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My Biggest Parenting Issue: Sleep!

3 January 2011 48 Comments

We asked a question on our Facebook Fan page: “What’s your biggest parenting issue?”. It seems as if the biggest issue facing our Facebook friends has to do with sleep (or a lack thereof). Getting little ones to stay in bed all night or sleep through the night isn’t always easy.

Share your tips in the comments below for helping wee ones sleep until the morning hours or for helping older tots stay in their beds. If you don’t have a tip to share, just leave a comment with your child’s sleeping habits.

One person who comments will win any twin pack of Eco-Friendly Bottles or 2 Twist N’Pop Straw Cups!

The winner is Erica with the email address: eeb*****@yahoo.com

48 Comments »

  • Sabrina McKinley said:

    I have 3 boys. My oldest must hold onto someones ears to fall asleep, he has done this since 6 months old..keep in mind he is 4 now! I wish he could or would just go lay in his bed and sleep but it doesn’t work! My second child is 20 months I usually put him in bed around 9pm and he used to sleep until 8am..but that is not the case anymore.he wakes up every hour and screams. I don’t know why but its quite aggravating. My 3rd child is 4 months old and sleeps ALL NIGHT LONG! I don’t want to jinx myself but it is amazing! I just wish the other 2 would sleep throughout the night, maybe someday! :)

  • Sabrina Radke said:

    I think co-sleeping helps us get lots more sleep, more people should try it!

  • Amanda said:

    I read “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” while pregnant and seem to have naturally absorbed some good tips. Setting up a consistent routine was huge for my baby. It’s bath, bottle, bed and she sleeps great every night as a result. (There is no through the night yet, but she’s not even three months at current, so she gets up twice to eat, but goes right back to sleep no problem.) It can be hard to set one up, but keep at it, and eventually the pattern will fall into place and good sleep happens.

  • christine said:

    I’m a mom of 3, 2 boys and a baby girl. My oldest is 9, and autistic. He has had sleep problems since day one. When he was small he would easily nurse to sleep, and stay asleep, as long as he was nursing. But the toddler years were a nightmare! It was not uncommon for him to stay awake until 1 am, if not later, only to wake at 7 ready to start the day. When he was 4 I finally broke down and talked to his doctor about a sleep medication. We started him on clonidine, a medication commonly prescribed for autistic kids with sleep disorders. That night he slept for 10 hours, and after a few weeks of regular sleep he began making giant developmental leaps, progressing from 1 and 2 word replies to full sentences!! Once I saw this, any guilt I had over “drugging” my child was gone. He needed to sleep in order to learn.

    My other 2 kids have been good sleepers, but we co-sleep. I have no idea if they would sleep through the night independently. The 3 yr old is getting ready to transition out of our bed, it will happen when it happens. The 3 month old will be in our bed for quite awhile yet.

  • Bridget said:

    we are having a MAJOR problem with sleep. Everyone told us to make sure she is nice and full before we put her down but that doesnt seem to matter. She still wakes to nurse every 2 hours. Others suggested giving her a bath with Lavender soap because it is very camling to babies. Nothing so far has allowed us to have 1 full night of sleep and she is 5 months old now. She does love her Born Free binky!

  • Katie London said:

    My 4 month old started sleeping through the night at 3 months. However, now that we are just over 4 months, we are back to getting up every 3 hours. I don’t know if it’s teething or what, but it sure is hard to go back to getting up every 3 hours! We tried waking him for one last feeding just before we went to bed, per someones advice, but that just made him angry! I guess we have to wait it out…

  • Heather Caudill said:

    Up until 3 1/2 months swaddling was the trick to keeping my little guy asleep, now he is 5 1/2 months, he has oatmeal, a nice warm bath, and then his “bedtime” bottle. He sleeps from 6:30 or 7 until 4 or 5 (most nights). I think sticking to a solid bedtime routine at night is a huge help from day one.

  • Miranda said:

    We have always had a bedtime routine for our two boys. We give our boys a bath, brush their teeth, get ready for bed, read a book as a family and then we tuck them into bed.

  • Henny said:

    Its a nitemare for me! My 4 mo boy couldnt sleep! I swaddler him but he fights back! I unswaddler him, he licks all his fingers n unable to sleep well! Always awake every 30 mins! Dunno what do!!! I sleep probably 1-2 hours only per day coz he always fussy!

  • Nicole P said:

    I have two boys, one who is 3 and the youngest is 4 months old. We got very lucky, in that both were basically sleeping through the night within the first week home from the hospital! We just have a routine, and it works wonders!!!

