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What about a 3 year old who won't eat or sleep?

448 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  4evermom
Okay, so she does eat (some) and does sleep at night, but not nearly enough. My daughter turns 3 in a few weeks, and gets, if we're lucky, about 8-9 hours of sleep each day. I realize that may sound like alot, but most sleep experts say kids her age need a few more hours than that. While I don't always put faith in "experts," it's so obvious that she needs more sleep. She gets so angry and mean during the day, but will not take a nap. In the very, very rare case she does take a nap, she literaly wakes up screaming and crying and it sometimes takes me an hour or more to calm her down. Also, I fight with her all day about food. She will not eat half the time, even when she has said she is hungry and asks for something specific. The problem gets bigger when she is hungry but demanding to have nothing but milkies. I became very aggitated with nursing her during my pregancy, and really do not like nursing her now. On top of that, (in my opinion) a 3 year old needs to have more than breastmilk to survive, especially when my body is making milk for a newborn. If I nurse her whenever she wants, I would truly be nursing her all day. She ends up filling up on milk and again not wanting food.

So, what can I do? Who do I talk to? Add these to the behavior problems I have with her and I am at such a loss. I really can't stand to be around her and I feel so angry that all my newborn is around is fighting, crying, screaming, and tantrums. Dh keeps telling me to talk to someone, but I have no idea how to find said person, yet alone the time to talk with them.
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That sounds like a real tough time! My ds was a bit like that but w/o a baby thrown into the picture. I was able to give him naps when he would fight them by having a well timed stroller walk or car ride. I doubt that would be feasible for you with the baby, however. Now, he usually takes a nap with me w/o objections. If he doesn't want one, I don't push it since you can't make a kid sleep anyway.

Your dd seems like she is trying to assert her independence which is tricky since she needs sleep and food. My ds was/is the same way about food, asks for something but then refuses to eat it (and wants to nurse instead). I have had to learn to not even seem like I have any interest in him eating. Sometimes, I just set food near him and go away.

At age 3, I was still nursing him quite a bit. Now, he nurses to sleep and wake up (since he naps, that is 4 sessions including both sides). I totally understand your reluctance to nurse her, but keep in mind that it may increase sibling rivalry (the feeling that the baby took over something that was hers) to cut her off completely. You will make enough milk if you nurse her regularly because breastfeeding is a supply and demand system.

My only real advice is to try really hard to not engage in power struggles. You can't make her sleep or eat. All you can do is provide the opportunity. It is a really hard age. Take a lot of deep breaths, pretend you are calm and patient, have your dh take her on special outings when possible to give you a break. Keep in mind that she is hardly more than a baby even though she looks humongous next to your new one. Good luck
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