What if a toddler won’t go to sleep alone..? It is quite common that young toddlers suddenly can’t fall asleep on their own.

Here is a mom’s cry for help, tips on how to help a toddler sleep better, and many parents’ comments.

toddler won't go to sleep alonePinYoung toddlers at around 18 months old are in a so-called development stage. Their mind is expanding, and their sleep is often disturbed.

Too bad for Mom and Dad, who thought the “worst” was finally over… ;-)

It is very common that a young toddler won’t go to sleep alone. This stage will pass too, but there are things we can do to help our little toddlers feel a bit more secure and sleep better.

Here are a mom’s question, my answer, and many parents’ comments and testimonies. I’d love to hear about your situation too! Leave a comment at the bottom of the post!

Mom’s question:
I have an 18-month-old toddler who just won’t go to sleep alone. He was in a good routine and he did go to sleep alone, but this last month or so he just won’t.

We have tried story tapes, music, and reading – everything I can think of. But it takes for me or my partner to lay next to his cot for him to go. We have now put him in a bed as he didn’t like his cot anymore, but this hasn’t helped either.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Leanne


What to Do When a Toddler Won’t Go to Sleep Alone

Why Your Toddler Can’t Fall Asleep Alone

For a start, 18 months is a development period, and it is very common that even really good sleepers start waking up at night or refuse to go to bed alone all of a sudden. This is called sleep regression in fancy words and simply means the child has a period of waking up more often or not being able to sleep alone the way they used to.

Some possible reasons why a toddler may have a “sleep regression” are separation anxiety, afraid of darkness or nightmares, picking up their parents’ stress and irritation, or simply expressing their own wish. Of course, cuddling with their caregivers feels much better than falling asleep alone. Teething, discomfort, the wrong room temperature, or a stuffy nose will also impact their ability to fall asleep, but these are situations that should be quite easy to identify and fix. 

A note on separation anxiety: Many babies start experiencing separation anxiety at around four or five months of age, although around nine months is more common. The anxiety may peak at around 18 months and then slowly disappear by the time the child is 3 years old. However, some children do not exhibit separation anxiety until they are toddlers. These children may very well have slept alone without any issues until all of a sudden at, for example, 18 months, they are terrified to be left alone. Being “tough” and forcing your child to spend time alone will only make them feel less secure in such a case.

My point is that your son is normal, and you haven’t done anything wrong at all. Rather, you seem to be doing a lot of good things to help him!

What is often missing in all those “sleep-through-the-night-miracle-methods” is that the authors fail to inform their readers that just because a baby learns to fall asleep and stay asleep alone, there are no guarantees that this will continue.

Actually, as children go through their development stages, it is more likely than not that they will have periods when their sleep is not so good; they are scared, have nightmares, or simply need to test their parents’ presence. 18 months is a typical development period. Tough but true!

That said, there are still things we parents can do to make these shaky periods pass as fast as possible.


Slow Transition for Toddler to Go to Sleep Alone

In your case, my suggestion would be a slow transition to a new sleep routine; slowly getting him used to falling asleep further away from you.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Continue reading him a bedtime story and maybe sing a lullaby. First, you move away in his bed just slightly for a couple of days.
2. Then you sit up, still in the bed or very close to it

3. Then you continue to move a little further away from it until he has learned to fall asleep on his own again.

4. Don’t make it into a power struggle, but rather let him get used to the new situation slowly. Within a few weeks, you are likely to sit close to the door, reading a book. Not an awful way to spend 30 minutes…

5. Then you can try to get out of his sight, but make sure he can still hear you. And maybe that is enough of an ambition. Most children prefer to hear their parents talking or doing things while falling asleep.

In my experience, this works much better (and is much quicker!) with older babies and toddlers than trying to play hardball and using some version of cry-it-out.

Try it and remember the reason why he is fussing – his mind is expanding and he really can’t help it. Within a couple of months, he will be calmer again and easier to put to bed. (Only to become fussier again later on…)

Other Ways to Handle That Your Toddler Won’t Go To Sleep Alone

This brings me to another way of handling the situation… You can simply let your toddler share your bed! No child will want to sleep in their parent’s bed forever, and if your bed is big enough to comfortable for all of you, there is no harm in meeting your toddler’s need to be close to you by actually letting him have it! Just make sure to review all important guidelines for co-sleeping safety.

With our first child, we were so strict with routines, making him sleep in his own bed, going to sleep on his own, and so on. But the more children we had, the more relaxed we became. And when you think about it – adults often share beds and find it quite lonesome to sleep alone, but we expect our kids, even when they are very young to sleep alone and be happy about it. So, bedsharing is a possibility too. :-)

No matter if you work to help your toddler fall asleep alone or decide to share beds, one thing to definitely tick off to help your toddler get the best sleep is to make sure he gets lots of fresh air, daylight, fun, and love during the day.

Toddlers have lots of energy and need to climb, crawl, run, dance, talk play, and investigate their surroundings. Research suggests that screen time may affect children’s sleep negatively, for children younger than 3 years. So try taking away any screens including TV well before bedtime.

Good luck, and please let me know how things develop.


More Toddlers That Won’t Sleep



Feb 12, 2016 same problem!!

by: Brittany

My daughter is now 19 months old, and for the past 6 months, I could lay her in her crib awake and she would fall asleep with no problems. Not a peep out of her. She suddenly started waking up screaming bloody murder like she had a nightmare and my husband and I would bring her out to the living room and let her fall asleep again on the couch next to us. We then started letting her go to sleep on the couch, and when we went to bed putting her in her crib. Now… She will not go to her crib at bedtime at all. We let her fall asleep on the couch. When we go to bed we try and put her in her crib and she screams, points to the corner of her room, and shakes her head no. I do not know what is going on with her. I feel guilty because I know that she is scared, and for the sake of our sleep, she has been sleeping with us for the past 3 weeks. Please help. I feel like I am torturing her!

Feb 25, 2016 my baby has never slept at night even in the womb!

by: kelly.UK

hi, help my baby is now an 18month old toddler and still will not sleep, I noticed even when I was pregnant with her she was active at night,and I could not sleep! she has never changed, and I’m now getting worried that something could be wrong as she will go all day and night without sleep!

Mar 19, 2016 Same thing!

by: Desert Mom

I am so glad I found this! I thought it was just me!! My son slept in his crib easily from 4 months old to about 3 weeks ago (18 1/2 months now) and I am out of my mind!!

I never wanted to have him cry it out and I didn’t know what else to do so I did the 5 minutes, 15 minutes, etc it has been a week and he still cries until he has fallen asleep standing up in his crib and we have to carefully lay him down (husband can do it, I am too short to not disturb him and he will start all over again!)

I hope we and our babies all get some sleep soon!

Mar 24, 2016 Me too!!!

by: Leah

My 18-month-old has been a great sleeper, except for the past 3 weeks. He will cry for 2 hours ( I go in and calm him every 30 mins) and end up giving up and laying down in my bed or a single and getting him to sleep. he will scream his lungs out only at night and will cling to me like a monkey, not wanting to get into his cot. I keep trying to be tough as this has always worked in the past but even after panadol or nueraphen (the Dr told me it is his teeth) nothing will get him to sleep, except his closeness to myself or my husband.

Mar 30, 2016 Growth Spurt?

by: Amanda

Out 19 month old was sleeping fine in her bed until last night. She was ready for bed and when we went to tuck her in she suddenly got a second wind and would, not for the life of us, go down. It was like she was in play mode again. We are thankful to know now that this is normal after reading these comments. Does anyone know if this could be a ‘growth spurt’ symptom?

