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Do you want more sleep?   Yes! I need more sleep.

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  1. Emma Loveridge says

    So relieved to find this information. My Daughter is 17 months and has always been a good sleeper – happy to go to bed at night, no crying, slept through (7-6.30am) and also had a daytime nap of approx 2 hours. Recently this has changed and she doesnt go to bed well at night, can wake during the night and has been waking at 5am most mornings. If my husband goes in to settle her in the night she just cries, but when I go in she stops, then starts when I turn to leave the room, She has had some big teeth coming through and is chewing her hand through the day which indicates more teeth but the night waking and early mornings are hard. How long does this sleep regression phase last? and if it is teeth how can we help her settle? and could any of this be related to seperation anxiety and how would we know this? Please help! Thanks

  2. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Betsy — glad you found the article helpful! From what you’re saying, it definitely sounds like you’re experiencing the 18 month regression, especially since your son is normally a good sleeper. I’d say that everything you’re doing here is good — soothing him so he calms down, but laying him in his crib and waiting for him to fall asleep on his own. Of course, after a week of that, you’ve got to be exhausted! Take heart, though; most regression phases don’t last terribly long. Here’s hoping your son’s past this soon, and that you’re all getting better sleep!

  3. Betsy says

    Really appreciated this article. Came and found it after another long night of little sleep, which has been the case with our 18 month old for a week now. He has always been a good sleeper, with little to no problem going down and staying down at night. Now, he fights going to sleep at night (unless we turn on the hall light) and wakes up at around 12:30 a.m. and screams, throws himself all over the crib, etc. When I go in, he literally clings to me to pick him up and refuses to lay back down. It is a long process of calming him down, getting him to lay down (without force), and having him stay there. We have begun rocking him to calm him down, laying him back in his crib, rubbing his back and then laying by his crib until he finally goes to sleep. The problem comes when he wakes back up again and so goes the cycle. I, too, am one who is a proponent of not starting bad sleeping habits, but here I am wondering what in the world to do while we wait this phase out. Seems to me from reading your article that we are facing the regression stage. Oddly enough, we never hit this with our other three sons! Any suggestions on what to do specifically at night when they wake and are “unconsolable”? I usually would let him cry for long periods and check periodically, but am afraid with his fits that he will hurt himself.

  4. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Erica — you must be so frustrated! I understand. In your case, it sounds like your son’s sleeplessness might be more of a boundary-setting issue than a teething/illness/etc. kind of issue. When you say that he stops crying the moment you come in the room and begins again the moment you leave, it’s sounds to me like he’s just doing his best to demand that you appear when he wants, where he wants. He’s not alone in this, of course; many, many 18 and 19 month olds exhibit this same kind of behavior! 😉
    I think you’re on the right track with what you’re doing — going into the room to comfort him for a few minutes, then leaving. Of course, doing that makes for a long night for you. But that’s a good approach, I think, if you don’t want to “undo” any good habits he already has. I think that if you were to rock him to sleep each night, or bring him into your bed, or something like that, you’d just end up prolonging this regression period, and he might end up forming some bad sleep habits and associations along the way. And what you’re doing is a nice middle ground between ignoring his cries completely and giving into them (by rocking him or sleeping with him).
    Of course, I know all of this is easier said than done! Hang in there; I hope this is over soon for you (and your son!) 🙂

  5. Erica says

    My 19th month old has always slept very well at night, going down awake and sleeping through. The last couple weeks he is doing well at nap time (recently transitioned to one afternoon nap that is 2 1/2 to 3 hours) but will not go to bed at night. We are doing our normal bedtime routine but now he is standing in his bed, jumping and screaming. Tonight it took 1 1/2 hours before he finally exhausted himself and fell asleep. He is waking once in the early morning (around 3am) and we start the screaming over again. I have been doing the standard sleep training over again (let him cry 15 minutes or so, go in an comfort but don’t pick him up) and he stops crying and lays down the second I come in the room but is back up and screaming as I walk away. I don’t think he is teething as there are no other signs. You have told many other mothers to wait it out and the phase will end in a few weeks but what do you mean by “wait it out”? If pick him up and rock him back to sleep will I undo his good sleep habits and have to start over? I am not loosing too much sleep but it is killing me to listen to him cry especially since he has always been such a good sleeper. It doesn’t appear that anything is really wrong but the drastic change is making me second guess myself and feel bad for letting him cry. I really don’t want to introduce bad habits at this point 🙂

  6. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Kristine — you’re right; it could be the 18 month regression coming on a bit early. No fun! But if he’s normally a good sleeper, then you can probably just try to “wait it out” as best you can (easier said than done, of course 🙂 )

    @ Leigh — I had to laugh at the image of your little guy running “screaming through the house” in the middle of the night! Probably not as funny for you and your family, though, right? Getting a toddler to sleep in a big kid bed can be so, so difficult. We have an article on toddler night waking on the site that may help you: https://www.babysleepsite.com/toddlers/toddler-night-waking/
    Not sure if it’ll fix your specific issues, but it’s worth a shot! Best of luck to you.

  7. Leigh says

    We just recently moved into a new house and with the move my 18 month old son was put into a room with his 4 year old sister and in a big bed. Before the move he refused to sleep in his crib and slept with me (while daddy slept on the couch) so naturally I was completely excited when we bought this house and he was going to be in a big bed in a different room and sleep all night. Boy was I wrong. He now wakes up 2 to 3 times a night and runs screaming through the house. I am not sure why he wont sleep all night. My husband and I have tried numerous things like: giving him a bottle of milk, changing his diaper and putting him back in his bed, turning on a movie, putting him in bed with us. NOTHING WORKS!!! HELP!!!!

  8. Kristine says

    I’m wondering if this is what we are going through with our son as well. He’s only 15 months old though but he went from sleeping through the night to waking up multiple times screaming. Last night he woke up 3 times between 7:30 and 11 pm and then he woke up at 5am and screamed for an hour. I’m sure teething is a large part of it (he’s getting 3 molars and 4 canines) but I don’t know what to do. If I don’t go in and settle him he just keeps screaming and screaming and I get no sleep – but I also don’t want to develop any bad habits (rocking him back to sleep) during the regression. Sigh.

  9. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Jaimee — you must be worn out! I always thought that nighttime sleep battles were worse than daytime ones; at least when my kids cried and carried on during their naps, I wasn’t trying to sleep in the next room. Not so at night! Hope your daughter gets through this phase quickly and that her “alter ego” disappears 😉

  10. Jaimee says

    Oh also, she is her normal sweet as can be self during the day and goes down for her nap easily. She naps 12-2, give or take. Night time briings out her alter ego haha.