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  • Post last modified:January 6, 2021
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I can't get my 15-month-old to sleep
My son is 15 months old and it is really hard for me to get him to sleep. He refuses to sleep in his crib so I let him sleep with me in my bed but he still screams really loud when I put him to bed.

I don’t know if I should lay down with him in the bed until he falls asleep or if I should just let him put himself to sleep and keep putting him back to bed when he gets up and let him cry until he falls asleep.

I don’t know what kind of schedule I can use to help me get him to sleep easier.

by Jennifer

Baby Helpline:

Tips For 15 Month Baby That Wont Sleep

Your adorable son seems to be giving you quite a hard time in the evenings right now – not unusual in his age!

Depending on who you ask, I’m sure some people will recommend some sort of cry-it-out method. I don’t.

Instead I have a few other tips to improve the situation:

  • First of all, review his whole sleep situation. Can it be, by any chance that he is not tired enough or too tired when you put him to bed? Check a tentative sleep schedule here. Also remember that children (and adults) that have enough stimulation, fresh air, and exercise during daytime often sleep better at night.
  • After you’ve done any adjustments you may need to, you should have a tired, but not a too tired boy when it is time to go to bed. Then look over your routines around bedtime. Can you try to make the half-hour before going to bed a cozy one? Maybe cuddle up on the sofa or in your bed. Sing songs or read books if he is interested or watch TV together. Some babies sleep very well after a bath.
  • Then when you see signs of him being tired, carry him to your bed, while gently playing with him to make him laugh a bit. If he starts crying, continue to play with him in your bed, until he stops crying. Then do whatever makes him interested in lying down with you. Some children become very relaxed if patted on their heads. Stay with him until he falls asleep and then put him in his crib.
  • Once you’ve found a bedtime and evening routine that works better, stick to it!
  • When he has started to accept being put to sleep with you without screaming, you can consider the next step – moving him to his crib while awake. For this to work, he probably has to be very tired, almost asleep in the beginning. Do your usual routines in your bed, then lift him to his own while still awake. Continue with whatever makes him calm in the crib. If he doesn’t accept it, take him up and redo the process until he falls asleep in his bed. Within in days, he will probably accept to be put in his own bed a bit faster.

To introduce new routines this soft way takes time. But I prefer trying to understand why the child protests and try to alter the situation. That doesn’t mean that a baby can decide what’s best for him or her, but that he may have important information that we should try to understand.

Maybe your son simply isn’t tired enough? Or too tired? Maybe the whole situation of putting him to bed has become a power-struggle and he senses your irritation?

I know you’re in a tough situation, but if you think that “within a month, things will improve” and start to alter your routines, it will be easier to cope – I promise!

If he continues to refuse the crib, then within a few months, you could consider a safe toddler bed or even a thick mattress on the floor for him if you don’t want to co-sleep.

I really wish you good luck!

More Toddlers That Won’t Sleep

Find comments below.

Comments for “I cant get my 15 month old to sleep…”

Nov 17, 2018 Problems with sleep girl is 1 year and 25 days
by: diandra

I’m very desperate, even her father, when she was baby there wasn’t this problem she used to wake up 2 or 3 times at night, but from June she has problems, she wakes up 8 or 9 times at night. She doesn’t know how to sleep. We tried everything but still, the same, or we’re going bad as a snail. She is a very active baby, when she wakes up I give her cereal, then at 1.00 pm she eats meat with veg, gets a bootle and then sleeps in my hands for 1 hour. At 4.30 a fruit, 6.00 pm bottle, 7.30 another meal, 9.00 pm bottle and we take her in her bed to fall a sleep, but till 6.00 she wakes up 8 or 9 times. Thank you.

Nov 20, 2018 Reply for Diandra

by: Baby Help Line

hi Diandra.

I suspect your baby is hungry! You say she is very active and at 1 year she will most certainly be on the go, and I suspect she is using up all her calories so is waking in the night. During the day she may well be so interested in what is around her that she is not giving out signals of being hungry, plus she is getting used to getting the extra nourishment at night!

Parents often think once their children are on solids they are getting more food than just milk. But she still needs lots of milk, in fact, most of her calories will still be coming from milk, so adding an extra bottle during the day would help.

