My Daughter Still Doesn’t Sleep Through – Is It Time To Change Things?

Aria cutie

As I lie here and start to write this piece, it’s 4am and I am on my phone. I have been awake about at least an hour. I’m tired, I have been up and down several times and I am waiting for my daughter to finally settle.

I’ve written before about how she doesn’t like to sleep, and now even at 17 months it is rare for her to sleep through the night. Although it has been known to happen. Once 5 days in a row – it was amazing.

Some days I wake up, give her a beaker of milk and fall back into an exhausted coma. But of late this seems to be getting harder. This is compounded by the fact, my daughter doesn’t always want to go back sleep. While most of the time she goes straight back down (which is one of the reason I have kept on with the milk feed), there are some days she likes to have a good play afterwards.

So far tonight, she has shouted a bit in displeasure at being put back in her cot, cooed, played with her toys & made silly sounds with her mouth. I put her back an hour and 15 minutes ago.

I have always ascertained that as she is a slim baby who has struggled to gain weight that I believe she needs this night feed still. But also the nights where I have tried to settle her without milk she has screamed the place down, waking the whole house with her. But in all fairness I haven’t tried for a while. I have tried watering down her formula, but she just drinks it regardless, but if I give her just water she cries and cries and well, cries.

Now as she doesn’t seem to be always falling back into a slumber after her milk, I wonder if it’s habit that causes her to wake rather than need?

Aria doesn’t do hunger very well, if she’s screaming or very upset during the day it’s usually because she’s hungry. I am fast learning to always have an emergency snack in my bag for her. So I wonder if settling her without milk is a good idea, if she is waking and hungry from my experience of her in the day, it’s unlikely I’ll settle her and I also do not believe in leaving children hungry.

But by contrast, if she’s waking out of habit, then not settling back down & playing in the night which in turn makes her irritable and tired in the day is it time to do something about it?

There’s also the selfish argument. I am so tired of not sleeping. Literally.

In so many ways, my daughter has taught me how children are completely individual. My son slept through from 3 months and we didn’t look back, except for teething or poorly days. So as a second time Mum I have no experience of this what so ever.

Some days I feel quite emotional about it. Because I don’t know in the long run what is the right thing to do for Aria. Not for me, not what a parenting ‘expert’ says I should do. But what is right for the individual that is my daughter.

So far I have waited and tended to her hoping that she will stop waking in the night when she is ready. But I am beginning to wonder if I am doing the right thing. If she has less milk in the night, will she eat more in the day for example? She is a very slim baby as I have mentioned before.

My husband is away for the next two weeks on business, so it would be a good time for me to try and tackle this. I wouldn’t have to worry about waking him a lot in the night when he has a big day at work for example, and as it’s half term we can take a couple of cosy DVD days at home if we need to.

Please tell me, as I am at a loss. What would you do or even have you done in my situation? I just cannot work out what the right thing to do is. Advice would be gratefully received.

Domestic Momster
A Cornish Mum
Mama Mim

22 thoughts on “My Daughter Still Doesn’t Sleep Through – Is It Time To Change Things?”

  1. Hi Laura, as you know we have been in the same boat, although our little one is just 12 months, I can only imagine how I’d feel on another 5 months time. 2 nights ago we decided enough was enough and time for a shake up, as she seemed to be getting worse. So, we went cold turkey on her dummy. She’s never slept without it before. I felt that she was relying on it to settle and couldn’t ever find the damn thing. first night she slept 8-5. We couldn’t believe it. Last night, not so good. She’s struggling and so are we but I really feel we need to do some kind of sleep training if any things going to change. Can you die from tiredness? I sometimes wonder! Good luck, I think it’s worth a try x x x ps she is also a littley too…and so so different from our first.

    • I’m not sure if you can die from tiredness lol, there are some days I wonder! I hope that the sleep training is going well. I’m still so undecided.

  2. Oh Laura I feel for you hun. I was very lucky that both my boys slept through the night early on. I would say that YOU know your daughter, and you should trust your instincts. You can read advice in magazines or books, listen to advice from others, and ask anyone you come across, but really it’s down to what you think is best. If you think your daughter needs that night-time feed then do it. Perhaps all the stressing over what to do is adding to the situation.
    For me, I tended to let my boys cry themselves to sleep. It sounds like an awful thing to do, and I hated doing it, but once I thought they were ready to stop the night feeds that’s what I did. Within a few weeks they could calm themselves and settled quickly. It’s the only advice I have to offer. But really, like I said, it’s down to what you think is best for you, your family, and especially your daughter. xx

    • Thank you so much for your comment. Every night when I put her in her cot she always cries/shouts for a couple of minutes and then settles herself to sleep. So she can settle and settles at nap time fine, which is what makes me think she needs the milk – ugh cannot decide maybe you’re right stressing over it is making it worse.

  3. Oh Laura, I sympathise, I really do. Sleep deprivation is used as torture for good reason. T woke 4/5 times a night, every night (bar a few miraculous exceptions) until he was 11 1/2 months old. He then woke twice a night until he was 15 months and since then has slept through most nights unless poorly/teething etc (he’s 18 months now).

