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What if an 18-month-old baby toddler suddenly stops sleeping through the night? How can this happen and what can be done about it?

Read about the 18 months sleep regression and how to get your 18-month-old toddler to sleep.

18-month-old not sleeping through the nightPin

Mom’s Question:

I have an 18-month-old daughter, and about five months ago, she stopped sleeping through the night. She usually wakes now between 2-4 times a night, starting from 1.30 am onwards. I have tried ignoring her, and I have also done the giving in to her and given her more milk. Nothing seems to work.

She goes to bed at 6.30 every night and has done since she was a newborn (she used to sleep all through the night). She still has 2 naps a day each lasting exactly an hour. She eats well so she is not hungry, and she drinks plenty. Her teeth were a problem, but now she has a mouth full, so it’s not teething.

I am at my wit’s end to find out why; if anybody has any ideas, please help.


Tips When Young Toddlers Won’t Sleep Through The Night

The 18 Months Sleep Regression

You know what? I’d say your little toddler is completely normal! It is very common for babies to start waking up again at night at some point between 1 and 1.5 years; only no one tells you about it! There are even words for this – the 12-month or 18-month sleep regression. There is sooo much focus on having your baby sleep through the night right from the start, but there is very little information about the fact that the probability of this continuing forever is very low.

So why does an 18-month sleep regression occur?

Well, at around 18 months, a lot happens with babies’ development. They start talking or at least understanding words and communicate, they move around, and they understand much more about the world than before. (You can read about all the toddler milestones here.) This means they have a lot to digest at night, and nightmares are common at around 18 months.

Other reasons for night wakings at this age can be teething and separation anxiety. Some toddlers may also react to new foods or milk protein and have tummy issues. 

So think of it as simply a period when your toddler needs you a bit more. It will pass. 

How to Get an 18-Month-Old to Sleep Through the Night In Four Steps

You, of course, can’t force someone to sleep through the night, but there are some things you may want to try.

1. Cut Down the Night Feedings

One thing I think you should do is to cut down on the nighttime feeding as fast as you can (if she still does get milk at night). In my experience, the habit of eating at night really is an obstacle to learning to sleep through the night for older babies and toddlers.

2. Teach Your Child to Fall Asleep in Their Own Bed (But With You)

You don’t say anything about your baby’s bedtime routines, but if your girl doesn’t fall asleep in her own bed, that might be something to start working on.

Personally, I don’t like the cry-it-out method but prefer to slowly help the baby learn to fall asleep in her bed. This can be done by putting her in bed when she is really tired and then staying with her, making it a nice moment with mom or dad; reading a book, singing a lullaby, and having a back rub or a cuddle.

3. Then Teach Them To Fall Asleep On Their Own

When she accepts to fall asleep in her own bed, then the next step is for you to move inches away from the bed right before she falls asleep – and then gradually further away.

Ones she has learned to fall asleep on her own and the feeding is gone, there is a much better chance that she’ll wake up less often.

4. Adjust the Naps and Bedtime

You also mention that she goes to bed at 6:30 p.m. every night and naps for two hours per day. It is possible that cutting down to 1 nap just after lunch or putting your child to bed somewhat later would also help. 

Does any of this help your situation? Otherwise, write some more details and we’ll work something out. Maybe your first goal shouldn’t be to have her sleep through the night but to wake up less often. Many children wake up at night a few times per week and walk into their parents’ bedroom for several years. Buy a big bed and realize that within a few years, your girl wouldn’t dream of sleeping next to mom… They grow up so fast and she needs you now!

Good luck!

More Toddlers That Wake Up At Night

Find comments below.

Comments for “Why Isn’t My 18-Month-Old Daughter Sleeping Through the Night?”

Jan 14, 2020 Just a suggestion..
by: Anonymous
My daughter (I have 2 at the moment) and I found that instead of putting them (one is 3 and the other is 18 months) to bed after their usual 6:30p time, they tend to sleep better in their own beds. At first, I wasn’t too keen about them staying up so late, but after I realized that it worked, I insist my girls stay up till at least 830p to 9p. They usually will play until they are too tired to move and fall asleep on their own and sleep throughout the night. Just a suggestion.

Jan 15, 2020 My daughter’s now 29 months old!
by: Tina
After I stopped giving in to her demands for milk she started to sleep through the night again. She has been in a proper bed since she was 1. She now has a new sleep problem of me having to lay with her until she falls asleep holding hands. She still goes to bed early we tried keeping her up late and she became irritable and stressed. She has now stopped all sleep during the day and goes off to bed at 6pm, she holds my hand until she falls asleep which is usually within 5 minutes. The only time she gets up now is when she needs to go to the toilet as she has been out of nappies for a year now.
Thank you for your reply.

