18 month old will not sleep in his own bed! Help!! - NCT


45,126 members15,269 posts

18 month old will not sleep in his own bed! Help!!

Mango401 profile image

Hello :) I have a gorgeous 18 month old, my first child. Just before he turned a year old we moved back in with my parents as after the birth of my son I was in and out of hospital due to seizures and my partner works offshore so I couldn't be left alone just incase. Just before he turned one, he had a horrendous cold for about a week, he would sleep fine in his bed before this. Anyway, me being the push over mum, I took him into bed that week with us and I've never been able to get him out since!! He has a great bed time routine, he goes to bed at half 7, with his bottle, falls asleep in the rocking chair with us, and then gets put into his bed. This is great until about half 11, and then the crying starts. He refuses to lie down and go back to sleep, and if you take him out and Rock him back to sleep on the chair, he will sleep straight away, but as soon as you put him back in his bed, he is wide awake!! I've tried putting an old top of mine etc, and he has constant classical music playing as he just won't sleep if there is no back ground noise. I have tried he cry it out method, which I am really not a fan of, as it just makes him hysterical for hours. Have tried just sitting in the room on the chair so he can see me but not interacting, and it's amazing how long he can stay awake for!! My partner and mines intimacy is just not there as we don't get it as he's always in the bed!! We would also like to try another in the next couple of years and really want his sleeping sorted by then!! Any help would be VERY appreciated! I would love my bed back!!

5 Replies

Oh bless you, I really sympathise. We went through a similar thing (although he wasn't in our bed) when my little one was about 16 months. He had started nursery a month or so before hand and caught everything going so I ended up spending most nights consoling him and sleeping in with him in case he was sick. Once he was better he would still wake up absolutely distraught and inconsolable. I was convinced there was something else wrong with him like an ear infection. This went on for about a month and I was so exhausted I ended up calling the health visitors who sent out a children's nurse. She was brilliant and said that he seemed fine and gave me a sleep diary to complete but discussed that she thought, through being so ill, he had learnt that the louder he cried the more comfort cuddles and mummy time he got.

For us it was persistent controlled crying, which I had only half heartedly attempted because I do not like it, but I have to say it worked within an hour when I did it properly (and that was very gradually building the time - I started at 5 mins then went to 7 mins etc - lying him down and leaving)

But your answer might be a different one, but I would definitely recommend speaking to someone because it seriously helped my sanity too!


Hi Hun, sounds to me like you have quite some work to do. I think your biggest problem may be where he is falling asleep, in order for him to be able to self-settle in the night he needs to fall asleep in his bed and be taught by whatever means that you are confortable with. I have done a lot of sleep training with my son who is coming up 19 months. I have had some really rough times, tried various sleep training techniques (incl Gradual Retreat, Controlled Timed Crying 2,4,6,8 and so on which was also modified over time to suit his/our needs) and sometimes we relapse and i will end up on inflatable mattress on the floor next to him helping him settle in the night holding his hand and this is mostly when he is ill or teething. Last night he woke at 3 and couldn't resettle so I brought him into our bed (OH on nights...I don't do this when he's here as there just isn't the room). Tonight I have had to help him fall asleep by holding his hand or touching him, he was really restless tonight but I know he is teething. On the whole 6 out of 7 nights he will probably settle himself quite happily without my presence and nearly always for day time naps in the cot.

How is he for naps?? Same scenario? x

Hi I completely understand your situation, I have a 16 month old and until recently I was sleeping in the guest room with him and even with him sleeping with me he still woke every two hours and needed a feed, at 14 months he was having 28 ounces of milk just at night between 7 and 5! Anyhow we decided we needed to do something and didn't have the stamina for controlled crying so we were advised to put him in a bed. At first I would lie next I him in his cot bed until he fell asleep then I sat on the floor then gradually I moved further and further away until now I can sit in the next room and watch him on the monitor. It's not a perfect method because he constantly get out the bed and I have to keep putting him back in until he eventually goes to sleep (this takes about 15-20 minutes), but there is no crying. Before this my some would only sleep for abou 45 minutes before needing a cuddle to sleep, now he usually wakes once we give him his cup and he goes back fairly quickly. He still doesn't sleep through and we still have bad nights but its much better than it use to be.

Oh one of the first things we had to do was disassociate the bottle with bed time, so I was advised to offer him his bottle downstairs before taking him up for his bath, my son was using the bottle as a source of comfort and he never took the bottl downstairs and then gradually we wer able to cut out all night feed.

Good luck, I inow know exhausting it is, I work full time and when we have bad nights it's hard on me and my husband.


Hi I completely understand where your coming from, as when I was pregnant with my second, our little boy kept coming into our bed for my first trimester, just so that we could get some sleep. To get him back into his bed, we would have story time in bed and we would lie down with him until he went to sleep, then added on another 5 mins just to be sure. As time progressed we moved from lying to sitting, moving to end of bed, to moving on to the floor by his head and then working our way backwards. Currently we sit on a step by his door and wait for him to go to sleep, most days we are there 5 mins, sometimes longer depending on his sleep during the day. It's taken us ages to get to the door but it's worth it. We also take our kindles in to the room as well, so that no attention is made on our son. Which then allows him to fall naturally asleep. Otherwise, when we were watching him, he would play up and or fight the sleep. Make sure you have a black out blind too that helps.

Good luck. There are a few sleeping toddler sites around, which can provide written information to support you. I recently found out that there our "sleep specialists", who come to your house and advise you. A friend of ours used it for their 5 month old, £180 for 1 afternoon (how much!!!!!!!!!!) but apparently, they have their evenings to themselves now!!! Good luck 😃

Here are few tips to make your toddler to sleep his own bed:

Before Bedtime

First things first: Is today a good day to start? If you're in the midst of potty training, are going on vacation or are expecting a new baby, wait until things settle down. Yes, you'll have to put up with your little bed partner longer, but the sleep training will go much faster if you wait until your routine is more regular.

Once you've decided to take the plunge, start talking about your new bedtime expectations in the afternoon—that way, she'll know what to expect at lights-out. Try saying something like "Mommies and daddies sleep in their beds, and kids sleep in their own beds,".

She also suggests making a homemade "sleepytime book"—nothing fancy, just stapled-together paper illustrated with stick-figure pictures that your child can color. If your family recently moved, for instance, and your daughter started sleeping in your bed while she got used to the new house, your story would focus on that and end with how she finally started sleeping happily in her very own bed. A picture book can help young children understand their new sleeping situation in a very concrete way.

After Lights-Out

If your child has been starting out in your bed and sleeping there all night, every night, your job is even less fun (sorry). Take a comforter into your child's room and sleep on the floor—not in her bed—all night long (double sorry). Even though a slumber party in your child's room is probably not your idea of a good time, it's a smart move in the long run. "If you're in her room when she falls asleep and then not there when she wakes a couple of hours later, she will call out or come looking for you,". Sleeping in her room all night pushes the reset button, so to speak, on whatever anxiety your child is having about being there alone. She can wake up and see Mom or Dad each time, then just go back to sleep.

You may also like...