    Obviously we tried lots of different things to help him sleep, but we refused to do controlled crying/crying it out. So it really depends what you’ve already tried and what you’re prepared to try. I can recommend Elizabeth Pantley’s No Cry Sleep Solution if you’re after gentle sleep tips. We co-sleep with T in a makeshift sidecar/co-sleeper cot. We weaned him off night feeds at about 12/13 months by ‘don’t offer, don’t refuse,’ as we quite often found that just cuddling him would help him fall asleep quicker than milk. We play white noise all night too.

    I honestly couldn’t tell you whether these things helped him learn to sleep through or whether it was just a case of it being like any other milestone and he would have done it regardless. Like all parenting it’s trial and error and doing what you feel is best for your family. What worked for T might not work for Aria, and vice versa. I really hope you get some more sleep soon xx

    • Thank you Helen, I have done some sleep training with Aria, but I am reluctant to leave her crying lots and lots. Thanks so much for your tips. I wonder if just being patient might be the answer as some nights (like last night) she slept through….

  4. Oh wow awful for you! I don’t know what to suggest as both of mine have been good sleepers from a very early age. I can only imagine what your going through from the sleepless nights i have had when one of mine have been poorly. I really hope whatever is making her wake up at night stops soon xx

  5. This must be really hard for you Laura. I understand the Sleep deprivation as I wake all the time through the night and never get a peaceful rest. It’s tricky trying to work out if your daughter is doing this out of habit or due to serious hunger. When Sylvia was younger she slept well from 10 till 6 and i was really grateful for this. I hope you manage to find a way to get her sleeping for longer. Fingers crossed for you.

    Angela x

    • This is what I can’t decided the last night she slept through (which was marvellous!) and the nights before that she woke 4/5 and seeing as I put her to bed at 6.30/7 maybe that’s not too bad really and it’s quite a long time for a little one to go? I am seriously debating just going with it for another couple of months and seeing what happens x

  6. At our 9 month appointment, our pediatrician told me to stop feeding the baby at night. He is already big, and he should learn to take in all his calories during the day anyway. So he gets his last feeding before he goes to bed, and I won’t feed him again until morning. At first he would wake around 3 am or so but she said just let him self-soothe. It took about a week and he stopped waking up. I just wouldn’t go into his room (since that just woke him up for real and then took an hour to settle him again and this working mom couldn’t handle it anymore) but I would listen on the monitor to see if he quieted down or if I really needed to intervene. I don’t know how different that method is with your little since she is bigger and probably walking all around her room now. Can she get into something she shouldn’t? And so what if she’s awake and you’re not there, will she find a way to entertain herself until she falls back asleep? She’s not gonna like the change, but you need some relief too and if she can learn that night time is not for attention, you’ll both be better off for it. Good luck mama!

    • Oh no she is still in a cot, so not walking around her room. I would have done this no question with my son, but Aria is very tiny and I think she has got a quick metabolism which makes me question if she is hungry… I’m so undecided, but thank you so much for your advice x

  7. Just popping back to say we crumbled already… Three horrendous nights in, she’s poorly now, teething too. Couldn’t bear to see her so distressed so will try again soon… When she’s feeling better x x aargh! X

    • Oh no 🙁 poor you and poor her – thanks for the update. That’s the thing it’s hard seeing them so upset and also they can wake up the rest of the house too.

  8. Oh man – I wish that I had some great words of advice but the only thing that I realy know is that kids are so individual when it comes to sleeping and eating. I think that’s why so much parenting expertise doesn’t really work in practice. Sending hugs! x

  9. One of my aunts and uncles have six children. Child number 3 didn’t sleep through the night until he was 4 years old. Some kids are just that way. ????

    On the food front: I’m someone who gets very angry and upset when I’m hungry ( ask J ????). However, I find that now I’m eating low carb I have the incidents less often. I’m not suggesting little Aria eat LC, however I wonder if you were to make sure her diet isn’t too sugar filled or if the sugars are mixed with a proportionate amount of protein and fat if that’d help? As someone who has always dealt with hanger issues, it’s always been the blood,sugar drop the makes me crabby. And, for me, I feel just as bad after eating a bunch of grains as I do after eating a bar of chocolate.

    • 4 argh….
      Thanks Kayla, they do have protein with all of their meals, but I am wondering if I should have a look at her dinners, both my kids eat a lot of pasta..

  10. It might be something you’ve already thought of but is her reflux well controlled now? After sleeping through every night from 10-18 weeks Toby never really slept through consistently until he was two! At one point he was waking up to 4 times a night and needing milk to settle every time. For ages I thought it was hunger (he’s very skinny) or habit (or teething, or a cold) but then we got him back on ranitidine and it was that which eventually got him sleeping well again. We’ve just weaned him off it again at 27 months but he’s woken up the last 3 nights and I’m wondering if actually he still needs it. Sorry for the ramble – I hope you and Aria find something that works for you soon x

    • Hi Sarah your comment has really made me think, thank you. She hasn’t been on ranitidine for months- about 8 months I think. This is because it was very much related to her cow’s milk allergy which is managed now. But I am going to monitor her and see how she goes and whether it is worth going back to the doctors for a trial.

  11. I really sympathise with you on this – it’s just exhausting beyond belief sometimes. My first slept so well but my second is nothing like that – and I thought I had sleep sussed! I hope we both get a full nights sleep one day soon 🙂 Mim x #ParentingPicks


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