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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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Hi, My son is 16.5 months old. We have been working with

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My son is 16.5 months old. We have been working with 2 different sleep consultants for the past 2.5 months (first one had to take a leave of absence) and while they have helped our sleep situation, I am no longer using them, and we are still having serious issues getting him to bed at night.
Screaming for 20 mins- 1.5 hours sometimes. We tried the shuffle method at first, and that did not work. 3 nights at crib, then chair, then doorway etc. and it was too difficult for him having one of us in the room but not holding him. So, we would still have 2 hours of screaming with that. We then switched to Ferber method, 5, 10, 15. We had more success with that, but it was never "3 nights of crying and you're done". He would have a good night or two, then 3 night wakings with screaming like crazy. Or he would finally sleep through the night, but then 40 minutes of screaming before going to bed. Or go to bed great, and then up at 5:20am yelling.
What has seemed to work better for us lately, is putting him to sleep (this is of course after the exact same sleep routine every night-- play in room, lights dimmed, read 2-3 books, say goodnight to all of his animals, music bear on for 3 minutes and in crib, say goodnight and walk out) he stands up after we shut the door screaming. We learned that if we went back in within a minute or so, and picked him up and re-did the saying goodnight to his animals and spent another minute or two with him in our arms soothing him, that he'd go to bed easily without any crying. This was our method for the past 2 weeks, and he used to do this when he was an infant as well and I would breast feed him to sleep. If I layed him down and he screamed, I would pick up and let him nurse for another minute. Then I would lay him down again and he would be silent and go to sleep.
HOWEVER, past 3 nights, he has been screaming bloody murder even after our second go, and it has been 45-60 minutes of screaming. We have gone back to 5/10/15 and still the screaming.
Why do you think he has regressed? He was doing pretty well going to sleep especially for about a month -- with just a few minutes of fussing.
What would you recommend with this regression?
Specifically, tonight and last night, he will finally lay down, be silent for 6-10 minutes where I'll think he is asleep, and then he sits up and screams like crazy. Then he will lay back down because I don't go in, and repeat the same pattern.
I think he has finally exhausted himself by screaming now and is asleep, after 40 minutes.
Why after 2-3 months of training, is he still screaming so much? He was never a big cryer as a baby, and I was very conscious of not letting him scream and attending to him.
Additionally: he naps for 1.5-2.5 hours once a day, and sleeps for 11 hours every night.
Do you have any recommendations for me? Thanks, Kim
Hello again...
Thanks for asking for me.
I talked with you about your daughter a few nights ago. You DO have some challenging children. I read through your past posts about your son and I am seeing a pattern...(I love to look for patterns).

I am wondering if the "regressions" are related to GI disturbance. He has such a long history of reflux and bowel problems. It is so hard to know if he might be having some stomach aches or cramping but you can monitor his bowel movement for some hints. Maybe it is something he ate or maybe he just has not had a good bowel movement. If this is a possibility, it may help to make sure he gets lots of exercise and plenty of fluid (not apple juice-it is binding). BTW Bananas are binding too.

Otherwise...when you look at how far you've come with the sleep problem, there is lots of progress.

Hope this helps,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you Bonnie!


Interesting to think about a GI disturbance being the issue, I appreciate your answer and thoroughness. The GI specialists said he would grow out of that issue by 6 months of age which he did, but I suppose he could still have some issues with it at this age but he is too young to verbalize it to me. His bowels have also gotten much better, no more constipation for about 3-4 months now. He has a BM about 2x per day, and today was 3x. I wouldn't suspect this to be the problem as he's been regular for months now. As you said it's hard to know if it could be something else bothering him, but you would suspect this rather than "him just wanting more interaction with us" ? Do you recommend making him cry it out when this happens (even if it's intense screaming for 45 mins?) or be compassionate and go in and soothe and pick up like he's wanting? I HATE making him cry, but realize per the sleep people that its' necessary to teach him to put himself to sleep. Thanks again!

I like the strategy of letting him cry for 20 minutes....go in and calm him down....then another 20 minutes. This was recommended by Dr. Barry Brazelton and it usually works.
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This guy is the BEST ever. Get his books, They are classics!!!!
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you! I just clicked and read about him, and am shocked I haven't heard of him before. He sounds fabulous, and I will absolutely look into his books. Very much appreciated!