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My DD did this too. It lasted about a year. Its the realization that they are alone and they are genuinely afraid of being left alone. Many a night I woke on her bedroom floor, drooling onto the carpet. I would just lay there and read a book til she fell asleep, it was the only thing in the end. But then it stopped and I can't quite remember how - I think I'd say "just popping downstairs to make a cup of tea, back in a minute" and I'd go for extended periods and then I'd say, "ok I'm tired, I'll check back on you later" and that would be that. But it took AGES. Like I say, a year.
Hmm, well, not sure it's solved but we've had a couple of good nights recently. We had two good nights when she woke but I didn't have to go in and then on Sunday it was armagaddon so we went with the controlled crying. She first started at 10.20 and eventually got to sleep at 12.40. It was HELL. We did the 5 minutes, patting and ssshhing, then 10 etc etc and she dozed off a couple of times but then started full pelt again, so we started again. I tool the monitor and went into the spare room (and whacked self on the corner of the desk in the dark) as DH couldn't stand it. Then last night she only woke once and I didn't have to go in and she slept until 6.30! One swallow does not a summer make but grateful for one good night at a time at the moment. On reflection I think it dates back to just before Christmas when she was ill and we went in as she was poorly and then we all got into bad habits. As I know she can do it, I don't feel too wretched about it. And we've never used a dummy (she wouldn't take it, along with NEVER taking a bottle). Plus I think there was/is an element of teething some nights and just a phase. Basically we'll never know. But I think CheshireDing, you're going to have to get tough. Sorry. Oh, I DID take her to the Docs on Saturday to double check it wasn't ear/throat etc before we launched on Project No Cry, just to be sure. And it was all clear.
Eek you poor thing. You could try a dose of calpol at night to see if that helps - if it is teething pain then it might help her doze off and not wake so much. If you can just break the cycle of the poor sleep it may well get better, so the calpol wouldn't be a long-term solution. Do you use a dummy? If you haven't used one before now I appreciate you might not want to introduce one, but I have found them great for preventing the onset of hysteria in a child who wakes up crying. I would be inclined to go in to her initially, speak calmly and try to settle her, and when she is settled leave the room. If she then starts howling I would wait a minute, then go back in and just tell her "shh now, it's time to sleep" maybe with a little stroke but not get her up, and then go out again. Wait a bit longer this time if she continues to howl. It's hard because if it is teeth she doesn't deserve to be subjected to controlled crying, but equally if you are able to settle her the first time she cries, that does kind of suggest that it's not too bad, or she would remain inconsolable. No magic answers here, sorry, but I hope it improves for you soon. x
My 16 month old DD who used to be so happy to be put to bed and fall asleep on her own and then sleep through has been abducted by aliens and replaced with a screaming child who will only go to sleep if you stay in the room and sshh. Then she then wakes in the night, every night now for about a month, for anything from half an hour to two hours +. Very occasionally she'll send herself back but mostly she's beside herself until you go in. Some nights it takes half an hour of patting etc, other nights, she's still awake tossing and turning two hours later when we both fall asleep from exhaustion. She is clearly still tired as she doesn't want to play or anything but just cannot seem to get back to sleep (drops off for a minute and then wakes again) and if you try and sshh and leave, she cracks it. I'm nearing my wits end but DH says controlled crying is cruel and keeps saying its teeth blah blah. I've tried telling her that she doesn't need to cry when I put her down, telling her what's going to happen (we have a good bedtime routine) and she nods and I'm sure she understands but when it comes to it she just falls apart. Anyone with any words of wisdom?