Jan 19, 2020 not bad habits
by: Dede
Hi Tina,
I wouldn’t say that having to lay with her holding her hand is a bad habit at all, it is a comfort for her. I have 5 children, and I laid with them all till they went to sleep, each with their own little “habit” playing with hair, rubbing back, holding hands, and gently brushing the bridge of the nose LOL I loved every minute of it, my youngest now is 18mths, and we are now going through her not sleeping through the night. I do not believe in leaving them to cry at all.
I know that having busy lifestyles can quite often make this very frustrating, but it is important to remember that there is an end, it is generally always a phase and it will pass. Knowing that just laying with them for 5 min or even 20 lets them rest peacefully during the night makes you realize how very much your comforting does for them. It is completely normal for kids through toddler years to wake through the night, embrace every moment good and bad, they are only little once!
Good luck :)

Jan 20, 2020 For Dede

by: Tina

Thanks for your comments, Dede. She is my 3rd child I have 2 boys of 13 and 10 years and I must say people did tell me girls were different.
I do love every minute of the holding hands at bedtime, I feel needed as with the boys they don’t need me anymore. I was just worried that I was making a rod of my own back for giving into her as she was sent to sleep clinic by the health visitors hence the crying technique early on in her routine. I was told not to give in to her she would eventually stop. I did think at the time it seemed cruel to make my baby cry herself to sleep. Sometimes I wonder if these people actually have children they adore!

Jan 20, 2020 for Tina
by: Dede
I would say the heck with them LOL no one knows your child better than you, and I always find it odd that they use the term giving into like the child is being a certain way LOL You are right I don’t think they have children. Children are so impressionable right from birth, and I know all these pro’s say that the babies are fine with “crying it out” I would seriously fear I would create abandonment issues or something.
Tina, I think you are doing exactly the right things, you are giving into her yes, but her needs, not just her wants.
And you can take assurance in knowing she feels secure and safe every night when she goes to sleep because you gave that to her! Professionals would probably call me a sucker, or say I do things the wrong way, but I say I love my children, and they are exactly that, mine LOL and if I can live happily, and my children are happy and safe and we are all comfortable, that is what is important.
You must have seen a big difference with your daughter after having 2 boys! Well, have fun with them! Just take it one day at a time, that’s all anyone can do!
Take care :)

Feb 10, 2020 I have a 14month who wont sleep through the night
by: Carli
Hi, my name is Carli and I have a 14month old son who just started to wake up through the night. It started about a week and 1/2 ago. I thought it was because he is sick with a cold, or maybe teeth. I am completely stumped of why this is happening. I have started him on giving him milk… but that doesn’t work either.
to be honest I am really lucky that I don’t have to wake up for work early in the morning. I wish their was something i could do, last night i was up for an hour and 1/2.But from what I am reading it seems that this is all normal and it’s another stage along with many…I guess I just have to continue to be patient and pray this stage ends sooner than later.good luck i think you now know and so do i that we are not alone in this and many parents have gone through it… which in a way is very comforting.

Feb 11, 2020 Carli
by: Tina
Hi Carli, I feel like a pro NOW, but at the time when it’s happening to you, it feels like you are the only person it’s happening to. I kept searching the net to see if anybody was in the same boat as I and nothing came close. Don’t get me wrong the Health Visitors can be very helpful but when they say to you stop the milk, don’t hold them, leave them in the room on their own, they are your babies and you don’t want them distressed, yes maybe you are making things worse for yourself in the long run, but I think you have to tackle every new problem a bit time and how it suits you and your baby. I have 3 children and yes they are all very different, my first son went to bed at 6 and slept all nite, my second son went to bed at 6 got up a few times in the night but my gorgeous daughter goes to bed at 7 now and is a total nightmare but the way I look at it is I have 3 healthy children and I’m lucky I have them. At the end of the day it’s only sleep, if he sleeps during the day have sleep with him, I know I do now so I can be at my best for them. Good luck and remember it’s not forever they grow up so quickly it’s scary!

Mar 04, 2020 My 18m won’t go BACK to Sleep

by: Anonymous

My 18m daughter has the same issue as a lot of your kids have, except she is waking up in the middle of the night and won’t go back to sleep (even if I “give” in and let her sleep in our bed, or lie down with her to fall asleep). It’s like she’s up and ready to play, and it doesn’t seem to depend on how much she slept during the day or when she went to bed that night. I tried the “tough love” cry-it-out method, but she screamed for 2 hours before I couldn’t take it anymore! She slept through the night great until recently, and she still goes down at bedtime fine. Any suggestions here?

Mar 05, 2020 Anonymous
by: Tina
Hi ya, I went through the same with my daughter as well it wasn’t for long. She would get up and run around the living room and want to watch her programs. All you can do is grin and bear it and just go with the flow with her. Sleep deprivation is an awful thing for a mother I know but at the end of the day she will do what she wants anyway (they always do). Have you tried a bath just before bedtime and a warm milk? Don’t fall into the giving into her at night for a milk because it does make it worse because they end up getting up as a routine every night for one, then you have another problem to solve. And just wear her out during the day, try taking her to a soft gym area they are great for making them tired.
Good Luck

Apr 20, 2020 I can relate!!!
by: Anonymous
I am in almost the exact same situation except my daughter is almost a year old. She’s been sleeping through the night (average of 10-12 hours) beautifully since 2 months old BUT, in the past 2 months or so, she’s reverted to waking up multiple times per night. I am exhausted!! I know she’s not hungry and I’m pretty sure it’s not her teeth either. It’s very discouraging – I feel like a bad mom because I had her in such a great schedule before. Anyway… maybe there are no answers per se but just wanted to let you know you’re not alone! (and, hey, if anyone DOES have some good suggestions, please throw them my way). Good luck to all the tired mommies!

