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2 year old fighting sleep- help before I go insane!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
We've been dealing with this issue for about a month or more (off and on). My dd just turned 2 this month and has been fighting nap and bedtime tooth and nail lately. It stopped for a while when I started rocking her to sleep then putting her in her brand new toddler bed (she loves the darn thing, she just doesn't want to go to sleep) which is right next to the family bed. DH has suggested multiple times (much to my annoyance) that "maybe she's ready to stop napping" which would be fine if I really felt that was the case. She still acts like she needs her nap, sleeps well when she actually lets herself fall asleep and wakes up as the wonderful, smiling girl I love.

We try every trick we know. Rocking, soft music, sleep balm, lavender oil, a calming oil blend on pressure points, incense, calmes forte for kids, darkening the room, car rides (last resort- which sucks in this heat with an SUV with no a/c). I am so tired of fighting her on this every. bleeping. day. Oh, did I mention I'm 33 weeks pregnant. I need a break!!!!! We've tried early bedtimes, letting her determine the bedtime (yea, ended up being awake well past midnight and her still throwing a tantrum over bedtime).

I'm desperate for ideas to help dd get to sleep peacefully. Please
post #2 of 21
Gosh, it sure does sound like you've tried everything...

Just to throw a few things out there, have you tried laying with her in the big bed, pretending to be asleep? This used to always work with mine. When they would try and engage me, I would just cuddle them some and say "sleep time" and close my eyes. There was no crying (though sometimes I did fall asleep myself )

Have you tried having your DH lay with her?

I think that if your mama instincts tell you she still needs her nap, then you should listen. My son always slept better when he took a nap even right up to bedtime (I found this strange~~but it was just him)

I know you probably hate to hear this, but it will pass (I won't call it a stage) it will get better, she needs to sleep and eventually she will work it out.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Yep, we've tried laying with her in the big bed. It worked last night, but she was soooo tired. Yesterday we finally took her on a car ride for her nap and right as she fell asleep a huge thunderstorm rolled in and we had to get out of the car in the middle of a downpour,and of course I couldn't get her to go back to sleep with all the thunder, lightning and sirens so she got about 7 minutes of sleep for her nap yesterday.

If just DH lays with her it usually ends in her crying for mama and nursies (she doesn't really nurse much, mainly just nuzzles my breast with a binky in her mouth )

I'm thinking of altering her sleep schedule a bit to see if that helps. As it is right now her schedule is something like this
9-9:30 wake up
somewhere between 1-6 nap for about 1-2 hours
somewhere between 9-midnight bedtime

I'm thinking of waking her up a little earlier (no earlier than 7:30... I can't hack anything earlier). But as far as getting her to sleep on a regular basis, I'm at a loss.
post #4 of 21
I am sooooo in your same position. Only we have a 4 mo. DS stopped getting naps because he fought too much and the babe is a light sleeper and a distraction. He started falling asleep at dinner (strapped in the highchair). Man I love that, its like free time, what is that?, I don't know what to do with myself. Now he is fighting sleep again. Our schedules have been a little chaotic lately, which has probably contributed to the problem. I could totally deal with 1 2/2 hours of cuddling but it usually involes multiple bathroom, drink, and blow nose (due to crying when he doesn't get what he wants) requests. We took a walk last night till 10p and he still didn't fall sleep this was after he fell sleep in the car but woke up when DS took his shorts off. I took him on an hour bike ride last night and he didn't go to sleep. Fortunately, he was pretty much ready for bed both nights by the time we got home. I do just keep reminding myself that They are small for such a short time. I don't think I'll ever miss the sleep fighting, though. I was thinking of a toddler sleep support issues thread.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by InochiZo
I was thinking of a toddler sleep support issues thread.
We definately need that :
post #6 of 21
I just wanted to say to you - I have been going through a similar situation with DS for less than a week and I am already totally frustrated and really worried about how I'm going to deal with this! DS is 22 months, and up till now has been a great sleeper. He is still doing really well at night, but he now refuses to take a nap.

