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  1. #1
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    Default Help with toddler sleep

    I am currently at my wit's end with my 19 month old toddler. My heart is breaking for her but I am so frustrated and over it at the same time.
    A history: she was an excellent sleeper early on, sleeping through occasionally from a week old and consistently from 7 weeks. She would occasionally wake once for a feed. At about 8 months that started increasing and she'd wake 3-4 times a night to feed. At 10 months I decided enough was enough and night weaned her. This took 2 months. Two solid months of her waking and screaming for four hours straight. At 12 months we had a nurse come to the house to give tips to help with her sleep. It was already what I was doing, but things did start to improve. She started sleeping through 3-4 nights a week, but on the other nights she'd still be awake for 1-3 hours. In the last two months it's increased again. She's slept through once in the past 9 nights.
    Tonight she is hysterical. Crying so much she's hiccuping. I'm crying too. As soon as I walk in she stops, but starts up again the minute I leave. I don't know what to do. My poor baby! I don't know what is wrong.
    Nurofen makes no difference. She seems warm enough. I don't interact when she wakes (I pick her up for a quick cuddle the first time I go in if she is the way she is tonight, but otherwise I just tell her it's time for sleep).
    What do I do?? I'm so tired. It's breaking my heart to hear her so upset. She's very happy during the day and has no trouble settling in the evenings. I've noticed she's been more clingy lately though. I'm worried she thinks I'm abandoning her in the night. I go in very briefly every 10-30 minutes, depending on her level of crying.
    Please help me! I'm so sad for her

  2. #2
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    I've been trawling the internet and can't find anyone with the same problem!
    The only idea I can come up with are perhaps remove the nightlight (one of the nurse's original suggestions, which seemed to work at the time).
    Also, is it possible she's over stimulated in the evenings? Hubby gets home at 550. DDs bedtime is 7pm. They do play quite loudly together in the evenings. It doesn't affect her ability to get to sleep but do you think it could cause night waking? Maybe I should reintroduce a massage before bed?
    Ahhhhh this too shall pass... Please tell me it'll pass!

  3. #3
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    Sounds like it could be separation anxiety linked to the common 18 month sleep regression. Not sure what you should do as it will be different for every baby and situation but have a google of it and know that it will end. You just have to be patient and ride it out (easy to say, hard to do I know!). Baby might need some extra reassurance from you so maybe going in more often for some comforting pats or even sitting in there and removing yourself from the room after a shorter time each time. Hope it gets better soon.

  4. #4
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    You poor thing OP, that sounds so challenging. I would guess that it's either a developmental phase or teeth (though you would think neurofen should help??!?). Both my kids have woken for hours during the night when teething. They were sometimes miserable and sometimes wide awake and cheerful!

    My DS also has/had a habit of waking for hours pretty regularly at various developmental stages. It's horrible and exhausting and I feel for you. I think your suggestion of "this too shall pass" is pretty spot on! Though I would definitely tweak the little things you mentioned (eg bedtime routine) just to see if it helps. We did it a little differently and cuddled/sat with him when he was awake and upset.

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    I think separation anxiety too. My 19 month old DS is normally a pretty good sleeper, always puts himself to sleep but the last week for every nap and sleep I've had to stay with him until he's asleep. He's very clingy during the day which is also unusual and he's waking during the night crying, stops as soon as I enter but cries the moment I leave. My DD went through the same at a similar age and it took about a month of lots of cuddles, always responding when she cried, etc to finally get better. I used to do controlled crying when dd was younger but this was the only time it didn't work. I stayed with her while she went to sleep and after a month she went back to going to sleep by herself. My advice would be try staying with your Bub and don't worry about setting up bag habits or whatever. It's a really hard time and very time consuming but hopefully it will pass soon!

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all your replies. I had kind of ruled out separation anxiety and teeth as it has been going on for 11 months! I guess it could be separation anxiety though. We had a two week holiday earlier this year and were sleeping in the same room. She slept through 12/14 nights!
    I've always worried about creating bad habits, as I feel it's more effort to break them than it is to avoid creating them at all, but I think I'm going to set up camp on her bedroom floor. She woke 40 mins ago and I went in, didn't say a word and laid on the floor. She instantly laid back down. She didn't go back to sleep. I left after 10 mins and she has been intermittently crying 5 mins on 5 mins off since. I might go back in with a pillow and some blankets.
    I'm worried I'm going to be sleeping on her floor all night in 6 months time, or that she'll start needing me there in the evenings :/
    Thanks again for listening and the advice - I was a bit of a mess last night!

  7. #7
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    I worry about setting up bad habits too but with DD it just passed. She was a good sleeper before it started though so not sure whether your DD is having other sleep issues as well and this is just making things worse. Now that I'm going through it again with DS I'm much quicker to just stay with him while he goes to sleep or put a mattress next to his cot like I did the other night because I'm hoping this will pass soon. And I hope it does for you too! Let me know how you go

  8. #8
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    I took a blanket in, laid back on the floor and pretended to sleep. She stopped crying instantly and spent the next hour laughing, squealing and chatting. At least she was happy haha! I thought eventually she'd get the picture that mummy was asleep and it wasn't play time, but then she started taking off her sleeping bag so id have to get up and put it back on. After three times I left the room. She cried (but not badly) on and off for another 45 minutes and then went to sleep.
    It was successful in that she was no longer distressed when I left. I will try again tonight and she will hopefully learn that it's not play time.
    She was up for 3hrs in total. I don't know how she's not a big grumpy mess today! I'm absolutely shattered. I spend the mornings trying not to cry. By the afternoon I feel better as I've woken up a bit. I literally got more sleep when she was a newborn, which seems crazy to me.
    It helps to know I'm not alone though

  9. #9
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    If DS has woken up and we think it's purely because he is disoriented or scared and his need is emotional not anything else one of us will walk in and say 'baby go nigh-nigh' (which is what we normally say when he is going to bed) and make him lay down in the cot (no picking him up) and then walk out. 9 times out of 10 he will scream for a couple of mins then sleep.

    We use our intuition here/& it depends if he is sick etc.

    I think sleeping on the floor next to the cot is an excellent idea.

  10. #10
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    That's generally what i do each time I go in - touch her back, say the same words as I do at bedtime and leave. If she's really upset I pick her up and sing her bedtime song (twinkle twinkle) and then put her straight down. Doesn't work for us unfortunately. Hopefully this new method will help us both. She is very tired this morning


 

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