Apr 02, 2016 Not alone

by: Mandy

I am glad to know that this is not only happening to me. My daughter has ALWAYS fallen asleep on her own with no problems whatsoever! That is until about two weeks ago (she just turned 18 months). Now she cries every night when I walk out of her room, and even wakes up crying at least 5 out of 7 nights a week. I have a bedtime routine and have tried crying it out, soothing her, and even standing in there until she goes to sleep. I feel like I am losing my mind and I am exhausted!!! Hopefully, my good sleeper will be back soon!!

Apr 08, 2016 My daughter is the same

by: Chel

My 18-month-old daughter is going through the same issues. She has always slept through the night even at birth. She has been a perfect baby. However, the separation anxiety and the not wanting to go to bed, and waking up at night screaming first occurred at 16 months and lasted about 2 weeks. It seemed to be related to her first set of 4 double teeth coming through. Once the first of the 4 cuts, her sleeping behaviour returned to normal where we would say good night to dad and the animals I would place her in bed and walk out of the room. You would not hear from her again until morning. The unsettled bedtime mostly at night but a little through the day has now come back at 18 months. Unfortunately this time it is worse than before. I am hoping it is related to more teeth cutting and she will return to “normal” in 2 weeks just like last time. Last time all I had to do was sit in her room for a little bit and sneak out. This time I have to pretend to sleep in the single bed in her room until she falls into a deep sleep. If this is a pattern of every 2 months I am not looking forward to the 20-month stage. Good luck to everyone.

Apr 14, 2016 Nearly 19 Months and Won’t Go To Bed

by: Anonymous

Like all the other moms I am struggling with my son, who was a great sleeper, no longer going to bed without Mom or Dad. One month ago, we moved him into a new room in preparation for a new baby (arriving in less than 3 weeks) and he did great, but now for nearly 2 weeks, he screams as we even approach the crib. We have let him cry it out for over 2 hours (going in every 30 min or so) and he doesn’t give in. The minute you take him out, he will put his head down on your shoulder and fall asleep, but when you go to put him back in his crib – we start the entire routine again. Do I let him cry (note: there are no tears…so I believe he is just mad)for hours or do I go in more frequently?? Each time I go in, I think he is more disappointed when I leave and cries more. With the new baby coming…I am very nervous that my good little sleeper will never return! HELP!

Apr 15, 2016 To anonymous w baby due

by: Paula (Baby Help Line)


With a new baby due in only a few weeks, it is very easy to understand that you want your 18 months old to sleep in his own bed and his own room. However, since it doesn’t work right now (and 18 months is actually a common age for babies/toddlers to need their parents at night for comfort), can you think of other strategies? Since you are feeling so stressed about it, your son is very likely to pick up your emotions and become worried too – and hence resist sleeping in his own bed and on his own even more.

Is there any way you can have your son sleep between you and your hubby and keep a cradle for your new baby next to your bed? Or would it be possible for your partner to sleep with your son for a while and you to sleep with the new baby?

Another option could be to get a toddler bed or even a mattress on the floor in your son’s room, so that one of you can lie down with him when he falls asleep. Hopefully, then he will remain there for at least part of the night and when he needs you at night one of you can either go there to sleep with him or can move over to that bed if he sleeps in yours (if your bed becomes too crowded).

Since the birth of your new baby is coming up so soon, I think the most important thing right now is to find a “quick fix” that is acceptable for all of you, including your son. There are huge changes ahead of him anyway, so having to be “rejected” and forced to sleep alone might not be the best timing. See it as a transition period where all of you will get used to being a bigger family. A lot of families keep moving around between beds at night, to make sure as many as possible get a decent amount of sleep. It is quite comical when you think about it.

We have three children now. I think the best advice I ever got from an experienced mom was to let go of all my ideas about how things should be and settle with “good enough”. If as many family members (including mom!) get as many of their needs fulfilled, things will work out pretty fine. So find alternative ways right now to arrange the nights and deal with teaching your son to sleep alone later on. It might even go automatically when he is ready for it.

Warm wishes,



by: Anonymous

My 19-month-old son won’t sleep of a night either. I didn’t know what was happening but after reading all of these comments I am so glad it isn’t just my son. He is a great sleeper during the day but come bedtime at night he just screams. He is sooo tired but is just refusing to go to bed. For the last 3 nights, he has been falling asleep on me in front of the Tv and then I am putting him into bed, then he is waking up about 3 times a night. Hopefully, we will all get some sleep soon.

Apr 16, 2016 Little to No Sleep

by: Deb

I commented the other day about my nearly 19-month-old who suddenly refused to sleep. From what I have been reading, it seems that children generally between the ages of 18-19 months may be on the verge of talking and therefore are experiencing a hard time “quieting” their minds at night and cannot express it any other way except through the screaming. It is torture for us as well especially as we are due with our 2nd 2 weeks from today. Two nights ago it took him over 2 hours (I used the Ferber method) and he finally fell asleep and stayed asleep (YEAH) – last night we repeated the Ferber method and it took only 30 minutes. Sadly he woke up a few hours later and we didn’t have it in us to continue – so in with us, he came. I know we are sending a mixed message, but in the end, you have to do what works best for where you are in your life. Personally, I don’t mind our son with us, but I do need some personal time in the evening and I think it is important that the child knows how to put himself to sleep as I can only imagine that this may be something that they carry with them for their entire lives.

Apr 29, 2016 NEED SLEEP

by: Skye

Hey everyone I am totally relieved to read your comments as my 20 months (just) is refusing to go to sleep without me next to his bed he is also waking at least 3 to 4 times a night to get into my bed. As it is Just him and I I didn’t really mind at the start but have returned to work and finding it extremely difficult to get up and motivated in the morning the to return to doing housework etc and going through the whole night drama thing again!! I am nearly pulling my hair out and was wondering if anyone has tried anything that has worked?? I am letting him cry it out as I type and it is ripping me to pieces, am I doing the right thing or do I need to look at other options? Since being back at work he has NOT slept through one night at all :( Your thoughts are appreciated.

Jun 16, 2016 19-month-old wont go to bed alone

by: Megan

I’ve had to rock my daughter to sleep every night and at nap time since she was born. She’s now 19 months old and I’ve been trying to get her to fall asleep by herself in her crib, but as soon as she sees me trying to put her in the crib, she freaks out. I’ve been just letting her cry it out, and it seems to be working (at first she cried for an hour straight every time), but lately it’s only been about 10 – 20 minutes before she falls asleep. I really hope this means I’m doing the right thing. It’s just heartbreaking to stand there and listen to her cry and scream and not do anything to comfort her. Good Luck to all.

Jul 09, 2016 My Son cries loud and throws up every night

by: Anonymous

I have the same problem all the writers have described above. My 18-month-old Son won’t go to sleep on his own and in addition to that, he cries so loud when we put him in the crib that he ends with throwing up his food every night. My husband goes and sees him every 5 to 10 minutes, but it just makes it worse. It makes me worry he is going to lose weight and create a bad habit since he is probably learning to make himself to throw up. What do we do? HELP PLEASE

Jul 13, 2016 Not fun

by: Anonymous

It’s not a fun time is it? My daughter is 19 months old and she has been sleeping fine. She for the last week has been refusing the cot for day sleep and night. You try and take her to the cot and she wakes up and starts crying. The naps have gone on for a week she just sleeps in our bed. But the night sleeps for the last 2 nights have been in our bed. It’s just easier hey. But I would rather her sleep in her bed, I’m just not big on crying it out. And while I’m on the topic of this age she is petrified of the bath, and shower. It’s a fun age hey. Any advice is good. Been reading and I think I might put a toddler bed in her room and she can pick where she wants to sleep (that might help) – I just didn’t want to move her this quick but if it works well who am I to complain

Jul 27, 2016 SO GLAD I READ THIS.


