Author Topic: Need help coming up with a sleep training plan for 14 month old  (Read 2094 times)

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Offline albers30

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Need help coming up with a sleep training plan for 14 month old
« on: September 20, 2016, 18:47:16 pm »
Our baby girl just turned 14 months and overall has been pretty decent sleeper so we kind of let some sleep habits slide but we've decided its time to buckle down and break these bad habits and get her sleeping more like the big girl she is.  The two sleep habit issues are going to bed independently at night, she does so at nap time but we have never been able to achieve this at bedtime, and coming to our bed in the middle of the night.  She used to wake up around 2 or 3 and we'd just plop her in bed with us and she'd sleep soundly the rest of the night instead of spending time settling her back down in her bed and having to get up another time or two with her.  This gave us the sleep we needed and didn't really cause any issues.  Well now she's started waking up around 10-11 pm and demanding to go to bed with us.  First, we generally aren't in bed by this time, secondly, I don't want her sleeping with me the entire night. Its also an issue when her twin 3 year old sisters have problems at night and need us and she ends up getting woken up.  The other habit I want to throw out there that I know we need to break but not sure whether to address it at the same time or after getting the sleep issues worked out is the fact she still gets a bottle at bedtime and nap time.  She drinks 8 ounces of milk or more at those times so she seems to need the fluids but won't take it as well from a sippy cup.  She does go to sleep independently without a bottle at school 2 days a week.  Up to this point we've tried gradual weaning for the independent sleeping at bedtime and we've gotten no where with it.  I'd love any ideas or suggestions on how to go about sleep training her.  She is a very spirited child.  Below is her current schedule.  We are traveling soon so we'll probably wait until we get back but I'm open to other suggestions on timing training as well.

Wake 7-730
Nap 1230 or 1 for generally 1.5-2.5 hours
Bedtime 730-8

She transitioned easily to one nap by 12 months so this schedule is nothing new.

Thanks for the help!

Offline Haribo2012

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Re: Need help coming up with a sleep training plan for 14 month old
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2016, 09:06:41 am »
Hi there, I'd say your day looks good really, when she wakes in the night is she happy, chatty? Could be that she needs a slightly longer day at this age some are having 13 hour days especially after a 2.5 hour nap.

The bottle at BT I can't see a problem with most continue this for a good while as its a nice wind down ready for sleep, but try not to let her fall asleep on it. My DS1 swapped to a cup for this around 16 months, but that was purely because he had been ill and wouldn't take a bottle.
With the pre nap bottle I'd just offer a snack and water, she doesn't need the bottle at this age so offer a yoghurt or cheese, crackers etc and water or milk in a cup, if she doesn't drink loads it won't matter as she's had snacks so won't be hungry or thirsty.

With regards to coming in your bed, do you think she'd respond well to GW with never going to bed independently she will need your help for a while, I'd start by cuddling until drowsy then put down and sit a little away from the cot just using your voice, nice low tones and sleepy phrases. Basically repeat repeat at all wake ups. Does she have a lovey, we used to do stories, cuddle the lovey, say night night to all the bed toys etc and really just be consistent.
Zoe


Offline albers30

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Re: Need help coming up with a sleep training plan for 14 month old
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2016, 16:51:46 pm »
If she takes a really long nap and doesn't have a good stretch before bed time then yes she'll be chatty and happy at night so I generally avoid this by cutting her nap off or letting her stay up late.  Most nights though it is pure angry screaming when she wakes that immediately stops when you walk in the room until she realizes you aren't going to pick her up and carry her to our bed then the extreme screaming continues and nothing helps.  There is nothing that will settle her until she gets what she wants or she eventually wheres herself out from screaming but this can take hours.  She is a very strong willed "spirited" little girl.  Her bedtime routine for months has been bath, quiet play time in room with mommy or daddy, read a book or two, bottle, saying goodnight then sitting in the room with her until she falls asleep using a variety of patting, shushing, vocal reassurance as needed to help her settle.  But over 3 months later we are no closer to independant sleep then we were at the start of this and at night time none of these techniques work. I've even made a bed in her room to sleep in there because she cries and carries on for hours if I don't take her out to my bed.  After 2-3 hours I generally can't take any more and finally give up and take her to bed with me because I need at least a few hours of sleep.  She's never taken a pacifier and wants nothing to do with a lovey, unlike my other two which has been a challenge.  She'll chew on her blanket some but thats the only thing that comforts her at all.  So i'm not sure what else to do.  I feel like we've tried all those things you've suggested and aren't getting anywhere.  Additional thoughts?

