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Thread: 15-mo old won't eat, can't sleep

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    2

    Default 15-mo old won't eat, can't sleep

    Hi everyone -

    (And apologies for the long post.)

    I have a delightful 15-mo old daughter who has always been a finnicky eater, but for the past several weeks her eating has dropped off even more.... She eats erratically and in spurts - she'll go for days on a few bites here and there and then will wolf down a bunch of food at one sitting, as if she's waited till she's super hungry and can't stand it any longer. She doesn't appear to have favorite or consistent foods, much to my frustration and dismay (we go through umpteen different options at each sitting - with me doing my best to stay seemingly nonchalant as she throws everything on the floor, puts it in her hair, on me, anywhere really but in her mouth...).

    She still nurses on demand, which in general has been a comfort since I know she's getting *something*.

    I work during the week, and she used to eat fairly well at daycare, but now she doesn't eat there either - she can't be bothered, would rather be playing/exploring. When I'm home with her she nurses lots, but I don't think she ever gets too much milk, at least not as much as I used to have when she was younger.

    I'd be OK with all of this - since I've read in many places that it is normal toddler behavior, I should just have faith she'll make it through and let her lead on the eating - except that I think it is now affecting her sleep. This past week has been rough - lots of middle of the night wakeups where she can't get back to sleep, even if I nurse her. (Last night, for example, she was up from 1:30 to 3:30 and again from 5-6... ) I've tried cosleeping, crib sleeping, everything in-between sleeping, nothing seems to help her get back to sleep. This is new behavior for her and my only thought is that she's hungry.... I know it is harder for me to sleep when I'm hungry. None of the books on eating that I've read have mentioned this problem of a toddler who won't eat suddenly not being able to sleep.... Has anyone experienced it? Any advice for me?.... I thought maybe I should try to wean her on nighttime nursing in order to encourage her to eat enough before bed, since she can't seem to get enough milk during the night hours to satisfy the hunger. But I suspect that isn't going to do the trick and will just cause more suffering instead.

    Meantime, she seems happy and healthy overall..., but the sleeplessness is getting to her. She's crankier for sure. And I'm starting to get concerned.

    Any advice would be most welcome, thank you!!!

    Erin
    Mama to Eleanor, b. 12/19/04

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    1

    Default Re: 15-mo old won't eat, can't sleep

    Hi there,

    That sounds a lot like my daughter, and I think for her it was teething. She finally started eating more often and decent amounts at 19 months when her molars came in. She still has days where she eats next to nothing and then eats alot, and that still seems to go along with the rest of the teething, but it is much less often.

    You could try giving her something for the teething a little before a meal and before bedtime and see if it helps.

    --momtosr

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    683

    Default Re: 15-mo old won't eat, can't sleep

    I don't know that I'd necessarily assume that her eating habits are the cause of her sleep disturbances. It's a very normal part of toddlerhood to experience sleep disturbances. Has your daughter just mastered a new skill or is she trying to master something new? She could be getting some teeth too.

    It really sounds like you are doing everything right! Keep up the great work. And if necessary, repeat "this too shall pass" as often as necessary, lol.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    23

    Default Re: 15-mo old won't eat, can't sleep

    Sleeplessness sounds like teething to me, too. Especially since it's hard to get her back down. When my son has fallen asleep before dinner, he wakes just to nurse--doesn't want to stay awake. As long as he has the breast, he's content. Teething is also the only thing that has really altered his mood to date.

    My son (thankfully always a good eater) backed off his food intake BIG TIME when he started walking well. He was too busy! But after his 1st molars came in, eating was really interesting and he could handle more interesting food--more than purreed everything--and could eat at a speed which was less frustrating.

    One thought on introducing new foods--it always helps if I eat it 1st and act like it's mine and I'm allowing him to have a bite.

    Best of luck to you on both fronts!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    89

    Default Re: 15-mo old won't eat, can't sleep

    No advice to give . . . I have a 15 mo old daughter too and I pretty much could have written what you wrote. She also goes through not-eating phases and not-sleeping phases, sometimes seperately and sometimes at the same time. I usually have no idea why. It sure can be frustrating--especially the middle of the night stuff when she can't get back to sleep even with nursing and then rolls around in bed for two hours (we too have tried every sleep possibility and bed arrangement . . . . ) Ugh. Hang in there, and know you are not alone.

    Jill

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: 15-mo old won't eat, can't sleep

    Thanks everyone for the very helpful advice and support. Teething could be it... although she's actually got those 1st molars and hasn't been doing any more drooling since. But she's definitely awash in new challenges and life is pretty interesting, so I think that is most of it and could be the reason for both the lack of eating and lack of sleeping... she's actually been eating and sleeping much better the past two days - she improved just after I put up my desperate post for help, lol. I appreciate hearing all your thoughts and also knowing others have similar challenges and are coping, too!

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