Aug 13, 2020 help!
by: kennedy
My daughter is 18 months- wakes up 2-3x a night asking for “baba”. I give in, because she takes the bottle, rolls over, and goes back to sleep for another 2-3 hours.
I know I have to stop giving her the bottle during the night. How do I do this???? Every time I try any kind of version of letting her CIO- she violently throws up! Please help!

Aug 14, 2020 Hi Kennedy

by: Tina

Does she actually make herself sick? My daughter started this about the same age she is 3 now. Stop the milk now! When she wakes and asks for her bottle tell her not at nite time. This will take up2 a week of telling her NO but don’t give in it DOES work.
My daughter used to cry so hard it brought on the sickness which she did a fair few times. I found eventually, cause she would start this whilst at the shops when she didn’t get her own way as well, I told her to “stop it” in a firm voice. She would keep doing it but I just carried on saying “stop it” in a controlled voice. She would then just sob so I would hug her but not until she stopped coughing and reaching. When she stops praise her for stopping. But once u start any of these ways u must c them through, its hard but for yr own sanity u have 2 b in control!

Nov 23, 2020 Help please!!!! Im soooo tired
by: Adriana
Ok. My son is 26 months old. He started sleeping through the night when he was 6 months old. besides the occasional wake-up here and there he has always been really good about sleeping. We have moved 3 times since he was born, and it never seemed to affect him. His father and I separated 7 months ago, and it didn’t seem to affect him either. I lost my job 3 months ago and have now been home with him more often so I don’t think it’s abandonment issues.
About 2 weeks ago he started waking up all night long. He goes to bed around 8:30 pm and has a routine. Bathtime, warm milk, brush teeth, and then book time. He lays down in his own bed and I sing to him and then say goodnight before he is asleep. This has always been our routine and has worked beautifully. We still do this and it still works. Except for now, he wakes up around 10 pm, screaming, sounding terrified- sometimes he is still asleep so I figured this was night terrors, but he wakes too often. He seems to just want the comfort of knowing I am there because I will enter his room and kiss him and he lays down instantly and goes back to sleep without any kind of fight. this continues all night. 11:30, 1am, 2am, 2:30am,3am, you get the idea. around 6 am I will bring him into my bed so I can get at least a solid hour of sleep. He normally doesn’t get milk when he sleeps, but I have been trying it, it is not working so I have stopped. He stopped using his pacifier 2 1/2 months ago with ease. The only thing I can imagine is happening is that he spends every other night at his father’s house.
He sleeps in his father’s bed even though he has his own room. No matter what I tell his father, he doesn’t seem to listen to me. Is this the reason this is happening or something else? I am soooooooo tired and confused. I won’t let him cry it out because he sounds way too terrified. I know his cries, and this is not a manipulative cry. Sometimes he is even crying in his sleep “stop” or “no” or “go away” but he could just be dreaming that his best buddy stole his toy, some advice would help. Thank you!!!!

Nov 24, 2020 Reply

by: Tina

Hi Adriana
You are not alone if that helps to start with.
I would say that your ex-partner is not helping your situation at all.
Unfortunately, I sound like a hypocrite, my daughter is 3 now, and she still will not sleep through the night, so I bought her a double bed, she goes to bed fine has about 4 hours, and then gets me up. I did it for me more than her because as you have said sleep deprivation is a killer and I don’t think anyone understands that unless they have been there. I go to bed with her the rest of the night until the alarm gets us both up.
My daughter says she hates being in there alone, she has no problem sleeping when Im with her.
I know it’s great that your son goes to his Dads but every other night seems a bit much, and this will not help him at all. Is there any way you can arrange day contact with his Father and only have sleepovers every other weekend?

I don’t know why our children do this to us perhaps it is so they can be near us all the time, in a way, it’s really comforting but in and out of bed all night is not good for you.
Try and talk to his Dad and ask him if you can just do weekend stays until you can settle his bedtime routine, if he loves his son he will want the best for him. Just ask.
Good luck

Jan 15, 2021 Help……
by: Harley
I have an 18-month-old daughter and a 2-week-old son. My partner is going back to work in a couple of days and I’m stuck on getting a bedtime routine. My daughter is a handful at bedtime. She has the sides of her cot bed, and as she kept climbing out of it, she has a bed rail. So can’t let her cry it out, I don’t think I could do that tho. She won’t go to sleep without a bottle, I have to talk, sing and cuddle her until she is sound asleep. And when she wakes up in the nite she really does cry it’s horrible. She won’t go back into her own bed, when we try she just screams and is hysterical. It’s heartbreaking so she comes into bed with us. Also has to have a bottle, usually 6-7 oz.
My partner works unsociable hours, so I will be on my own in the evenings. I’m just worried I’ll start to settle my daughter and my son will cry then my daughter won’t settle, and I will just be going backward and forwards. I’d been trying pretty much everything while I was pregnant to settle her on her own but nothing worked. Please help….. (oh and I’m sorry about my spelling it’s dreadful)

