My 15 month old daughter goes to sleep keeping herself latched to mother's feed. When she was a newborn, she used to sleep in a crib, but she has made a habit of going to sleep with milk latched from about when she was 3 months old.

From last 6 months, her sleep schedule is:

Wake up time - 4 hours

Sleep time - 2 hours

Then, wake up time - 6 hours

Then whole night sleep - 12 hours (with latching on and off as per demand)

Now the problem comes when sometimes she over or under sleeps in the 2 hours day-sleep she takes. Then she won't like to sleep in the night. This episode happens once in a month.

Earlier, we used to play with her and after about 8-9 hours of wake time, she used to go to sleep.

But as she is growing, she gets very fussy after staying awake for about 9 hours. Boom! Now it has been 9 hours since she slept! Now she is super cranky, she won't take feed, won't sit or lay down on bed. Won't like if we switch off lights.

We massage her body and head, sing songs and do other things to soothe her, but this will just distract her from crying. This doesn't relax her.

We can see that she wants to sleep, but she is so tired and cranky that we won't be able to relax and feed and sleep.

Last time she was awake for about 14 hours, after that, she was too tired and slept.

She has gone through breath-holding spells 2-3 times. That's the reason we don't let her cry much nor leave her on the bed unattended.

But it gets very difficult for us now especially in the COVID lockdown time.

The doctor has suggested Phenargan. (Also we want to know the trade-off between sedating her versus letting her super cranky for so long hours.)

We want to know what else we can do rather than sedating her.

Also, she hardly likes her car rides in a normal mood. During her overtired phase, she just hates to sit in the car. Most people take their baby to car ride when their baby won't sleep.

  • 1
    WHAT??? It seems your doctor is putting your child in danger! Please read this: "Promethazine [the active substance in Phenargan] may cause breathing to slow or stop, and may cause death in children." (source: MedlinePlus Drug Info). Please do not give Phenargan without at least consulting another medical professional!
    – sleske
    Jul 23, 2020 at 8:04
  • Have you tried putting her in a stroller or carrying her when she is like this, as an alternative to car-rides? I can symphatize, super-cranky baby is no fun but these things happen and she will grow over it.
    – Ivana
    Jul 23, 2020 at 20:58

1 Answer 1


I am not a doctor or medical expert but, I think Phenergan for once a month case of over tired toddler crankies seems a little excessive. Given your doctor recommended this, I doubt it would be harmful to use it as directed, but I also don't think letting her be awake and cranky is really any harm. Many adults and children have occasional nights of difficulty sleeping, and there's not really any bad outcome, beside maybe being tired the next day if we have to also wake up early.

From my perspective, this is pretty ordinary part of one year old life. My son would sometimes do the same thing, usually when his routine was interrupted, especially if that coincided with an particularly exciting/over stimulating day, or if he missed or overslept his daytime nap because he wasn't feeling well.

Although it's a somewhat unsatisfying answer, all you can really do is help them through it. I would usually recommend some of the same things you mentioned, like massage, singing, low lights. Since that's not doing the trick, I suggest trying some other calming activities. Perhaps reading to her or a walk outside in the stroller or baby carrier. For some babies a warm bath is soothing, but to some that's too stimulating.

Some parents will give a warm drink like herbal tea, especially chamomile. This seems to work well for some small children, and is mild and safe, although like any plant or food it can carry a risk of allergy. How to give chamomile tea to babies.

I don't personally leave my baby to cry alone, although I know it is widely recommended. Sometimes letting them be awake until they are too exhausted and eventually fall asleep is all you can do, and I prefer my baby spend this time being comforted and calm, rather than crying and distressed, although I acknowledge that it is frustrating and exhausting for the parents.

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    Note that leaving a baby to cry alone may be "widely recommended", but this method is still highly controversial. Many people believe that "crying out" is harmful, so you are in good company :-).
    – sleske
    Jul 23, 2020 at 8:05

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