Desperate Dad - Any Advice STRONGLY APPRECIATED!

My wife and I have been experiencing issues with our son sleeping through the night lately. He is a 14 month old boy and previously was an AMAZING sleeper. We had him a very strict routine for both his naps and bedtime sleeping. For about the last 6 weeks now he started fighting his afternoon nap. Often screaming and crying to point where you would just have to give up and skip the nap. We knew at the time that we had been entering that age where the transition from 2 to 1 naps would happen, but we also read that you shouldn’t force it or rush it and you have to “feel it out”. So often there where other days he would accept the nap fine because you could tell he was tired and we would bring him up for the nap and he would sleep as usual. Each of his two naps (if he took the afternoon nap) was about 1-1.5 hours each. If he has only 1 he tends to sleep for 2-2.5 hours. This process is still continuing….However the real issue came for bedtime. We would put him down for bed by 7:15 in the crib (sleeping by 7:15 / 7:30 latest, after bath and wind down period) he would go down for bed just fine and fall asleep easily - then almost exactly 1-1.5 hours later he wakes up and will not self sooth back to sleep. After some time we go up once its apparent he will not fall back asleep on his own and rock him in the chair back to sleep and put him back down in the crib. We know many say this is not ideal but we have tried to let him cry it out for over 30 minutes, tried to stand next to the crib and just place a hand on his chest without actually picking him up but he will continuously cry and not self sooth using these methods. Once we get him back down after rocking him (usually takes 30 minutes) until hes back asleep in the crib he often will awake again in the middle of night doing the same thing at around 12:30am or 1am. We again try to give him time to self sooth but doesnt work. It also takes numerous attempts evening when holding him in the rocking chair to finally get him back to sleep in the crib. The moment his body touches the crib again he instantly cries and wants to be picked back up, often taking 2 or 3 attempts to get him to finally fall asleep and stay in the crib. We have never experienced this before as he was always a great sleeper, barely woke from noise and slept straight through the night, his Nanit sleep score was always in the mid 90 percentile. We are dumbfounded as to what we are doing wrong. His room has blackout shades, we play the same white noise hes always had on since birth, we do the “wind down” period about 30-45 minutes before bed time with reading time and a bath, his diet has been fine, and the doctor at checkups says he is totally normal with no issues, we try feeding him in case his hungry when he wakes up at like 1:30am but often still takes multiple attempts to go down or denies the bottle all together, so we truly are puzzled. I would chalk it up to teething but it seems odd that especially his first wake up of the night is always 1-1.5 hours exactly after being put down that it would be pain hitting you daily at nearly the exact same times. Any help or guidance would be a tremendous help!!

Comments

  • It sounds like you're doing everything right. How long is your son's wake window between the last nap and bedtime? I believe at that age it's supposed to be 4-5 hours.

  • Rocio
    Rocio Member

    I’m exactly in the same boat. Doing the same thing. It took sus a couple of months to transition from 1 to 2 naps. ( he is 17 months now). But when the night sleep is so disrupted is hard to tell. If he slept decent at night he will do only 1 nap ( 1.5 hours the most). If he slept very poor at night, he will do like a 10 am nap of 1 hour and again in the afternoon around 2 pm only 1 hour.

    At night is our biggest problem, same, as soon as he touches the crib, even if he is asleep, he wakes up and cries to be picked up. He wakes up very 1.5 or 2 hours. Sometimes he goes in 4 hours stretches but that’s it. He was a great sleeper and then this happened. For us it was after we went away for the first time for 2 night when he was 15 months old. We came back and he started with that regression, first night terrors, then nightmares, now it’s just a habit, we don’t know what to do.

  • ugh it’s so frustrating! Lol I’m sure like us you worked hard to establish the sleep schedule and although you try to avoid thinking it you fall into the “I’m in the clear he’s a good sleeper mindset” and then it hits you like a brick. Many have said don’t put them down asleep. Put them down “right before” they seem like there going to sleep. We have tried that. And allowed him up to 30 minutes to stop crying and maybe self soothe. It NEVER works.

  • MAK12
    MAK12 Member

    Try maximizing the wake window of 4-5 hours and consolidating his naps to one nap.

  • We’re having the same issue now with our son (16 months old) and started reading Elizabeth Pantley’s No cry sleep solution for toddlers in order to pin point some eventual issues. We also knew that it might be because we had guests living at our house for the last three weeks and the sleep schedule and the daily routine was affected. So we tried some tips from the book and we are also back to the ordinary schedule plus we tell our son that when the story time ends he’s going to go and sleep in his bed and we are there, just next door. The last two nights were considerably better with much less crying, just 2-3 min fussing but no screams as it was last week. Also we tried to diminish the amount of stimulation during the day as we considered he had acumulated some fatigue when we had guests. So I hope this helps you also and will last/get better soon. Good luck!

  • This sounds so tough!! It sounds like your son is going through a nap transition that is affecting his nighttime sleep. A few things:

    • if you’re going to transition from 2 to 1 nap, you will have to keep that 1 nap consistent. Don’t go back to 2 naps some days. He should have a WW of 4-5 hours but if he seems tired earlier, allow him to nap earlier and shift the bedtime to earlier too to compensate. Stretch that first wake window a little everyday until it’s where it’s supposed to be and adjust nighttime accordingly.
    • if he’s waking up after being asleep for the night, that indicates he is overtired. When you are transitioning naps, you need to adjust bedtime, sometimes as early as 5:30-6pm to compensate.
    • not sure if you sleep trained before this, but it sounds like extinction method might be the only fix to so many wake ups. I know it can be hard with the crying, but the check ins might be doing more bad than good. Keep it consistent and don’t reinforce with feeds. He does not need food and he does not need rocking. Anything that you do, make sure it is what you’re willing to always do.
    • resources that could help: respectful sleep training group on facebook, moms on call and Natalie Willes