Q & A: My 13 month old won’t sleep in her bed the whole night

Hi Rosemary,

I have a 13 month old who doesn’t sleep the whole night in her bed. I have always had trouble with this. When she was younger, I would breastfeed her on the couch and then daddy would let her lie on him until she fell asleep (within the hour) and then we would transfer her to her crib. She would usually sleep six to eight hours and then wake up crying. We have always had a routine of bath around 7 -7:30 and then bottle (milk from a sippy cup now) and bed. We now have to rub her back to get her to fall asleep in her crib or lie with her in our bed and then transfer her but she still wakes up 6-8 hours later crying. We rub her back to get her to go back to sleep but she wakes up every 10-20 minutes until we eventually just bring her in bed with us and she sleeps until 7-8 am. We tried the cry it out method – we would let her cry and go in every three minutes, lie her down and rub her back for one to two minutes then leave again and repeat, making the time longer each time. After about a month of this she would only cry once and after we went in she usually stayed asleep, until 6-8 hours later when it was time to crawl into bed with us. We have recently moved and my husband is away from home so now we are starting all over again and it is just easier for me to take her in bed with me (since there is so much room without the hubby here). Help!


Hi Amy,

You’re right. The easiest solution is to bring your daughter into bed with you, but I also understand that at some point, you would prefer her to stay sleeping in her own bed.

If you are at that point, where you’ve had enough and you are ready to teach your baby to become a more independent sleeper, then you will have to be committed to a plan and be prepared to do some hard, but rewarding work.

Whatever method you decide to use, it has to be implemented at bedtime, during the night and also at nap time. From what you’ve described, I think a key point for you is that your daughter needs to learn how to fall asleep on her own. After you finish your bedtime routine, your goal should be to be able to pop her in her crib awake and let her fall asleep without your help. Once she learns how to fall asleep on her own, in her own bed, she will be a much better sleeper. This will help if she wakes in the middle of the night too. The Ferber method will definitely work for this. You should tackle this in a slow, gentle manner and soon you will start to see results. Just remember, consistency and patience are very important. Just stick with it!


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