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one year old refuses to sleep - parents desperate

Posted by Tanya on July 17, 2000 at 13:37:59:

Our son started sleeping through the night without a problem by three months of age. He also took two, regular 1-2 hour naps a day, by eight months of age. Around his tenth month, he started fussing about being put to bed at night. This soon turned into inconsolable screaming. We don't know what set off this behavior; at around this time he was very "traumatized" by being moved from his baby tub to a big tub, and he was also ill for several days. We finally made the mistake of letting him sleep in a crib next to ours. From there he moved into our bed. We also know that the grandparents, who take care of him during the day would sometimes lay down with him for a nap or stand next to his crib until he fell asleep, but at the time this didn't seem to be causing a chronic problem. During the weekends with us, he would nap by himself.

Two weeks ago we took our son on a rather demanding ten day trip to Europe. He ended up sleeping with us all the time. When we got back he continued to sleep in our bed for several nights; we wanted to let him get over jet lag and get used to being back home. Unfortunately, he also needed us now to fall asleep during his daytime naps.

We decided to put an end to all this by putting him back in his crib to sleep. His response has been to scream hysterically. We go in once after 15 minutes to hug him and put him back down. During the day,if he falls asleep within an hour we let him sleep, otherwise we take him out and continue the day, with one very cranky, clingy, needy baby.

For the past six days our baby has taken a total of three one hour naps. He essentially passes out in the evening (bedtime around 7pm) after anywhere from 2-60 minutes of crying. Of course, we do a soothing good night routine that includes a bath, reading, listening to classical music and lots of hugs and kisses. Three nights into this routine he has stopped crying in the middle of the night. But we are very worried about his lack of daytime napping, and we aren't convinced that he is getting very good quality sleep at night. In the morning we find him sitting silently in bed, wide eyed and with a full diaper (before he would poop after breakfast). My husband and I feel absolutely AWFUL when he cries and when we find him looking so desolate in the morning. We are afraid that if we continue with this regimen we will create lasting anxieties and fear of abandonment in him. But we feel that if we stop, we will teach him that with enough fussing he can get his way. Also, he will not learn the essential skill of putting himself to sleep alone.

I am desperately looking for advice, encouragement, similar stories, tricks to help him and us...anything to end this agony as quickly as possible.

Thank you.

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  • Sleep Deprivation due to Sleep Apnea and insufficient sleep are common and can present as insomnia, narcolepsy, or idiopathic hypersomnia. In infants and children sleep problems commonly present themselves as ADD or ADHD.

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