Wednesday, September 29, 2010

16 month old not sleeping

Questioner: Anthony

Subject: sleeping

Question: My 16 month old daughter has a hard time sleeping through the night. Yes it is probably our fault because we run in there with a bottle every time, and she got use to it. She started getting a little better, only waking once, because we started letting her cry through her waking cycle. For some reason, however, that stopped and now she is up almost every 1 ½ to 2 hours.
 Each time she takes in about 4 oz of milk. We recently started holding off again from entering the room to try to make her self-sooth however her cries escalate into screams to a point that she works herself into throwing up. We cant afford her getting use to that type of attention. Obviously we have to change her, clean the bed and soother her back into calming down (with more milk). We don’t want her to think that’s the only time we will come into her; by throwing up.

She gets fed pretty well during the day but we do notice that she is more cranky, probably because of the lack of continuous sleep. All I know is I cant think of a time that she hasn’t been up less than 3 times a night. Average is 3-4 times. I go in for the first 2, and my wife does the 4:00AM’ish wake up call.

I hope you can help us.

Thanks,

Anthony

Answer: Dear Anthony,

Well first of all what kind of a bedtime routine do you have? It sounds like she could be overstimulated. Routines are different than schedules. A schedule is based upon time and young children do not have a sense of time.

What they need for safety and security is a sense of a routine.

I suggest you turn down the environmental noise, TVs', computers, radio's etc. The put on some soft relaxing music, turn down the lights etc., about an hour before bedtime.

Next some light play activities such as reading or singing etc.

Then, if you bathe a bath followed up by infant massage. Who doesn't sleep more sound after a massage?

Try this and maintain a routine each night. It takes 6 weeks or so for a person's behavior to change so don't expect it to change your infant in only a night or two. The secret is consistency. I think you both will be sleeping again shortly.

Also do you think she is hungry. A child's stomach is only as big as their fist and their digestive tract works better than ours because they haven't abused it as much as we adults do.

Best Wishes!

Dr. Mary Kay Keller
Hassle Free Bedtime? Click here!