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Please help: Sleep issues w/ 12 month old

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  • Please help: Sleep issues w/ 12 month old

    Hello parents,

    I am happy to have found this forum and a place to speak with other AP parents about an issue I am having surrounding my 12 month old's sleep issues.

    My husband, myself and baby co-sleep/ bed share. We have a futon that we have as a side-car attached to our bed and bed share interchangeable, baby-led.

    I have breastfed my daughter her whole life and would like to continue to BF until she decides that it is no longer something she needs. I am happy with and enjoy breastfeeding. I love the connection with her and the time it allows us.

    That said, I do feel like I have "set myself up" somewhat in that my daughter refuses to go down for a nap or night sleep without BF. We tried very briefly to wean her, by daddy soothing her while she cried, but neither one of us liked this and it brought her such anguish that we just could not follow through. We are both very sensitive to her cues and are at a loss of how to break this pattern effectively and compassionately. **One might suggest to BF her and then go out, but the added problem is that with each wake-up, she requires BF to fall back to sleep.

    The root of the problem is that the issue is affecting our home life. Date night and self-care time away from baby is virtually impossible because of the fact that she needs to feed before we leave. She does not sleep through the night. The most she has slept in my period is perhaps 3.5 hours, averaging 2-3 hours. Nap time can last from 30 minutes - 1.5 hours during the day. Additionally, she has never taken a bottle and refuses to.

    I need to come up with a solution that will allow us to have some autonomy from her, whilst she feels safe and able to fall asleep without BF.

    NB* It often takes me anywhere from 45mins - 2 hours to get her to sleep now. (as you might imagine this has added additional stress, as I have very limited time in the evenings to get regular life things done.) I wonder if this is a normal for parents, or if this seems like a long time to you....

    Please share any and all suggestions/ comments you may have. This is our first child and we are doing the best we can to meet her needs, but feel that it is also important to meet our own. Happy parents = happy baby!
    Last edited by opheliaslove; 03-30-2011, 12:06 AM.

  • #2

    I wanted to post and reassure you that you are not alone in this. I wonder if you have a network of AP parents near you, that would make this feel more "normal" for lack of a better way to put it? My son would not have been ready to nightwean or napwean at 12 months. So many things still going on - milestones, teething, separation anxiety, etc.

    When my son was that age, our "dates" were either with him in tow or we went out during the day, like for brunch together and my son stayed with a family friend and her children. We didn't have date time around his nap or bedtime, etc. He needed me at those times.

    I did (and still do) a lot of my self care time when my husband was home, that way my husband and son spent time together and I either went out or stayed in and had some self-care time.

    RE: the bottle - have you tried a sippy cup? does she take any solids?

    My son also took a long time to get to sleep some nights. He goes to sleep easily now but that took time. There are many things that can contribute to sleep .. for my son food allergies were making it more difficult for him to sleep. Once we got that sorted out, he slept much better.

    Be gentle with yourself.. I have always found the "balance" aspect of AP to be the most challenging for me personally. Brainstorm ideas around how to get your needs met and your child's needs met. They sometimes seem at odds but with some creativity and some flexibility, it can be done (we had to reframe the idea that "date time has to happen at night")

    Good luck!


    • #3
      Your post could have easily been describing my son. I too really struggled with the desire for me time and husband time, but also struggled with leaving my DS with someone other than me when I knew that it would result in prolonged crying and a lack of any sleep for him if I was away during nap/night times. My DH and I would try to schedule outings during a time when he was going to be awake for a few hours at a stretch, or when his caregiver (always his grandparents!) could walk him in the stroller for a while in order to get him to sleep if he needed it. This meant a lot of daytime movies/lunches/visits with friends in order for us to get out for a few hour without him. Now that my DS is 2, we are able to plan for night outings that take us away for several hours, even though he still BF before sleep every night when I am with him DS will now fall asleep fairly calmly with his grandparents, although it is usually in front of the TV with them, and is generally loooonng after his scheduled bedtime (he usually just stays up until he drops, and then they carry him to his bed when he is totally asleep! Maybe not the best...but if it gets us a night out once in a while, I'm OK with it!!) This has only been in the last few mths that we've been able to do this. We have also only been able to successfully nightwean within the last mth; we tried earlier with really bad results, and just decided to wait. Once he was ready, it was pretty easy.

      I wish I had a solution for you, but the best thing I can say is just to try and be patient, and the day will come when you can have more time for you. It will come sooner than you think. As hard as it was at the time to go without any "me time", looking back I realize that the investment I put in has really resulted in a happy, well adjusted, and secure toddler, and it was worth it for me. Hang in there, good luck!