I am at my literal wits end with my DD’s sleep. She’s never been a good sleeper so my expectations are reasonable but since she turned 2 at the end of July things have taken a dramatic turn for the worse.
A little background - she was still waking around every 2 hours even at 18 months old. We quickly realized that it was diet/allergy related and right after the removal of the offending foods her disposition (and sleep) got must better. Since then we were seeing great improvements. We even were at a point where we could lay her in her bed and she would read or talk to her animals until she was asleep (both nap and bedtime) and when she did wake up could be easily put back to sleep after a drink of water or her paci.
Since her 2nd birthday she’s done a complete 180. We have kept the same routine of dinner, bath, and stories with mom and/or dad on the couch then off to bed in her room. Now however she wants me (only me, dad won’t do) to lie down with her and she needs to hold my hand or arm. Fine, I have no problem with this if she actually stayed asleep but she’s usually up within the hour, crying insisting that she is not tired. If I lay down with her again it’s like she’s in red alert for my departure and never sleeps deeply. We’ve tried talking to her about what the problem is, a nightlight, door open, door closed, light on in the hall, whitenoise, more covers, less covers, warm pj’s, cooler pj’s…….nothing is helping and much as I hate to say it her nighttime “neediness” and “clinginess” to me has me feeling huge resentment towards her. I am a SAHM (well sort of we own our own business so DD can come to work with me) so I am with her a lot. I would like the evening time to relax and unwind either by myself or with DH.
If anyone has any ideas I am open to anything at this point. We’ve even tried to just keep going into her room and telling her calmly but firmly that it’s nighttime and it’s time for little girls to sleep but after 2 hours of doing that over and over it’s difficult for DH and I to keep our cool, our evening is a write off and DD is hysterical by that point so we just sleep with her.
Is there something developmental going on that I’m missing? Please help as this needs to end.
I have no answers for you, but I am going through the same thing with the 2.5 year old DD. Nap and bedtime are becoming impossible. I am feeling this intense need for alone time lately and I think it is because of how drained I am from it taking so long for her to nap or go to bed. Tonight I couldn't take it anymore and just left and went on a drive (DH was home). We have always stuggled with sleep and once we get on a good routine it has been ok, but it seems that any little thing can cause us to fall off (a cold etc) the good routine. I think she was sick a couple weeks ago and we fell into the habit of laying with her to fall asleep in our bed and then we would transfer her to her bed once we went to bed. now she expects us to lay with her until she falls asleep, just like your DD. I feel so crazy that 2.5 years later I am still dealing with this! It makes me question everything I have done. I strongly disagree with CIO, but now I am like..."should I have done that? and then maybe we wouldn't havve sleep issues still?" We have been trying for our second child and I get so scared that it will be like this next time. I am thankful that for the most part once she is alseep she sleeps through the night.
Sorry I don;t have any answers, but sometimes it helps to know there are others in the same boat!
Working Mama to DD (2/14/09) and DS (9/13/12) and wife to DH (7/31/05)
Oh my gosh, I'm another in the same boat. I'm sitting here listening to my son lose his everliving mind in the kitchen with my husband. NOTHING works anymore. He no longer nurses to sleep; he nurses before bed but he deliberately keeps himself awake and just keeps demanding the other one all night long. It takes him like four hours to go to sleep this way. Not working. The other thing that used to work, when this failed, was to nurse him in the ergo. Now, same thing. He rips the hood off (which used to show him sleep vs. just taking a "ride") and he keeps himself awake. If we let him skip the nap, he is easier to put down. Which, we often do because although we try the nap every day he doesn't take it unless he's had a particularly bad night, then he's tired enough to sleep. We try skipping naps altogether but he is only 25 months and it seems like he needs to sleep.
Like Ava's Mama, I'm SERIOUSLY wondering if we should have cried it out. The thing is, we were fairly reluctant bed-sharers. DS was totally colicky and would not sleep anywhere but on us while we were moving around as a little baby, and after about 8 weeks we discovered that he'd fall asleep while nursing and actually sleep for an hour or two. But things have NEVER GOTTEN BETTER. He has slept maybe a five hour stretch about 10 times? Maybe? IN his life. I feel like I could function if I could consistently get these five hour stretches but it's rare. I really haven't slept more than 2 hours at a time for over two years. We actually are afraid to have another one because I cannot / will not do this again. That's not to say we regret having the one we have, we love him to death regardless of this sleep issue but I don't think I can risk my health on another two years like this. I reached my breaking point about a year ago.
