Bed Sharing Toddler Sleep Issues - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 10-06-2014, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Bed Sharing Toddler Sleep Issues

DD is 22 mo and for the past month or so we've been having frustrating sleep issues. Since birth she's fallen asleep with a combination of nursing/wearing/rocking and has always slept with us. Issues started this summer when she was waking up and staying awake for 2+ hours in the middle of the night on occasion and now she's added refusing to fall asleep to the mix. I KNOW she's tired- she shows all the signs: rubbing eyes, yawning, lying on the floor, whining, etc. but will move around in the carrier, on the bed while I'm nursing her, or in the rocker. It seems that she's doing it on purpose to keep herself awake. Maybe overtired? She wants to be out and playing and I usually give in and leave the room, coming back in an hour or so and she eventually falls asleep way too late (around 10) which means she wants to sleep in and the cycle repeats. I know some families are ok with later bedtimes but I am with her all the time and desperately need a few hours at night alone to unwind and be with my very busy husband (who works full time and is in school). I also need that time to get my work done which I can't do with her awake as she constantly interrupts and 'helps.' The book Sleepless in America was recommended to me but we're on a very tight budget and am hoping to avoid the need to buy it. I know many young children fight sleep and don't sleep through the night until much older but I am really starting to get resentful and something's gotta give. I am looking for any practical ideas that include parenting to sleep. (I don't mind active parenting to put her to sleep, only the long amount of time and her actively fighting it). Or anything that will make me feel less insane as this feels like it's becoming a power struggle. Due to his work and school commitments, DH is unable to do much night parenting.
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#2 of 3 Old 10-06-2014, 08:53 PM
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Is she still having a daytime sleep? Is that becoming too late or too long for her? My 22mo won't sleep until 9-10pm if she sleeps later than 2pm in the afternoon.

If she does still have a daytime sleep you could try "resetting" her by keeping her up all day, getting her to bed earlier and then giving her and earlier and/or shorter sleep the next day.
I'd also start waking her early if she has a late night so you don't slip back into the pattern.

Do you have a bedtime routine of dinner, bath, story or similar? That may help. And maybe not giving in and getting back up as well. Do the routine, lie down in bed and stay there. If she gets up, gently bring her back. Tell her it's time for sleep. My toddler sometimes has one last burst of fighting, just before she falls asleep but I'm sure if I let her get up and okay again she'd push through for another hour or so as well.

Good luck. Sleep issues are always hard.

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#3 of 3 Old 10-10-2014, 11:47 PM
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That advice sounds pretty good to me, but you will need to be gentle with a baby being kept up all day for the first time.

I think it's also definitely time for a toddler bedtime routine. Going from inducing DD to sleep to just giving her the space to sleep was a big game changer.

My DD is on the independent side, and began squirming out of carriers and rocking to sleep around 9 mos old. I don't think that's a particularly good thing, but I just mention it to explain how we got to where we are. It was clear she didn't want me to make her sleep somehow but rather that she wanted to just fall asleep herself. Nursing stopped working for putting her to sleep at 5 or 6 months of age. Sometimes I felt so frustrated as she flopped around sort of angry-sleepy-excited for like 30-45 mins.

For us, the turning point was when the bedtime routine clicked, and when I stopped trying to make her sleep somehow and just let her get there by herself, but with me close by.

She didn't know how yet, so she got mad. Then she'd try to crawl off the bed, so sleepy she could barely make it. If I picked her up, she'd flail out of my arms. Sometimes snuggling in, but always wanting to be put down. I'd just lay her back in bed while continuing to sing or rub her back or whatever she was liking. Eventually, she slept. Sometimes it was late.

But as she got older, it stopped being a fight. Now almost 16 mos, she knows the routine, and though it takes time to do all that in a peaceful way and with dim lighting, it's kinda nice to all chill out for a bit.

Ours looks something like this, and evolved once DD really got used to sleeping in her own room on a floor bed with me lying down with her until she falls asleep.

1) Bath or other calming activity; brush teeth 2) Play in bedroom until definitely clearly sleepy 3) Books and Singing until eye-rubbing-sleepy and calm. I think singing is really magic. 4) turn off the lights 5) snuggle in the dark and keep her in bed until asleep OR sit next to the bed and rub her back or just sing until she is asleep

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