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How can I get my toddler to put herself to sleep?

My DD is 13 months old, still breastfed and still waking at night to eat. Last night she slept 7 hours before waking to eat, so I am making progress, she was waking every four hours. I did cry it out, entering the room every minute, then three min when she started to calm, then five minutes until she finally started trying to sooth herself to sleep. This works well some naps and some nights, we've been just doing the routine and putting her down for over a month now, but sometimes she'd rather scream for a half hour plus then try to sleep. The days she is doing this, she is getting outside time and everything, so I'm really not sure what to do. I really can't just sit and listen to her cry. The first few nights was bad enough, I can't do that anymore. We end up taking her out and either she falls asleep cuddling, or she breastfeeds to sleep if I can't get her to calm down. It so frustrating and I don't know what to do with her


Asked by Anonymous at 11:08 AM on May. 19, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

This question is closed.
Answers (5)
  • Check out Elizabeth Pantley's "No Cry Sleep Solution" books and web sites. She has lots of great ideas. I found that simply sitting in our son's room and waiting for him to fall asleep worked well for us. We'd put him down after going throug the usual routine then leave and give him a few minutes. If he didn't settle and cried (vs just whining and protesting), one of us would go back in and just sit. We said nothing to him just waited (this is key. Any interacting at all good or bad is going to prolong the process. You need be to boring!). Eventually we walked out one night and he didn't care. Since some nights it took a while for him to fall asleep, I bought a little booklight and just read in his room. We both were happy.. For what it's worth, I found that going in and out of his room tended to make things worse since he knew he'd gotten my attention and it restarted the process. But that was just our experience.

    Answer by momofryan07 at 11:21 AM on May. 19, 2010

  • My suggestion would be to give her a snack right before bed. Maybe a granola bar or something filling, a piece of toast or bread. This way she is fuller longer and wont want to eat so soon. I play very light music for my daughter the whole night through right now. sometimes she cries a little while before sleeping but sometimes she will go right out. Also, try new nap times. my DD takes a nap between 2-3 hours after she gets up and then one again around 3-4. her normal bedtime is 9pm and she will sleep till 9 or 10 am. Granted she is not breastfed, but i would assume it would be the same idea.



    Answer by F43L34 at 11:50 AM on May. 19, 2010

  • If you are trying to night wean then PM me since I can't fit it all in this little space. I successfully night weaned both my children using the method I can describe in detail to you. They were both about 15 months old when I did it and continued nursing during the day.

    Answer by aeneva at 12:10 PM on May. 19, 2010

  • If you're giving in and taking her out, that's why some nights she is content to cry for 1/2 hour - she knows you will eventually pick her up. If you are going to try CIO, you really have to be willing to stick with it for it to work. (I'm not advocating CIO, I'm just commenting on the method)

    Answer by missanc at 12:44 PM on May. 19, 2010

  • I agree with you missanc. if you give in once you have to start all over and giving in once just wastes her tears. you have to be willing to shut the door and turn the monitor down (NOT OFF!) Make sure she is in a clean diaper (i am using night time diapers), make sure she has had a drink n snack. read a book to her and sing a song, give her a kiss, tell her you love her, lay her down, cover her up (if you use blankets) leave a nightlight on, turn off the big light, walk out the door and shut it quietly. if she starts crying as you are walking away dont turn around! just say goodnight baby (or use her name) in a soothing voice and keep leaving. I really hope you are ok with this and you can pm me if you have any questions!


    Answer by F43L34 at 11:13 PM on May. 19, 2010