18-Month-Old Hasn't Slept a Single Night Since She Was Born

OMG 95

baby Just the thought is horrifying to most parents. A child that can't sleep. Not just won't sleep, but can't. After all, it's lack of sleep that makes the early stages of parenthood so hard for most of us. But we all take solace in the fact that this bleary-eyed exhaustion phase passes. Eventually, our babies will sleep through the night, the bags under the eyes go away, and the brain fog will start to dissipate. Though new mom Jennifer Stella never experienced that relief even as her daughter Haley neared age 2. Little Haley Rivera has not slept one night since being born 18 months ago, and her insomnia has baffled her parents and doctors.

Jennifer and her husband Edgar Rivera noticed there was a problem two weeks after Haley came home. It was 3 in the morning and the newborn hadn't slept once the entire day. The mom of three was completely overwhelmed. Things didn't get much better. There were times she would sleep two to three hours, but that was far from the norm and never through the night.

More from The Stir: 4 Reasons Your Kid Isn't Sleeping Through the Night

I can imagine how scary and frustrating this can be. There were nights just after we brought our son home that I felt out of my mind with exhaustion. All I wanted was five or six hours of uninterrupted sleep. When that finally happened, I felt like a new woman. I felt renewed. I felt like, "I can do this." I don't know what I would have done if that never happened.

When Haley did actually sleep, Jennifer noticed her gasping for air as she awoke, so she took her to a pediatric pulmonologist and sleep specialist. They conducted an overnight sleep study and found a mild case of apnea, but couldn't figure out why she can't fall into a genuine, lengthy slumber. The conclusion is that it's behavioral and not medical. So what are these poor parents to do?

The recommendation was actually surprisingly simple. The doctor suggested placing pacifiers in her crib. Apparently, it's the ultimate child soother. And while most of us are desperate to wean our tots off these things around 2, for Haley, it could be the key to actually getting sleep. The idea is that when she wakes, sucking on one can help her more easily get back to sleep. I really hope it works for this poor, sleep-deprived family.

How did you fix your child's sleep issues?


Image via donnierayjones/Flickr

bedtime, toddler sleep, toddler health


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

nonmember avatar melmcl

I had his tonsils removed at age 5. That day was the first time he slept through the night - ever! Plus, we had to pay cash for everything because he wasn't sick, he just had a "mild" case of apnea. His tonsils we so huge that they blocked over 90% of his airway when he was laying down. It took 2 docs and a specialist (that we could not get a referral too) to figure it out. Instantly we knew we made the right decision but regular docs wouldn't believe it because he never had an ear infection, strep throat, or any other issues. I only wish I had done it 2 years earlier instead of listening to his regular doctor.

nonmember avatar FarmersWife

I wonder if they tried co sleeping. I imagine they've tried everything they could think of... Waking every 2-3 hrs doesn't strike me as strange, my one year old still does most nights. But awake for long stretches so young too! I'd bet there's a physical reason behind it. That poor family!

jrphelps jrphelps

My son is almost 21 months old.  I just started getting a full nights sleep about 6 weeks ago.  He still wakes up but for the most part he is able to put himself back to sleep. Otherwise I would send him to stay with my mom once a month so that we could get some sleep.  We tried EVERYTHING other than medicating him.  Co-sleeping, chiropractor, warm bath, massages, anything.  I hope these parents finally get some well deserved sleep!

Dawn Wright

My son is now 14 yo, when he was 2 he started sleeping only 2 hours a night. He has what they deemed true insomnia and I had to deal with his not sleeping for several years till they could actually give him something. He still has issues with sleeping and it has actually caused some issues with friends and their parents.

Crystal Dawn Bland

when my son was about a week old he would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air and then follow with a projectile puke. come to find out he had asthma. after a few weeks of a combination af albuterol and steroids, we never had that problem again. he is 7 years old and has never had any sort of attack again. now my daughter has asthma as well and her case was a little different. she showed some mild signs at a few days old. but she never wanted to sleep. with her albuterol and steroids she slept a little better, but i also gave her just a little bit of infants tylenol. she got on a very good sleeping schedule and also never had another problem.

Heather Meloche

My First Child was Born with Sleep Apnea. He would stop breathing while he was sleeping and wake up gasping for air. Doc told me it was Normal untill I took him in for second opinion. Then we got told to go to ER immediately. When we did we found out that Not only did he have Sleep Apnea being 6 days old he had A hole in his heart.For the First 6 months of his life he use to have a machine attached to him and everytime he would stop breathing an alarm would go off and startle all of us, So we never slept when he was younger. Plus i was alwasy worried about SIDS. but now My son is now 7 years old. He has had his tonsils and adnoids removed and He is now on a Machine (Bi-pap) for the rest of his life.. unless he grows out of it. But He use to wake up after only sleeping for 2 hours and stay up because he was to scared to go back to sleep, it was hard. . Now that he is on his machine it is better he does sleep for 8 hours but he still has trouble if he dont use it.. Its not fun. I feel their pain, and I hope it gets better.

Donna Marcus Bond

The inability of a baby to sleep is sometimes an early symptom of an autism spectrum disorder.  

teddy... teddysmama09

Donna- That is the first time I have ever heard that. I have worked with many families with autistic children and I have always heard the opposite, that they were "perfect" babies who rarely cried and slept through the night early on.  Plus I have never heard of that being one of the warning signs.

Babies have a hard time sleeping through the night for many reasons. I did some research when my son was very young and not sleeping through the night and I found a great article about baby sleep patterns. It explained that babies (especially early on) do not go past the light sleep stage (especially if they're breastfeeding) so the slightest noise or discomfort will wake them up. So babies outgrow this quicker than others and some will just always be light sleepers. I was one who never was a deep sleeper and i didn't sleep an entire eight hours until I was a teenager.

No9Dream No9Dream

Have not heard that Autism thing either...but I can say my youngest was sleeping thru the night at 8 weeks old and has been a great sleeper (even with Epilepsy and an apnea monitor) she could sleep thru anything. Now she is being tested for Autism and has a hard time staying asleep. Connection? Maybe. I think her last really big seizure ( she stopped breathing for about 30 secs) may have contributed but we will never know.


jalaz77 jalaz77

Honestly never had a big problem with my kids sleeping through the night. They are early risers though, 630-7am but I like mornings so we get over it. Hoping this next baby is equally easy.

1-10 of 95 comments 12345 Last