Plus I would give her snacks every couple of hours. Growing babies often can’t go for four hours between meals, it is a long time when you are growing and active. Even we like our morning tea! I think if you increase what you offer during the day she will be less likely to wake at night. Try adding some formula milk to her vegetables and cereal for some extra calories. Give her some yogurt mid-morning, and some sandwiches or sticks of cheese and veggies in the afternoon as well as her fruit and other meals. Frequent little meals are usually better than big ones.

It also sounds as if you are getting exhausted. Try to take turns with your husband so you both get every second night to sleep. Your little girl will grow out of this I promise! It is exhausting at the moment but as she gets used to getting filled up and has familiar routines then she will get better.

My babies both woke continuously during the night until about two and a half! My daughter would never stay in a wet nappy for five minutes, so was always needing a change. I was chronically sleep-deprived, but I learned if I made a battle out of it it was far worse. I could stagger up in the dark and keeping the lights very dim so they didn’t really wake too much, feed and change them quickly and then get back to bed. Don’t play with her in the night, get her used to darkened rooms and low stimulation. Just feed her, change her and back to bed.

Have you checked out these baby sleep tips? There are lots of good ideas for bedtime routines:

Enjoy your little girl even if she is keeping you awake!

All the best,

Nov 20, 2018 Two for the price of one!

by: Baby Help Line – Annie

Hi Jennifer,
I hadn’t realized Paula had answered so you get two ideas here!

What a little cutie! Domenick looks like a very determined little boy! There is a lot of debate around co-sleeping and sleep routines. Many parents are quite happy to have babies and young children sleeping in the bed with them until the
child chooses to sleep alone. It sounds like you are wanting Domenick to sleep in his own bed so you may have to choose to make a stand. He is going to perform until he gets used to it, but if you are giving in to him then he is going to learn to make lots of noise and you give in.

It’s important to develop bedtime routines. Start well before bedtime with quiet time, a bath maybe, some stories, and low lighting. Keep away from the TV and lots of stimulation and take the time to settle him quietly. If you are still breastfeeding then give him his last feed ner his bed. You can be softly singing songs over and over.

If you can manage not to pick him up you can sit quietly in the room with the lights very low, so he can see you and has that reassurance but can’t
manipulate you to picking him up. It is really hard! But if you are determined not to let him sleep with you, make up your mind and stick to it. Keep really calm and just keep singing quietly while you read a magazine or book and just ignore him. If you pick him up, you will be back to square one!

You will probably have to do it for 3 or 4 nights, then he will test again after a week or so, but he will start to realize you mean business.

The best option is to hand bedtime over to his father – or another family member if you have someone else on call! He has learned to get what he wants from you and will sense when you get upset or angry and he will get confused and unsettled. If you are still breastfeeding then give him his last feed and hand him over.

The key here is to keep calm and quiet but do not give in! If parents get into a battle of wills, trying to force a child to sleep it just doesn’t work and everyone gets upset.

I can sympathize with you, I used to have to walk my daughter, patting her on the back to get her off to sleep. Then when I was due with my second baby, I knew I just couldn’t do it anymore. I would do two trips up and down the hall, then put her in the crib and pat her for a little while and she got used to settling down. Then I wished I had done it earlier!

Best of luck, remember in no time at all he will be a larger than life teenager and he won’t want Mom cuddling him off to sleep!

Enjoy your lovely little boy,

Annie Desantis

Dec 27, 2018 15 month old not eating or sleeping well

by: Gabby

Hello. My 15-month-old boy is teething and he doesn’t want to eat solids anymore. Until 4 weeks ago, he used to eat a lot of solids fruits, veggies, and some meat. But, then all of a sudden he started to refuse food. I am still breastfeeding him. But, after he turned 14 months he started drinking some organic cow’s milk too. He doesn’t drink a lot of milk to fill upon it like some kids do, but I still can get him to eat solids. He also wakes up at night about 3 times to nurse. But, recently he started singing in his sleep and talking for a couple of hours. I don’t know why is he refusing food and why is he waking up so much.
Please help

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  1. Gunnis

    Please help! My 19 month old recently stopped sleeping on his own. We have a solid bedtime routine and he used to fall asleep in his crib on his own and sleep through the night, now he won’t do either. He wakes up several times a night and stays awake for a while. I usually have to sit in there for 30 minutes holding his hand to get him to sleep, only to have him wake up 30 minutes later and do it all over again. Please help!