At this point, I'm seriously thinking, "okay, time to CIO." I hate myself for even thinking it. DS has given us ups and downs on other things, notably he was slow to take to solids (he's way better now) and a skinny kid. We did some elimination stuff - dairy, wheat, soy, but it's hard to know if that's the issue and the elimination didn't really seem to make a difference.
He is totally normal during the day. He's easy going, social, friendly, and even though he's not sleeping enough, he's really a sweet natured kid. His development is otherwise great, he's a very good talker, very smart child, etc. It's just the epic freaking nightly battles. Oh, and once we get him to sleep, he wakes up 2 hours later and no longer just nurses back down, instead, he does the same thing, just stays awake.
He is old enough to say if he has a booboo somewhere, teeth, stomach, etc; he doesn't seem to be in pain. This seems to be pure temper and not wanting to go to sleep.
Ideally I'd like to get this worked out and remain a cosleeping family as he does seem to need the closeness (efforts to do a big boy bed have not worked out, to say the least). We have a routine, we've made bedtime earlier, later, etc, and it is still the same. We are just losing our minds here. Eliminating the nap helps with the initial bedtime, because he's so tired he just falls asleep, but then he wakes up and it's all over.
I sure hope someone has some ideas. The last thing I want to do is put him in the crib he's maybe slept in 2x in his life and close the door behind him (plus I am not at all sure CIO would even work on him, I believe he's capable of screaming for 8+ hours only to wake up and start it all over again, but I guess I wouldn't know until I tried it, and I don't know if I can bring myself to do it). All I know is that we are losing our minds.
Even if nobody has any advice, I'd LOVE to hear if this is just a phase, or if their kids went through it and came back out the other side. This has to have a solution or light at the end of the tunnel...
FMB - I have a friend who had an awful sleeper a lot like yours. He is now 3.5 and has been sleeping through the night since he was about 3. I am not sure if CIO is a good option (in my opinion) for a toddler that is capable of really hurting him/herself etc. I feel like toddlers could be traumatized even more than a baby with CIO.
Have you considered night weaning? I night weaned my DD in April/May (she was 26/27 months). That made a huge difference in sleep. With night weaning it helped me a lot to say "the birds are sleeping, they have one snack before bed and then they don't eat again until the morning". Then once she was night weaned, she still woke up a couple times a night and we decided to turn her toddler bed into a "nest". We put rolled up blankets all around it and bought a couple little stuffed birds and told her the birds sleep all night. It worked!
How does your DS go to bed with other people? I know my DD is amazing with other people (so frustrating!) they just put her in bed and say "go night nights" and then not a peep!
Something that has helped me these past few nights is I will lay with DD for a little while and then I will get up and tell her I need to shower or do some dishes and I will come check on her in a while. It works and then she passes out!
I think you and your DS have hope! The great thing about toddlers is that you can communicate with them. Tell them what you need from them. I hope this helps you some. Hang in there, I know how hard it is to just want to sleep!
Working Mama to DD (2/14/09) and DS (9/13/12) and wife to DH (7/31/05)
HI, sorry I missed a kind reply. Oh yeah, we tried night weaning. It did NOT WORK. I'd tell him the go to sleep and he's scream "NURSERS NOT GO TO SLEEP" and scream and cry. He honestly gets himself so worked up. DH would take him to soothe him, or we'd try rubbing his back, and he'd just get himself worked up towards puking. It seemed exactly like CIO. The one time we were absolutely determined to do it, I tried Jay Gordon's method, he screamed for five hours the first time - we sat there rubbing his back. In the middle of the night he does not make any sense at all.
One thing we did to cope was just drop the nap. It sucks because he's even more tired, but I can at least get him to sleep before midnight if we drop the nap. This worked well until recently, I mean, I was getting 5--6 hours again with that strategy. It's not like I was really crazy about dropping the naps, either, but when it takes 2 plus (sometimes 3, and sometimes he just will.not.go.to.sleep) hours to get him down, no matter how much I try to get him down at the "right" time, it's getting impossible anyway.
I have to say the two year molars are KILLING us. He got two of them and things seemed to improve dramatically for a few days but I think the top two are now coming in. And also, because we are doing naps only infrequently, I definitely believe that we're dealing with an adrenalized, over-tired kid half the time. Without a nap, he's actually tired when we do bedtime, and he will nurse down in bed or sometimes we do have to pull out the ergo if he's resisting and he'll fall asleep. And then like I said, we were getting some solid stretches. But, like I said, the teeth. OMG, these teeth.
