My one year old never sleeps. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 07-08-2012, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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I haven't posted much on since my youngest was born last year. So I'm not sure if this is the appropriate forum, but I'm losing my damn mind and I think everyone else I know might stab me if they see me whine about it one more time.

But my one year old does not sleep. I don't just mean doesn't sleep through the night. I don't mean only takes hour long naps. I mean, since he's been born he has barely slept.

I don't know if I can link to a blog, so I hope this is kosher - it's a blog post I wrote that sort of gives a gist of it:

Since I wrote that post in April, it has not gotten better. It has gotten worse. The ped is not concerned (he doesn't live with him!). I put the gates up on his crib, walked away to get some coffee and some deep breaths about a month ago and he climbed out. So, I can't even leave him somewhere safe while I gather myself (ftr, I've done the crib thing maybe 3 times ever). Today, I had to hand him to my 8 year old while I took a couple of deep breaths and cried in the bathroom. :\

it starts at 9:30 every morning. The whining and crying and rubbing the eyes. The clinging and tripping and falling cause he's tired. If we're having a good day, finally around noon or 1 he'll fall asleep for a short time (like 30-45 minutes) on a bad day it just continues on until bed time. on a good night he'll sleep 2-3 hours before he wakes up. On a bad night he starts right in on a 30 minute wake up cycle.

It has only been in the last 2 weeks that my husband has been able to help out getting him to bed and naps (on the days he's home), so for the last year it's been all on me. But honestly, it's not enough still. I need this kid to sleep!!

I'm losing my mind here. He was never a good sleeper, but the last 3 days (coincidentally while my oldest who's 13 and my husband are out of town so I have no help) he is up every half hour at night and not napping at all.

I'm like 2 steps away from a total nervous breakdown. If he doesn't sleep soon, I might run away.

Any tips, tricks, ideas, suggestions, slaps in the face are welcome.

mom to two boys (9/19/98) (8/24/03) and soon to be # 3 (7/2/11)
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#2 of 12 Old 07-09-2012, 10:35 AM
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Severe sleep issues are something usually looked at by a specialist. I'm not sure if they will do a sleep study on a child so young but I woud suggest you see someone who specializes in sleep medicine. Try the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for more info. 

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#3 of 12 Old 07-09-2012, 11:02 AM
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Oh mama, that has to be hard!

For daytime I sometimes have luck with going for a walk with DD in the stroller and if she's tired enough, she will sleep. Maybe DH could take him for a walk while you rest or even try a ride in the car.

For the night wakings, I know a lot of moms find relief by bringing baby to bed (nursing or not). Cosleeping (even just when you REALLY need to) means easy nursing/holding/reassuring without really waking up. I don't usually cosleep but it's my secret weapon when DD is particularly clingy at night due to teething or illness. One really easy way to do it with an active baby/toddler is to put a mattress on the floor. You could both be comfy and he couldn't really fall all that much.

I hope you find something that works for you
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#4 of 12 Old 07-09-2012, 02:19 PM
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I wish I can give you a big hug .

Can you hold him while he naps?? I know he could be heavy at this age but perhaps surround yourself with pillows? My daughter is turning 18 months soon. Shes teething pretty bad right now so her naps and night sleep is out the doors. During her naps, just because i know she'll sleep longer, I just hold her with pillows beneath my arms. I seem to dose off myself.

Also, is he allergic to anything? Are you breast feeding? Could it be something you are eating?


I know its hard. Believe me I've been there. Mine had a similiar wake sleep pattern to yours. It only really improved when I started night weaning a couple months ago.

Just try to get some time to yourself. Take that extra 5 mins in the shower. Take a walk by yourself when your husband is available. And cry when ever you need to. I found that helped me alot.

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#5 of 12 Old 07-09-2012, 02:25 PM
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Yesterday we had a "10 minute nap only" day with DD 22 months old. It was HORRIBLE. She usually naps 2-3 hours. So I totally understand why you'd be close to a nervous breakdown.


My ND is good friends with this researcher who is researching the safety of using melatonin in children/babies. Here's an article by her:


You may want to bring it up with your pediatrician. Hopefully they arent an "old school MD" or they might balk. You may want to find an ND or naturopath and see what they think about the above as a means of treatment. I havent done it for my baby but I do trust my ND (she is a Bastyr graduate and a midwife) and she and I are VERY hard-core science/research driven people.