Jan 19, 2021 19-month-old.
by: Anonymous
My boy eats very little during the day, and I often wonder how he gets by. He sees the spoon and freaks out and turns his head…. I have tried giving him what I have, but he does not sit long enough; he is always on the go. I have to distract him with tv or toys so he eats.
He has no naps hardly, it all depends on what time he gts tired.
At bedtime, he will Ask for bot bot and have 4 oz then go to bed and have another 2oz then fall asleep withn 5 mins.
Then he moves and stirs and is hardly still all through the night. he will wake up cold cause he moves around that much,
He asks for bot bot about 4 times a night, but it’s the moving around and never actually sleeping that is getting to me.
Every time h moves around he loses his dummy and then wants it and its just a constant thing during the night.Some people say i am lucky he wakes at 9am but he does not actually sleep all the way through.
Why i this?? Am I doing something wrong?

Jan 19, 2021 To Anonymous
by: Tina
Hi, Dont blame yrself for anything yr kids do, they do what they want when they want. I found this out from experience.
I have an 11 yr old son who has eating problems well thats what I say as he doesn’t eat hardly anything but took him 2 drs and they say as long as he has something he is eating. Leave his food where he can get it himself when hes hungry he will get it even if its cold. Leave snacks about in bowls. Doesnt matter if there no healthy snacks (crisps, biscuits, even fruit if he eats it)As for the fidgiting in bed my 3yr old tossed and turned all nite long and didn’t sleep, I bought her a double bed and sleep with her, this has cured her not sleeping (not practical in long run but at least we sleep).
I look in the long run of the fact they are not going to b little forever and its just a time thing, it will all correct itself.

Feb 02, 2021 19mnth old not sleeping

by: Angela

Hi, my son is 19mnths and at the minute he is in with me and dad, luckily I have a super kingsize bed!! he went through a stage of sleeping in his cot with no probs, then I went away for a weekend and his dad gave in to him and now he won’t sleep in his cot, screams blue murder, I work full time, up at 6.10 am so now I take him up to bed at 8.30 at the latest lie with him on my bed till settles usually within ten mins, then I put him in his own little toddler bed next to mine, sometimes he wakes up 3hrs later then I pop over into his bed lie with him till asleep again, then he goes over again, then wants a little milk!! (Im so trying to break that habit) then he goes over till 7ish..

I am going to move is toddler bed into his room once he is comfortable in it all night..

So Im pleased Im not alone, he has 4 more teeth to go so Im hoping wants he has a full set he will settle better….

I really do think at this age it is a comfort thing, and also can I just say, if I go out with my friends or etc, and daddy settles him he is good as gold, and when he stops at grandparents he is good as gold! the saying goes they have us mammies right where they want us!!!!!

Good luck and your not alone..

Feb 27, 2021 energy
by: laura
KEY! my baby has bundles of energy….
My daughter is 18 months now and also was a good sleeper till the age of about 14 months.she then started waking at 11pm and would only then get into my bed… she then started jumping out of her cot, so i bought her a bed…so she then and still goes down happily, but still woke in the night. she got the sick bug a couple of times then a cold, and it threw her sleep times again, and she now won’t go down until 9 pm or 11 pm…unless I go to bed with her.
I have stopped her bed milk (as it is said to cause congestion) and am slowly taking away the dummy. I have changed a couple of things though. I found that being a busy mum I was talking with my daughter through the day and getting her involved but wasn’t taking a few blocks out of the day where i wasn’t focusing on her, dancing or sitting with her facing me …talking with her whilst sitting on my lap . dont get me wrong i spend all day with her but found when i did this 1 on 1 full attention she had had her full of mummy b4 bed so didn’t crave me so much at night. Also, I found that because of the winter weather i wasnt taking her to the parks as much. she needed the fresh air and run around to wear her out! and this is key. Being indoors (at classes or at home) isn’t enough. swimming is also a good one…
she is not sleeping through the night but I see a big change and know it’s on the horizon sometime soon :)

Mar 16, 2021 How can I stop this…
by: Anonymous
My daughter is 19 months and has had a history of ear infections. About a month ago we had tubes put in her ears but that did not seem to help with the constant waking up at night. She has developed a routine of falling alseep on our living room floor while watching a movie and drinking milk. I have tried moving her to her bed, but then she wakes and wants me to lay on the living room floor with her. My husband and I do not like her being in the living room, so we have tried moving the blankets, pillows, and her teddy to her bedroom floor, and our floor after she has fallen alseep, but she still wakes up and will not lay back down until I move it all back to the living room floor. (she won’t even lay in bed with us) Even though we are letting her sleep where she wants she still wakes up anywhere from 3-4x a night. And a few nights ago she woke about 7 times. She has had a routine since she was btw 1-2 months…bath, warm milk, kisses. But I have always comforted her to sleep; now she falls alseep on her own (in the living room) but still wakes. How can I get her to want to sleep in her crib, and sleep through the night???

