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1-year old can't fall asleep on his own

(10 Posts)
ponchikon Wed 13-Jan-16 13:54:12

Hi there... Guess I am not the only one with this problem, but any solution I find involves some sort of crying, which I just cannot handle.

Up until 8 month old DS has been getting a bottle, a little song - and then into the cot, where he would soothe himself by singing his own lullaby (which sounded like a broken computer ERROR-ERROR-ERROR...). Ten minute job, no fuss. Then he would sleep through the night, with some occasional crying, easily resolved with some patting and shushing. No night feeds or water.

But for 3-4 months now it's been a nightmare - he screams his head off for ages and would only fall asleep in our arms or lying next to us, and this is after a 2 hour journey through hell. We tried pick up/put down method, but I couldn't listen to him screaming. After the usual routine and putting him in his cot, he would just stand up, hold on to the rails and wail.
On occasional nights he still manages to fall asleep on his own, can't really figure out why.

I think he over-sleeps during the day, as even if at 7 (his usual bed-time) he yawns and rubs his eyes, he wouldn't actually go off before 9. We give up after half an hour of screaming and just bring him to the living room, where he winds down sitting on the sofa next to us, before we take him upstairs. However, trying to move him to one nap was unsuccessful, he becomes tired and cranky at 10:30 am and then again at around 2pm and sleeps nearly 2-3 hours in total during the day (trying to make him nap in his cot is useless as well - he would scream for two-three hours and still fall asleep only in our bed lying next to someone, so after a couple of nightmare days, we just gave up).

He still sleeps through the night (until 630-7) though, and I know it's more than some other people have, but these 2-hour hellish bedtime sessions are being dreaded by all of us, I assume our neighbours inclusive! And I want my evenings back!

Please help, are there any no-crying techniques we overlooked, or any ways to reduce his daytime naps - or at least tell me that it's not going to last forever...

FATEdestiny Wed 13-Jan-16 14:42:28

no-crying techniques we overlooked


A dummy is the simplest and most straight-forward no crying sleep solution.

How old is your 1 year old? Because many changes happen in that second year and the sleep a 12 month old is getting will be very different to that of a 17 month old and different again to a 22 month old.

My 15 month old has two naps a day - 9.30-11am and 1-3pm then sleeps 12h at night without waking. My older children have has 2-3h or daytime sleep plus 12h night time sleep right through until about 3 or 4 years old.

I would question your suggestion of over-sleeping and consider over-tired as the problem instead.

1-year old can't fall asleep on his own

They don't usually. They need something as a comforter to get to sleep. Many babies use a dummy and/or comforter toy, blankie, muslin to allow for independent sleeping. Have you any of these established as precious and important for sleep comfort? It sounds as though your baby needs you as the comfort.

FATEdestiny Wed 13-Jan-16 14:44:04


My older children have had 2-3h of daytime sleep plus 12h night time sleep

ponchikon Wed 13-Jan-16 14:47:31

Hi FATEdestiny - thanks for you reply!
Dummy is a default, no point even trying without. so that doesn't help.
As for over-tiredeness - maybe you are right, I will try to put him to bed earlier and see what happens. But it feels he sleeps too much anyway (10-11 hours at night plus 2-3 hours a day??) and I don't want him waking up at 6!

FATEdestiny Wed 13-Jan-16 14:53:09

How old is he in months?

How many daytime naps and what times are these daytime naps?

ponchikon Wed 13-Jan-16 14:53:13

oh, and 1 year old is 12 months

ponchikon Wed 13-Jan-16 14:54:27

the naps are usually 10:30-12:00 and 3-4 but this can move or extend half an hour here and there depending how tired he is from the previous evening!

FATEdestiny Wed 13-Jan-16 15:03:52

I think your 3-4 nap will be the problem. I would aim for transitioning to 1 nap per day and making bedtime earlier.

10-11 hours at night plus 2-3 hours a day

That's not too much sleep. Daytime sleep is about right, night time sleep could do with being mostly 12h.

You mention wake up time is 6.30-7.00am and bedtime is 9pm. The cause of the late bedtime is the late naptime.

Gradually over several days I would try pushing the morning nap later by about 15 minutes per day. It may mean an early (11am) lunch for a while, then naptime after lunch. Gradually move lunch and naptime until you settle at around 12/12.30pm and sleep until 3.00pm at the latest. I would always wake at 3pm, so that he is tired at bedtime.

Then move bedtime forward. I would aim for a 7pm bedtime but would be prepared to do bedtime anywhere from 6.00/6.30pm if he is very tired.

The ultimate aim would then be wake 6.30/7 ish, 2-3h nap from 12/12.30 (wake no later than 3pm) and bedtime 6.30/7 ish.

ponchikon Wed 13-Jan-16 15:38:09

That all sounds very reasonable, FATEdestiny, thank you!
The reason for 9pm bedtime is that we actually start at 7, but he eventually falls asleep at 9 (hence the cry for help!).
However, I see the problem, which is the late (and long) second nap. Will work towards merging the two naps and see how it goes, hopefully he will be able to settle down by himself towards 7pm...
Thanks again for the tips!

ponchikon Wed 17-Feb-16 10:20:40

Hi FATEdestiny
Just wanted to follow up on this one and say big thank you - went according to your suggestions, moved the naps forward in the day et voila! The kid now goes to sleep without problem at 7pm, out cold every night ten minutes after the bath!
Thanks again!

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