Offline jessmum46

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Re: Need help coming up with a sleep training plan for 14 month old
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2016, 18:57:35 pm »
Hiya, just popping on to offer some support, it's totally draining when these little people sleep badly isn't it?  ((hugs))

You've already had some great advice from Zoe, so not going to repeat that :D  But just wanted to perhaps suggest a few things if that's ok?  These bits in what you wrote jumped out at me and they may well be the key for you:
There is nothing that will settle her until she gets what she wants or she eventually wheres herself out from screaming but this can take hours.  She is a very strong willed "spirited" little girl.

she cries and carries on for hours if I don't take her out to my bed.  After 2-3 hours I generally can't take any more and finally give up and take her to bed with me
Believe me when I say I totally, totally get this.  When you are so tired yourself, and it is horrible o'clock in the morning, honestly most of us just do whatever works.  The problem is though that she is basically outlasting you, getting what she wants, and then reinforcing the cycle of I protest=I get what I want.  Hard as it is, I think if you want to break this you need to break the cycle and make your mind up to outlast her.  Think of it in another way - if it was nearly dinner time and she asked for an ice-cream, you'd say no wouldn't you?  Would her crying, screaming, stamping feet, yelling make any difference?  It's really not a different scenario here, although I know at 3am it feels like it!!

My suggestion would be to come up with a plan you can manage, and is realistic.  Is it going to be fixed in 1-2 nights?  No.  I don't think that's realistic. Even the author of the 'no cry' books says there is no 'no cry' solution for toddlers I really think you need to prepare yourself for a 2-3 week haul here to get out of the cycle you're in, but you need to consider how to do that in a way which maximises rest whilst maintaining consistency.

I'd probably approach it just slightly differently to Zoe (though there is no 'right' way) and suggest you set yourself up a comfy bed in her room.  Do your bedtime routine, then put her in her bed awake, lights off, and lie down on yours.  If she gets up, messes about, just calmly tell her it is sleep time and to lie back down.  Don't engage any more than that, reassure using voice but try not to resort to patting etc as that makes it harder to make progress.  I would actually suggest that you stay in her room all night to begin with, to reassure her that when she wakes you are in there in the same way that she fell asleep.  And if she does cry, scream, protest at a night waking, stick it out.  If she does eventually pass out from exhaustion, so be it.  The point there is that she has gone back to sleep in her own room without you needing to pick her up.  Try to stick to her usual routine - so don't allow super-long naps or lie-ins to make up for lost sleep at night.  In a way you want her to accumulate a sleep debt because at some point it does start working in your favour - easier to keep up a protest if you are well-rested if you see what I mean?

Once she is waking and settling more quickly at night, I would think about moving out of the room once she is asleep, but returning immediately if she wakes and calls at night.  You can then move on to reassuring just with words and not actually having to be present for her to drift off again.

You CAN do this, but it will take real consistency for it to work.  What do you think? 
***Katherine***







Offline Haribo2012

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Re: Need help coming up with a sleep training plan for 14 month old
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2016, 19:12:21 pm »
Thanks Katherine, great suggestions  :)
Zoe


Offline albers30

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Re: Need help coming up with a sleep training plan for 14 month old
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2016, 03:23:55 am »
It sounds like a good idea but I don't know how realistic it is for our situation.  My husband often doesn't get home from work until after bedtime or is working nights and I have twin 3 year olds that need put to sleep too and sometimes wake at night and need something so planting myself in her room all night from bedtime on is not realistic.  Problem number two is she goes to school 2 days a week and if she doesn't get enough sleep the night before she's nodding off during lessons and activities which just can't happen at school and creates a problem for them. 

