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Do crappy-sleeping toddlers eventually sleep better or turn into crappy-sleeping kids?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi there!


I have a 2 year old son who has always been a crappy sleeper - he woke every hour until he was 13 months, now wakes at least 4 times a night.


We've tried so many different things to improve his sleep but ultimately nothing has made a difference, so we have basically accepted this is his sleep temperament and figure that he will eventually grow out of it.


But do crappy sleeping babies/toddlers really "grow out of it" or do their just turn into crappy-sleeping kids?


I'd love to hear from parents of older kids who had crappy-sleeping babies/toddlers.  Did they eventually grow out of excessive nighttime waking and needing lots of soothing to fall asleep?  If so, what do you remember about the turning point.


I made the mistake of reading a "baby sleeping advice" book at the library and of course it made comments about how, if you don't address sleep problems in the baby/toddler stage, they will just get worse.


Urgh.  I usually don't doubt my parenting, but I'll admit I have times when I wonder....hmmm.....what if we had done CIO?  Would my son really be sleeping any better now?


Some perspective please!

post #2 of 12

My son went to bed really easy but ANY little noise would wake him up as a baby.  we truly had to tip toe around him, which was really hard since he is a middle kid.  At 16, still sleeps like crap (even though he is very physically active). sorry.

post #3 of 12

Yeah, my crapper sleepers are still crappy sleepers. Granted though, Dh and are both crappy sleepers so I don't know if our kids would of ever been great sleepers. I did have one bad sleeper that eventually slept well for 1-2 years and then insomnia and sleep walking set in and have never left so maybe it could of been different. Oh and I did have one formally decent sleeper turn into  crappy one so I've convinced that what you get is what you get. 

post #4 of 12

My crappy-sleeping toddler is now a young adult with a diagnosis of narcolepsy.  Sorry, I know that's not what you wanted to hear!  haha


FTR, his sleep specialist is a huge CIO proponent, and they know I had a family bed, but never once has anyone suggested CIO would have prevented narcolepsy.  So son't stress yourself out or fall for the trap of thinking that you have to "fix" your LOs sleep, unless of course there is a definite strain on daytime behavior due to lack of sleep.


You may try a small dose of melatonin to see if that helps.  Less than 1mg is what I would start with.  Keep in mind that it's a synthetic hormone; that fact put me off until I just couldn't stand to see my son suffer anymore.

post #5 of 12

My daughter didn't sttn till she was 3 and a half.  She would go through weeks of sleeping in 40 minute chunks, or 20 minute chunks.  She is an only child, partially because neither my health nor my marriage could survive that again.  It was HARD.  We tried everything, I read everything.  We briefly tried something that sounds like CIO in retrospect but at the time, my thinking was - she can scream in the bed with me (or my husband) singing to her just as easily as she can scream in my arms (while my back screams right along with her and my chiropractor bill just keeps climbing).  Yeah, no go.  Useless misery all around.  You can probably search and find some of my old and very desperate threads from around 2006 - 2009/10.  I am pretty sure I posted a lot of advice once we kicked the night time misery habit.


I finally read Sleepless in American and committed to really plotting out her days for two weeks and it was amazing.  She stopped fighting bedtime and I didn't have to figure out what to do about night wakings because she stopped having them.  Within a few weeks, I could sing a few songs, kiss her goodnight, and get on with a peaceful evening around 7 pm.  She's now almost seven and she's been a great sleeper for years.  I feel like we all earned it.  We didn't use all the ideas, I have no idea what she says about night waking and at some point I think she talks about specific methods of 'sleep training' and CIO may have been mentioned but we didn't do it.

post #6 of 12

my daughter was a TERRIBLE sleeper!  she couldn't sleep without a human body right next to her and the longest she slept until THREE was about four hours.  


she is now six and I have to push her out of bed most mornings to get her up for school haha.  


I think some kids honestly just grow out of it.

post #7 of 12

Is he still night nursing? My oldest has always been a great sleeper, even when he was night nursing, he started sleeping longer stretched after he turned 1 and gradually began to sleep all night beautifully.

