Q&A: Baby Won't Sleep Through the Nightby Dr. Christine Wood, M.D
Q: My 12 month-old still won't sleep through the night, and she cannot go to sleep by herself. I rock her to sleep 3 times a day and it takes anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 1/2 hrs. to get her to sleep. Even if she is extremely tired, she fights sleeping. She only sleeps in her crib for 3-4 hours at night, and once she wakes up and realizes she is in her crib, she won't go back to sleep until she is in bed with me. She has always been very sensitive, and I cannot just put her in her crib and let her cry herself to sleep, because she will not ever go to sleep, she will cry until she makes herself sick. Please help. My husband and I would like our bed back. She sleeps so much better in her crib, when she is in our bed, she just rolls back and forth between us all night, and is very restless, but its the only way she will sleep all night. HELP.
A: At this point, your baby has developed a sleep crutch. That is, baby is falling asleep with you and being rocked to sleep. Every time she enters a light sleep cycle, she cries and searches for you, and now has difficulty settling without your presence. There are not a lot of options if you want to correct this problem. You should have a nighttime routine and put her in her crib awake at night and let her cry. You can go in every five to ten minutes the first night for brief periods to reassure her that you have not deserted her. The next night you should stretch out the time before you go back in. Now some babies get more hysterical every time they see you and it may be easier if dad goes in, if he is not the one who usually rocks her to sleep.
You and your husband need to make an agreement that you will be diligent about trying this for at least one week, without picking her up or bringing her to your bed. Every time you do, she sees that sometimes she gets her way and that encourages her to be more persistent in her crying.Dr. Christine Wood is a practicing pediatrician in Southern California. She attended the University of Detroit for her undergraduate degree in chemistry and received her medical degree from the University of Michigan. She completed her pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. She was Chief Resident there and then worked in the emergency room at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. After three years doing pediatric emergency room medicine she went into private practice. She received her lactation educator certification from the University of California, San Diego. She is the author of "How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It," a book that addresses the issues of why and how to feed kids healthy. The book also covers information about environmental threats and the role of nutritional supplementation for children. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son. Christine is also the cofounder of CallYourPed.com a website designed to give concerned parents with non-emergency medical questions, solid, no-nonsense information that can give them information in deciding when to call the doctor and some home treatment advice.
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