Mar 18, 2021 my 18m boy

by: leapyearean

I have an 18m boy. I have a hard time letting him sleep at night. I and my husband already dimmed the light, and play as if we’re sleep just to encourage him to go to bed. He loves playng during night and wakes us up by pulling our hair or biting. Most of the time we end up letting him cry so that later on he can sleep. We don’t know what to do. His doctor said it is normal but until when will it last. We are very much concerned as we need to wake up early everyday for work.

May 25, 2021 19th month old still waking for milk

by: Anonymous

Hi, my 19-month-old boy is still waking for milk in the night. He eats his 3 meals a day (although he doesnt eat that much sometimes) and has milk in the morning and before bed. He keeps waking in the night for milk at least twice. Does anyone know what I can do about this? Should I stop him? I know he will be very upset but Im not sure if this is ok? Please help me parent experts! Thank you x

Jun 02, 2021 My Daughter is 20 months
by: Margie
Wow, glad to hear I am not alone…my little one is starting to wake at night… around 2am…for up to 2 hours. When this happens, I lay on her bed with her as she climbs all over me to be sure she has as much of me as she can get. She will settle after 10-15 minutes then start stroking my arm. If I attempt after an hour of this, to put her back in her crib, she screams. Last night at 4am, I gave her a slice of cheese. She went to sleep fussing. I was problem solving. Thinking she was hungry. She does not eat at this time normally. I won’t do it again.
Any suggestions.

Jun 22, 2021 your not alone

by: Janine

I also have a 18-month-old daughter who frequently wakes threw the night. I have never given her milk threw the night and i could never do the “cry it out”method either. She goes to bed around 7 at night and has had the same bedtime routine since she was born. She stopped napping threw the day months ago so when she goes to bed she’s really tired i lay with her for a little bit then leave the room. She never wakes at the same time threw the night and there’s no rhyme or reason for her waking. Im also at wits end and exshaution.I know this dosent help you any but i wanted to let you know that your not alone. Hang in there girl, one thing is for sure by the time their teenagers im sure we won’t have a problem with them sleeping ;)

Jun 23, 2021 my daughter wakes at least 3 times during the night
by: Michelle
my daughter is 16 months old; she goes off to bed without any problem at around 8 pm she takes a 7oz formula bottle and goes straight asleep in her cot. after half 10 she begins to wake and will do so around 3 more times through the night. there are so many things i have tried.. like letting her cry it out for a while, giving her no bottle, leaving the room, staying with her, and trying to put her back to sleep, but unless she is given a bottle of formula she can cry and be hysterical for hours/ i have two other children who must get up early for school, and i cannot put her cot in their rooms, the only space is to leave her cot in our room. She will go right back to sleep during the night as long as her dad or I hand her a bottle, by that stage, she has woken both of us. we both have to work and are going to work exhausted!! this is going on all night, and always has since she was born!! any suggestions as to help change this please .. her very tired mammy

Jun 23, 2021 Cut down slowly
by: Paula (Baby Help Line)
Hi Michelle,
Since this strategy isn’t working for you, why not take a while now and give her the bottle as quickly as you can. Prepare measures in the evening. Even heat up water and prepared measures next to your bed and just blend them. Make minimal fuss over it and get it done quickly to get back to sleep. Because that is what you need right now. You can also take turns, so that every second night, one of you take care of the feeding, the other one sleeps with earplugs.At the same time, start cutting down on the amount she gets, just a little. By slowly cutting down, she will get less food at night without even noticing, maybe making the transition to no feeding at night easier for her in a couple of months.Warm wishes,Paula

Jul 18, 2021 Not sleeping through after illness
by: Anonymous
Hi, I’ve read all your comments and so am comforted to know I’m not the only one not sleeping through the night. Our 18-month-old generally sleeps through (occasional night waking but easily resettled etc.). But a bit over a week ago I had her in the hospital with pneumonia, and she slept on me all night (in a chair). Since then she goes down ok to bed but wakes every sleep cycle (about 60-90mins) and she instantly falls back asleep once in my arms – very sweet but very exhausting. She ends up in our bed (and sleeps a little better with us) but my husband is keen for her to get back into her cot. Any ideas?? I was thinking maybe she just needs time after being ill.

