m old, I always tell them! I have to sleep sometime too! :)

sharon
sharon
14 years ago

My 2 1/2 year old was the same way. Her daddy was the one who sleep trained her… I had let her “cry it out” based on experts’ advice (we read ALL the books) anywhere from 10-60 minutes at a time during her first year of life…she could cry for an hour and still not fall asleep. Ferber, my ass. Finally, when she was 13 months old, I went on a girls’ retreat for a week and my husband let her cry for 48 hours. Seriously. 48 hours of crying with intermittent napping. That did it. I came back from the retreat and she was sleeping through the night, at least to the point where she is now…now she still cries out in the night 2-3 times, but we only go in to comfort her if it’s a really bad dream.

I’m hoping my 3 month old figures it out better on his own… but I’ve got airline miles saved up just in case.

books
books
14 years ago

I feel you-we will hit 6 months next week. For someone who read “Babywise” and was confident he’d be sleeping through the night at 12 weeks, it has been a bitter pill.

We finally achieved a stretch of uninterrupted nights by swaddling him again (so he couldn’t knock his binky out on accident or take it out on purpose). Then he got a stomach bug and it all went to hell. We just got him back to sleeping through again for a few days and then another stomach bug hit. He was up at 10 to 4 this morning. And I have to get up at 5, so that SUCKED.

Mine also has missed the memo that letting him cry it out means that at some point, he is supposed to stop crying. He’s gone an hour plus the few times we’ve had to resort to that.

Nona
Nona
14 years ago

We had the same problem with our daughter. We went to a behaviorist, and it worked. She’s now 3 and she does sleep through the night, and no, I’m not lying. We needed help, and it was such a relief when we got it and it worked. It was hard until it did; it took just over two weeks. But now we are much happier, and so is our girl.

I know what you’re going through, it sucks on toast. I really recommend the behaviorist. I’d even give you the number or email of ours…maybe he could help you find one in your area. Good luck, poor girl.

Red
Red
14 years ago

My ~17mo still wakes 1x a night 99% nights, and is a poor napper (although last night STTN after crappy night before, thank GOD). Has been a poor napper since the start, no matter what we try. Usually wakes before midnight and not before 9pm, and we never drag our asses to bed until after 11 anyway, so most nights it isn’t lethal. With teething or developmental milestones he wakes more. Also the stealth air bubble will make things rough. Thought about CIO but he can self-induce vomiting in under 60 seconds when he gets upset so uh, no. Won’t be trying that again any time soon.
Found your blog just this year. Love. it.

Marin
14 years ago

I’m not sure if this will help you or make you cry, but: my brother didn’t sleep through the not (or at all, really) until he was 2 1/2. (Sorry.)

Also, I am always over at Bodies. I’m like the weird kid looking in on the cool, fit kids.

Tammy
Tammy
14 years ago

My youngest daughter cried every hour on the hour for 18 months. It was the closest I came to a mental breakdown, hurling myself off of a tall building or killing my husband in a trancelike state. It was awful. I thought she would never sleep through the night. So I totally feel for you.
At 18 months, as though someone flipped a switch, peace. All night.
It will get better. I promise.

diane
diane
14 years ago

No advice on the sleeping butI love Bodies in Motivation – great site with fantastic advice/motivation.

aimee
14 years ago

My son is an excellent sleeper (from early like Riley) and I’m terrified that if/when we have a #2 he/she will be more like Dylan. Good luck!

Michelle
14 years ago

My 6-month-old daughter sleeps through the night thankfully but I can’t get her to take naps without holding her. I’m going to try to let her cry it out starting next week but I don’t have much hope for it working.

TG
TG
14 years ago

WARNING: CONTAINS UNSOLICITED ADVICE
You and I are doing sleep totally different ways but we have a similar issue. My 18mo won’t sleep for more than a few hours. At 9mo my DR said to knock off the night feedings. Dr. claims by that age they can get enough calories in the day and night feeding is just comfort. (I waited until after 12mo, it just seemed too soon.)She woke up less once she realized that there was no perk to getting up so often. We did lots of other little random things that I think had little impact. The best thing for me was I stopped worrying about it. I stopped looking at the clock and noting how long she slept. If she woke up, I put her back to sleep. I stopped keeping track of how many times she woke up. I started empathizing that she was freaking tired all the time and it was my job to get her good sleep. So I focused on what would get her the best night sleep. Then I found the ways I could work my sleep around it. End reslut (for now)is a futon on her floor. She sleeps there now naps and night. When she wakes up, there is almost no crying. She either comes to get me (if lights are on) or she gives a hollar and I go to her. We snuggle, she falls asleep, I leave. Most nights, at some point, I fall asleep with her. We both wake up well rested. I don’t want to do this forever but kids need different things at different points and this is working for us now. (Also helps that the man and I take turns comforting her during the night so e/o night I get a full nights sleep in my bed.)
Good luck.