my daughter is 21 months old and at present behaves in a curious way. I don't think this question is a duplicate of others with similar titles. During the day she's a sweetheart, no problems at all. We used to have no problems during the night at all, she started sleeping all night long when she was around 1 month old....

Lately this has changed.

At bed time, now, problems begin. There's a distinction: if her mother, my wife, goes to put her to sleep, the following behaviour is observed:

  1. she doesn't want to go into her bed
  2. if she does, she starts calling "mom" and "dad" (which is of course kind of cute)
  3. in her bed she starts crying, screaming and kicking

until the point in which either me or my wife go and pick her up (which is fine, I don't mind). If I go, in some time (sometimes even minutes) she will calm down, and finally she'll fall asleep. If my wife goes, the whole story begins again. We have asked my mother-in-law to try to put her to sleep, and, as with me, everything goes smooth.

After a few hours of sleep, usually around 5.30-6.00 am she wakes up and starts calling for mom. What happens then is that my wife brings her in our bed, where my daughter will start moving, calling, playing, screaming and eventually crying for an hour or 1.5 hours, and then she'll go back to sleep in either our bed or her bed, this doesn't change much.

Both at bed time and when she wakes up at 6.00 am she has warm milk, which she absolutely loves. We haven't tried to take that away, but I don't think that's the issue.

I do have a few ideas on my own, but I would like to see what others have to put in, before commenting (since I don't want to influence anyone).


  • has anything changed in her life and especially with regards to her mother recently? Eg she has weaned, her mother has gone back to work, a younger sibling has arrived, ... ?
    – Chrys
    Jul 8, 2014 at 20:08
  • mgm your question is a year old, but can you please share if your daughter eventually stopped doing this? It is the same with my kid. He used to go to sleep on his own since very young. Lately, bedtime with dad goes pretty well and takes no time. Kid happily says good night and is content when dad leaves him (same with his babysitter). With me is totally different. I haven't change anything in his routine, I try to be firm but he will ask me to stay, or leaves his bed as I leave the room, cries, etc. Any feedback will be appreciated.
    – user20641
    Jan 25, 2016 at 14:40
  • Hi poch, no, the routine is more or less the same. Now my daughter goes to sleep mostly alone, but I need to be around (and sometimes I need to be there with her). If I am out for some reason, she won't go to bed until she has me around. If her mother is not available either (eg my daughter is with some relative) then everything is fine. Exactly as your situation. I am sorry, I haven't found a fix for this. (sorry for the delay!)
    – mgm
    Jun 16, 2016 at 22:53

2 Answers 2


Do you ever bring her to your bed, or is that only your wife who does that?

If its only your wife, that may be the problem right there.

Toddlers generally like the idea of sleeping with mommy and daddy. The fact that your wife will occasionally bring her to your bed in the mornings may indicate to your daughter that your wife is the one that she has to convince.

Unfortunately, I think the only options you have may be:

  • You put your daughter to bed, and not your wife; or
  • Have your wife stop bringing your daughter to bed in the mornings

It may help in the mornings if you simply get up when your daughter does, and then do something necessary, but not necessarily fun, first thing (brush teeth, clean room, etc.). This eliminates the attraction of convincing your wife that she needs to sleep in mommy and daddy's bed, and may make it easier to start saying "why don't you go back to sleep for a bit?" on mornings where she wakes up very early, without having to resort to bringing her to your bed and having her thrash around and keep you from sleeping.

  • Hi, when I bring her to (her) bed which happens in 2 ways: I can start from the beginning and it doesn't take long or I can take over once my wife has tried, and it won't take long either starting from that point on. I usually don't take her to our bed, but it may happen from time to time that we play on the bed together before going to bed, I would say it has happened a couple of times. Thanks!
    – mgm
    Feb 21, 2013 at 8:57

My parents told me that when I was a baby a started to cry an call everyone when I woke up and when I was supposed to go to sleep.

Then one day they just put me on the balcony to sleep, and didn't come to me. So I cried for a couple of hours and eventually fell to sleep. Next day I cried less, and after a few days I stopped at all.

I think the reason is that your daughter really likes her mother and you off course. And she found out that by calling you she can have more attention whenever she wants.

  • Hi, my mother did the same with me: at some point when I was a toddler she left me in my room crying, I did it for the night, then I fell asleep. This is what I am told, at least. After that, I started going to bed fairly easily. Given that, I would use that as very last resort. Also, that would really work in my climate, since it's too cold :) Thanks!
    – mgm
    Feb 21, 2013 at 8:59

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