  • Kristin said:

    Our 4 month old sleeps 10 hours each night pretty consistently, though as a newborn he was not a good sleeper. So far it’s been based on repetition – same time, same routine without fail, even through the holidays and beginning at 2 months. Also he managed to find his thumb and we never used any other methods like white noise or pacifiers to help him to sleep. Because of that he doesn’t need those things when getting himself back to sleep when waking during the night. He is not good at daytime naps though – not sure how to fix that one, yet.

  • Laura said:

    Our 13 month old now sleeps 7p-7a, its a dream. This didnt happen until she was 9 months old with a little help from Health Sleep Habits, Happy Baby, I will definitely start earlier with the next baby…really saved us, I found videos on you tube too that really helped us get a routine going.

  • Milcah said:

    Right now, my issues are with potty training with my youngest. I do have sleeping issues with him as well, because he thinks sometimes that he can stay up as long as mom.

  • Andrea G. said:

    I don’t know if I have any “tips” on getting kids to sleep through the night, but I can share what we do for our kids and maybe someone will find some use out of that? We have a 5yo boy, 3yo girl, 2yo boy and am pregnant with another girl due in March. Our oldest is by far the fussiest about sleeping by himself. He wants to fall asleep with us, then we move him to his bed and he’s fine. I don’t know if this is detrimental to a sleep “routine” for him, but it works, doesn’t wake anyone who’s already sleeping, and until he’s a little more mature, I’m thinking it works for now. I’ve found too that a silent room is not helpful. We turn on a desk sized fan just for the “white noise” for all of our children, and this drowns out the neighbor’s dogs, bathroom door creaks, and whatever else that may be loud enough to wake a toddler. Playing music all night seemed to prevent REM sleep and they would never really fall asleep fully, and would wake up at the lightest disturbance. I am a complete believer in putting a baby down with a little noise going on in the background to have an “easy sleeper” for the future.

  • Elizabeth K said:

    We used to have the perfect sleeper…! He just started having to sleep with a little stuffed lamb he never cared about before. He just turned 2, so I guess there is some kind of phase he’s going through! It’s frustrating because he won’t even try going to sleep without it. We left it at his grandparents house once and it took almost 2 hours for him to go to sleep! Ahhhhhh! When/how does the weaking process start for THAT?!!?

  • Megan said:

    My almost 1 year old hates to sleep. We didn’t get even more than 3 hours of sleep in a row at night until she was 9 months and now she is up at the crack of dawn ready to go everyday. She is like her daddy, doesn’t need a ton of sleep. One thing I’ve learned though is we sleep better as long as her routine does not get disrupted at night. Even if we are away from home, as long as she gets a bath, book and some quiet time we sleep okay. I’m pregnant with number 2 and I’m hoping this one might enjoy sleeping a little bit more!

  • Kari said:

    I one big thing to helping both little ones and big ones get to sleep and stay asleep is consistency. As much as possible, try to stick with a similar routine so the child(ren) know the cues for bedtime. I’ve found that it’s when WE change things up that the behaviours end up being unexpected!

  • Katrina Klauer said:

    I have a lavendar puppy that helped my little guy the lavendar satchal inside its back releases the lavendar smell and it really helps relax the kiddos. They are making a lot of different types of them now. Also stay on a schedule and set a routine before bed that emphazies calming down, slowing down and that will cue them up for bed.

  • Brie Padfield said:

    Set up a bedtime routine and schedule then stick to it. Yes its hard to listen to them cry and yes you want to let them out of their bed to come into your bed, but that is the whole problem in the first place isn’t it? You have to be strong and let them cry it out. You can go into their room to comfort for a minute or two, but turn right around and leave. It gets easier. I wish I had done it sooner with my son.

  • Tracy said:

    The best tip that I can give you is don’t be a rescuer. Baby’s must learn how to sleep on their own. If you are allowing them to sleep in your bed with you, or if you are jumping up and picking them up and rocking them to sleep over every cry, they are going to learn to depend on that in order to sleep and you don’t want that. I know it’s hard, but it is not neccesary to go running to their aid over every single cry. Get to know your baby’s cry’s and what they mean. Establish a bed time routine and stick to it. Give them a bath at the same time every night. And put them to bed at the same time every night. If they are fighting it, And you know that they aren’t hungry or need changing and they are not sick or hurting then just let them cry it out. They will adjust to the routine. Swaddling does help alot but only if you have been swaddling since birth. A baby that is used to being free to move, is not going to do well with being Swaddled. Also most people think that you need absolute quiet to help the baby sleep. This isn’t true. Alot of baby’s actually do better with noise. If your baby get’s used to absolute silence, they may become a very light sleeper and wake up over every tiny little noise. So don’t go out of your way to walk on egg shells. My 2 year old daughter has been sleeping through the night since she was about a month and half old. And she is excited to go to bed every night and goes right to sleep. Another thing that we do that helps alot is keep a small stuffed bear in her bed that she only get’s to see at bed/nap times. These ideas have worked so well for us that our Daughter will only sleep in her own bed. She is very independant! I hope this helps some of you!

