« Newborn alien sounds | Main | Consistency is key when using ANY sleep-training technique »

April 25, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Oh no!!! My daughter is, lessee, 20 months in 2 days time and everything you have written has made total sense to me.

We sleep trained successfully at around 12 months to get her to fall asleep by herself. It was PAINLESS. She cried for 2 minutes the first night, 4 the next and 0 the next. We had abandoned previous attempts to sleep train as I had found them far to traumatic at around 6 and 8 months (I haven't read your book yet and so I don't know if this ties in with your theories).

At 15 months, we attempted to night wean. Hubby went in to all of the night wakings. Again...painless. She wasn't happy at first but she didn't cry for very long and was soon sleeping through the night for first time in her life.

At 17 months - it all went to the crapper.

It started with her no longer being able to put herself to sleep. You mentioned RAM - well this girl seems to need to talk about her day before she goes to sleep. Everyone that she has seen during the day comes pouring out and what she has done, eaten for dinner etc etc.

Then came the 'social negotiation' you mentioned.
Me: Lucy it's time to sleep.
DD: Cuddle.
Me: Ok I'll cuddle you and then cot, sleep.
DD: Cuddle, Swee sway.
(so we sit in the chair to cuddle).
DD: Boobie.
Me: No Lucy, boobie has finished for now, we'll cuddle.
Me: I'm going to put you in your cot now.
DD: Nooo! Cuddle!

This is combined with waking once a night and getting up for the day at 5:30am.

As the lack of sleep had me crying in the toilets at work on Wednesday, I had determined that some kind of sleep training was necessary. Now I realise I'm probably going to have to wait it out. Perhaps she's developmentally advanced and 20 months will be a good time for her... (please?!?!?!?!).

Also wanted to add that she has discovered the word 'MINE' or 'Lucy's!!' with her possessions (or the playground apparatus!) which seems to tie in with your description of the development that takes place at this time.

This all so fascinating! Thank you!

My 21-month-old just figured out how to climb out of his crib. I understand that this is not the time to make changes in his sleep, for not only is he in the middle of all the developmental stuff you just described (and how -- "Maman! Maman!" all.the.time), but we're in the middle of remodeling our kitchen and the entire apartment is turned upside down.

I just wish someone could explain to *him* that now is not the time to be making a big change in his sleep environment. Because for safety's sake we're going to have to remove the side from his crib and transform it into a "big boy bed" tonight, and I am dreading the consequences. He hates change at the moment -- even trying on new shoes is traumatic -- and I fear he will reject his modified bed entirely.

I'm hoping by the time the kitchen is back together in three weeks' time and the little guy will be a couple weeks past 22 months old, things will fall back into place, new bed and all. Right?

21 months seems just too early for a "big boy bed," and I honestly didn't expect to face this transition for another six months... ha!

I wish I would have known about this when my daughter hit 18 months and all h*ll broke loose at naptime. She was definitely exhibiting separation anxiety and it lasted exactly 3 months. Around 21 months, when her protest cries became more angry than upset, I realized I could let her CIO. It worked in 2 days - 30 mins crying first day, 5 mins second day, 1 second the 3rd and so on.

@Parisienne-we have one of those kinds of cribs too (they don't use them in the US) and our 20 month old sleeps in it without the side. We encouraged her to play in it during the day so she would understand where the edges are and get familiar with it in general. However, we have a friend whose 24 month son couldn't sleep without the side rails, so their solution was to remove three or four of the rails so that there was a hole their son could crawl out if he wanted, but the crib wasn't quite so different.

I made my husband read the post above, and he thought that I had written the letter Isabel quoted! Somehow it's comforting to know we are not alone, and that it's going to end sometime, and that I didn't do anything wrong as a parent to make this happen. :-)

Your description of the social dilemma the kiddo is facing is heartbreaking! I have mentally filed this away for when mine gets to that age.

@Parisienne-we have a climber too but have been putting her in a sleep sack at night. It doesn't prevent her from moving around and standing up in her crib but it does prevent her from climbing out.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Hi, I'm Isabel

  • I'm a developmental psychologist and mom to two awesome 3-year-old boys. My area of expertise is social and emotional development and most of my research is on interventions that help make families and friendships healthier for children. More about me...


  • scienceandparenting@gmail.com
    Ask us any question about your child, child development in general, or parenting. We'll try to post your question as soon as possible, with our take on the answer. We both have our PhDs in developmental psychology, so our "take" will usually be informed by our own and our colleagues' research, as well as developmental theory that spans several decades. And of course we'll throw in some thoughts that come from our own personal sample size of 3.

Articles on Sleep for Babies and Toddlers

Developmental theory

Blog Design Credit