One year old suddenly tantrums at nap/bed time - need feedback/advice - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 07-20-2007, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I originally posted this in toddllers but got no response, hoping someone here can help.

My DS just turned one. He recently learned how to walk and learned many new words and signs, more importantly the power of his words to get his wants/needs met. I think these new developments are affecting our sleep routine. He has never been a long sleeper but now it is a struggle just to get him down to sleep at all.

Our routine was this (has been for six months):

I wait until he shows signs of being tired (rubbing eyes, ears, crankiness) and then we change diapers, read books and nurse in a glider in his room. If he does not fall asleep nursing (about 60% of the time) I put him in the mei tai and walk him while listening to soft music until he falls asleep. It was a very peaceful time. He naps and goes to sleep in his crib, but comes to bed with us when we go to bed until morning time. (at night we also have a bath and a nighttime walk as part of our routine)

two weeks ago:

I would put him in the mei tai and he would sign "milk" or say book. I thought it was so sweet and so exciting that I could understand his needs. I would take him out and give him his request and usually put him back in the mei tai until he fell asleep. still peaceful.

this week:

go to his room read books, try to nurse, shoos breast away. put him in mei tai screams, cries signs "milk", take him out and again he shoos breast away, offer book -shoos that away. put him back in mei tai - screams squirms will not calm down signs "milk" or says book - take him out - shoos these things away. over and over and over until I or my husband say no book, no more milk, time for night night and he cries until he falls asleep while we hold him in the mei tai. It is very stressful for all of us and has been lasting up to two hours.

I have tried laying down with him which used to work in a pinch but he just squiggles all over the bed and tries to get out, today I tried just putting him in his crib and rubbing his head and back for a minute but he just stands up and screams. He won't let me rock him to sleep either. He is CLEARLY very tired, rubbing eyes, eyes rolling back in his head but will not settle.

I read the mothering article about tantrums on the GD board. I am wondering if that is what this is? Or is he just learning the power of words and trying to exert his independence? Or trying to communicate something I don't understand because he only knows to use those two words at that time?

I am thinking that I should offer books and offer milk several times at night and then just put him in the mei tai and walk him and try to soothe him bu tnot let him out for any more books or nursing no matter what. I plan to just tell him I know he is frustrated but it is time to sleep and let him work it out. Is this ok? Does anyone have a better idea or at least been through this and can tell me it is just a stage that will pass. I feel terrible listening to the crying but I don't know what else to do.

I am already very very tired as he nurses through the night. please help me before this gets out of control, I don't want sleep to be an awful time for my son.

thanks
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#2 of 9 Old 07-20-2007, 09:02 AM
 
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this is just a random thought, but maybe he's a little overtired?? my children are older than yours, but if they get overtired, they start to get very wound up. their behaviors tell me they are exhausted, but it's like they get a second wind and it's very hard to settle them down again. my children at that age began to have different nap schedules.

also, if "milk" and "book" are his two words for signing right now, he may be using them to tell you something else & he's frustrated because he doesn't know the words to say "i don't want to go to bed, mom!"

don't worry, i'm sure many will chime in with great ideas for you though!!!

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#3 of 9 Old 07-20-2007, 09:50 AM
 
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2 quick thoughts.....when my dd signs "milk" it means "I have a need that I want you to fulfill". Sometimes the need is milk, sometimes it isn't but dd doesn't have the sign for whatever it is.

Could he be hungry for some solid food, a bedtime snack? I had this issue with my dd for a while when she kept signing for milk and I eventually realised actually she wanted food. Oh, and a 3rd thought, could he be wanting to do a wee before he goes to bed?
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#4 of 9 Old 07-20-2007, 10:10 AM
 
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I think this type of thing is common when babies and toddlers are going through a stage of big developmental leaps. There is so much to process, and they get wound up and overstimulated. It's harder to settle down to sleep.

It try sticking pretty closely to a daytime schedule. Keep your days pretty predictable, with not too much activity late in the day--don't have your run in the park before bed, it can wind a kid up.

Keep doing your bedtime routine, starting a little earlier. You could try adding a bath in to the routine. They can be calming.
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#5 of 9 Old 07-20-2007, 10:14 AM
 
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Yes my DS has a fit if he has to pee but he forgets to sign "potty" when he starts to drift off. So as frustrating as it is...off we go tot he bathroom he pees and drops off.
I also second the: he's using the only signs he has to communicate something but he is frustrated b/c he can't get it right either.
Could milk also mean water? My kids love a cup of water before bed.

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#6 of 9 Old 07-20-2007, 10:17 AM
 
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My DS#2 (just turned 1) is doing the same thing. And DS#1 did the same thing at age 1 as well. I agree - this age they are hitting so many developmental milestones - I honestly think the babies just have a hard time settling. Our DS nurses to sleep and then immediately wakes himself out of sleep and flips over and tries to crawl off bed. His eyes are red and he's exhausted but wants to "be awake". Both boys have done this. I also noticed DS is getting molars which I think contribute to the wakefulness. And he has completely stopped his naps. Again, my older son went through the same stage. I just persist with my bedtime routine and as sunnysideup mentioned, I start earlier.
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#7 of 9 Old 07-20-2007, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have tried to start earlier and he just seems very wound up and wants to get down and play etc. but will keep at it. I will also try offering some solid food and some water before bed. Maybe switch the bath time to right before bed. thanks for your advice
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#8 of 9 Old 07-20-2007, 05:22 PM
 
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Could you let him stay up? He will fall asleep eventually. I know this doesn't work for everyone, but lately we've been having the same issue with our 3 yo ds, (I'm convinced it's bacause of a great learning development and a growth spurt,) and we've been having the best success letting him stay up. He will usually settle down on the couch and watch a video or TV with me, then might play for a bit before falling asleep.

We've had this issue pop up a few times. In our house it is always over in a few weeks. This too shall pass.
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#9 of 9 Old 07-20-2007, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks abac. actually last night we just were exhausted and let him play about his room and he would come over look at a book, nurse and then go on to play with something. I did keep the lights low with soft music and kept him contained to his room. he finally nursed to sleep around 10, he would nurse then try and sit up and go (eyes half shut) and then fall back into me and nurse more - this went on for a while and then he finally crashed. it was tiring to but so much better than listening to crying and protesting.

I was just worried that 10 might be his new bedtime if I keep this up (he doesn't really nap long and wakes so often I feel like he NEEDS the sleep). but it sounds as thought it is a stage - his development is literally exploding - he imitated four new words today alone!

I am feeling much better about things after getting outsider's perspective.
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