I have a 1-year old son that has a lot of trouble sleeping at night. From the day he was born until about 10 months old he had to be rocked to sleep. At 10 months old we sleep trained him using Ferber method and it worked. At bedtime we would hold him for a while, read a book, pray, etc., then put him into his crib. He would cry for a very short time, sometimes less than a minute, then fall asleep. Throughout the night he would seldom wake up, maybe one time at most, and even then he would fall back to sleep by himself.

When he turned 1 year old this method only had a 50-50 chance of working. Now when we put him into his crib he would cry for a long time, could be up to 15 minutes or more. And when he cries a long time, there's a good chance he would puke, and then chaos ensues. During the night he wakes up frequently, 2-3 times, and need to be rocked to sleep again.

Note that he has no trouble at all sleeping two naps during the morning and afternoon. We rock him to sleep at naps, and it's usually fairly effortless.

I do not think he goes to bed hungry. We give him an 8 ounce bottle of fresh milk about an hour or so before bed time.

I don't know what went wrong and I don't know how to fix it. Why did he revert back to previous state? Is there something about night time that scares him now that he's more developed? We have a small night light in his room. Thanks for your help.

3 Answers 3


I am in no way an expert, as most parents likely feel obligated to claim before proposing an answer to another parent's "problem". We are all really just a bunch of kids who grew and had kids of our own.

Having said that, my second daughter also had this issue, and honestly to this day has issues with falling asleep at night. She is now (I believe) 4 years old. The key here is to understand why your child has such a difficult time falling asleep, and trying to deal with the root accordingly and not the symptom itself.

In my research at the time, it turned out like any issue really, there are a number of possibilities. The most prominent of course being over-stimulation, especially in young children, and even more specifically in young children who may have hyper active tendencies (thats my nice way of avoiding the psychology catch-phrase "ADHD", because honestly we all know its a bit over used).

Since your child is still so young and therefore incapable of understanding or even communicating their feelings, you will have to go through the process of elimination. Start with a bed time routine if you have not already. The most critical step here being to identify when your child naturally starts to get sleepy, because forcing a sleep routine on a child at a time when their activity is still at its peak only leads to stress for both you and the child. Do away with any stimulating events, activities, surroundings, etc a few hours before their "bed time".

I dont want to detail any sort of process, for two main reasons: the first being that one size never fits all, ever. And the second being who the hell am i to tell you how to deal with your child?

Having said all that, I feel like i would not be helping if i did not point out one apparent issue with how you are approaching the problem (based on how you worded your question): this is more difficult on your child than it is on you. Your child is not "reverting" and nothing is "wrong". Some children, like some adults, just have trouble sleeping. You as their parent are really there to help them understand how to deal with a problem that affects them personally at a time in their development where they are incapable of understanding the issue well enough to address it themselves. NOTICE: I am not calling you out, or saying you are a bad parent. I am simply telling you what I wish more parents would have told me: your kid is going through this, and you are sitting on the outside observing and HOPING to help. Never lose sight of that, stay patient, and remember some problems aren't really problems, but rather facts of life.

Wishing your little person the best of luck, as I know first hand how difficult this is for a child. Not because of my daughter, but because I myself suffered through sleep issues from childhood up until this very day.

  • Thanks a lot Ryan for the great answer. It's true that we have a difficult time recognizing baby's natural sleepy cues aside from yawning and scratching his eyes. I wish there was a Youtube video teaching easy 1-2-3 steps to recognize this. We do try to stay away from anything too stimulating before bedtime, but he himself is a very active boy. He just wants to keep running around, grabbing anything in sight, and throw them onto the floor. We read him books and sing, etc., but that would only hold him for 10-15 minutes before he runs again. I am grateful though for the nights he goes down easy
    – rabbid
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 1:45

According to Dr Spock (Baby and Child Care), around 12 months of age, most babies are ready to drop a nap and go to just one nap a day. He has a whole section in his book on how to accomplish the transition. The basic idea is to move lunch earlier. You really do need to get some lunch into the child, otherwise he's likely to wake up too early from the afternoon nap because he's hungry.

It's worth reading the whole section, because he covers all the nitty gritty, and it's written in a very supportive way.

The reason I think this may help you is that you said that going to sleep at naptime is effortless.

Usually, when baby is really tired, falling asleep is easier.

I personally am not a fan of cry-it-out. If your child is crying so much he ends up vomiting, maybe it's time to put that method on the shelf.

It's possible your child is feeling fearful or anxious. If there is a feeling of abandonment behind these crying jags, it could be helpful to show support through a consistent policy of "I will not walk away from you when you are crying". That's just my hunch, though.

Has baby reached some big milestone recently, or is he on the cusp? Such as walking? That can be intense and can trigger complex stuff in a baby's psyche.

Is baby getting plenty of exercise and fresh air? Those can be really helpful.


It's hard to tell why your baby is waking more often, but I can offer something that will probably fix it: if you don't drink or smoke and don't use a waterbed, cosleep. Based on personal experience with three kids, your child will almost certainly sleep better in the same bed as you.

Yes, there are those who are alarmist about the risks of cosleeping. However, if you really dig for the statistics, they suggest that the risk of overlay in cosleeping is lower than the risk of crib death when you don't cosleep.

For more on how to cosleep safely and happily, you can refer to this article from Dr. Sears:


  • It's interesting that you respect the statistics on alcohol, smoking, and firm surfaces to decrease SIDS, but ignore them for co-sleeping. Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 2:33

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