My little girl turned 18 months on Saturday, and since that day she has turned into a demon and won’t sleep. I’m typing this now listening to her scream her lungs out!! She always went to sleep so well. I would put her down with a bottle and off she would go till 7.30-8.30 am. Now she will only go to sleep on me or my husband, but as soon as you go to put her in her cot, off she goes screaming. Like most people, I assumed it was teething or feeling unwell. So I would go and comfort her. I have rightly or wrongly just played hardball and she is now quiet (for now).

I thought it was me or something that had scared the hell out of her at night. But just a baby trying to assert her independence, so pleased I read this!!

And to the rest of you good luck!

Jul 28, 2016 comfort your little cryers

by: Tash

My daughter is 21 months old and I have always soothed her to sleep since day one. If she needs me, I’m there for her. I believe our children cry for us because they need us. The reason babies who cry it out go to sleep eventually is not because the need subsides but because they realize they can no longer count on their parents for whatever they need. They lose trust and learn their voice is no longer valuable enough to be paid attention to. How heartbreaking is that? There is a reason why a mom’s heart is breaking while she listens to her baby crying for her. It’s called instinct and a mother’s instinct is very powerful and very accurate. We were designed to comfort. I know how hard it is, I still get up with my daughter at least twice a night but I know the investment I am putting into her, will benefit her with confidence and compassion toward others in the future. Children who are comforted learn to comfort others later in life. Also, we need to help our children to have a healthy positive experience with going to sleep because it will stay with them into their lives. I highly recommend Dr. Sears’s book – Attachment parenting, and a lot of his other books for that matter.
All the best to all you mommy’s out there and hang in there, it will pass and you’ll feel so good knowing you followed your heart :)

Aug 02, 2016 My 22-month-old and going to sleep

by: Yvette Melia

It is so nice to know that you are not the only Mum having issues with a toddler going to sleep. My daughter was a great sleeper and that changed about 3 months ago. Now, she will only settle if I am in her room holding her hand. This can take up to an hour every night. It seemed silly to be having to lie down by her cot for over an hour until she went to sleep so I left her on her own last week and let her cry it out for over 2 hours, using Dr. Green method of going back in every few minutes. She eventually went to sleep only to wake up vomiting 2 hours later. She was sick 4 times over the next 2 hours. I can only put this down to the mess she got herself in. Since reading this site I have decided that holding her hand is actually not a bad thing but I am going to try and move further away every few days to see if I can break the cycle

Aug 23, 2016 Relief!

by: Anonymous

I have been going crazy trying to figure out what happened to my good sleeper. I have tried all the methods and honestly, the only thing that works is letting him sleep with me and getting up sometimes several times a night, and going into the other room while he calms down. Let’s all pray that this is just a stage as it seems to be happening around the 18-19 month mark. Good luck, everyone!

Aug 25, 2016 SLEEPING alone – will it ever happen again :)

by: Anonymous

My 18-month-old grandson – will not go to sleep unless I or his mom lays down with him. After he falls asleep we can get up and go to our own bed but every night he will wake up at least twice and come to one of our beds. The only time he will sleep soundly all night is if someone is laying with him throughout the night. We figured out too, that when he sleeps soundly, we sleep soundly and we don’t have a cranky kid the next day around 5ish.. because of being sleepy.. so we do what we can to get sleep and for them to get the hours they need as well. They are only toddlers for so long They DO grow out of it.. My kids are 22 and 13 – and you miss those days of snuggling.. so snuggle away… you won’t regret it… if anything one day you will miss it.!!

Aug 25, 2016 18 Month Old Won’t Go To Sleep Alone

by: JeanBean1977

OMG, I’m so glad I found all these comments. My husband and I (well, really, mostly me) have been going crazy the last few weeks! Our son is 19 months old today and has been exhibiting the same symptoms for the last few weeks. I really hope this ends soon – I’m at my wits’ end here obsessing over whether my son is ok (or hungry, or teething, or growing, or having nightmares, or just being ornery for the heck of it). I’m so glad to know this is a normal phase and will eventually end. My only real worry is that I won’t recognize the end of the phase and the beginning of him wanting the same bedtime rocking that’s been getting…

Aug 26, 2016 to last anonymous on aug 25

by: Anonymous

I love the perspective you have with your grandson. You’ve already been through all this and have adult children so you know that it does end. That’s what so many people with grown children tell me, to enjoy those nights of snuggling and nurturing because it aches when it’s all over and you would almost do anything to get it back. I try to see it that way and I just enjoy it so much with my 22-month-old daughter who still sometimes walks quietly into our room at night and either crawls into her little bed we have made for her on the floor or if she really needs some closeness, she crawls in with us and we just love it. We have an open bed policy and she has the security to know its always there if she needs it. I know I always feel more confident and can accomplish a lot more out of my comfort zone if I know I have someone or something to fall back on if I need it. It being left on your own and thrown into something that traumatizes people and makes them feel overwhelmed and insecure. Thanks for your input and good reminder Grandma!


Sep 17, 2016 18 month old

by: Anonymous

My 18-month-old has always been a good sleeper on average 12 hours at night(7 til 7). I have a good bedtime routine and I haven’t changed it at all so it’s something she is used too. for the past 4 weeks, she won’t sleep its like she thinks its a nap rather than a full night sleep she wakes up on average 4 to 5 times a night resulting in me being on the couch with her and only getting 4 hours of sleep if that!!! it doesn’t seem to e calming down on its own and I can’t bring myself to let her cry herself to sleep she just becomes hysterical. I have just moved house a few weeks ago and wondered if that could be what triggered it or just that I have fallen into the trap of giving in and now she knows I will answer and comfort her or lay down with her either in bed or on the couch. Her dad has tried too, to make it easier but the same happens with him. No sleep! any advice, please?

Sep 23, 2016 I overcame this!!

by: Carla

I wanted to comment here because my 18-month-old was going thru exactly the same thing. He was petrified to be in the crib and was sleeping with us because of this. After researching some ways to help fix this I found this site and was so relieved to see so many other moms and dads going through the exact same thing. I was glad to learn it was a phase!

The other night I decided to change up the bedtime a bit. After bathtime my son usually has his sippy cup and we watch 1/2hr of cartoons in my bed… well After bath time I shut my bedroom door and turned the TV off… this threw him because my bedroom was not an option. He got upset and clung to his blanky and my leg. So we changed the sheets in his crib together and made it so nice and new and fresh in there… I put a tiny travel pillow that I use at night in the crib with him for my scent to be with him.

So I pulled the rocking chair next to his crib and set up our Laptop at eye level for him with his favorite cartoon on it (on top of a storage tub). He screamed for about 2 minutes but then realized that I was sitting next to him. He would not sit, though. I got the fluoride that he gets at night (he loves the taste) and he quickly sat down to get his fluoride. He has a rainforest soother that he pushes the button and it turns on and he immediately turned it on after his fluoride. I sat in the rocking chair, he laid his head down in the crib, watched his show with his sippy cup of milk, and in about 10 minutes he was sleeping! I HAD DONE IT! It was an amazing feeling. He did wake in the middle of the night, but the whimper from his room was nothing like the Bloody Murder screams that were coming from there! Good Luck to all of you Moms…this phase is tough!!! Try making some changes and involve your little one in them too! Let him pick his sheets or his blanky to go in there! Hope everyone gets thru this and gets some sleep in the near future.

