My daughter is 1 year and 8 months old. She will not sleep through the night. She goes down to sleep most nights but now can climb out of the crib and open doors. She won't go down at night and I do a steady routine before bed. If I hold the door she fights it for up to 2 hours. I have been doing this for over 2 months and she still fights for 2 months.

During the night she often wakes up regularly around 11:30pm and 2:30am. When I go to check on her I never pick her up just lay her down or put her back in her crib. She usually takes up to an hour to go back to sleep.

Last night she kept leaving her room. After the 10th time I couldn't take it anymore so I put her down and sat in her room by the door. She sat in her crib for 2 hours and just watched me and didn't go to sleep. After I had enough I went to bed and she cried and came out and came into my bed. In 5 seconds she fell asleep and woke up at her normal time.

I have recently started weaning her off breast milk over the last 3 months. It also seems like during the day when we are playing she is not really interested in breast feeding but if I am laying on the couch with her day or snuggling with him she all of a sudden wants breast milk from me and climbs on top of me and pulls my shirt up. Sometimes it just feels like she is doing it for attention or bonding or to be close to me.

Her bedtime is usually around 8pm or 8:30 pm and she wakes up whenever around 7:30 to 8am daily. She has a 1 hour nap each day.

I am at my wits' end and now that she can climb out of her crib and open doors I don't know what to do. Her 3-year-old sister sleeps fine and was never an issue.

  • 1
    Hello and welcome to the site! You ask about two interesting subjects in your post, but as they are only slightly connected they should be posted in two seperate questions. You can edit this post and move e.g. the breastfeeding part to a second question. (I have already a few thoughts on that subject...)
    – Stephie
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 7:17
  • Is the dad around? Around that age I stepped in and wouldn't let my wife have any part of my daughter's night time. Previous to this she would do similar things, though it was more of a lot of crying and waking up, keeping everyone awake, and insisting on feeding. When we refused to let mom interfere, my daughter was left with me at night, who can't feed her, so she learned quickly there was no point in trying. It took a week or so but it was pretty fast. It seemed to be just comfort and convenience of mom. Even though she was in the other room, it wasn't evident so my girl stopped whining.
    – Kai Qing
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 23:38
  • here are some discussion about staying in bed parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/18573/…
    – iiro
    Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 10:03
  • She definitely is nursing at least partly for attention, comfort, bonding and closeness. Weaning is stressful on little kids, even if they no longer rely on breastfeeding for physical sustenance. That's really quite natural at her age. Getting up a couple times a night is also normal (although exhausting) at her age.
    – Meg
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 19:16

3 Answers 3


None of my kids slept through the night until between 3 & 4 years of age. I have 3 kids. It is perfectly normal behaviour. I work 30 hours a week & haven't slept through the night in well over 6 years. It is part of parenting.

  • same thing for our kids. they wanted to be held while going to bed too.
    – Ida
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 18:16

First off, exhale. It's a little known fact that we actually are supposed to wake up during the evening. It's only in the last 100 years that we force ourselves to sleep through the night, pre-electricity people regularly got up around midnight for an hour or so and then returned to bed. If she's fighting to go to bed every time, try pushing her bedtime back by 45 minutes. Contrary to popular belief, no two individuals need the same amount of sleep or at the same rate.

Forcing her to stay in her crib while she's awake will only create that association in her mind. As much as I feel like there needs to be consistency in routines, when disruption has become consistent, it's time to change the routine.

As for her forcing herself onto your boobs, that's a bonding thing. Especially if you're forcing weaning, she will become very clingy when something triggers that mindset, ie: someone else getting attention. Enjoy it while it lasts because pushing her away too much now has been proven to disrupt future bonding attempts. Her brain isn't all there yet, many areas are still developing. Once an area is developed, various sensory inputs will imprint the pathways with routinely used associations (happiness and mom, safety and mom, security and mom, etc.) If that part of the brain isn't developed yet, then none of the previous actions will have an effect on the imprinting.

You should also know that 21st century man is the only species that forces weaning on their young at such a young age. Many primates don't allow others to touch their young for the first year or more and continue a codependent lifestyle until the child reaches puberty.

  • Do you have a reference for the "-electricity people regularly got up around midnight for an hour or so and then returned to bed"? Thanks.
    – Lisa
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 7:17
  • 1
    Actually, I just found one, so no bother. Worthman & Melby, 2002, 'A comparative developmental ecology' webdrive.service.emory.edu/groups/research/lchb/…
    – Lisa
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 7:34
  • were these adults going to bed at sunset in winter?
    – WendyG
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 11:27

Once my kids could climb out of their cots I took them out of cots as I felt that was dangerous.

I put a child gate on their bedroom door, and honestly just left them too it. A couple of times I found my son asleep on his bedroom floor surrounded by toys, but it lost the attraction once it was no longer naughty.

My daughter sleeps in a bunk bed with a shelf next to her with toys on it, she is now 7 but she plays with her toys if she wakes early or just isn't that tired at bedtime.

I found the bonus of this is that they are both children who can regulate their own sleep, and go to bed when tired.

The only rule was he wasn't allowed to be noisy and disturb me.

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