We used to put him in the stroller and without even moving it he would conk right out. Now - no way. He learned to escape from the stroller last week (he'd never even wanted to before - was always so content in there) and now his way of going to sleep for a nap is gone. It is too hot to go for walks with him (I'm 33 weeks pregnant also), I layed down with him for almost two hours the other day and he was still totally awake at the end (I, on the other hand, was nearly delirious ). The only thing that works right now is a car ride, but that is so not a solution - one, because it's so hot out right now and hard on me to keep taking him in and out of our mid-size car with my big belly (especially when he is asleep) and two, I won't be able to get him to sleep this way when the new baby arrives. I know that he still needs a nap because when he does finally fall asleep he sleeps for two or sometimes three hours, and if he doesn't get a nap he is a bear who won't go to bed any earlier as a result of the missed nap. His nap is a precious time for me, too, to get things done or rest or recharge or whatever the day seems to require.

If anyone has any additional suggestions, I would love to hear them! He still goes to sleep pretty well at night - we lay down with him, read a few books and tell a story, rub his back, and he is usually out - but the nap thing is a whole other story.
post #7 of 21
our 2yo has been on and off fighting nap time or bed time, however it seems like cycles depending on whether he is getting enough exercise, what time he wakes up etc. A couple days with no nap (yes cranky and early bedtime) seems to help sort out the night time thing, and then letting him stay up till he is really ready to sleep which varies but generally is 8:30 to 9. You can also try getting up earlier in the am.
post #8 of 21

save yrself

the aware baby
and
tears and tantrums
by aletha j solter.
saved me from sleep deprivation. i'm still cosleeping and breastfeeding and it helped my relationship with my 18mo old. it worked for me. and i read everything and tried so many things!
there is hope!
also ck out
awareparenting.com or .org (cant remember)
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by madhavi
the aware baby
and
tears and tantrums
by aletha j solter.
saved me from sleep deprivation. i'm still cosleeping and breastfeeding and it helped my relationship with my 18mo old. it worked for me. and i read everything and tried so many things!
there is hope!
also ck out
awareparenting.com or .org (cant remember)
I just wanted to echo this post with a link

http://www.awareparenting.com/answer15.htm

I also have a two year old ddand I have found her ideas so refreshing and practical. This is something I am struggling with right now too and it's not easy.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
TY! I just printed that article out so I can reread it when i'm not cooking dinner
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by InochiZo
I was thinking of a toddler sleep support issues thread.
bring it on
post #12 of 21

Thank you for this post!!

I'm with you!!

My DD is 13 months and has never been a good napper. Recently, though, it has been getting worse and worse. We rock, nurse, listen to soft music, baby massage, darken the room...etc etc etc. And yes, we resort to driving her around in the car almost daily for at least one nap / bedtime. When I try lying down with her she just crawls away so I have to hold her in the rocker or put her in her crib.

It is enough to drive me insane. In the last week she's averaged about 20 minutes of nap a day. She's sleeping right now after DH and I spent 1.5 hours trying to get her to sleep. By the time her little eyes closed I was in tears... of frustration for me and that my life is spent like this, and sadness for her that her life is spent like this. So I promptly came online and found this post!

Thing is, I know she's tired, she rubs her eyes, yawns and then starts getting floppy when she's crawling around. And her eyes get all puffy and red. That girl is TIRED ... so why oh why is sleep such an issue???

I'll be watching to see if you get more responses. I can use all the help I can get.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Most of dd's sleep issues have subsided. She dropped her nap and now is asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed. I can't tell you how much of a relief it is on my hormone-drenched pregnant self! I have some sanity and energy back!
post #14 of 21

Can understand!

I am going through the same thing with my daughter. There has been quite a bit of stress lately. My husband and I are having issues...and I am feeling burned out at times. I know this is part of it -- and that she needs more calmness in her life. She is acting out what we are keeping in. They reflect our best and worst -- and give us an opportunity to grow!