My second born was a TERRIBLE sleeper. He would wake up numerous times all through out the night every single night passed waaaaaaay passed his first birthday.. He would wake up at the slightest sounds or movements in the bedroom, he would wake up every time we attempted transfer from his carseat (where he was sleeping) into bed. He is almost 3 now, we JUST began night weaning a few weeks ago and wow, he is sleeping so solid now. I would never have believed he could a few weeks before we started this process. I can pick him up and move him over after he falls asleep, talk to my husband in bed while he sleeps between us, etc. He still moves around a bit at night and I think he semi-wakes up doesn't need anything more from me then cuddles back to sleep. Its really wonderful. I loved our night nursing sessions for the longest time but I am pregnant again and was finding myself not enjoying them anymore. He wakes up refreshed and so do I.

post #8 of 12

My ds was a terrible sleeper as a baby and as a toddler, waking up multiple times a night until he was around 3. But I had no problem getting him to sleep in his own bed, falling asleep by himself, STTN when he hit the preschool years. Now he sleeps great, 11h a night, has no problem going to bed, knows when he's tired and asks to go to bed earlier etc. I think that all those years of night parenting actually helped him to be the great sleeper he is now.

post #9 of 12
Ive had 2 that slept pretty well and two that were terrible sleepers. By age 4 or 5 they all slept fine. I parented them all the same so I honestly think that their personalities affected their baby and toddler sleeping not my parenting. I guess I can't take credit for the good sleepers or blame for the bad ones. But they just seemed to sleep for longer periods of time as they got older. I agree that night weaning was one milestone. They all slept better when that occurred sometime in the second year. They also got better at being comforted by my husband as they got older which made things easier on me. But mostly improvement was gradual and just came with age. Giving up naps was also helpful for the two worst sleepers and discoveries about how well they slept after hard physical activity and being outside helped too. My little one is almost a year and still wakes up several times during the night. I expect the same pattern this time around.

Edited to correct typos.
post #10 of 12
I have 3 crappy sleepers...6, 4, and almost 18 months. The older 2 have gotten BETTER as they have gotten older, but not good. Following several things in Sleepless in America helped us a lot (IIRC she mentions CIO/training but doesn't really support them). Nightweaning also helped them somewhat. I think a lot of the time it just takes some babies longer for their neurologic systems to mature to allow for longer/deeper sleep. The youngest is not nightweaned yet (although we plan to start soon after the holidays) which I am hoping helps him sleep somewhat better as he is a grumpy little man in the daytime. Of course, maybe he is just a grumpy little kid.smile.gif

Good luck-having poor sleepers is really draining....I have had 6 years of sleep deprivation!!
post #11 of 12

My DD was a crappy sleeper as a baby and toddler, and now at almost 10 she's still a crappy sleeper.  Nightweaning around the time she turned 2 helped a lot.  By the time she was 2 1/2, she probably slept through the night about half the time, and the other times usually woke just once.  But as she got older, she started having more and more trouble falling asleep at night.  She's homeschooled, so she doesn't have an enforced bedtime and she often stays up until midnight (or even later.)  She complains that she just can't fall asleep, even if she's tired.  She tends to wake during the night, too, but at least nowadays she can put herself back to sleep without bothering me.  I don't think she's a bad sleeper because I didn't do CIO, I think she's a bad sleeper because she was born that way, and I suspect that because she was born a crappy sleeper CIO wouldn't have worked very well.  I bet if I had tried CIO she would have just spent a lot of time crying and still been a crappy sleeper.

post #12 of 12
I think a lot of it is genetic predisposition, but sleep techniques used as a baby or toddler can have a lasting impact. Based on a very small sample size (a few friends and my husband), I think CIO and leaving kids alone at night, even when they are scared, leads to negative sleep associations and problems later on. My husband was raised this way and is a terrible sleeper. I on the other hand co-slept until 6 and as a baby and toddler (I am told) nursed all night long, and now I'm a great sleeper. I fall asleep fast and sleep like a rock. Or at least I did until I had a baby. smile.gif
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