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Almost 3 and still night-waking...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Anyone else out there with an older toddler who still wakes up a lot at night?  I don't know if it's dreams or what, but my DD still wakes up crying and needing me to soothe her back to sleep at least 4 times per night.  She was bottle-fed, and we haven't done night-time bottles for a very, very long time, so it's not a night-weaning/nursing thing.  She goes to sleep pretty much by herself, and quite easily most nights.  That development happened all on it's own several months ago, to my great surprise.  I thought that when she learned to go to sleep without me she'd be able to put herself back to sleep during the night, too,but no such luck.  It's particularly frustrating because I'm tied to the house in the evenings to tend her.  If her Dad goes in, it's a disaster.  It's like having an infant!!!  I'm starting to think that she's just....not going to sleep through the night.  Ever.  Please tell me that's not a possibility??

post #2 of 9

I can't tell you what's in store for you, but I can tell you my kind of similar experiences.


Crash was well past his 3rd birthday when he finally slept through the night consistantly. It was a little different though. I've always blamed it on the hospital policy that newborns weren't allowed to go more than 4 hours between feedings. He was born in the afternoon, ate a couple times before his first night of sleep, then slept through the night solid. He had just shy of 8 hrs sleep when the nurse realized what happened and told me I had to wake him and feed him. He wouldn't nurse so she took him from me and tried to force feed him a bottle...which he refused to eat. Ug! After that, they kept a close eye on his feeding schedule and threatened to move him to ICN if he didn't eat as often as they wanted. When his appetite actually kicked in, he dropped to eating every 2 hours around the clock! It slowly eased back out over the years...but like I said, he was past 3 before he made it through the night again! We coslept, he nursed until at least 14 months (self weaned). Seriously, by the time he was maybe 2, we had started just leaving a snack out on the kitchen table at night. He'd wake up at like 1 am, have his snack, come back to our room and play with some toys we kept in the corner - then snuggle back into the bed. We stopped doing that sometime before his 4th birthday, and he doesn't wake up hungry or have any significant food issues now. (his food issues are an internal battle between eating the crud his friends do or healthy things that don't make him feel cruddy)


I have to wonder if this in any way relates to sleep walking, though. Spritely, Crash, and I are all sleep walkers. The time of night he sleep walks now is the time he used to wake hungry. Usually it's to go to the bathroom (sometimes outside! lol), sometimes he will pull several things out of the fridge and cabinets then lay down in the bathtub for the rest of the night, or some other odd behavior.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Ha!  I think DD's Dad was a sleepwalker when he was young.  I haven't seen a hint of that yet, thank goodness.  She does wake up hungry some nights, or she wakes up and says that her belly hurts and she relates that with hunger.  That's generally much later in the night, like 3-ish.  Sometimes I will go grab her a quick snack.  It sounds like your LO would eventually go back to sleep by himself?  My DD does not like to be awake alone, so if we do get one of those 3 a.m. wake-ups, it usually involves us both being awake and upset for 2 hours.  Blah.  That's not as frequent anymore, though.  Now it's more that she wakes up multiple times, especially in the first 3 or 4 hours of sleep, and just cries for me and then keeps crying until she eventually settles back into sleep.  So she'll sleep for about 1.5 hours, then wake up crying, then wake up crying again less than an hour later, then sleep until about 11:30 and need soothing again, then either sleep until morning or wake up for a while at 3 or 4 in the morning.  Blahhhh.

post #4 of 9

That sounds really rough. Mine would go back to sleep by himself, but at the same time he was never really by himself. Since he was in our room, he would cuddle with us in bed, play with toys right next to me while I faded in and out of sleep, etc. If he was in his own room, it would have been much more demanding for me, and he would have had a chance to really work himself up while he was all alone and waiting for me to show up. I definitely had it easier than you do, but I imagine your dd will outgrow it just like my ds did.

post #5 of 9

That sounds really hard!  My daughter woke up every two hours, every night until she was two and a half.  It was a nightmare.  She eventually started sleeping through the night when she was ready.  (She wakes up exactly once a night still, but for me that's fine.)  I tried everything to get her to sleep and nothing worked, but she did finally start on her own.  I know it's really hard and frustrating, but eventually it will stop.  Hopefully someone will have some more useful advice!

post #6 of 9

I don't know about non-breastfeeding children, but breastfed normal healthy chidren typically begin sleeping through the night around 3 to 4 years of age. I would imagine that biological needs for comfort and nourishment are the same though for most children those first 3-4 years, regardless (?)

post #7 of 9

Right here with you.

Funny-  like a PP I kind of also think our weird start with DS's feeding is somehow one of the root causes of his crap sleep.

I had trouble breastfeeding DS at first and he was born just under 9 lbs but started to shed weight. He was such a sleepy baby those first couple of weeks and the nurse who did our home visits and DS's pediatrician totally scared me into waking him every 2 hours to try to get him to nurse around the clock. He wouldn't wake up sometimes (not enough to nurse properly) so they had me put cold wash cloths on his head and turn all the lights on to get him to REALLY wake up. 

Funny thing was, the few nights I was so exhausted by doing this and slept through a couple of wake-up times, he nursed much better when he was rested from me not waking him up all night! But I listened to the nurse and Dr anyway and kept doing this until DS started putting on weight. And from then on he was just about the most awful sleeper you have ever heard of. Waking at least every hour etc. We went through periods where some nights it was literally every 20-40 mins. 


He is over 2.5 now and is still a pretty crappy sleeper. It has gotten better, slowly, over lots and lots of time. But he still has a few wakings every night. I think he has slept through the night maybe 4 or 5 times in his life. And those nights we were checking to make sure he was still alive or just waiting for him to wake up. eyesroll.gif He also occasionally will ask for food during one of his wakings. We're eternally exhausted.Yeah... everyone says wait till he's three and everything will change. I'm not holding my breath.

post #8 of 9

Mmmh, that's all very interesting! I came here to start a similar thread because my son (3.5 years) is not sleeping through the night either! He still wakes up 1-2 times (mostly one around midnight and one later at around 3ish) and needs to be cuddled back to sleep. He had been better before he got sick a while back, but now it's back to 1-2 wakings. Similar to the previous posters, we had problems from the start. We had breast feeding issues which caused lots of stress and time up during the night when he was a baby. Oh boy, how I wish I could have enjoyed having a baby, but with no sleep, it's just sooo hard. We also had problems pre-birth. I had to get up every 2-4 hours to take medication... Needless to say, his sleep never got consistently better and I have to say, I have been sleep deprived and crabby for the last 4 years! I NEED sleep, it seriously affects my mood and well being, but I have NO clue how to get any!

But, it never entered my sleep deprived mind, that it could have been all caused by my wakings during pregnancy and than feeding problems during babyhood causing lots of stress and time up during the night for all of us.


Sorry, for not saying anything helpful...

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
You know, we had major breast feeding issues and stressful nights in the early weeks, too. DD was born by unexpected c-section 3 weeks early, and I always felt like she wasn't ready to come out yet. Like maybe she missed the day in womb-school when they taught about latching and sleeping.
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