We are at our wit's end here with our soon-to-be- two year old. We have had severe sleep issues for more than 6 months. It started with more frequent night waking, and then for a while it got to where he was up for HOURS in the middle of the night. At first he wanted snacks, and we would give them to him because my milk was drying up due to pregnancy and we felt he was legitimately hungry. But a midnight snack turned into being up for 3-4 hours at a time, 4 nights a week. We seem to have gotten past that for the most part, but now he is still waking to nurse every 90 minutes (or less!) all night long. If I'm lucky, he goes right back to sleep, but just as often, it's a huge battle to get him to sleep again. Between him and the 2.5 mo baby, I'm lucky to get an hour of solid sleep at a time. Last night, I couldn't take the horrible-latch-nurse-a-thon, so at 10:30 I took him to the playroom and held him/laid next to him for an hour while he screamed about not being allowed to nurse. (DH tried to take him, but he came running back to the family bedroom screaming every time.) I finally gave in and nursed him, but same thing at 4 am. He finally fell asleep in my arms after 90 min of crying, but when I tried to take him back to bed he woke up. So I've now been up since 4, with a total of 4.5 hours of broken sleep. I cannot function like this.
I really feel like he can't get into a deep enough sleep cycle to stay asleep. For a while, we were giving him Calms Forte, and that seemed to help, but not any more. And I don't want him to be dependant on taking something to get to sleep every night at 2 yrs old! He is obviously just exhausted all the time. I feel bad for him; he just looks sad. And it can't be healthy for such a young kid to not get enough sleep.
The only solution we can think of is to move his bed into the playroom and have DH sleep with him in there. (A little background on our sleeping arrangement: we currently have a queen size bed and full size bed pushed together in our room. The baby, the 4.5 yo, and I sleep in the queen bed, and the 2 yo sleeps in the full bed. Sometimes DH if DS1 isn't kicking too bad.) We had tried not letting him nap, and he slept better for a while, but now he's back to not sleeping at night, so we're going to encourage naps again. At least he'll be getting more sleep that way. I'm also considering taking him to the pediatrician to see if there's anything physically wrong that would cause him to not be able to sleep.
I don't know what else to do. Part of me really wants to just wean him (if he starts sleeping alone with DH, he'll be weaned, because he's not nursing during the day at all). Part of me feels that he's too young, but it's getting to the point that I'm not happy with the nursing relationship, and I don't want my bitterness at nursing him to carry over to nursing the baby. And will weaning really help? What if he still wakes at night, but can't get back to sleep??
We have no idea what else to do. Open to any and all suggestions, here!
Mom to DD (5/07), DS1 (02/10) and DS2 (11/11) !
We were going through a similar situation with our nearly two year old until I decide to wean her. I am 27 weeks pregnant, and she weaned around 23 weeks. I was only aiming for night weaning, but she completely weaned after night weaning. We used the Jay Gordon method and it worked wonders!! My daughter went from waking every 30 minutes to an hour, to sleeping through the night on most nights. If she wakes in the middle of the night now, she just cuddles and goes back to sleep. Truthfully, it got to the point where I was resenting my DD. One night I just couldn't take it, and night nursing was over. The first four nights were awful. I rocked, patted, sang, switched with my husband. She was pissed! After those first few nights though, she started sleeping longer stretches. Then, sleeping through the night!! It's much better for all of us now. It was a tough decision, but it really helped me be a better mom.
I was glad to read your post as I am going through hell with my almost 21 month old(and I'm not pregnant). I just posted this below on another thread "Extended toddler night waking". I hope things stay smooth. I would love to hear how things go-- I'm not exactly ready to night wean as I hope he can do it himself SOON.
I was so happy to find this thread.. This has been the story of our lives for MONTHS... DS is almost 21 months old and we co-sleep(DH has been sleeping in the spare bedroom for months now)and still nurse.
We have followed a bedtime routine and nap routine that goes very well as he falls asleep pretty easily, but then on a very regular basis he will wake up at 11:30 or 3:00 or anywhere in between and be up for HOURS-- 2-3 usually...
I feel like it is very slowly improving but I am just a ragdoll from it. The night before last, he slept through from 9pm - 6am, woke up briefly to nurse and fell back to sleep until 8 :-))))
Then last night, he woke up from 3am-5:30 after falling asleep later than normal(10pm :-/)
I think 8:30-8:45 is an optimal time for him to actually fall asleep, which would mean having the bedtime routine done by 8 and be in the rocker nursing him by 8:15 at the latest but this morning he didn't wake up for the day til 9:30 because of the 2+ hour wake up, so his nap time is later etc..etc...
The No Cry Sleep Solution was great for suggestions on routine, a protein snack before bed, keeping the lights off and not making the wake up "fun time" for them etc.. I do not want to forcibly night wean him so I hope this gets significantly better soon.
I will add that I think teething has a lot to do with the wakings. I am going to try the Hyland's Calms Forte'.
Any updates from you guys would be greatly appreciated!!!
I see that this month is a couple months old. I hope things have improved.
Your story is very familiar to me. DD(2.75YO)'s sleep has improved, and here are some things that have changed:
1) She weaned when I was pregnant. This was months of torture, but I just don't have it in me to tandem, and yes, our relationship was suffering because I was so negative about the nursing.
2) She stopped napping and instead, going to bed much earlier, like 3 hours earlier. This helped her get into more of a schedule without a duration-varying nap to offset bedtime.
3) We started feeding her a meal right before her nighttime routine. Like a big bowl of oatmeal or something because she really was waking/nursing because she was hungry.
Also, recently as DD has gotten more verbal, I know that she has night terrors. Before she would just scream, now she screams and says stuff like, "get the bugs! get the bugs!" or "don't hold my arms! don't hold my arms!" or to me, "daddy, let me do it! daddy, let me do it!" with her eyes open. And I have to "wake her up," and then she'll go back to sleep.
Last night, she was awake for a couple of hours freaking out, but it only happens like once every two weeks or so instead of every night.
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