Home Discussion Forum Disturbing Sleep Issue With 19 Month Old Baby?

Disturbing Sleep Issue With 19 Month Old Baby?

OK – Let me first start by saying we have a kid that has had sleep issues since he was born. To some they may not seem so unusual, while to others I am sure they would be seen as quite disturbing. For the first 13 months of his life, he had nights where he would get up 3,4 times…He would be up a few minutes or so, and then get back to sleep…Those were the VERY BEST nights….The ones that were NOT good ranged from waking 5-10 times per night to many nights where he simply would not sleep. Often times we would spend MORE time trying to get him to take his nap then how long the nap itself would actually last. To get him to sleep at night was like struggling with a wild animal. Often times it took hours of him turning and shifting himself around before he would finally sleep in her arms so she could transfer him (at which point we only had about a 50% chance of getting him into his crib asleep). If he was up three hours later, we considered ourselves lucky.
For the first 13 months of this life, he had two nights where he actually got 7 consecutive hours of sleep, and these were miracles to us. The first time this happened, we both LEAPED from our bed, ran into his room, and checked to see if he was still alive. These two incidents were amazing to us…Seven hours seemed like 24….So, at 13 months we did what we never wanted to do. We let him cry it out. Took three weeks, but it worked. From months 13 to about 15, he actually willingly went to his crib, and we were getting 10-11 straight hours MOST of the time. Other times he would be up a couple of times, but he would PUT HIMSELF back to sleep. Then from 16 months or so on, it seemed to regress, but not out of control.
OK – So, now at around 18 months it completely falls apart again. Nothing works. He just cries and cries. We read about the 18 month regression, we try many things. Out of desperation to get my wife enough sleep to function like a normal human being we give him to my Mom for a night. Poor Mom…Right? Well, NO…He sleeps GREAT. So we think…OK – Coincidence. Two more times over the past two weeks we do it again with incredible results. He sleeps PERFECT over there (okay, the middle night of the three he got up twice, but come on, that is nothing compared to what we are going through here at home)…So he is PERFECT. Here it is horrible. Same routine…Same temp…Same everything. Not his teeth….He DEFIES sleep. She goes in there and tries to tell him he needs to sleep, rubs his back, does not engage him. She sits on the floor….He tries to then sleep STANDING up….The ultimate defiance in trying to sleep. At my Mom’s, no such struggle.
Gotta throw one more thing in here. His behavior with us is absolutely the WORST. He throws things, slaps my wife, and is generally so unruly it is like something out of a freakshow. As soon as we are around others, or just give him to my Mom, he is PERFECT. Even when WE are around him WITH my MOM or others, he is so MUCH more well behaved it is startling.
The sleep issue…The behavior….I do not know…But I can tell you that it really disturbs us that he is bad enough with us that we think he has some REALLY serious sleep issues, only to prove that he CAN sleep, and so there is not some Weird Strange thing that he has that no one else has. Yes my Mom is great with him, and yes she is Grandma, but the behavior he exhibits is like Two completely different kids.
Anyone else experience this and know what to do…The sleep thing is the worst because it really drives my wife into the ground (if I try anything, he is even more despondent since I am not Mommy)…
Yes, we have somewhat of a routine – He eats well, gets a bath, has milk – All before his sleep, not too far before…My Mom pretty much does the same thing. Don;t suggest white noise or other gimicky things…We have tried them all, to absolutely no avail whatesoever.
Anyone? Why would he be SO different in behavior and sleep in these two environments. my wife is not a pushover…We don’t let him get away with stuff…We discipline him properly (in my opinion), never EVER using physical force, but using a strong voice, and looking straight into his eyes.
We do discipline firmly as first respondent stated, but what you are saying about the environment makes sense also. His routine is pretty rigid and consistent, though it is LESS so at Grandma’s, making it even more befuddling that he is so good over there compared to here. On the off chance his routine at home is NOT rigid for a day or two (we get back late, or something of that nature) he still sleeps comparably to when his routine at home is rigid. I believe a lot of what the first response says about the kids feeling about not acting up in front of others may be very true, but this is like Jakyll and Hyde – Our next step might very well be intervention at this point.. Thank You.
Please do not find my response to the person saying we did not establish a sleep schedule for our child early enough in an offensive manner, but we most CERTAINLY did EVERYTHING we could for our baby to get him on a sleep schedule. Short of sitting on him and squeezing his eyes shut, you have a little nerve to sit there and say we didn’t establish something – We spent every ounce of our being trying to get him to take his naps – Really, it hurts, because most days my wife literally spent HALF of the day (Not an exxageration) trying to get this baby to sleep using every manner conceivable with which to achieve this most daunting task. HIs fussiness and crankiness was exasperated when he did not get sleep…So yeah, we tried that. So, for those that CAN actually relate to these problems, please let me know NOW, at this time, what we can do, not what we should have done, considering we did EVERYTHING.