Sep 27, 2016 I Survived!

by: Deb

I had found this blog when my older son was 18 months and we were getting little to no sleep – with another baby on the way. Just a bit of encouragement to all the Mom’s (and Dad’s) that are going through this now…it does end, you will have your evenings back!! After our 2nd son was born (now 5 months old) our older boy seemed to get through whatever the phase was and now some mornings I have to wake him to get ready for daycare. There is a light at the end of the tunnel….promise!

Oct 06, 2016 Roll with it

by: Sam

We have the same and as I’m not prepared to put training processes I’ve decided to stop worrying about it. I lay next to our daughter whilst she goes to sleep each night and enjoy the rest. It’ll pass like all the other phases. Good luck all.

Oct 06, 2016 I so agree with the last comment!!

by: Anonymous

Its cool to read about your aproach because I have been thinking the same thing lately! Our daughter will be two this month and she has always had the security of having us there if she needs us. He used to lay beside her and slowly got a little farther away, without any crying (if she cried, I would take it as a sign that it was too fast for her) and now I just leave her door open and she can see me on the computer or puckering around the house from her room and goes to sleep like that. She still usually comes into our room in the middle of the night and goes to sleep in her “special” bed on the floor beside us. I’m not into the training idea’s either, I just let her communicate what she needs and I enjoy each phase, even if they are a little tiring : )

Oct 21, 2016 In the same situation

by: Anonymous

I have a 19 month old boy who’s been a great sleeper! Last night he refused to go to bed alone, just started screaming bloody murder.

He had a phase just like this one in April so I know it will pass! I just sat down next to his crib until he calmed down, then laid down on the floor and held his hand through the crib slats. It took about an hour total for him to go to sleep. I’ll do the same thing tonight if he needs me, and I’m sure it will be shorter than an hour this time.

I am not going to listen to my baby scream until he vomits, that is not what I consider good parenting. I am also not going to break his routine and take him out of his crib. When he went through this in April I made it a rule that he had to stay in his crib, but I would lay on the floor, sit in the room, hold his hand, whatever it took, and he would eventually go to sleep. The phase only lasted 2 weeks.

I think that sticking to the same routine you have always had adds to the sense of security and will make this phase pass quicker. I also think that you have to leave them in their crib while you comfort them, otherwise you are probably going to end up in a bad cycle that takes months and months to break.

I hope this helps someone! This is my second baby, my first needed tons of attention and basically didn’t sleep well until she was 2 1/2, so I’ll take these phases over waking up several times per night for years!

Nov 04, 2016 18 month old daughter will not sleep

by: Topaz

Since she was 2 weeks old we have had a set routine in our home! dinner, warm bath, milk, then time for bed! this has worked wonders and she has been sleeping thru the night since she was 2 weeks old.. lucky you would say, until this past week! She is now 18months old and refuses to go to sleep!!! She screams at the top of her lungs every night! no fever, dry diaper, etc. etc. As soon as my husband or i walk into her room she stops crying and lays down. lately, my husband has either slept on her floor or she has slept in the bed with us. I am clueless on what else to do!! She has a lamp, music and her “lovie” like she does every night, but nothing seems to work!

Please help! my once perfect routine is now not so perfect!

Nov 08, 2016 Ease Back In Slowly

by: Anonymous


You will get back to your routine. Look at how all of the other Mom’s have coped. I am amazed that your child has been sleeping so well since a young age, but now her mind is likely going a mile a minute – with little ability to express herself except through crying. Also, perhaps she has molars coming in. One way to get back to your routine is to do what you are doing, but each night spend a little less time. Eventually, you should be able to go in and just give her a kiss and she should go back down. Give it some time though…it will pass. Promise!

Dec 20, 2016 pleased to have found we’re not alone!

by: emm

wow, im so happy to see were not not alone as i thiught we had done something wrong! my daughter is 20 months and slept through from 2 weeks old so to have this waking for hours on end screaming is exhausting! (we know we have been lucky) although my first child was a bad sleeper! all of a sudden she wont go in her cot day time or night time, she dropped her day sleep of 1 1/2 hours and is awake for at least 3 hours a night for the last 4 nights so she must be a tired as us bless her, weve done controlled crying every night and we leave door open now with light on in hall and this helps as she doesnt scream as much. It just seems like shes so scared to go in her cot as soon as i mention bedtime could it be night terrors and now shes scared or does she just want to be with us??? any advise please?X

Dec 20, 2016 please dont let your terrified child CIO

by: Anonymous

This is the age for night terrors. If she slept well before and she is screaming now, I relly believe it is not the time to leave her crying. (Well, I dont really think its ever the way to go but especially not if the child is terrified.) It sounds like she is trying to tell you she needs you, your comfort and reassurance, not for you to leave her alone right now. Security is always the best foundation for them, not just falling asleep because there is no other option. Like any investment, the more you put in, the more you get later in life. Its not a quick return but in the teen years, you really see the benefits of their attachment with you and the security and trust they have for you :)

Dec 22, 2016 in the same boat

by: Shae

It is so great to see that i’m not the only one going through this situation! My perfect sleeper has at 18months decided she hates her cot. During the day she sleeps on her little fold out couch in the loungeroom (its the only way she would sleep during the day), and now we have had to resort to using it at night. I’ve tried to let her ‘cry it out’, lasted a total of about 5 mins, I couldn’t deal with the hysterics and there was no way she would go to sleep in that state. Some nights some things work, and others they dont and i have to try something different. For example some nights she will lie in her cot while i read to her, others if I even put her in the cot she starts up before i’ve even left the room or picked up a book. Some nights a bottle in bed works, some nights a very late bedtime. She has slept in our bed, slept on her couch on the floor beside us, we have slept on the floor in her room.. we have tried everything. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t.
My main advice is to be flexible, don’t stress, cause they will pick up on it. Does it really matter if your child goes to bed at 7 on the dot, or if she lies next to you? Of course this has only been happening for about 2 weeks, things might change, and like all of you i’m hoping it passess quickly, I might have a different attitude in a months time!
I’ve never used a strict rountine and that has worked fine for me, so I suppose there’s no point in starting now!

Dec 22, 2016 Nothing has ever worked

by: Anon

My 18mth old daughter has only ever slept through 3 times in her little life so far. Never have a problem putting her in her cot but she only sleeps for 1.5 hours at a time. We settle her and same thing happens again. Come the early hours of the morning I give up and bring her in with me. We’ve tried every technique going. I keep reassuring myself that although I am sleep deprived beyond belief it won’t last forever (well I hope not anyway). Nice to know we’re not alone.

Dec 23, 2016 To last comment

by: Anonymous

Would you get more sleep if you just brought her into your bed after her first wake up? That’s what we did with our daughter for the longest time. Eventually she started waking up later and sleeping for longer periods so she doesn’t come in until very early morning now. Maybe she just needs the security of being nestled next to mama:) Best of wishes to you!! Hope you get more sleep!

Jan 10, 2017 Ooh – it’s a phase is it?!

by: Paddsy

Brilliant I’m so glad I’ve found this. I’m sitting here at 4am on the floor in my 19-month-old DS2’s room after he’s woken up screaming. He wont go down in his cot for naps or for bedtime without someone in the room, if we do leave him he screams so hard that its obvious that he’s just going to get overtired and just make it harder for himself. He’s always been very good about sleeping, with the occasional extra-early morning when we’ve brought him into our bed (so he doesn’t wake DS1). He’s been in the ‘bad’ phase since Christmas when we were staying at my in-laws, so I think the traveling has triggered it, but I’m glad to read that others have experienced it too, and we just need to ride it out.

