I just noticed a recent change of sleeping pattern of my 2nd son, who is now 1 year and 3 month old. To be accurate the change started about 1 week ago.

Before that he used to turn in right away after being fed with 6 oz milk, around 7:30pm, and wake up around 2am for more milk and fall back sleep immediately. If we feed him with water rather than milk out of concern of overfeeding, he would groan in complaints, kicking his feet for 30 minutes but eventually manage to fall asleep again.

Gone were those days. Starting last weekend he refused to sleep after taking the milk at 7:45pm. He refused to stay in his cradle, he was very adamant and keeping motioning me to take him out. After I complied he would happily stumble around with my support under his arms, or play a ball, engaging in all activities but sleep. This could last for hours. Like today, he didn't fall asleep until 10:48pm. He still wakes up at 2 or 3am, but now it takes almost two hours before he sleeps again.

My son seems entering a new phase of development. He just starts learning to walk and speak, yet his mind matures at a faster pace. He starts demanding and his demands are simple yet clear and he refuses to take a "No" for an answer, otherwise he would cry at the top of lungs (in one occasion he cried so hard that he uncontrollably threw up). To me he seems tired of being a good boy, or my father's tough gene skipped my generation and passed onto him. :-)

To be serious, what just happened to my son? Why did he become so intolerant all of a sudden? The only circumstantial change is that his mother went on a business trip. But even when she was home, I spent equal amount of time (if not more) with my son and he didn't seem to be affected by his mother's temporary departure. (my wife had a few business trips before)

  • 1
    Hey there, you just said that developmentally it seems like your son is beginning to learn to walk and speak. That is a huge milestone for a child and he is probably very excited about that. HE probably feels that by sleeping he is going to miss out on the time he could spend walking and talking. I am guessing you already have a bedtime routine right? Do you read books while tucking him to sleep. Please do try reading books ( some days it could be 1 book and some days upto 5 or more ) that should help him calm down
    – bhavs
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 8:26
  • Also I have noticed that saying "NO" may not be the best way to prevent a child from not doing something. Explaining, acknowledging feelings and/or distraction would probably help. Also have you considered baby wearing? An Soft structured ergonomic carrier is an excellent way of calming a child down. A calming foot/leg massage can also help you get the little one to relax
    – bhavs
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 8:29
  • @bhavs please don't answer in comments!
    – MD-Tech
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 10:41
  • When you say "milk" are you talking about breast milk or formula? Also, how much solid food does he eat during the day? Is it mostly solid food, or mostly still milk?
    – MAA
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 18:48

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, you've allowed a bad habit go on much longer than necessary, and that is waking and feeding a one-year old! There is no reason whatsoever a healthy 1-year old needs to eat in the middle of the night. I've raised 5 children now, and they are weaned from nightly "feed me" periods at around 3 months old!

The fix here is unfortunately not an easy one. The best way I've found (with foster children who had the same problem) is to go cold-turkey, and refuse to wake/feed him. This obviously is going to be met with some "loud" disapproval from your son. In the middle of the night when he wakes up, don't talk to him, or try to comfort him with your voice. Keep the room mostly dark, pick him up, hug him, but put him back in his crib when he settles and tuck him in. He's going to scream and you're going to feel like a horrible parent, don't give in! The first night will be the roughest, but he will eventually go back to sleep! The next night will get easier, and my guess is in a few days he'll be sleeping through the night.

Good luck!


Disclaimer: I am a father of a 2 year old son! My oppinion builds on experience and some reading.

Well, probably it is like you said: Your son is developing. Children develop in "jumps" (both physically and psychically), which may explain the sudden change in both behaviour and sleep. Your son has to process much more (and suddenly for him different) informations.

Still, about the "no" issue some food for thought (but perhaps you are already doing this): If HE says "no" to YOU, what do you do? Do you accept his "no"? Not only with the small things, but also with larger things (e.g. not wanting to share something, wanting to stay awake, etc.). And also in situations where you disagree with him (except in the cases where it is dangerous for him, of course!) You have to show him that YOU can accept a "no" from him, because otherwise he cannot learn something about the importance of "no". You need to show him that you can take a "no" from him - then he will learn to take a "no" from you.

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