  • Claudia said:

    Our 17-month-old has always been a great napper. We take nap at the same time every day from 1-4:30pm. Occasionally if he wakes up early, he still stays in his crib until nap time is over just so he has the quiet, down time and his body is used to sleeping during that time. At night we had more problems getting him to sleep through the night so we had to really stick to a nighttime routine so he knows its time to start relaxing and winding down at the end of the day. Its helped a lot and if he gets up in the middle of the night, we give him time to comfort himself back to sleep and if he really gets upset my husband usually goes in to tuck him in again. He’s a little clingy to me so seeing me leave him in the middle of the night can get him hysterical.

  • Katie London said:

    This is all wonderful advice, but I wonder– at what age do you let them “cry it out”? My baby is just over 4 months, and I don’t think we are quite to the phase where I can just let him cry, can I? I really want to start sticking to a better routine at night, and all the advice on that has been great, but I think it’s too early to start leaving him to cry himself to sleep… what do you think?

    Also, he’s getting a little big for his co-sleeper. At what age did you move your baby to their room/crib?

    Thanks!!

  • Casey said:

    My son is 3 and we never really had a set bedtime or routine for him before bed until recently. It was always a struggle to get him to stay in his own bed or sleep there all night. Now that I set a routine (bath, PJ’s, one book, and one song) he goes to sleep much easier and stays asleep most night all night long.

    My daughter is 5 months old now and we have a cosleeper beside our bed for her. She already sleeps through the night however. I think she knows once I put her sleep sack on it’s time for bed, and she doesn’t fuss. I’d say a routine is the best solution. It can take a while to get used to but it’s well worth the effort in the end!

  • Vanessa said:

    My best tip on sleep is….DO WHAT FEELS RIGHT and don’t allow people to negatively influence what you feel is best for your family.
    - bed sharing/room sharing/sleeping in seperate rooms -
    Follow your gut. Kids will eventually sleep through the night and by themselves. I have done all of the above when it felt right for our family. I have an older daughter who sleeps through the night and sleeps well and I have a 1YO who is still teething and growing and learning so sleep is a bit of a roller coaster for us right now. We just do what we feel is right for our child and our family.

  • Lisa Michael said:

    My three and a half month old started sleeping through the night a few weeks ago when we put him in his crib. Now he’s back to being up in the night, sometimes every 3 hours, sometimes only once a night. It’s hard to get a week or so of uninterrupted sleep and then go back to getting up :(

  • Leslie Flores said:

    I have two boys a 9 year autistic son who sleeps well now but it wasn’t always that way. We had to install and alarm on our house because he would get up in the middle of the night and try to get out. i also have a 5month old and he sleeps through the night every night. since about 8 weeks old. when i stopped nursing and he took a bottle he started sleeping more. It never bothered me to get up with him cause he was nursing but i sure do love the extra sleep now.

  • Tiffany Carra said:

    Co-sleeping has helped for us as well. Sleep cannot be forced that is for sure, but establishing a good routing has worked really well for us. Bath, Diaper, Lotion, Jammies, Aspirator, Hair Brush, Zantac, Eat, Sleep. Last night I did not give him a bath because I was too tired, and boy did he fight sleep. He did not want to go to sleep to save his life.

  • Rebekah said:

    My 3 year old has been having nightmares for months :( I monitor what he’s exposed to, but he still has them most nights. Thankfully, praying with him really helps. We pray at least once before bed (and he makes sure we specifically pray for no nightmares and no bad dreams), and sometimes, he needs someone to pray with him again in the night. Praying really calms him down, so we’re teaching him to pray on his own too.

  • Amie said:

    My newest tip! Hand them to daddy. They have a special bond too that helps!