Offline jessmum46

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Re: Need help coming up with a sleep training plan for 14 month old
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2016, 12:23:46 pm »
Thing is though, there isn't going to be a quick or magic fix  :-\ The quickest way to get her to sleep will be to do what you're already doing - either you stick with that so she doesn't miss out on sleep, or you change things, accepting there will be short-term loss of sleep and tiredness.  I don't think it's possible to sleep train at this (or any) age without losing some sleep (both of you) and committing wholeheartedly to being consistent for a period of weeks.  It really is a case of looking at the bigger long-term picture - yes it is hard and inconvenient in the short-term, but aren't months of undisturbed sleep worth a week or two of upset? 

Also - she's 14 months so surely there are kids sleeping all the time at school?  (Sorry not sure what 'school' entails at such a young age)

I also don't think you can expect her to just do it by herself without your presence when that's what she's used to so I think some form of gradual withdrawal will be necessary, even if you decide not to go to the extreme of sleeping in her room all night.  What about a chair next to her bed that you gradually move closer to the door, returning to your spot whenever she wakes?  Is there not a period of time, even 3-4 days when your husband will be home to be able to help you get the ball rolling?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 12:26:06 pm by jessmum46 »
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Offline Haribo2012

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Re: Need help coming up with a sleep training plan for 14 month old
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2016, 13:14:16 pm »
Is she at school all day? At that age I would expect her to nod off most LO that age would need a nap after doing lots of activities!

I totally agree with above that you will only get her to learn to sleep alone by spending time making that happen, if you say it's not possible then you will end up with things as they are for longer and then having to deal with it at a later date.

hugs it's hard I know, I've spent many a night sat next to the cot nodding off then tried to get up and realise my legs have gone numb. It is I'm afraid sometimes a case of who has the strongest will  ::)
Zoe


Offline albers30

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Re: Need help coming up with a sleep training plan for 14 month old
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2016, 19:50:57 pm »
The issue isn't really being able to out last her or put up with loss of sleep for awhile as I'm no stranger to that and its really not a big deal for me, my medical training and work and raising twins have given me plenty of years of practice for that and excellent stamina.  I just want to make sure I have a plan in place thats going to work before I do it as we've tried things before and wasted weeks to a month doing it with no improvement and just frustration.  When she was 6 months old I spent a month sleeping on her floor doing just as you described and by the end of the month all we had was a very sleep deprived angry baby who just screamed all night land day long because she was overtired after so many sleepless nights.  Also, I think its important to note that she goes to bed independently at nap time at home and at school so she clearly has the ability to do so she just has never been willing to do so at bedtime or in the middle of the night.  As for your questions about school its just 2 days a week from 9-2:30 and its a class of 10 1-2 year olds with an organized lesson plan with teaching and activities.  They have a nap time at 1230, otherwise they can't have children just falling asleep on the classroom floor.  She is a very active child whether at home or school so she needs her sleep. 

Unfortunately I'm not a stay at home mom with just one baby and a husband with a normal schedule so finding a plan that works in our crazy life is difficult.  The problem with the suggestions thus far is that its just not practical to think that with my schedule and call time and my husbands schedule and call time and twin 3 year olds that someone can dedicate that much time to sitting nonstop in her room.  While she's got a lot of energy and personality she's actually a pretty happy easy going and flexible baby who has overall been very adaptable to the craziness that is our life so I feel like we can find an approach to the nighttime issues that is more practical then sitting in her room for hours.  I'm not a cry it out person obviously or I wouldn't be on this forum but theres got to be compromise between that and the gradual withdrawal and WIWO approach that could work for us.  Any thoughts on that?

Offline creations

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Re: Need help coming up with a sleep training plan for 14 month old
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2016, 09:29:12 am »
Hi there, I've been following this thread a little and wanted to stop by and say I'm so sorry that you get so little sleep.