Oct 21, 2021 18-month-old who has slept only once through the night
by: Anonymous
It is such a relief to know that I am not alone. i have never been able to connect with any other mums here about this isue as everyone seems to have perfect babies who sleep through the night. my baby boy is now 18 monhs old but has slept only ONCE through the whole night. that was on Friday 8th October 2010. THE ONLY TIME!he went to bed at around 9pm and woke at 5.50am. in fact, i was not feeling so well on that day and his father had gone out with his friends. i did not hear him come in but heard him open the bathroom door at 5am and it was then that i woke up, looked at the time and rushed back to my room to see if my baby was still breathing! i really thought this would be the breakthrough, and he would start sleeping the whole night. it
is now the 21st and it has not happened again.
MY baby still breastfeeds and sleeps next to me.I know i should not do this but it is the only way i can get some sleep. he wakes up several times in the night and the only way he sleeps is with the breast in his mouth.he stopped liking and taking the bottle( formula milk) after i tried to ween him from the breast. it was a very difficult time for me. i am frustrated, tired and have no one to seek for advice. although my partner tries to help and has now even asked me to go and stay with my mum for 2 days at least so we can try to make him forget the breast i do not have the courage to do so. I am scared that going away like this will affect his emotional health. sometimes I think I am the one who will be affected most. he is my first child. can anyone offer any advice?

Oct 29, 2021 Sleep Habits
by: Anonymous
I am reading these postings and thinking, gosh, this is what it is like in my home. I am a father. with 2 sons. Oldest is 20 months and the youngest is 5 months. I can relate to those whose 14-24-month-old children are still waking up multiple times during the night and not wanting to stay in their cribs, possibly throwing tantrums to get in bed with mom & dad. One word of advice – if you want to break this habit please do not allow your child to fall asleep in your own bed initially as a way to get them to fall asleep, and then transfer them to their crib. I’ve been wrestling with this issue with my wife for months. it doesn’t work. it creates a lot of anxiety in the child. They fall asleep in your bed and then wake up in their crib. Oftentimes screaming because they are disoriented. The best thing you can do is to put them down in their crib initially at bedtime, read them some stories, and help them fall asleep on their own, in their crib if thats where you want to “find” them in the morning. And if you want to get some sleep too. It isn’t easy. It will require some effort. You cannot expect the take the path of least resistance and get results. This is the biggest mistake I see with new mothers desperate for sleep, or desperate to try to get back to their normal routines. Suck it up and do it right the first time. If you don’t want to share your bed, then don’t start there.

Nov 08, 2021 not sleeping

by: Judy

My baby boy is 18mth and not sleeping throughout the night since he was born. I tried cry-out method and not giving him milk during the night for 2 mths and same results. when i tried to train him to sleep alone in the crib, he would vomit inside the crib. after cleaning the crib 10+ times at night/during the night, I got rid of it. He wakes up when I put his blanket over him; he’s a very very light sleeper. He vomits when he doesn’t want to eat something i give him… He vomits when he sleeps alone… He vomits when he is not feed during the night. So, I gave up when he was 14-15 mth and started giving him milk at least 2 times during the night. Is that wrong? I need help. I consulted with his doctor and he told me to wait until he turns 2. I read other blogs and there are babies at age 24+ mth not sleeping throughout the night. Should I stop feeding him and let him sleep on his own and clean his vomit everynight?

Nov 09, 2021 Find a solution that works for you!

by: Paula (Baby Help Line)

Hi Judy!

Starting with your last question, I think you have already answered it yourself just by stating the question. Should you get up 10 times per night to clean his vomit? Of course not!

Children – most children – don’t sleep through the night. They do in periods and then they start waking up again. Most babies wake up in the beginning, at around 4 months old, 9 months, 18 months, and 3-4 years and 6 years old. These are periods when their minds are developing rapidly and they might have separation anxiety, nightmares, or simply wake up more. Some children don’t sleep through the night at all until they start school or later.

A lot of methods taught will not tell you this. The books will give you methods to improve your baby’s sleep, but they don’t mention that your baby is likely to start waking up again later on. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying, but with young children getting enough sleep is a struggle for most parents.

So what to do?

In my view, one can work both short- and long-term. Short-term, everybody needs to get their sleep. So try co-sleeping or attach his crib to your bed, get him a sleep sack or a warm pajama so you don’t have to wake him up by putting a blanket on him. If he breastfeeds, let him do so for a while, if he is bottle-fed, measure the formula powder in the evening, boil water, and keep in a thermos next to your bed and mix with cold water (kept close to your bed) for the right temperature. Your little son as well as you really needs get nights without trauma and throwing up!

Secondly, when you are at peace and less exhausted, consider working long-term to reduce his night feeding and waking up. Reduce the amount of formula he gets. Give him a little bit extra to eat in the evening to see if it helps. Try to have him sleep in the crib very close to your bed so that you can keep your hand on him or close to his head if that makes him feel more safe. And so on.

Remember that there is nothing wrong with your son! Not very long ago, less than 100 years, we all slept in family beds. As adults we often share beds with our spouse. But we demand that our young children should be comfortable alone in a bed in the darkness, maybe in another room. Some children do this naturally, but for most it takes time.

I hope this helps a little bit. Write back if you want to discuss more ideas to help your son and yourself sleep better.