  • Deanna Mongeon said:

    Giving your baby water at night after around 6 or 7 months makes their bodies accustomed to gathering nutrients during the day. So they stop waking up at night for feedings and begin eating more during the day. Coupled with a good napping schedule that shifts naps to earlier in the day and stops them later on in the evenings allows babies bodies to accept sleep and rest at night and gives them the tiredness to make it for longer periods

  • Katie London said:

    Since this topic started, we have started to try to introduce more solids (2x a day instead on 1x) and adding a tablespoon of rice cereal to 1-2 more bottles during the day (instead of the 2 we were doing before). This, is hopefully leading to him not needing the extra meals during the night. I think that was our issue- he needed more food. However, at only almost 5 months, he’s not ready for 6 ounces at a time- he spits ip up. Adding more rice cereal bottles and one extra solids meal is working (a little) so far! I did check with my Dr first, and this was all approved. He’s a big boy- 16 pounds at 4.5 months, and was ready for solids at his 4 month check-up. I would check with your dr first before changing diet. It just is working for us, so maybe it’s something to look into. Hope that helps!

  • Katie London said:

    *16 pounds and not an ounce overweight! thought I should clarify that. :-)

  • Kiki said:

    My daughter (3rd child) just turned 1. She still wakes up at least 2-3 times a night. I think it’s more for comfort than to nurse, although she does for a little bit. She sleeps with us 95% of the time. It’s really tiring but I know it won’t last forever. At least I Hope so!!!

  • Jennifer Kimberly said:

    Biggest Parenting issue, Discipline! It breaks my heart to put my daughter in the time out chair, but i don’t want my child to think it is okay not to listen. If she doesn’t listen about small things how will she get the bigger concepts?

  • Tabitha Philen said:

    When our first child was 9 months old, her longest sleep stretch was 45 minutes. I was very tired. The “No Cry Sleep Solution” did help give us ideas but the key is consistency. With the last two, when I decided that it was time for them to sleep through the night in their own beds, I would just camp on the floor in their rooms for about a week, sticking to my guns with the routine that I picked. It worked.

  • katie said:

    I have a 2 year old that just got out of bed with me and my husband and sleeps in his own bed from 9:30 to 8:00 in the morning,but not we have a 1 month old that is in bed with us and it is horrible! My 1 month old either wan’st to eat all night or wakes up when we turn over :( I hope soon he will start liking his crib!!

  • Erica said:

    My 5 week old is sleeping in 4-6 hour stretches at night. We started to use the “5 S” method from the happiest baby on the block at 3 weeks and noticed an immediate improvement in how long he was sleeping. We also play a white noise cd throughout the night…which helps Mommy and Daddy sleep better too ;)

  • Kara F said:

    Honestly, co-sleeping is the only way I can get sleep when my babies are young. Once my babies are sleeping on their own, they sleep in my room in a playpen for easy and quick access.

  • Jessica Ellis said:

    I really do not have much advice but after dealing with a child that never slept in his bed or fought us to go to bed everynight I decided to cosleep with the last one. We only co sleep at night and it works wonders for us and we all get sleep.

  • melissa said:

    My 14 month old used to sleep 10 hours. Now he seems to get up 2 times a night. I am 7.5 months pg and it just makes it easier to put him in bed with us.

  • Jennifer said:

    Baby isnt here for me yet, due in 5 days! I have been a Nanny for the past 6 years and I find that alot of parents put the kids to bed really early! Like 6:30-7:00. Then the kiddo wakes up really early. One family I watched for switched to putting the baby to bed later (it was hard at first) but it worked. Instead of being up at 5am she slept til 8 :) Happy parents and Nanny!

  • Kelly said:

    I completely agree that co sleeping is wonderful. Also, scheduled naps and a strict bedtime help a lot!

  • Meghan said:

    My 8 mo old has a horrific sleeper at first. We got a baby hammock for her to sleep in when she was younger and it helped tremendously. Now all it takes is her lamb blanket, a soother and putting her down in her crib. It wasn’t easy getting there but she goes down 830-9pm and is up around 9am. Makes for a much happier mommy when it’s not a 5am wakeup call.

  • Katy G. said:

    My 11 month old daughter seems to wake-up at least 2-3 times a night and is sleeping from 10:30pm to 8:00am in the morning. When she wakes up she is always screaming and I have to run and give her a pacifier which usually helps and she is right back to sleep. Ever since she was like 2 months old I put her in the cribe awake and she falls asleep on her own. This makes the whole process a whole lot smoother. She dosen’t usually scream at all when I put her to sleep in her cribe and falls right to sleep. I also put her to bed at the same time every night and have a set rountine on everything. This has really helped when it comes to bedtime.

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