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#6 of 12 Old 07-10-2012, 12:04 AM
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Oh I'm right there with you mama ! My daughter is 18 mo and I've maybe had about 8 full nights of sleep since she's been born . ! I do it mostly on my own with hubbys help when he is home ! I've thrown all methods out the window and do what works for the night ! I lather her in lavender lotion throughout the night and at nap times , play soft music , rock he,r lay next to her crib on the floor , put her in my bed.etc . I learned a long time ago that trying to do what parents of good sleepers do is never going to work , so rather then continue to kill myself I just gave up and do what ever is going to help me get the best sleep that night . People criticize me all the , but until they have walked in my shoes I won't care !
Besides what 15 yr old do you hear about.having sleeping problems ? There's a light at the end of the tunnel , unfortunately for us our tunnel turned out to be a lot.longer !
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#7 of 12 Old 07-13-2012, 09:43 PM
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Hey mama, I've been right where you are.  DS has always been an atypical/"bad" sleeper, but for a few months starting around 7 or 8 months old, we hit an awful stretch where he hardly napped and was waking every 45 minutes or so at night.  He's all-around high needs to boot, and I had reached the end of my frayed rope.  He always has and still does fight sleep, so I know what it's like to work for over an hour just to eke out a thirty minute nap.  I'm very familiar with the "no off-duty" part of being exhausted, and I definitely don't blame you for not wanting to wear him during naps (that never worked for us anyway, but I wouldn't have wanted to even if it did work occasionally).  DH can't do anything to help DS sleep - we've tried and tried, but it amounts to in-arms CIO and I won't do that; so all sleep related and nighttime parenting is 100% me.  I know how infuriating it is to see a kid rub red eyes and stumble around in an exhausted stupor but still refuse to sleep.


You sound burned out.  I know I was when I was going through those months of no sleep, no time off-duty.  I was angry at DS, resentful of DH who wasn't constantly attached to a human being, I was tired of giving and would bristle anytime DS needed to nurse or wanted to be held (so, you know, all the time).  


So I guess my advice is two-fold: with the sleep, first of all, take solace in that it has gotten so much better for us lately.  DS is 19 months now, and out of the blue started taking 2-3 hour naps (interrupted to nurse every hour, but I'll take it) a month or two ago.  He still fights sleep, but it's more normal for him to wake 2-3 times a night instead of every hour (though those nights still come now and then).  Things that have helped - putting up blackout curtains (we turn on a lamp for naps).  They help him go to sleep faster at night, and also help him go to sleep faster when he does wake up, so it stopped some of the marathon nursing and restlessness that would accompany his wakings.  It also dramatically helped my sleep, so even with the waking up I feel more rested.  Getting DS outside as much as humanly possible during the day helps too.  I'd also suggest seeing a chiro and a naturopath who could maybe give some guidance on dietary stuff.  Even small amounts of sugar (including foods like breads, crackers, and fruit) can be disruptive, as I'm sure you know.  There are some things like calcium supplements and possibly even melatonin you could try, although definitely talk to someone before trying those.  Wish Garden makes a Sleepy Time homeopathic blend (I've seen it at Whole Foods).  


Then for your mental state, I think you need to make a pointed effort to get time away.  Relaxation doesn't happen passively; you have to make it happen.  It sounds like your DH is willing to help, so have a standing weekend date with yourself - coffee shop for an hour alone, grocery store alone, go to a friend's house and take a nap, whatever - just do what you need to do to refill your cup.  You're no good to your family if you're constantly wanting to bolt out the door.  It's cliche, but you really do have to take care of yourself first.


Big hugs, it's going to get better!!

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Living and loving in ATX with DH (of 7 years) and DS (3.5)
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#8 of 12 Old 08-06-2013, 08:58 PM
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im going thru that now as well my daughter will be one in 19 days goes to bed at 430 am up at 730 then barley naps but last two days ive been over feeding her with cereal bottles n food and she has been sleeping better also after a bath ill give her a good baby lotion massage then cereal bottle and she has been sleeping literally 8 hours a night ugh such a relief my doctor too isn't concerned he said she will sleeps when she gets tired so I kept her up when she was tired then feed her bath her give massage and she started sleeping 8 hours... let me know if this helps

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#9 of 12 Old 08-07-2013, 09:48 AM
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You need to see a series of specialists right away.  Seriously.  What you are describing is not normal, and advice that helps children with "difficult" sleep is not what you need right now, because I assume you have already tried white noise, bedtime rituals, co-cleeping, etc?  There is a line between "my kid is a bad sleeper" and "my child doesn't sleep" and I'm hearing the second one from you. 


I hope this doesn't sound too extreme, but I was exactly where you are when our DS was that age.  Your Ped is a BAD doctor.  Not all children will simply sleep if they are tired.  The kind of sleep issues you describe are SERIOUS and need to be evaluated to make sure there is not something medical/physical/developmental going on. 


It could be allergies, reflux, sensory issues, apnea, vitamin deficiencies, etc.  My point being that there could be many reasons he isn't sleeping well and it is affecting both of you.  In the end, it could just turn out that he is a lousy sleeper, but I strongly suggest you rule out other possibilities.  Especially since, if it IS something going on, there might be an actual solution to help you both sleep better :)

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#10 of 12 Old 08-07-2013, 11:20 AM
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Do you cosleep at night? Do you lie with him for naps? That helps many children settle, it fulfills their need for safety enough so they can relax enough to settle down and fall asleep.
Is he nursing?
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#11 of 12 Old 12-06-2013, 10:20 PM
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OP- wondering how you are doing and if you figured out how to help your toddler sleep?

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#12 of 12 Old 12-30-2013, 09:36 AM
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Have things gotten better???

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