DS1 went through a similar thing when he was 2 yrs, but my mum had just died and we assumed it was tension in the family etc etc. We just sat with him in the room (never got him out of the cot) and moved further and further away towards the door each night. It took a few weeks, and sometimes for an hour and a half each time. Which is why we take the lap top in with us to get some stuff done! Eventually I explained to him that I would be next door in my room reading a book, and I did that for a few nights, and after that it was all over! He was a bit older though and easier to explain things to him, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with DS2. good luck to all the other mums, I’ll try and post when this is over!

Jan 16, 2017 17month old wont sleep in her cot anymore!!

by: becca

I am so glad i found this site, I thought there was only me. my 17 month has always been a brilliant sleeper from being about 5months she has slept through from 8pm til 9pm but for the past week she has had a throat and ear infection and now when i put her in her cot she screams and screams soooo much and tries to cling to me and just refuses to lie down in her cot. i have tried to leave her and even left her for 40min an she still screamed and when i go into her room she is stood up shaking like she is petrified but as soon as she comes in our bed she will sleep straight away but i don’t want to get her used to sleeping with us. I’m hoping its just because she is ill or just going through a quick phase! Cant cope like this forever! lol!

Someone told me she may have had a nightmare and now be scared to go in her cot and told me to get her a bed but think she to young yet. oh well hopefully things be back to normal soon!

Glad its not just us though!!

Jan 18, 2017 21 month old hates bed!

by: Anonymous

Thank God I found these posts. My DD of 21 months had been sleeping brilliantly since she was a few weeks old. Her usual sleep was 2-3 hours in the day and 12-13 hours at night. Suddenly and I mean over night she hates bed , says ‘no bed’ when she sees her bed and wakes 3 or 4 times at night. It is like she just can’t switch off.

I’ve tried everything from crying it out to staying with her to going back in every 5-10 minutes and nothing is working. She will only sleep if she can sleep with us. I’m hoping this phase ends soon. Does anyone who has been through this have any ideas on how long this might last for?

Jan 21, 2017 No longer confused

by: Anonymous

Wow. I was really wondering what was going on with my 19 month old daughter. She has been sleeping in my bed since she was about 4 months old, never a great sleeper, always woke up at least 2 to 3 times a night.

On Christmas Eve she came down with a bad flu and of course through the illness she was stuck to me like glue. When she finally got over the flu, the night sleeping suddenly became just terrible. She now wakes up every two hours (last night it was almost every hour until 3am, then she slept till about 7am) but each time she wakes up she screams as if she was in horrible pain… I thought it was teething at first, gave her some Advil but nope, that didn’t help. The only thing i know that somewhat helps her sleep better is if she touches my hair (she has had a fascination with my hair for half her life) and so what usually ends up happening is her hand is in my hair as I lie awake trying to find a comfortable way to sleep. Its hard, it was always tough with her, but now its even worse. My husband does not help at all at night, so I am stuck dealing with this on my own, plus I work so staying focused in the office is not so easy these days :(

I really hope this passes really soon… but I guess this is what raising little toddlers is all about.
Oh and like someone else who commented above, she is now PETRIFIED of taking a bath, even if I hold her in my arms! She used to love taking showers with me, now its sounds like I’m trying to skin her alive or something. Crazy.

Good luck to everyone and take comfort in the fact that we are not alone in this.

Jan 29, 2017 **whew** i feel so much better now!

by: Anonymous

thank you so much everyone for all your comments!! it has helped me more than anything!!! my son is 19 1/2 months and since new years eve he has not slept well….he has slept in his bed (except for the occasional sleeping with me and my husband) since he was like 3 months old…he slept all night and went to sleep on his on…just lay him down and turn him some soft music on! but new years eve that ALL changed….he screams like crazy if we even walk towards his room! its scary like that b/c i thought he was scared or hurt! i don’t know how to fix it! i have been letting him lay with us some…and work with him at nap time to sleep in there by himself….he will fall asleep with me or my husband but the second we walk in his room he goes crazy!! im praying that this phase ends soon! thanks so much for all the encouragement!!

Feb 16, 2017 Help!

by: Anonymous

My daughter has never slept through the night. most the time since she was a year old she sleeps in her crib after she is already asleep and when she wakes up she comes in the bed with my husband and me. She is 18 months old and i have two other children 6 and 3. For the last 2 nights she wakes up screaming at the top of her lungs for over 10 minutes. She doesn’t want to be held but then again she does. She doesn’t want her milk she just screams and then wines and back to screaming till she falls asleep. And after she finally falls asleep i have to keep her in my arms all night. I don’t nor have i ever left her in her crib to cry it out, but should I??? what to do??

Feb 16, 2017 Teething Can Cause Sleep Issues

by: Anonymous

Is it possible she is getting her molars in? This can be very painful and she may be expressing the pain the only way she knows how.

Feb 16, 2017 to the lady with the 18 month old screamer :)

by: Anonymous

I noticed you mentioned you have never let her cry it out. Good for you!!! We never did either and our daughter is 2 1/2. It can be a bit more work but the confidence and the trust they have with you is priceless. They cry because they need you and if she is screaming like that, it sounds like she needs you even more. This is a common age to develop fears and to have scary vivid dreams. An author I highly recommend is Dr. Sears. He has many books out including “Attachment Parenting”. As a first time mum, I knew in my heart what to do and the instinct was strong but sometimes other people or books would contradict what I felt. They promise an easy way out to get your baby to sleep. Short term gain for a long term loss is a great possiblilty. This Dr sears was a life saver for me because he encourages you to follow your insticts and nurture and soothe you baby as when they need it. There is a website too where you can ask questions:askdrsears.com So hang in there and keep up the good mothering!!

Mar 10, 2017 16 mth old son- can I be TOO nurturing?

by: Caitlyn

When my son was 10-11 months old he refused to sleep in his own cot and in the throws of moving house etc he slept with us for a few weeks until we fully moved in. He refused his cot still and was in a toddler bed by 12 months old but his toddler bed has been situated beside our bed in our room until now. he’s now 16 months old and seeing as he sleeps all through the night and in his own bed we’ve just recently moved him into his own room as I’m expecting in a couple of weeks!!! He doesn’t go to sleep on his own… he will scream for hours so we let him fall asleep on his own in the loungeroom with us then we take him upstairs to his bed, only to be awoken at 3am but once he cries I bring him into our bed for the remainder of the morning.

Have I possibly been TOO nurturing or babying my son and that’s why he can’t deal with bed without me?

I’m so tempted to just put his toddler bed back into our room while the new baby sleeps in his bassinet beside me and then wrk it out later on. Needless to say… my first son’s clingyness started as soon as I started showing a bit of bump cos of ds2. What should I do?

Mar 11, 2017 to last comment – 16 month old son, new baby on the way.

by: Anonymous

Whatever you do, don’t make him sleep on his own if he screams. Let him have the security of knowing you’re there for as long as he needs you. He will grow out of it. TRUST ME!

My daughter always needed me close by as well until several months ago when it became less and less. Now, most nights she is totally secure, knowing I’m in the room next door. Your son will trust you more and not feel issues with being forced into something. He will be more likely to have a positive attitude towards bedtime in general for the rest of his life.

I highly recommend the book “Attachment Parenting” by Dr Sears. You can also go to the website, askdrsears.com. So helpful! Be assured that you have not babied him too much because remember, he is infact a baby :) 16 months is still so small in the grand scheme of things.

I think it would work well to get adjusted to the new baby, and he’ll feel more apart of things if he is still in the room and not pushed aside for the new baby to take his place (from his perspective)

Keep up the great work! Remember, the more of an attachment, the healthier in the long run :)
Best wishes!!


