What to do about ACTIVE sleeper (2 yrs old) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 04-03-2012, 09:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My 2-year-old and I co-sleep with a crib side-carred to a single twin-sized bed, pushed against the wall. That way he is surrounded by crib bars, headboard, and wall on three sides. We get in and out at the foot of the bed, which he is perfectly capable of climbing in and out of when he is awake. He has never been a good sleeper in any way, but lately I feel like I spend my nights wrestling with him. After the hours it takes me to get him to sleep in the first place, he will usually sleep soundly for an hour or two. Then he semi-wakes and starts plowing into everything head first. At first I thought he was just looking for me, so I would say, "Here I am" and pull him close. Often he will nurse for a few minutes and then start plowing away again. Sometimes he runs head first into the crib bars and cries. Sometimes he burrows UNDER my pillow, and I have to sit up and move my pillow and re-arrange us both to fit into bed (which often upsets him). Often he gets himself turned around so he is sliding himself had-first towards the open end of the bed, so I have to pull him back to keep him from falling out. Lately, he has been exploring the crack between the bed and the wall, wedging his arms and legs in and trying to bury his face, so I have had to try to keep him away from there as well. He is mostly asleep when he does this and is just trying to get comfortable so he can go back to sleep, but when I interfere by trying to put him in a safe position or moving him slightly so there is room for me, he kicks and screams and cries and yells, "No, mommy!" followed by "Milk!" so I nurse him for a few minutes and then he starts again. This happens several times/night and lately has been lasting for up to 1.5 hours at a time (of him nursing, trying to settle, me moving him, crying, and nursing all over again) and I am trying to figure out the best course of action. I feel our current sleeping arrangements are unsafe for him and I am considering getting a toddler bed but 1) I haven't seen one that looks like it would contain him, and 2) at this point he refuses to sleep without me. If he wakes up and I am not there, my husband (his father) is unable to calm him down. In fact, he has cried to the point of vomiting simply because his father tried to comfort him instead of me. He kicks and screams and punches and says, "No daddy! Mommy!" It hurts DH's feelings.

 

On a related note, I am hoping to nightwean him soon in hopes that it will make him less selective of his choice of nighttime caregiver. Truthfully, I would like to TTC#2, but I know that I cannot bedshare with both of them. He would trample a newborn baby for sure with his active sleep habits. So I would like to nightwean him and then move him out of my bed, either into his own toddler bed, or in with his father. But if I move him into his father's bed (assuming that he will allow the change), we will need extensive bed rails for that bed too. Unfortunately his father has ruled out sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

 

Any suggestions about what I should do about sleeping arrangements? Does nightweaning seem an appropriate first step? Is this amount of activity normal for a 2-year-old, or is it a sign of a sleep disorder?


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#2 of 5 Old 04-16-2012, 10:08 PM
 
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My older son is a very active sleeper, and they BOTH do that headplowing thing.  What the heck!  I have no idea what that's about.  

 

Anyway, I know this comes up a lot and may produce some understandable eye rolling, but have yo considered food intolerances/allergies?  In the case of our older child, we found that eliminating gluten really made him a better sleeper (and all around human, frankly).  

 

I have some other thoughts, since I often sleep alone with my two (now 4 years old and almost 2).  But of course the baby's waking up, so I'll have to come back later. :)

 

Hopefully someone else will chime in in the meantime!


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#3 of 5 Old 04-20-2012, 06:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Eliminating gluten (or anything else) from his diet is not really an option at this point unless we have definitive proof that he is allergic/intolerant. I have done elimination diets myself, both before I was pregnant and when he was being exclusively breastfed in order to determine whether I or he had an intolerance (in the latter case, it was dairy and soy that were eliminated), and besides being both incredibly difficult and frustrating for me, it didn't seem to improve any of the issues either of us were having at the time. Now he is in day care, where he is fed 2 snacks and a meal each day, and I don't want to mess with things without proof that it is necessary. The day care follows strict nutrition guidelines as it is and I know it is already hard for him to be the only one in the class who gets water instead of juice. For a while, I was not letting him drink cow's milk either, but then I decided it wasn't worth having them withhold it from him.


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#4 of 5 Old 04-20-2012, 06:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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And it has been a while since my original post, so I will give an update. I tried nightweaning him over Easter weekend and he is now sleeping without nursing from about 9pm - 4 am, although he still partially wakes and thrashes around during that time. I have gone back to nursing him when he wakes any time after 4, in hopes it will get him back to sleep, because he seems to have decided that 4 is an acceptable time to wake for the day. He will usually take a short nap around 6, which is when my husband and I wake to get ready for work.


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#5 of 5 Old 04-20-2012, 08:34 AM
 
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I too have a very active sleeper.  He is 31 months and sleeps in exactly the same kind of set up that you have, but we have a single bed side-cared to our queen bed and he does plow his head in the wall and headboard sometimes.  He did it more often when he was younger though.  He nurses 4-6 times a night and I'm thinking about night weaning too. 

 

Sounds like you've had some success already, although waking up at 4 am must be hard.  How's that for you?  Has he calmed down his activity at all or is he still waking frequently? 

 

I have wondered myself if that much activity and frequent waking are signs of a sleep disorder, but then I also consider how sensitive my son is and I think that is a contributor to the issue.  Is your son happy and alert during the day?

 

All the best on the rest of the journey with night weaning!  Good for you for making some changes that will hopefully lead to more successes!

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Co Sleeping With Multiple Kids , Co Sleeping With Older Kids , Family Bed

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