The Setback: Hitting a milestone
My nephew, Alex, was an ideal sleeper, reports my sister-in-law, Lauren Shaffer -- that is, until around his first birthday, when he started talking. "Instead of just crying at night, he'd shout out 'Mama!'" she says. Shaffer couldn't resist the lure of her son calling for her, and she'd rush to him. After a few days of walking around like zombies, she and my brother-in-law, Jay, took action. "I told Jay not to let me go to Alex," says Shaffer. It took about a week, but he soon returned to being a good sleeper
Your Good-Night Solutions
Practice makes perfect. "We frequently see children developing sleep setbacks during milestones like crawling, pulling to stand, walking, and talking," says Mindell. "Often they're so excited about their new skills that they just want to try them out." So let them -- but during daytime hours. Take them to the park to walk, and give them plenty of room on the floor if they're learning to crawl. "The sooner they master these skills, the less desire they'll have to practice them constantly," she says.
Schedule some wind-down time. "Dial back on activities about 30 minutes before bedtime," says Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Nap Solution. Focus on less physical things like reading or listening to music to help your baby relax.
Stick to your guns. Pantley agrees with Lauren and Jay's approach: "Don't run in every time your baby calls your name. Listen for a few minutes on the monitor and see if he settles down first -- he could just be trying out his new skills."