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My 11 month old "spirited" girl has been ill. She was waking during the night 4-5 times to be held. By the time I would get back to sleep, she would wake up again...
Temperament and Parenting
by Kate Andersen, M.Ed.
Issue Theme: Sleep and Bed-Time Problems.
Volume 21, Issue 7, March, 2019.
My 11 month old "spirited" girl has been ill with an ear and upper respiratory infection for about a month now. She was waking during the night 4-5 times to be held to ease her discomfort. By the time I would get back to sleep, she would wake up again. I got tired of this routine so I started sleeping in the recliner with her so I could get some form of continued sleep. Now I think she is used to it and wakes not because she is ill but because she wants to be held! Do I just let her cry and make her get used to sleeping in her crib? I really need to get some real sleep! I can't function like this anymore.
Please give me some perspective!
Sleepless in Omaha
Dear Sleepless in Omaha:
It is very common for youngsters to acquire new falling-to-sleep habits after they have been ill and parents have been very attentive. As you say, you daughter is probably "used to it". She likely does not deliberately wake up for attention. All of us (children and adults) experience partial wakings during sleep but most of us settle ourselves back down. Videotapes of babies sleeping clearly show how some infants partly wake, clutch a blanket and snuggle back down whereas others wake up completely and cry for the parent to come and settle them.
The good news here is if your daughter quickly learned to need you to settle her she can probably just as quickly learn not to need you, but to settle herself. The bad news is that if your daughter becomes ill again (and she likely will), and you quite rightly attend to her during the night for pain or fever, then she may very well go back to calling you in the night and you will need to retrain her all over again.
Such is the night life of responsive, loving parents! We are there to attend to our children wben they truly need us, then we reteach them good sleep habits when a good night's sleep is what they now need.
Good luck and best wishes for tons of sleep for all of you!
to some common questions about behavioral style.
Origins, impact on parenting, risk for behavioral issues, relationship to ADHD, and other topics.
Goodness of Fit
How temperament is assessed.
Poor fit can lead to stress and possibly emotional or behavioral problems
When professional help is needed
There are qualified individuals from several disciplines who counsel parents and children.