Warm wishes,


Nov 10, 2021 Sleep

by: Tina

Hi Paula
I started this post when Elizabeth was 18 months old she is now 4years old and I am afraid she still does not sleep. If I go through my routine, please tell me where to start changing it,
1. 6.30 pm bedtime, story and cuddle.
2. 7 pm fallen asleep, so I creep out.
3. 9 pm she’s up again crying and won’t go back to bed without me.
4. Take her back and sleep with her until morning.
She hates being alone and hangs her legs over me whilst asleep so I can’t leave the room. She started school and hates it. When I ask her why she hates being apart from me. Am I smothering her too much? please can I have some advice to help her more than me?

Nov 11, 2021 A few ideas…

by: Paula (Baby Help Line)

Hi Tina,

Wonderful to hear from you! But for the wrong reason, I guess ;-)

I have a few ideas, hopefully, one of them might help.

First of all, when does your daughter get up in the morning? If it is not very early, like 5.30 am, then maybe you could try putting her to bed slightly later. My own 4-year old does the same as your daughter if he falls asleep too early; he wakes up a couple of hours later and really has problems going back to sleep. It is almost as if the first few hours of sleep are more like a nap than actually sleeping for the night.

So if possible, try delaying her bedtime for, say, 45 minutes and see if it makes a difference.

Secondly, now being a big girl, she is old enough to have a discussion with and help her be motivated to co-operate. Studies show that with older children (like her), there is not much point in trying to fix the nights before fixing bedtime. If they learn to fall asleep alone in their bed, then the nights are likely to follow suit over time.

How about telling her that now that she is a big girl, it is time for her to learn how to fall asleep on her own. Discuss with her how to do it. Suggest that you first sit in her bed, then next to it, then close to the door, then outside the door et cetera (or whatever your goal is, maybe it is OK for you to be in the room, as long as she falls asleep on her own). If you can help her come up with this idea rather than you suggesting it, then even better.

Consider creating a star trail to help her. If she likes stickers, buy some colored paper and some fun/glitter/princess stickers that you know she’ll like. Draw a trail and tell her that every night that she falls asleep according to your agreement, she’ll get a sticker to put on her trail in the morning as a reward. And at the end of the trail there should be a big reward, of course. Something she is really longing for; either a toy or an activity. (Let her decide as much as possible.) It might be a good idea to have smaller rewards along the way too, e.g. every fourth or fifth day to keep her motivated. Make the trail three weeks long or so, so your are finished well before Christmas, even if she doesn’t manage to get a star every night.

Do what you can to make this a positive experience. Don’t nag at her if she can’t stand to fall asleep alone on a certain night. And consider only focusing on the first bedtime event. If she needs you later at night, continue going to her until she has learned to fall asleep on her own. One step at a time usually works the best.

I hope this might help you. Once she can fall asleep on her own, you can start working with the next step.

Let me know how things proceed!


Nov 15, 2021 sleep problems

by: Diana

my daughter is 18 months old and has bad, bad, bad sleep problems. since birth I can count on one hand how many times she has slept through the night. she will wake up anywhere from 1 to 7 times a night; we feel lucky if she wakes up once. I am at my wit’s end with her. she refuses to go back to sleep when she wakes up. we have tried everything. she takes one nap daily from 1 to 230 and goes to bed around 8-830. please help!1

Nov 15, 2021 Help!

by: Marcy

My son is 18 months old, and since he was born, he has never slept through the night. I stopped breastfeeding him when he was 15 months old, and while I was breastfeeding, he would sleep with me and would wake up about 2 to 3 times at night to breastfeed. After I stopped breastfeeding, he would continue to wake up, and he would not stop crying until he had his bottle, up to this day he still cries. I now have him in his own bed but demands the bottle, and that’s the only way he will fall asleep. Any suggestions on how I can have him sleep through the night? I work a few times a week and I get so tired throughout the day.

Dec 20, 2021 Whew – I thought it was just me.

by: Mary

Reading all your posts gives me a sigh of relief. My 18-month-old boy used to sleep through the night, but he has not been for a few months now. He wakes up 3 times to feed, but sometimes more – but just whining. I sure hope that this is just a pace. The daycare noticed the same thing, though, when he naps during the day. He wakes up a few times crying when he didn’t use to.

Jan 08, 2022 18 months old NEVER slept through the night…

by: Taiying

It’s such a relief to see that I am not alone!!! I have a 18 months old and has never slept through the night, the longest he did was 7.5 hrs (only happened a couple times though…)which my husband and I went “wow! there is hope!” I couldn’t figure out what I had done differently that made him sleep better those nights… I am still breastfeeding, trying to cut it, but he is one stubborn baby. I did cry it out a couple of times, too, never worked either. (and it broke my heart to hear him cry over 3 hrs still not going to sleep!!) After reading some of Paula’s suggestions, I really think every baby is so different and has his/her own personality that only the parents can really understand. so I am now trying to trust my instinct more than whatever those drs or experts say… thank you, Paula, for your more realistic and helpful suggestions, and hope every mom and dad that’s here (including myself) will soon solve the problem and find peace with this issue~ ;)

Nov 10, 2022 use a clock

by: Georgia

Try putting the toys by the bed. If that does not work, try a clock. If that fails, try inviting her into your room, but make her voice go down to a whisper. If that fails, put up a fort in your room with lots of toys and books and tell her, she can talk all she wants there.

