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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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My daughter is 21 months. We weaned her off the bottle few

Customer Question

My daughter is 21 months. We weaned her off the bottle few weeks ago, and replaced it with night time milk in sippy cup on my lap, and then sleep time. She went in her crib, rolled over, hugged a bear and fell asleep in 5 minutes. Few nights ago all of a sudden she started crying at 2 am and wouldn;t stop until 5 am, she was exhausted, we all were, we tried everything, but her response was mainly kicking, screaming, and pushing away, and saying NO MOMMY! Now she refuses to go to bed, screams, wants to watch cartoons, do anything, but go to bed. Today she refused to nap during the day. Again she screams, kicks and pushes away. Last night I finally got her to sleep by rocking her in my arms, but she cried through the whole night, and every time I put her down fast asleep, she'd jump up and start screaming again. What is this!!??? Please help!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 5 years ago.
Hello and Thank you for using Just Answer. I am sorry to hear about the problems that your daughter is having with the sleep time routine. She may be getting some more teeth. Sucking the bottle may have provided a little relief. But now she has no relief since she only has the cup. Another issue is that she wants to be comforted at night and is suffering from separation anxiety. Maybe she has become fearful of the dark as well. Do not get into the habit of rocking her to sleep. Your goal is to get her to fall asleep on her own. You may have to put her in her room and go through several nights of crying and screaming. However, do not run into her room all the time. She will be manipulating you. Additionally, make sure that she does not have an ear infection. When you lay toddlers down with an ear infection, it often feels worse.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality. She is pushing me away, kicks and screams, so I do not think this is separation anxiety, or a need to be comforted. There are no ailments or teething.
Tonight I finally let her cry for 10 minutes, she got too tired - without the nap all day! - I picked her up and gave her the bottle which she fought against but then finally took it, spitted it out a few times, but was too tired to fight. I had to put her down in her crib and pick her up a few times, because she'd open her eyes, jump up and start crying again.
I think it is behavioural, developmental or psychological NOT physiological. I just need to understand what it means and how to fix it.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 5 years ago.
The question is open to other experts as I have opted out.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
What kind of information? Please ask questions.
Expert:  Bonnie replied 5 years ago.
Okay, I will try...

How do you know it is not an ear infection? As a pediatric nurse practitioner, I have seen this behavior many times and 95% of the time, it is an ear infection. If her ears have been checked, we can talk about ways to handle this behavior.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
She has no ailments, doctor has confirmed.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
She is an entirely adequate and happy child during the nonbed times.
Expert:  Bonnie replied 5 years ago.
Remember that an ear infection, it may only hurt when lying down.

Assuming that it is not an ear infection. This may be a developmental happening common to children of this age. Here is a routine that is recommended by Dr. Brazelton. After a little night time routine....(Pj's, bath, story) and making sure that she does not sleep much during day (have daycare wake her if necessary)
  • Put baby down in bed and let her cry for 20 minutes;
  • Go in and calm her down as she is now too worked up to fall asleep; Do not talk, do not turn light one, simple calm her down a little and leave....
  • Then put her down again (she will probably cry for a while) and she should fall asleep before another 20 minutes.
  • She should cry less and less often after a few days.
Hope this works....good luck.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I understand... The problem is that she doesn't want to go through the bed time routine. The second we mention a bath and take her upstairs, she starts screaming and fighting. Tonight it was a quick shower, with daddy holding her down, her grabbing on her wet clothes, she wouldn't let go of, she doesn't want to put the diaper on, or the sleeper. And she is now screaming alone in her room... I recall my first daughter who is now 5.5 yrs old, had sleeping problems but I don't remember anything like this...
Expert:  Bonnie replied 5 years ago.
I am so sorry that you are all going through this. There are a handful of children who resist sleep and nothing works. In these severe cases, Melatonin 1 mg and increase to 3 mgs. is recommended. It is a natural sleep aide but you should make sure your pediatrician is okay with it.