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Toddler Changing Sleep Habits - Need Help

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Our son, Rowan, is 23 months old.  I co-slept with him for the first 16 or so months of his life, and then transitioned him into his crib (but still in the same room as me) before his father came home in May.  There were few tears and little fuss when he moved to his crib, and when we moved into a larger apartment at the beginning of the summer he didn't seem to mind having his own room either (we're expecting a baby in October and I didn't want to try co-sleeping/side-caring both of them.)  He has always had a solid bed-time routine and has been a great sleeper (goes to down easily, slept through the night once he weened, etc.)  I don't know what's going on, but for the past four nights Ro has not been able to fall asleep by himself and has been getting up at 5am vs his usual

6-6:30am wake up. 


Our day-to-day routine is the same, as is his bedtime routine.  I think he might be getting his bottom molars, but he has never reacted to teething this way.  Usually if he cries when we lay him down (a rarity) it is half hearted and only lasts a couple of minutes, but we let him cry for a half an hour Saturday night and it was awful.  He screamed and threw toys and shook the sides of his crib...I can't explain how terrible it made me feel.  We brought him down to cuddle on the couch in the dark and he fell asleep immediately.  We put him in bed and he slept till five.  We did the same thing Sunday and Monday night, but only let him cry for a few minutes until he was tired.  Tonight we skipped the crying and just tried cuddling on the couch in the dark, but he was fidgety and couldn't drift off.  His father ended up rocking him to sleep (standing, in a chair didn't work, for ten minutes.)


Has anyone experienced anything like this?  It's so unusual for him.  During the day his behaviors and temperament are predictable, but not quite his usual self (more sensitive and emotional, more easily frustrated and confused.)  Any idea what it might be?  Could all of this really be from his teeth?  We've tried putting Orajel on his gums but I'm not sure it helps.  Could it be the baby on the way?  Maybe he's fighting off a cold or going to make a milestone jump?  I don't know!  I'm just tired and frustrated and I want everyone to be able to sleep well again. 

post #2 of 4

It could be any or all of those things!  To me, this seems like a very mild disruption, as my DS's (20mo) response to teething is to nurse nonstop all night.  You should consider yourself lucky that this is the first time you've gone through anything like this!  


We don't have a baby on the way so I don't have personal experience, but my guess is that he knows there is a baby coming and things are going to change, and he is responding to that vague unknown by needing to be closer to you.  He's looking for security and reassurance - please don't let him cry!  Even for a few minutes!  If it were me, I would do everything I could to bring him closer - more cuddles, hugs, anything to make him feel more secure.  And if it is his teeth, then he's needing comfort to deal with physical pain, and my response would be the same - more closeness.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

It's been two weeks, and aside from letting him cry those first few nights we haven't let him shed a tear if we can help it (both for his well-being and ours - those nights were rough.)  Unfortunately things have gotten worse.  Now he will not sleep in his crib AT ALL.  We tried the pack and play next to the bed.  No go.  When he's in bed with us, he tosses and turns so much that I cannot sleep, and in my third trimester of pregnancy God knows I need it.  His father has ended up sleeping with him on the couch the past two nights, and everyone has woken up tired and cranky.  Rowan no longer acts normal at school.  He falls asleep at the table, bites/hits/pushes other children, and has horrible trouble with transition times.  He has never acted like this before and I don't know what to do.  We are all miserable.

post #4 of 4

I have no advice, but just to say I am right there with you. My daughter (24m) was a model sleeper from 15-23 months. Bed at 8pm (took 3 minutes) up at 8/9am. No wakes during the night. For the last month she has been waking up crying many times a night, an hour to get her down each time, and a permament wakeup at 5/5:30am. I'm 8 months pregnant, hubby gets up at 5am for work. We're all tired, I'm frustrated, can't get any work done, and it shows no signs of getting better. This morning I let her cry at her gate to try to figure it out... she cried there for an hour. It was whining, not real crying, so I know she just wanted to get her way. It's horrible. I can't function.

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