So, I am still trying to figure out how to have more peace. I want her to be happy -- I don't know when to budge and when to stay firm!
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CryPixie83
Most of dd's sleep issues have subsided. She dropped her nap and now is asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed. I can't tell you how much of a relief it is on my hormone-drenched pregnant self! I have some sanity and energy back!
I am curious. Did she just cut a new molar? My kids drive me insane right before a new one comes out.
post #16 of 21
Okay, perhaps I can add some useful helpful info, perhaps I can only commiserate with you all...
my dd is now 3 years and 3 months and she STILL has the same problem.
She resisted sleeping and naps from the beginning. Well, I think it was from around 18 months, but before that we were backpacking with her and rarely had anything resembling like a schedule or a settled environment so its hard to tell.
We tried everything. occasionally something would work, for a few days, but in the end, our girl just resists sleeping.
We are a very relaxed family, we dont have any rules or routines as such, and to be honest, i dont really care when my dd goes to bed, however many times it gets past midnight and I am desperately tired and want to go to sleep, but dd is still bouncing around the house : and sometimes she's obviously really really tired, super fussy and cranky, and she just wont go to sleep.
In the beginning, around 2 years, we did try *everything*, and the things that really worked was getting her up early in the morning. we never actually WOKE her up, we just created an environment that wansn't easy to sleep in - opening the bilnds, turning on the radio, washing dishes loudly, stuff like that, at around 7.30. I encouraged her to take a nap early in the afternoon, and if it got to be after 4 or 5pm, I would keep her awake, knowing that if she slept so late in the day she wouldnt sleep at night.
in the end i realised that I was spending so much energy trying to control her sleeping pattern, and the final result was that I still had to go on trying everything I could think of and she still resisted sleeping.

At some point, I realised that I do the same thing myself - I resist going to sleep. I have to be seriously falling asleep before I will go to bed. So why should I expect my dd to be any different.

I totally let go of trying to mess with her sleeping habits, let her go to sleep when she likes. the result was that she still stays up late, but I'm not bothered by it. if I want to go to sleep before her, I explain to her that I'm going to bed soon, I brush my teeth, turn off all the lights except for a nightlight in her room or in the living room. I invite her to come to bed with me, but if she isnt ready, I remind her that I'm going to sleep and she shouldn't disturb me. I leave her water to drink, a snack, some nice toys and books, a video on and instructions to stay up until she feels sleepy, to help herself to what she likes, but to let me have my sleep.

Its working really well. and usually she comes to bed shortly after me. If she does seem like she needs to sleep, I find a great solution is to just get her out of the situation. I put her in the sling or the stroller (her choice) and go for a walk. Often we take her out at night about an hour before we want to go to bed, and we ride our bicycles and let her run along with us in the park, playing "tag". she runs ahead and we try to catch her, or vice-versa. she can run flat-out for 20 or 30 minutes, sometimes covering a lot of distance. at some point, she will suddenly say that she's too tired to run and she wants to get in the sling on my back. I put her in the sling and she passes out cold within 2 minutes and we ride home.

The other advice I can give is to start any "sleeptime" preperations before the kid gets to the point of 'overtired' and hysterical. after they get to the whiney superfussy stage, its really hard to get them to calm down enough to sleep.

phew, and now i wrote too much again : sorry!
hope this helps, anyway
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
I have no idea about the molar... we don't stick our fingers in her mouth anymore-- it's dangerous
post #18 of 21

MOLAR, my sleep habits

Yes, she is cutting many teeth. Good point -- I also have sleep issues! I just don't want to settle down -- maybe when I do -- she will. Worth a try!
post #19 of 21
I totally agree about the evening walk/sling ride/ stroller ride. That was working out great until now it is a zillion degrees outside, humid, and we would lose a pint of blood to mosquitos by being outside at that time of night. As soon as it cools off, we will be back outside.

I think babies were meant for singing and dancing around a campfire in the night time, like back in the good old cave days!
post #20 of 21
Must be a stage or something, because both of my boys have done the same thing, at around the same age. : They both went from nursing peacefully to sleep for nap & bed to an hour or more of nurse-play-nurse-play-rock-nurse... You get the picture. With my oldest, I didn't know what to do, and found myself resenting the 4 hours a day I would spend just to get him to sleep. I tried everything, and nothing worked. Finally, at age 3, and after a year of struggle, we gave up his naps. I still miss them, but he just does not seem to need them. He now falls asleep pretty easily most nights.
DS2, 22 months, is starting to do this now, too, and I'm not sure I'm ready for another battle! :
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