Comment by EasyBabyLife Thank you for the book tip. Here is a link to the book and I agree; it is very good! The Attachment Parenting Book : A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby (Link to Amazon where you can read reviews of the book.)

Mar 26, 2017 Never Sleep Again

by: Anonymous

I have five children. You may never sleep again.

My older ones sneak on spacebook, the middle one is afraid of the dark, and the toddlers are up every two hours.

I know you want to believe the sleep problems are a phase but for us they never go away. I think from birth to age five I have a child in my bed.

Humans are forced to train their children against nature! We are the only mammals that do not follow our natural instincts to nuture our children. In severe case where they wouldn’t sleep for weeks (while I started seeing mailboxes as men in black hats), I gave them milk with L-tryptophan from a whole foods source. The name sounds scary but is, in fact, natural in turkey and added to most baby formulas. http://greerink.com/pages/l-tryptophan.html for info. I hope you all sleep! I’m about to give them a trip to dreamland.

Aug 23, 2017 help! 18 month old won’t sleep
by: Anonymous
I have an 18 month old who has not slept through the night since about 13 months. We rock her to sleep but when she wakes 2-3 times during the night she screams bloody murder. I pick her up out of crib and rock her back down which usually takes about 20 minutes. If I were to leave her in her crib, things would spiral out of control. She obviously needs to know how to put herself to sleep, but how?
We tried the Ferber crying it out for 4 days, but we were all a mess. She cried for 2 straight hours and I then found her barely asleep sitting up in her crib. The poor this was exhausted and I stopped b/c I didn’t feel she was benefiting from it… rather she appeared worse.I am debating getting a softer mattress or trying the toddler bed or mattress on the floor.We need to sleep! Please send some advice! Thank you.

Sep 22, 2017 My 3 year old won’t sleep on his own or in his own room anymore
by: R.P.
WOW….. up until 4 weeks ago, our 3 year old boy used to sleep on his own. He was still in his crib. He used to wake up screaming like a mad child and then we would have to put him in bed with us becuase he wouldn’t go back to bed on his own. This last only for 5 minutes and then we’d put him back in bed with no issues at all.
Last week was the start of him having to stay in our bed once he woke up. This week we put him in his own big boy bed thinking it may change his new habit. Now he won’t go to sleep period unless we lay with him in our bed and now he stay s in it all night long.We can’t let him scream it out. We tried that and he screamed from 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. NON-STOP. I’m not exaggerating.That nanny show say walk the child back to the room. We tried this as well. How can you fight back with a 3 year old when his is screaming and thrashing on the floor. It’s dead impossible and due to editing on the show they make it look easy. It’s not easy – it’s impossible in our case.I think we are resigned to the fact that we officially lost control of our bed and must accept it becuase we’ve tried quite a few things and it’s not working.Best of luck to all of you. Just throw in the towel and adjust your own habits. I already threw in my towel. I give up and you can call it a TKO in the 12th round.

Sep 26, 2017 Toddler has started sleeping alone again!

by: Anonymous

I just wanted to add something to this thread as I have been trailing the internet looking for answers for the last couple of months and just wanted to try and help someone else in the same sort of position.

My now 19month old has always been a n excellent sleeper, sleeping a good 12 hours straight from since he was around 5 months old.

When he was around 17 1/2 months he suddenly started crying when I said goodnight and tried to go out of the room. I stayed with him until he fell asleep thinking it would be a one off but that night he woke several times and would only settle if I or his Dad were in the room with him.

For weeks we tried different things, brought him into our bed even though I didnt want to get him into the habit of it so I stopped that. I made a makeshift bed on a mattress on the floor next to his cot and when he woke up during the night would end up sleeping the rest of the night in there. We tried a couple of times to let him settle himself but his crying got so bad and he wouldnt even lie down to give himself a chance to fall asleep. He was hysterical but as soon as we just walked into the room he would lie down and go to sleep.

I kept looking on the internet for advice or suggestions as we didn’t know if staying with him all the time was undoing all the good work of him originally sleeping alone.

For the past few weeks we had resigned ourselves to just accepting this was the way we would have to do things until he would hopefully come out of it. occasionally he slept through the night but most nights he woke atleast once at a different time during the night.

It has been 9 weeks of it and a few days ago I was in his room waiting for him to go to sleep for his afternoon nap, he was really messing about so I said “this isnt funny now, Mommy is going you have to go to sleep” I walked out of the room waiting for him to start crying, but he didnt. I sat outside his room and when he said “mommeee” I told him to lie down and go to sleep. Eventually, he went off all by himself without anyone else in the room, I left his door open a jar until I was certain he had gone to sleep and then closed it gently and he slept lovely for his whole 2hour nap.

We did the same that evening and as I say it has been a few days now and he is even waving and sayin “bye mommy”!

I just wanted to write something to hopefully give any other parents a bit of hope if they have been going through the same thing and thinking it will never end! IT WILL!

Stick with whatever you are doing to help them and aslong as they arent relying on you doing anything physical to help them fall to sleep they will soon remember that it is fine to fall asleep agin without you right there!

Oct 18, 2017 Thrashing and Screaming Toddler

by: Anonymous

I agree…the suggestions on Supernanny, Ferber, and Sears are not realistic.

My toddler can tantrum for 19 hours. We tried the CIO method. We tried backing the chair out a little at a time. We tried the bedtime routine… Sorry bathing and book wound my kid up!

I’m so guilty but lately will just give her a toy in the bed at 8:30pm, stay in the room, and talk to each other like she isn’t there. She drifts off to sleep for the rest of the night. I hope she outgrows needed an outside source. For now we are able to sleep in our own bed.

Nov 07, 2017 18 Month Old Won’t Go To Sleep Alone
by: Anonymous
Its nice to know its not just you isn’t it. My son is also 18 months old. He has never been a great sleeper but these last few weeks have been a mare. He is great at going to sleep but its staying asleep. He stands at the cot calling for me and getting upset if I don’t come. I always go in and rub his back and this sends him back to sleep. I often do this 2 or 3 times a night. Its hard work and last night was horrible but having read everyone else’s response I am of the opinion of it will pass and things will get better. I can’t let him scream himself to sleep I know I will give in. Good luck everyone and buy extra matches to keep those eyes open during the day. x

Nov 19, 2017 18 month old sleep issues

by: Boysmommy

I also have an 18 month old son who has been fighting sleep for the last 3 weeks or so. He normally is a great sleeper, with the exception of waking once at 4am every morning due to my husband leaving for work. I have spoke to my GP an he has reassured me that this “sleep regression” will soon pass! It is nice to know that I am not alone in this! With our 2nd son due in 4 months, I sure hope this gets straightened out! I also hope all you mommies are getting some sleep now too!

Dec 16, 2017 My god, this child will NOT let up!!
by: Bonkers
My son is 21 months old and will scream and scream and scream for hours and refuses to go to sleep at night. I’ve been doing the same routine with him since he was around 10 months old. He has never been a good sleeper and it is driving me crazy. At one point, he would make himself throw up if the words “bedtime” or “night night time” were mentioned. He would not even be crying or upset. He would just up-chuck on cue and I for one, was stunned. How do kids do that? Anyway, he is crying as I am typing this. I am so tired all the time.
Our bedtime routine consists of:1. Letting him know that bedtime will be in 20 minutes, then 10, then 5 and so on.2. Giving him a drink of milk or water.3. Brushing our teeth, which he LOVES.4. Singing the ABC’s to him.5. Giving him his stuffed pig, kisses, hugs, saying goodnight one more time.