I remember my DS's second year his nights were almost permanently disturbed by teething, we had a really rough time of it and he was already and independent sleeper but the teething thing was crazy.  In fact I gave up my one evening per week out the house to go to a 2hr ballet class because my mother (who minded him for the 2hrs) could no longer cope with the NWs and screaming during those 2 hours I was not home.  I also remember a blissful 3 days (or rather nights) of quiet peaceful sleep when his canines finally stopped hurting, I was in heaven... ...then the molars started.  Sheesh - this is the thing with babies, even the independent sleepers need their parents in the middle of the night when they are suffering with teething and/or separation anxiety or the countless other things which come along to disturb the night.

The problem with the suggestions thus far is that its just not practical to think that with my schedule and call time and my husbands schedule and call time and twin 3 year olds that someone can dedicate that much time to sitting nonstop in her room.
Honestly I'm amazed by this.  I get that it's hard, I really do. Been there. But to me the logic is to resolve the sleep issues so that everyone can get as much sleep as possible rather than simply dismissing the known routes to respectful sleep training because it doesn't fit with your life style. The difference between a few weeks dedicated sleep training and another 14 months or more of bed time refusal and co-sleeping is huge.
To me it's a no-brainer, do what your baby needs to reassure her that she is okay, that you love her, cherish her, will always be there for her, give her the deep knowledge of love and respect and the confidence to sleep alone.  It is a gift to give this level of confidence to her, it is a gift to give her the skill of independent sleep so that she sleeps peacefully and happily with lovely sweet dreams knowing all the while that she is safe.
I truly believe this. Independent sleep is a *gift*. We can choose to give it to our children or choose not to.
Really that's your decision to make. I don't see that this is a gift that comes in an easy form, being a parent isn't easy, there isn't a compromise option where they just do what you want them to without any time or effort.  IMO it takes huge time and effort and that's why it is a gift, you give of yourself.

WRT to the sleep training advise above.  My approach would be ever so slightly different too.  We are all thinking the same "basic" thing of reassurance followed by gradual withdrawal, we all just have a slightly different approach to it.
I'd suggest beginning the process with allowing her to cry on you (in her room), and not trying to shush her or prevent her from crying nor tell her to stop nor try to put her down.  I would *listen* to her cry.  What I mean is, when a family member or a close friend has some devastating news or sadness in their life we *listen* to them, we let them off-load and tell us all about it, we let them repeat themselves and "get it all out" we do not say "ok, heard enough, stop crying, don't be silly, it doesn't matter" rather we sit relatively quietly and reassure our friend that we are there to listen, to take the load, we say "aha, hmmm...oh yes, ah, oh dear..." and "what else happened? then what? oh I see, ah, yes" and "I'm here for you. I'm here."
I would suggest beginning in this manner as it sounds to me like your LO has a pretty large dose of SA and that things have been bugging her for a good while, sounds to me like she has a LOT she needs to tell you about and she wants to be *heard* not placated.  I read about this once and tried it with my own DS, wow, he really had a lot to say as it turned out, and then at the end of telling me he was SO calm - I don't mean cried himself to sleep from exhaustion I mean he really felt *heard* and when he seemed finished I asked him if there was any more he'd like to tell me and he cried again, his form of communication, and I listened again and held him and told him I was listening.  And when he was done, he was done. It takes longer to listen then it does to placate but honestly I think it's worth it.  I also think it is worth some loss of sleep to allow her to speak and to be heard. Ultimately it increases the bond of trust between you and raises her confidence in you and in herself - and with raised confidence there is greater ability to self settle.
To me this is all part of the "gift" - it isn't about getting back to sleep as quickly as possible in the night it's about gifting to her the happiness and serenity of peaceful sleep.


Offline albers30

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Re: Need help coming up with a sleep training plan for 14 month old
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2016, 19:41:17 pm »
Thank you for your input.  I'm not worried one bit that she does not feel very loved and cherished and safe and that mommy and daddy are there whenever she needs them.  While its true she has rarely in her life gone to sleep without someone in the room with her at bedtime she always does at nap time and for several periods in her life she's slept through the night so she knows how to sleep independently when she wants too.  Her current NW issue is purely a tantrum.  She doesn't want to be heard or comforted she wants to be picked up and taken to mommy's bed where she immediately goes back to sleep (whether I'm in it or not) otherwise it is just angry screaming, throwing things, kicking and hitting me if I get close but don't pick her up.  Thats why I'm just not convinced the gradual withdrawal approach will work as its more a tantrum then separation anxiety or anything else.  She has had more trouble with teething then my twins but that sleep disturbance is simply I walk in help her settle and she's back to sleep, this is very different.  I'll contemplate all the approaches discussed, I'm not downplaying them its just life is not always as cut and dry as textbook advice, and see what we can make work but I think some advice on handling 1 yr old tantrums might be as helpful.

