What should I do if my 18 month old still isn't sleeping through the night?

Q: My 18 month old wakes up 2-3 times per night, screaming and crying and she wont stop until I come in. I give her a bottle, change her diaper and put her back to bed. Even then, she still cries for a while. I feel bad not going in there, but I am so tired that I would love to sleep all night. She only sleeps 1-2 nights per week. What should I do??

A: It definitely sounds like it’s time to make some changes. I suspect that your little one is also drinking a bottle at bedtime, which likely helps her get drowsy. All young children wake multiple times per night. Whatever happens at bedtime is usually what is needed during the night to fall back to sleep. So start with making changes at bedtime, decreasing her bottle by an ounce per night. Substitute a snack, such as some cheese or yogurt, if you are concerned about her being hungry. Once she is able to fall asleep without a bedtime bottle, do the same during the night, dropping her nighttime bottles by an ounce per night. Once your daughter is no longer needing a bottle to help her fall asleep, she will likely start sleeping for longer stretches at night (and no longer soaking her diaper!).

Answered by Dr. Jodi Mindell

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