6. Lights out.

As soon as I shut the door he starts screaming so I tried leaving it open just a crack to let some dim light in so he wasn’t feeling scared. That made things worse. What the hell am I doing wrong??!!! I tried crying it out. Nope. I tried going in to check on him every ten and twenty minutes to comfort him. Hell no, that just made him go into hysterics even more. I tried sitting next to his bed till he fell asleep and he cried when I did that, too! I just can’t win with this child. I’m VERY consistent with him.

Dec 17, 2017 To last comment (my god, this child will not let up)

by: Anonymous

My sympathies!! It’s such a downward spiral because when they sense you are stressed out, they know it has become a negative experience which makes it worse. The key is to make bedtime a secure, positive experience where they know you are there if they need you. This will take some time to build his trust back up again :) If he has been left to cry, bedtime has become a time of intense stress, and possible fear for him.
I recommend a website called askdrsears.com.

Dr Sears is a wonderful author with great wisdom. He and his wife had 8 children and have written over 20 best sellers together! Hope this helps :)

Best wishes

Feb 18, 2018 Ohh these stories are ohh so familiar!
by: Anonymous
My son is 28mths old and he was sleeping on his own for a few months after I used control crying/comforting when he was about 15mths old until around 24 mths old. Now that the terrible twos have really hit (tantrums upto 10 times a day) getting him to sleep through the night without me is impossible. I have tried EVERYTHING. He’s always had a strict routine, and the same bedtime in the same bed, in the same room.. I gave up trying to get him to sleep through the night in his own bed while I was on holidays and now everything is 10x worse.He just can’t sleep with me anymore because I am studying and often have to pull all nighters and if he can’t learn to stay asleep how can I get any studying done? I even get neighbours knocking on my door because he screams so loud! I am truly at my wits end but I am the adult and I just can’let a 2.5yr old run my life!

Feb 18, 2018 Small children need their mama, not trying to manipulate

by: Anonymous

He sounds very overwhelmed and frusterated! You too I’m sure but it sounds like he desperately needs you right now and not trying to manipuate you. Tantrums are just periods of overwhelming emotion with no coping skills. He needs someone to help him cope and make him feel calm and secure again. Maybe there is too much on your plate right now because 28 months is still so young and at the age where they really need there mama. Most cultures around the world have small children sleep in parents bed until about 4 years old. Security is everything for the future confidence of the child. Best wishes!!

Feb 23, 2018 We r all in the same boat

by: Anonymous

Wow I’m going thought the same things with my 18mth.. It takes me about 1 hr on a good night to get her to sleep.. By the end I give in and rock her.. I need alone time since im with them all day.. I think it’s separation anxiety mixed with her leaning new words..it’s hard for them to shut down when so much is running through there minds.. I have a spare room set up so when she doesn’t go back to sleep I sleep with her.. We both have a good sleep… U have to do what’s best for u.. When u dnt sleep well u cant give ur kids 100% of u.. My other daughter who is 7 months has always self settled and never given me a problem with sleep.. This will pass.. Enjoy cuddling and nurturing ur little ones coz they grow so fast and before u know it they don’t need u..

Mar 19, 2018 19 month old with changing sleep patterns

by: Erin

HI! I have a 19 month daughter who will sometimes go to sleep at night without a fuss and sleep all night and then there are the nights that when we go to put her to bed she fights and cries even though she is exhausted. I’ll stand by her crib until she falls asleep but she has the ears of a hound and as soon as I touch her door she is up screaming for me. We have a routine we always stick with so my husband and I aren’t sure what changes for her from night to night. Those are also the nights she tends to wake up a few times crying or screaming. She is more often than not happy, content little girl during the day and always wakes up happy in the morning. We never know what to expect from night to night with her. Just wondered if anybody else has this same issue

Mar 22, 2018 same problem with 1 of my twins
by: b/g twin mom
The same sleep problems started happening with our daughter at around 18 months. She was always a great sleeper and now will not go to sleep at night unless someone stays with her until she falls alseep. I think her 2nd year molars are coming in. Her twin brother fusses a little before bed and some times even cries a little, but is able to sooth himself to sleep. They will be 19 months tomorrow, I hope this little phase ends soon. Have 2 active twins is enough during the day, a girl needs some rest!

Aug 28, 2018 I just found a new trick which works!!!

by: Anonymous

Our 19 month old was an okay sleeper until the 19 month mark. He has always had issues with sleeping but never to this extent. Such as he has cried himself horse over the past few days. Our oldest was always a great sleeper so we were never faced with separation anxiety at night until the last 4 weeks. We have tried every method out there until tonight when I read on this forum the idea to slowly move away day after day. Then the thought occurred to me that perhaps he just wanted reassurance we were still home.

So I went to his door, after 3 hours of crying and consoling every 30 min, and spoke to him under the door. I asked him to lay down and go to sleep. After a few repeated phrases, he laid down and went to sleep calmly.

He just wanted to make sure he wasn’t alone is my assumption.

Anyways good luck.

Aug 28, 2018 Update

by: Anonymous

I made a commment some time ago. Here is my update:

You may need to see a doctor. While some crying is normal, tantrums lasting hours while you are consoling your baby is not.

My daughter is now 35 mts old. She still will not go to sleep without a screaming fit. We do the whole bedtime routine and low lights when she cries at night (on a newborn schedule).

Her brain doesn’t fully shutdown at night. She will scream about things that happened at 5p.m. that day. There is no convincing her the event is over. She is taking a Melatonin supplement every night. I’m not sure if they are available everywhere but they taste like gum and melt away in seconds. I mix them in her milk because she doesn’t like mint. I asked her PED and he gave the okay on them.

Sometimes the problem is out of your hands. I wasn’t just losing sleep but mind as well. My hub got up but anyone with a baby knows, if the LO is awake, everyone is awake.

Since giving her the melatonin strips she sleeps peacefully for about 8 hours! While short for a child her age, she is finally resting. She is a happy girl throughout the day. She is awake right now at 3am but only because our electric went out, heating up the house.

I like that she isn’t complete deadhead on the supplement. They just allow her brain to stop thinking so much.

I wish all moms the best of luck. I’m a better mother from actually sleeping. I would never deny a baby my company but the insane 6hr screaming had to end. She now gets in her own big girl bunk without transition complaints too!

Sep 10, 2018 excessively difficult 2 1/2 year old son

by: Erin

Why is my toddler doing this? He won’t go to sleep without a fight, takes him hours to go to sleep, will only sleep on the couch, but even then he stays up for hours babbling to himself. I know he isn’t crying, but the babbling drives me crazy more than if he were crying. It takes slightly less time for him to fall asleep on the couch, but it’s still too much. He is stubborn as most toddlers typically are, but it’s more than that. He just isn’t learning no matter what. What’s even worse is he only sleeps like 7 hours, 8 if I’m lucky and he doesn’t take naps anymore so this cannot be normal, right? Or am I wrong? Routines have never worked for him no matter how consistent I am. I tried the sticker reward method, but he doesn’t care about stickers. He just shreds them like confetti. I tried the cry it out method, but he would cry so hard he made himself throw up. I tried closing his door and told him if he got out if bed I was going to shut the door. No, he didn’t like the door being shut and it was probably kind of scary for him in the dark, but you would think he would stop getting out of bed after a few times of the door being shut, but that didn’t work either. I know he understands what I’m saying, but he just doesn’t comply. You get the point. I’ve tried every suggestion imaginable. He often goes to sleep well past a normal bedtime for a toddler (11:30), but then wakes up two hours later and will be awake until five in the morning. He eventually passes out again but then wakes up for the day at about 9 o’clock. Should I take him to a sleep clinic? I don’t know though because I don’t think a toddler would tolerate wires stuck to their head and actually keep them inn place. Besides, wouldn’t that be dangerous? The wires might get accidentally wrapped around their neck. Not safe. I’m starting to think nothing will ever work. I’m so exhausted.