Offline Shiv52

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Re: Need help coming up with a sleep training plan for 14 month old
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2016, 20:06:05 pm »
If you feel she understands how to get to sleep then you likely don't need to sleep on her floor all night but you will need to be prepared to settle her while she is awake for the first while then move to a more walk in walk out approach.

She's only 14 months so I'm not sure how much she understands but I'd be clear before bed and talk through the day about what's happening at night. That's she going into her cot and she is not going to mummy and daddy's bed anymore. And then you just need to deal with the tantrum the way you would if she was tantrumming for a lolly she can't have. You reassure and sympathise but ultimately follow through. You remain consistent.

So Id start a Friday night if you're off for the weekend and when she wakes at 10/11 you just lie her back down and say 'no you sleep here, time to go to sleep' and you just need to ride it out. Reassure her 'I can hear you're frustrated etc' but remain consistent 'you sleep here all night' and you just need to keep going until she goes to sleep. There is no easy way around it. If she then sleeps and wakes at 4.30am it is essential you do the same thing. Use the same phrases and follow through.   My friend had to do something similar and the first night her Dd screamed on and off for 5 hours. Bit less the next night. Then regression on day 5 but after 9/10 days she was staying in her own bed all night and no further issues.

I think though you need to make sure you are there until she's settled. After that first week or so and you know she knows what's happenkng and she's settling better then you can move to going in and out if she's less upset.

The main thing is that once you start this process you cannot let her in your bed even if its half an hour to wake up or you will confuse her and all the upset will be for nothing.

It's upto you what you think about the bottle. Personally I don't think milk after teeth is a good idea at this age at all and if you're going to all this bother Id be inclined to do the bottle before teeth and just start the bedtime routine without the bottle.

Realistically it is going to take a good 2 week commitment. That 10/11 waking shouldn't be too bad as you're still awake but you'll need to really talk to DH about talking the rest of the nights turn about and being prepared to resettle and reassure until she is settling and is sure you aren't going to take her to your bed.






Offline albers30

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Re: Need help coming up with a sleep training plan for 14 month old
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2016, 03:46:31 am »
That sounds much more reasonable for our situation and is certainly more doable as well.  We'll give it a try.  Thank you!

Offline albers30

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Re: Need help coming up with a sleep training plan for 14 month old
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2016, 19:18:27 pm »
So just to give an update we have basically been doing as you suggested.  When I put her to bed I sit in the room with her until she goes to sleep reassuring as needed verbally and occasionally with a touch. Once she's close to asleep I leave the room to get the twins to bed eat dinner do laundry etc.  Once she wakes I return to her room and have a bed made on her floor.  I lay there reassuring as before as needed and generally just sleep here repeating this as needed.  I have been doing this for 10 days now and its still around 2 hours of screaming to get her to sleep and 2 hours or so each time she wakes which is generally twice a night then.  It has gotten no better and my biggest concern isn't even that or the fact I haven't slept more then a few hours a night through this time its that now she's refusing naps often too.  This child has hated sleep since she was born and every nap and bedtime was a fight until we dropped to one nap at 10.5 months and then she started going down for nap on her own and taking minimal assistance at bedtime.  Now I feel like we're back to where we were before the nap transition.  I know it can take weeks but I expected to see some progress by this time.  I'm also leaving on business in a few days and she's traveling with me so I'm not sure what we'll do as hotels are not the best place for hours of screaming over and over through the night. Thoughts?

Offline Haribo2012

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Re: Need help coming up with a sleep training plan for 14 month old
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2016, 13:58:02 pm »
I'd prob just her sleep with you while you are away if it makes life easy then start again when home.
Zoe