Sleep Disorders with Kids (cont.)

Again, talk to your doctor about what you can do to help relieve your baby's pain.

MEMBER QUESTION:
I have a 13-month-old who started sleeping through the night at about 2 months, but since 7 months has been waking up. What can I do? Sometimes the only way she falls asleep is holding my hand. She also still has a pacifier.

MINDELL:
We do know that even the best sleepers often start waking up again between 6 and 10 months. I suspect it's more an issue of the hand holding than the pacifier.

Try taking a week and being very consistent about not holding her hand when she falls asleep at bedtime and you'll likely solve the problem quickly. You know she can sleep through the night, so it's just going to take a bit of encouragement.

Very often parents find themselves needing to encourage their child to switch from co-sleeping to sleeping alone.

MEMBER QUESTION:
My son is a year old and he does not nap well or sleep well at night. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

MINDELL:
Take it in slow steps by moving both you and him into his room and staying with him while he stays asleep.

Once he's falling asleep in his own bed, you can start easing yourself out at bedtime by moving three to four feet farther away every few nights. Because this is such an issue, I added a chapter on co-sleeping and making the switch in my newly revised book Sleeping Through the Night.

MEMBER QUESTION:
My 12-month-old son just started a new daycare and has not been accustomed to sleeping with other babies and with other people in the room. How long might it take for him to adjust to new surroundings?

MINDELL:
You'll be surprised to find that most children at daycare centers nap incredibly well. Even with all the distractions and all the other babies, they all seem to fall asleep.

Sometimes I wonder if it's peer pressure. However, expect your baby to take at least a few weeks to get used to going to daycare and his naps may take that long also to fall into place.

MEMBER QUESTION:
My 12-month-old daughter is a very inconsistent sleeper. She is still breast feeding and the more I try to wean the more often she gets up during the night.

MINDELL:
Almost all babies no longer need nighttime feedings after six months. Check with your doctor to be sure there are no growth issues. Otherwise she should be fine without feeding during the night.

Typically the issue is that a baby is nursing to sleep at bedtime and then when she naturally awakens will need to nurse back to sleep throughout the night. So focus first on stopping nursing to sleep at bedtime.

Take a week and rock her to sleep instead. If someone else can do it, like dad or grandma, it will be even easier on your baby. Once she no longer needs to nurse to sleep at bedtime, it will be much easier to stop the middle-of-the-night feedings.

"Almost all babies no longer need nighttime feedings after six months."

MEMBER QUESTION:
What do you do when the baby wants to nurse?

MINDELL:
You just have to win the battle and hang in there. She will eventually fall asleep, but it will be reassuring to you to be holding her and letting her know you're there. She'll probably put up a battle, but realize for the bigger picture it's to her benefit to help her get a good night's sleep.

MEMBER QUESTION:
My son is 21 months old and has never been a sleeper. Rarely -- maybe once or twice since he was born -- has he slept through the night. For the most part, he goes down pretty easy. Then every night between 1 and 3 a.m. he wakes up screaming as if he is in pain.

About six months ago, my son's pediatrician did blood work for JRA (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis) and said that the results were normal. Last night when he woke up crying and kicking his legs, I gave him Tylenol and it seemed to work. I certainly do not want to get in the habit of giving him Tylenol every night. Any suggestions?

MINDELL:
Wow! Sounds like both you and he are really struggling. And I agree that it sounds like he's in pain rather than it being a behavioral issue. Since he's still waking up screaming in your bed, there's probably something going on that's disrupting his sleep.

It's probably worth going back and talking to your pediatrician again and also possibly having him evaluated by different specialists. This may include a GI doctor to see if he has stomach pains or a sleep specialist to see if his leg movements are disrupting his sleep.

There is such a thing as restless legs syndrome, which causes pain in the legs, usually at bedtime, but can also occur during the night. It's unusual to see it in such a young child, but that doesn't mean it can't happen.

To find a sleep specialist in your area, go to the web site of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine at www.aafmnet.org. Good luck, and I hope you solve the problem.

MEMBER QUESTION:
My 9-month-old is used to falling asleep on her last bottle. In the past, I would be able to put her in her crib and she would sleep through the night. Now once I place her in the crib she wakes up and is hysterical.


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