Sep 11, 2018 A few thoughts
by: Paula (Easy Baby Life)
Hi Erin,
Exhausting situation! I have a few questions and ideas.How out and active is your son during daytime? Typically, toddlers that spend a lot of time on the go and preferably outside during daytime, will have a better melatonin (the sleep hormone) regulation. So if it is possible to make sure your son is out and about especially from morning to lunch, but also as much as possible in the afternoon, it may be easier to put him to bed at night.Also, contrary to all the activity and daylight during the day, it might help him to calm down if you dim the lights and take away any TV or media a couple of hours before bedtime. Instead, a nice bath, playing with teddy bears, puzzles or stories can make it easier for your son to rest. To be together, but not play any very wild games and not watch TV is a great way to spend the evening. (It can even be to do the dishes, many toddlers really love to help out.)Then to actually make him fall asleep, sometimes a new toddler bed (which can even just be matress on the floor, but not the crib), in combination with someone staying in the room with the child to fall asleep is in my view the most efficient way to help a toddler find peaceful sleep. Telling that he is a big boy now and that he’ll get a new bed, blanket or whatever and that big boys sleep at night, so now he will too, and help him dicover how nice it is to be in bed, reading a bedtime story or listening to a lullaby can slowly get you away from the power struggles. Crying alone or making it all a power struggle will make the little toddler angry or scared or both, which is not great for sleep.If his babbling at night disturbs you; can’t you simply use ear plugs? Some kids (and adults) simply make a lot of noise while asleep. And if he wakes up; try to just let him come to you bed you or you to his. Make very little fuss about it, and just try to get back to sleep as quickly as possible. If you’re in bed with him, isn’t the chances higher that he actually stays in bed and goes back to sleep?Maybe you already tried all this. If not, give it a go, if you think it can help, before contacting a sleep center.

I hope this helps,


Sep 29, 2018 Luckily this is normal!

by: Anonymous

Well my husband and I are currently dealing with the same issue for our 20 month old and I must say that we have not changed a thing about her bed time routine and after a few days, though she still cries after I leave the room, it only lasts 20 min at the most and sleeps all night. At first we’d take turns going in to comfort her but that just made her wake up more frequently at night and refuse even more. So now that we are using our normal routine unchanged she’s getting back in the groove of things. I was initially worried after she had started getting worse because my sister had always been huge on attachment parenting and has 7-year old that to this day has yet to sleep in her own bed. I thought we were headed there when we had started going that route, luckily my husband convinced me that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it! But it does get better! Hang in there! It’s no fun but it’s not forever!!

Oct 12, 2018 my son won’t sleep in his own crib

by: Anonymous

My son is 19 month old and will not sleep in his own crib. We put him in at night and he screams,wails,coughs and pretty near gets sick, but his day time nap he is fine he will sleep good. After awhile he will fall asleep in our room but does not have to be our bed. It will not work in his room he does not want to be in there at all but again the day is ok’ it is getting pretty hard we get no sleep we are working on but it is taking time. if anyone knows a good way to make this work could you please help


Nov 30, 2018 18-month won’t go to sleep without me
by: Anonymous

I have an 18-month-old daughter, and all was good she would go to bed on her own then just recently she has to have me in the room or she won’t go to sleep. I am a single mother I work and go to college two nights a week and my sitter tells me at her bedtime she lays down for her, with her in there. But she doesn’t do this for me. I am glad it’s not only parent thats going through this. But I am also wondering if it that’s she missing me;(

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Emily

    My 9-months-old used to wake up 4 to 5 times before midnight.

    I was so sleep deprived I could barely function properly.

    My husband noticed that, and we went to our pediatrician.

    He asked several question, and as it happens, I was doing several things wrong.

    It is my first child, so you know how the internet works these days, everyone can post anything, what to do what not to do, it is very hard to find correct answers.

    So he recommended me to contact a clinical psychologist, a collegue of his who actually made a guide for situations like mine.

    Of course I gave it a try, and guess what, it actually worked. So simple tips, but when you listen to the right people, who actually know what they are talking about.

    For example, I was rocking my baby to sleep constantly, for a long time, and apparently that is a no no.

    When you fix that and many many other things, everything will be ok. At least it was in my case.


  2. Kelle Trusso

    Thanks for sharing this info

  3. Ashley

    My 19 month old daughter refuses to sleep in her crib. I started out when she was a newborn having her sleep in her crib then one night she had troubles breathing and I was scared so have let her sleep with me since then. What can I do to get her to sleep in her own crib? I’ve tried putting get in her own bed including a toddler bed and she screams. I’ve tried singing to her, playing music, holding her hand, and reading to her but she will still scream.

  4. Mackenzie Chase

    Hello! I am experiencing similar things with my 16 month old daughter that I see in these posts and was wondering if anyone who posted a while ago could give an update on how this phase went. Has it passed? Anything in particular help or was time more of the answer. Thanks!

  5. Laurie

    Hi! Every one of my children went through this phase. As they get older there are a host of developmental reasons why this happens. I believe it is primarily because they are now aware that you are not there with them – hence the separation anxiety that correlates with this particular age.

    It is a tough scenario and everyone has different feedback on how to handle it. I think you have to do what feels right to you. I will tell you that I learned the first time around that creating a new routine for them (allowing them to fall asleep and then returning them to your room or falling asleep on you or in your room can pose longer-term problems for you)

    I believe it is best to provide simple reassurance and love. Be quiet and loving and firm and allow them to go back to sleep in their crib and bed. While this may seem cold and harsh it is not. Studies have shown that children that do not learn to self-soothe have a history of sleep disturbances and difficulties and that does not even factor in your sleep deprivation and let’s face it…does your child deserve you with 4 hours sleep or you with a solid 7!

    I hope it works out. It is a really tough time. I remember. Best of luck!

    1. Me too

      Yeah, I agree. All of a sudden at 18 months my perfect sleeper would be scared to death to go into his crib and he would wail. I couldn’t understand it.

      So we set up a very strict bedtime routine and when it was time, we would put him in his crib. he would say “nooo” and scream when I laid him down. But I stuck to my guns and gently told him it was sleepy time and left for 3 minutes, then came back, reassured him and left for 5 minutes, came back, reassured him and left for 10 minutes. (Just like in the Richard Ferber book).

      Usually, by then he would fall asleep. We did this at nap time too. After 3-5 days/nights, he was back to his old self of sleeping normally. Now I put him into the crib without the whole nighttime routine and he is fine. But wow, we were scared for a few days there!

  6. bowen hui

    Thanks for all your suggestions and tips! Your suggestion to the mom with a baby due – indicating that it’s not necessarily the best time to force my toddler son to sleep on his own now so he doesn’t feel rejected. I completely agree, and thanks for thinking about the situation from the toddler’s perspective. Everyone else keeps telling me to hurry up and get him to sleep on his own. But I just don’t feel he’s ready and it just doesn’t seem like now is a good time to spend less time with him.

    My question is, if I co-sleep with my toddler and the new baby (in a basinet), won’t the baby’s frequent cries wake up my toddler son as well? What can I do to help my toddler get enough sleep, if we try the co-sleep method? Or when that happens, would it be fair to suggest to my toddler to try to sleep on his own?