  1. Although I don’t have the severe problem you have described with my own kids, it sounds like this kid needs a very structured routine mixed with firm discipline (EXCLUDING spanking, hand slapping, etc.). Many kids act much better for other people because they aren’t as comfortable throwing fits around them, so maybe that explains that. As for the sleeping issue I at first thought that maybe there was something medical about his not sleeping, but since he sleeps ok at Grandma’s it rules it out. I would talk to a pediatric sleep expert, or child psychologist about it and some of the behavior issues.
    EDIT: I just wanted to inform those on this board who are having similar issues, I just remembered I saw something interesting on Discovery Health (I think) a few months ago. There was a little boy who never slept except for about 3 hours a night and he was exhibiting the same behaviors described. I believe he was around 2 or 3 years of age. It turns out there was a neurological reason. You might want to run it by your pediatricians. If I remember right they had to do a CT Scan and they found there was pressure on the brain. Just an afterthought. Good luck!! Best wishes.

  2. I feel for you and your wife! Have you tried watching your mom put him to sleep to see what she does differently? Also, you know that he can sleep so maybe you should try letting him cry it out again. Also, you could try having your mom come to your house to put him to sleep to see if it’s the person or the location making a difference… Good Luck!

  3. OMG. You are describing my household. I am sorry for your problems. I know you are at your wits end, sleep deprived and probably fighting with your wife more so than usual. (all do to stress of coarse) My daughter is just about 11 months old and does not sleep. We have not tried at my mom’s over night but she has stayed there during the day and has had beautiful naps over there. Over at my house, like you said, it feels like you try to get her to sleep for longer than she actually sleeps… it is very frustrating. My daughter has not had any problems with hitting and such yet, she is smaller, but she definaly has a temper on her and more than once i have thought- what is she going to be like when she gets older ?!? We are just at the point that we are going to let her “cry it out” attempt number 2.
    I am not sure what advise to give you as i don’t know what to do myself. My first child had occasional sleep issues but nothing like this. There was always a reason, teething, illness, ect. With my daughter it doesn’t matter- she can be an angel all day and then it’s like jekyl and hyde at night. I look forward to any advise people give as i might take it as well. As for the doctors- i thought something was wrong with my daughter for the longest time and spent a lot of time at the doctors office, with no answers. I hope you have a great night tonight and your son sleeps well…. (i am praying for at least one night for you! )

  4. I’m sorry. I really don’t know how to help you. Maybe your problem started a long time ago. You should have had your baby at 10 months or so taking 2 naps a day and going to sleep at 7 pm. You must have not established a proper sleep schedule. Now all bets are off and your son thinks he can stay up all night. He’s probably dead tired. They fight sleep then. He needs to be taking a nap during the day.
    We established a scheudule with our daughter early on. She is almost 2 and she had always had 2 naps a day and sleeps for 12 hrs at night. She willingly goes upstairs and is ready for bed at 8 pm. We let her fall asleep in our bed then move her. If she does wake up, I let her sleep with us. We both work full time and have to be up early.
    You have to set up a sleep schedule when they are very young. Our daughter knows when it’s bedtime and she doesn’t mess around. We religiously gave her 2 naps a day and bedtime was at 7:30 every single night.
    Good luck.

  5. My son is 19 months and does the exact same thing. He is great at grandmas house.But this seems to make it worse for me when he comes home. He also has the worst behavior with me, Kicking biting hitting temper like i have never seen in any child. When he is with anyone else he is fine.Reading your story is like my life. i have to say not much has worked for us. i have to change his schedule every week to two weeks. this seems to help a little. i am not a push over either. He is well disciplined. My husband can not go near him either seems to make it so much worse. The only thing that is different is that I am ill. so taking care of him is very difficult. about 4 weeks ago we did hire a nanny to come to the house for 6 hours a day 2 days a week. I am home but i hide. This seems to have helped . He has no choice but to be with her in our home. So its not like he is going to grandmas. She does exactly what I do. I mean exactly. He is finally taking naps for her . When she leaves its like a different child and it stays this way for a day or two. He will even go to my husband when he comes home but not at night.As for the sleeping at night. It is the worst.every night is different some nights no sleep at all and others up 5-10 times and then there is the occasional night of great sleep. we have the white noise machine. the music all of that stuff does not seem to help much. I dont know if you are religous or not but my husband had an idea of putting a cross in his room we let him see it told him jesus would be there to look over him and protect him and that he would help him sleep.every night we look at it and say he will help him sleep. This has helped for the last 3 nights a full10 hours of sleep. There is somthing about being in our house that makes him scared or mad. not sure what. Is your wife a stay at home mom or does she work? Does your son go to any mommy and me or daycare? Does he have interaction with other children?Mine does not have much i wonder if this would make a difference.I have noticed if he goes on to long of a walk it makes sleeping worse or if he has to much stimulation like a really long play date or a family gathering with a lot of people we are up all night. i have started a journal of what we do and eat every day to see if there is some connection. i am not sure what else to tell you other than your son is not the only child like this.I hope this helps a little or you find anothr person on here that has a great idea. i will be watching to see. good luck Please feel free to contact me if you have questions

  6. Have you talked to your pediatrician about this? If you feel that you have done everything that you can do as far as setting a routing and providing consistent discipline, maybe you need to consult a professional. There is always the possibility that there is something else going on. If there is nothing medically wrong, then try a pediatric therapist. They would be able to do a more thorough assessment of your situation and make suggestions to help you overcome this situation. As he gets older, his acts of aggression toward your wife could become dangerous as he gets bigger and stronger.


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