Nov 13, 2022 My 18-month-old sleeping habits

by: JonEssexUK

Our little girl is now nearly 19 months old, and for the first 16 months of her life, she has slept in her own room and pretty much slept through the night, going down at 7 pm and waking or being woken at 7 am the next morning….but for the last three months she has started waking at around 2-3 am….mum goes in gives her cuddles and sometimes ends up sitting with her until 4 am for her to finally drop off to be put back in her cot bed…wouldn’t be a problem if this was every now and then but now it’s every single night, and we both work long it’s really not doing anyone any good.

She never wakes for milk, and to be honest, it just seems to be a comfort thing. We have fallen into the BAD habit of bringing her into our bed just so we can get some sleep….when she sleeps with us she instantly goes down 99% of the time and she will then sleep till 7 am as before…but we desperately want to break this habit (after all we’d love to give her a little brother or sister). The crying it out thing just isn’t working for us….it normally starts as a little cry and whimper, then gets louder until she is absolutely hysterical….she settles, but then as soon as you lower her down into the cot bed and she touches the mattress the big cries start again. We have had a few issues where she screams so hard that she makes herself sick so we never want to leave her to cry it out.

Thinking of a few ideas we’ve got from here…

Trying her in a travel cot in our room
Maybe taking sides off of her cot bed
maybe put something in her cot that smells of our bed

Any other suggestions would be amazing

Nov 30, 2022 17-month-old nighttime problems

by: Anonymous

Please help! My daughter is 17 months old and is fantastic at getting herself to sleep initially, she has a bath and then a 9oz bottle of formula which she drinks herself in her cot then falls asleep all by herself! Trouble is she starts to wake up at 10 ish and screams the house down for milk sometimes she doesn’t even want milk she just has an enormous tantrum and won’t even be held or have her dummy. This is then repeated 3-4 times through the night. I’m a newly single mum and I’m getting really worried and down about it all; through the day she is the happiest-go-lucky baby and is an absolute joy, but at night she turns the other way. She never sleeps in my bed she doesn’t even want to so I’m struggling as to what I should do. I should mention we are currently staying at my mum’s temporarily so she is in her own cot, but it’s in my room with me. Also, she used to sleep from 9 pm to 7 am from 10 weeks to 8 months old. Please help me

Feb 01, 2023 21-month-old baby not sleeping

by: Lisa

My name is Lisa. My son is 21mo now. He was sleeping through the night from 10mo till 15mo. Then the horrible sleepless night began. It’s been 6mo since he has last slept through the night. We also moved from Germany to the states when he was 17mo old. He also had four teeth come in all at once at 16mo. So not sure if this played a big part of his bad sleeping habits.

He has always been a light sleeper and hated to be covered with blankets because he would sweat, and it would wake him. He normally wakes up at about 7 am. We would have a routine for a one nap=2hrs and then bedtime, as we settled into the night. We would eat a good dinner, play some, bath, have storytime, and lastly, breastfeed before bed. Usually, we are in bed by 8 pm. Then I would take him to his bed. He is awake when I do put him down but very tired. He usually puts up a little bit of a fight, and then he falls a sleep for about 1 hour or two and wakes up crying in a panic.

Now me trying to cut back on his breastfeeding (BF) has been a challenge, but it is working. I’ve been taking it in small steps since he turned 18mo. I only BF him once before bed and not in his bed; then we head off to his bed about a half-hour later. My goal is to stop completely by the end of the year. I am very proud of myself for BF him this long and for the whole health benefit, it has given him. I am so done with it, but at the same time, he is so dependent on me for it. I am pretty firm on not giving him any breast milk or regular milk to him in the middle of the night. At first, he would cry for it, now he just rolls over and as long as I am there he will go back to sleep. He has plenty of calcium throughout the day and milk, not to mention he eats like a horse. I am happy about that.

I am convinced he is going through a stage and praying that he will get through it soon. I guess I need to have more PATIENCE. In the meantime, I have been waking up at least twice to three times a night with him tossing, turning, crying, and whining for something. So my husband and I are at our wit’s end since we tried many ways to help him. We don’t know what to do anymore. Oh, and yes I have had my husband try to comfort him but he only wants me to put him to sleep and to come in the middle of the night when he does cry. Lucky me!! I usually stay with him because he just wakes up too much, and I am just too exhausted to get up more than two times. I really do think he doesn’t like to be by himself and likes when I am there to comfort him. So what more solutions are there to help my child to get the peaceful, restful sleep that he well deserves?
your tired mommy and daddy need help; any answer would be great. Thank you in advance.

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  1. charlotte

    Hi, my 18-month daughter won’t sleep through the day anymore. She goes to sleep after her bath at 7 pm but then wakes for a bottle at around 1; then she wants to get up at 3 in the morning to play. She is so clingy during the day. It’s like she’s scared she gonna miss out on something. Any suggestions would b great!! from a really exhausted mum