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Advice needed-16 month old not sleeping properly

I'm sure this is a very common problem and probobly just another 'phase' but we are really struggling with a bedtime routine for our littleone at the moment and would appreciate any advice on how best to deal with him.

He used to go down brilliantly at around 7pm after his bath, bottle and story and sleep right through til around 6 the next morning, but suddenly around three weeks ago, he started being very difficult to settle at bedtime, tossing and turning,refusing to go down as if he just wasn't tired. We tried to leave him to self settle for a while but this would make matters worse with him then thrashing around in his cot, kicking the sides,standing up and hysterically crying etc. We tried soothing him and walking out etc.. but absolutely nothing would work except caving in and bringing him downstairs where he would instantly calm down and relax whilst watching a cartoon or film with us. He is quite happy during the day so we are ruling out anything being physically wrong with him i.e teething, possible ear infections etc, but I suppose anyhting is possible.

This last week has been a nightmare, he has been point blank refusing to go to bed even though he is shattered, so we have the usual routine of bringing him downstairs to calm down for a bit and try putting him to bed a bit later. He eventually goes to sleep around 10pm (this can't be normal!?)then wakes up anywhere between 11pm and 3am crying inconsolably and there is nothing we can do to settle him. We have resorted to bringing him into our bed where he seems happy and drifts off back to sleep within 5 minutes. We know this is probobly making a rod for our own backs, so our question is- should we stop this straight away and do whatever it takes to get him back in the routine now (I hate leaving him to cty though) or juust carry on so that we all get a decent nights sleep untill he gets through this phase. We both have busy full time jobs and are absolutely shattered with getting up in the night and trying to settle him, it will takes nerves of steel to resist bringing him into bed with us where the situation is instantly resolved but this obviously can't go on forever.

I would really like to hear any suggestions, LO has a one hour nap around mid morning and another half hour mid afternoon, he gets lots of stimulation and exercise during the day and eats well..He is a happy boy most of the time. We try and have a nice quiet chill out time with him before bed so that he is nice and sleepy after his bath. He is still awake upstairs now at 9.30- this can't be normal, we know we are in for another restless night-joy!!

Has anyone else been through this?


  • we have been though this recently and for us it was luckily a phase although it did last a good month or so, we did let him in with us where he would also go straight back to sleep but i am heavily pregnant and couldnt be doing with re settling him, he still does come into us at about 5/6 am but i would rather that than be up at that time as he settles wondefully at bedtime now, he is in a toddler bed too

    we did find he teethed at night when fine in the day and possibly had the odd night terror when we had screaming for what seemed like no reason but were not quite sure, i think taking him downstairs might be a bad move but you should do what works for you?

    DS only has one nap now which i think helps and thats about 2/3 pm for an hour although we aim for a 8-8 sleep
  • Hi there! I have 21 month old twin boys. When my boys were around 16ish months, one of my 2 started doing exactly what your little one is doing. He went to bed ok but would wake about 11-12am and would scream the house down, until, we went and sat with him or brought him in our bed. As soon as I would walk away or put him back in his cot he would scream again, so we were up and down for a good few hours every night. He would eventually fall asleep in our bed and then we would put him back. About 5 weeks ago, this was happening and I walked out his room and left him screaming, then heard a thud and he had climbed out of his cot. He had not done this before and knew that he would do it again now done it once. So the next day we put the boys in their toddler beds. they were 18 months. Ben who had been ok in cot remained ok in bed, however max continued the middle of night waking for hours on end. I eventually came to the end of my teather about 3 weeks ago and went to see my health visitor. I felt so sleep deprived and could feel myself losing it! lol! She sat me down, I had a good cry and she told me to do the following:

    When he first wakes in the night, go in to him, put him back in bed/cot and say night night max, it isnt time to get up yet, mummy will see you in the morning, then kiss him on head and walk away.

    I have a baby gate on door, I dont shut door, so he followed me to there. She said to leave him screaming and DO NOT go back in no matter how much he screams/ stomps etc. She said a baby/toddler this age can only last screaming for around an hour before they will burn themselves out. She said what has been happening that everytime i was going back in to him i was giving him the attention he was wanting and he was now waking out of habit and doing it for the attention. She told me it would take around 3 nights and I would see a huge improvement.

    Until this point I didnt believe in controlled crying, but at this point i was willing to try anything! I was concerned that he would wake his borther up as they are in the same room, but she said he shouldnt! and to my surprise he didnt! not sure how like! lol!

    any ways the first night of the health visitors sleep training advice, he woke at midnight, i went in did what she said then walked out, he screamed for around 45 mins and then on his own accord got back in bed and slept til 7am! i couldnt believe it! second night he woke again, i went in did her thing then walked, he screamed for 10 mins, then went back to bed and slep til 7! third night was only about 5 mins. 4th night and ever since he hasnt woke up and has slept through from 7-7!

    So it really worked for us. She said that some people reccomend going in after say 20 mins of crying to reassure them but she said that i would basicallly be going back to square one and it best to do it the harsh way.

    i had 2 weeks of them both sleeping through and bugger me ben has started now! tonight will be day 2, so i am hoping that by tomorrow or fri night they will both be sleeping through again!

    I just wanted to share my story with you, as I was getting so knackered and feeling upset with everything. it was starting to effect my relationship.

    sorry post is so long!!

    Hope you get sorted soon hun

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