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9 month old basically refuses to sleep
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apax87 posted:
My 9 month old daughter seems like she's trying to give up on sleep all together. She barely naps. If she does, its because we're running errands and she gets so bored so just nods off. At night, she will fuss forever. If you try to lay her down by herself, she just cries and screams. Her pacifier and music box don't help. She refuses to let her daddy or me rock her. She'll refuse to lay on our shoulders or cross bod; she'll scream, cry, and pull away. Sometimes she'll swat at us. She won't quit unless we just sit her on our laps or she won't even let us hold her, we have to just sit her down in the floor or playpen. Other times, she's not happy with anything because she's so tired but so resistant. If she's offered a pacifier or a bottle to help her calm down, she'll swat those away as well. Once she is asleep, some nights she'll keep trying to wake up the rest of the night. I'm trying to figure out something to help because we are losing a lot of sleep and its creating a lot of stress. I'll catch her cues for sleep too, but the second I do and start to get her ready for bed, she fusses. Any help or advice is welcome. I'm willing to try about anything.
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Amelia_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi apax,

I feel your pain and hope a solution is found in the near future, so you can ALL get some rest! Have you seen her pediatrician about these concerns?

If it seems that she is only comfortable when sitting straight up, I'm curious if she has any trouble with eating (frequent vomiting, refusing to eat, gas, crying when eating, etc)? If so, you may want to speak with her pediatrician about GERD and acid reflux .

If not, as a 9-month-old separation anxiety does usually set in. Hopefully, you will find a method that works best for you all. I'm sure that other members in the community have helpful hints that have helped them, but here is also a Baby Sleep Problems Guide .

Wishing you the best!
Amelia
 
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Sara DuMond, MD, FAAP responded:
Hi apax87,
I am so sorry to hear that you've been having such a rough time with your daughter's sleep issues! You are certainly not alone. Infancy is a tough time for parents in terms of figuring out what children's sleep needs are and in terms of figuring out how to get them to sleep! At 9 months, babies are much more willful (meaning, they have an opinion about what they want and don't want) and they also don't being left alone, because of a normal stage of develpment known as separation anxiety. That having been said, it is absolutely ESSENTIAL that parents set firm limits for sleep with babies at this age. The reason your daughter becomes so combative and seamingly angry at bedtime is that she is overtired. When babies become overtired, they don't act sleepy, they often act more awake, and more fussy. They literally don't know how to calm themselves, and certainly don't know how to let mom and dad know what they need. The best way to handle this situation, is this:
1) Establish a regular bedtime routine that you do at the same time, every night. You can decide what works best, but it might include a bath, then some lotion, then pajamas, then a short book or soft music (not lasting longer than 5 minutes), then an "I love you", and then lay her down awake in her crib and walk out.
2) She will cry and protest. She's already shown you that. Giving in to her protests will only reinforce the behavior and make it worse.
3) Do not try to calm her by offering her a bottle, a pacifier, or by going back in and picking her up. This will also reinforce the crying.
4) Take comfort in knowing that it is not dangerous for babies to cry...not wrong for them to cry themselves to sleep during this stage for a few nights...and not your job to MAKE her sleep. Your only job is to set the stage for good sleep. She will have to learn to soothe herself to sleep on her own.
5) Do this for me for 3 nights, and I promise you will have a sleeping baby through the entire night. The crying and protesting is so hard to hear (I know, I've been there with all 3 of mine), but in the end, it is a gift you will be giving your daughter by teaching her to fall asleep on her own.
6) Babies have more infections and don't grow as well when they don't get enough sleep, so do it for her health, if not for your own sanity!
Good luck!!
Dr. DuMond


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