We have not done CIO. Ultimately, we aren't those kinds of parents but there is DEFINITELY a part of me that understands parents who DO CIO more, because when you can genuinely see your child suffering during the day because he's so damn tired, it is hard. Also, I'm experiencing health probjems - rapid heart beat, breathlessness and high blood pressure, I've had a pretty full medical workup, and my doctor diagnosed GERD (for me) and says my hormones are off. She specifically asked how I'm sleeping. HA! Some nights I'm lucky if I get 1/2 hour of sleep. My husband will wake up and allow me to nap in the morning, so I can always at least count on 2-3 hours that way, but some nights, that's basically it. I've developed insomnia myself, because try as i might to remain calm, after 3 hours of on again, off again, acrobatic nursing, I am a jumbled, anxious, adrenaline-filled mess myself, and it takes a while to unpack the anxiety that produces and go to sleep myself.
We have totally tried talking it over with our son, who is extremely verbal during the day. But he loses his mind at night, there's no talking to him. We've talked about me sleeping in our spare room with good earplugs and just letting my husband comfort without me there. I think that's the next step, we have to at least try it. I could handle him nursing all night, but it's that he gets so rough - puts his other hand into my shirt and scratches, etc, and is half asleep. It's clear that he is trying to keep himself awake.
Last night my husband and I talked about maybe getting an eval for him, to make sure there is not some special needs issue making itself known this way. My gut says no, but then during the night I think "there is something going on here." I know some are better sleepers than others, but the absolute meltdowns are just - I can't even describe them. We are going to try to ride this out until those damn teeth come in. We've had other crazy night time events before and when new teeth come we are always like "whew!" but because it's been SO LONG that he seems to have been dealing with these two year molars (like, over 6 months since we first thought they were coming in, until the bottom two finally started actually cutting through) it is hard for me to feel confident that's what's going on. Anyone else's kid take almost a year to get those molars, and if so, were things basically insane at night the entire time/
Well, thanks for chiming in. I'll check back sooner next time. Because we recently had a "good" stretch of nights, it is sort of making the latest insanity easier to deal with. Last night was a particularly rough night. We have a dog, who heard something outside and barked (this does not often happen). It woke up DS, and he was up for 4 hours. I nursed him for the first 2.5 or so, and then had to get up to pee, and he flipped. DH took him and he was screaming "No! Dadda don't hold me! I do NOT love dadda! Dadda is not my favorite! Want mama to nurse me!" I laid back down and this persisted for an hour or so. He gets less and less rational as the meltdown wears on. Trust me, we are aware that there is some manipulation there (at one point, he's like "want mama to come and give me a little kiss!") Well, who can resist that? But it's a ploy to get me to come! When I get there he's like MAMA NURSE ME NOW! So there's a part of me who thinks, lat what point do we just exert some control here and say "my love, mama just cannot nurse you all night, mama needs to sleep too. We will nurse in the morning when the sun comes up" and he just freaks and says "WANT THE SUN TO COME UP NOWWWWWW!" It's occasionally half funny, mostly heart-breaking, often infuriating, and 100 percent a frustrating and major problem for us right now.
I'll check back to see if anyone replies, and maybe (hopefully) to update everyone in a week or so to say "those damn teeth are finally in."
My son is almost 2.5 and we struggled with many of these issues in the past few months. I read the book, The No Cry Sleep Solution and I have to say, it was pretty smart. There were things I was overlooking that had more importance than I thought (certain foods for instance) like you mentioned. Also, for us, it was an issue of night noises waking him up and then he not going back to sleep. The best part though, for me, was the reassurance that 1) I was not alone! and 2) physiologically toddlers are unique in the sleep department. They are not babies whose bodies are telling them to wake up and eat, nor are they adult sleepers who go through the stages of sleep in a healthy way. It's like their little bodies have to "learn" how to go to sleep and stay that way. It's worth a try if you can get it. I wasn't even looking for the book but was stumbling through Goodwill in a lack-of-sleep-stupor and it literally fell off a shelf onto my foot. :-) Divine intervention? LOL Anyway, many of the things she discusses did work for us, and I am happy to report that I felt improvement after a week, and now about 6 weeks later after instituting my "sleep plan" my DS is still nursing at bedtime, after stories, but then falling asleep in his own bed and staying there till usually about 5am, when he comes into our room for cuddles. Good luck!