Parent failure.... 18mo still night waking

(19 Posts)
Pinkpowderpuff Sun 18-Oct-15 17:43:19

Still wakes 2 - 4 times, sometimes for hours on end. Don't pick him up, feed him, hardly talk, no light on. Basically the only 'bad habit' is going to him when he wakes and cries/calls out. He self settles alone at bedtime so not a self settling issue per se. I have a 6yr old as well who is a great sleeper since about 2yrs old, a bit hit and miss before then but nowhere near as bad as this little one. I'm so tired and so sick of feeling like a zombie. I actually regret having a second child the majority of the time, mainly due to the severe sleep deprivation he is causing. I keep imagining how much I would be enjoying life with our eldest if it was just him again. I also worry that the night waking isn't normal and he will end up damaging himself developmentally. (For the record, he is very 'switched on' for his age, hitting milestones early and a champion talker.)

Sorry for the woe is me post, I know some people have it much much worse. I guess I just want to know someone else understands how depressing having a crap sleeper is!

FellOutOfBedTwice Sun 18-Oct-15 17:48:22

My 16 month old is like this. She's just really active. She wakes up and wants to play. I wouldn't beat yourself up about it. I've just been thinking it's one of those things- I was apparently exactly the same.

Now I'm wondering if I should be more worried! grin

Pinkpowderpuff Sun 18-Oct-15 17:55:31

Sorry, don't want to worry you! He never wants to play, just cries because he is tired and wants to be sleeping. He had been improving until about a week ago then all went tits up for no reason whatsoever!

kalidasa Sun 18-Oct-15 22:05:42

DS1 didn't sleep through till he was 22 months. It is hellish so I feel your pain. Like your little boy he self settled ok long before he finally slept through which was annoying as all the books seems to say that's the key. His worst phases were always about a week long, with another week afterward of gradually improving and then a slightly better phase before the next blip. So you might be at the real bottom of the cycle at the moment. We would totally lose all sanity and perspective at that point every time.

Is there something developmentally going on? A big step forward? DS1 seems to express absolutely any stress/anxiety/excitement/uncertainty/change as poor sleep, I suppose it's just how he is.

DS2 still wakes at 8 months but his sleeping feels much more 'normal' - much more like what all those other mothers were describing while I was struggling with DS1 thinking we were really screwing it up somehow. All the tips in the books actually describe/work for DS2.

Pinkpowderpuff Mon 19-Oct-15 11:42:54

There doesn't seem to be anything major developmentally going on, although talking with him is like conversing with a 2 year old as his speech is really snowballing. He does seem to be quite sensitive and very attached to me, which could be a reason for poor sleep I suppose. I hate wishing away his life and wanting him to hurry up and grow up but that is how it makes me feel!

Frazzled2207 Mon 19-Oct-15 17:48:42

I feel for you my eldest was useless and we were nearly at breaking point after his little brother's arrival. I can't "recommend" it as such but we did eventually resort to letting him cry it out just after he turned 2. It was 5 hellish nights but it really has been a lot easier since then and he now goes to sleep (by himself) a happy boy and sleeps through 9 nights out of 10. I'm sure you've considered it and perhaps ruled it out but if you are considering it the golden rule is that you both need to be 100% on board. I previously wanted to do it but husband was dead against until watching Three Day Nanny, it would have been almost impossible to do it without being able to remind and reassure each other how committed we were.
He cried for up to an hour and a half each night at bedtime and in the night, but never since.

MrsUltracrepidarian Mon 19-Oct-15 18:47:02

Totally sympathise. We had this with DS2 who did not sleep thru till he was 2 - I was a zombie as was working FT, and had DS1 to think about, and DH working away a lot.
If it is any grin consolation, DS2 developed into a really lovely child, very popular, kind and caring boy, and won scholarships age 10 to several leading schools. Aged 15 he s still a delight - up to 2 was really tough, after that has been idyllic...

Pinkpowderpuff Mon 19-Oct-15 19:23:10

I don't think I could bring myself to leaving him to cry. Sometimes I can just shout through the wall to him to go back to sleep, which occasionally works. Sometimes I just walking in, tuck him in then walk out and be goes back to sleep. Sometimes he cries on and off for hours! He always goes to sleep by himself, he just can't stay asleep. I can just about wait until he is 2, if things are still this bad then will have to rethink the not leaving to cry...
He is a lovely little boy otherwise, which is good as I would cope even less if he was a horror in the day!

MrsUltracrepidarian Mon 19-Oct-15 19:30:33

Don't leave him to cry. He is a short time as a baby. I regret the few times I left mine to cry.

Pinkpowderpuff Mon 19-Oct-15 20:00:11

Yes, that's what has stopped me doing it, the fact he is growing up so quickly. Believe me, I've entertained the thought many times but know I couldn't see it through. (Also difficult when family, friends and health professionals are all telling me to leave him to cry.) My eldest was a difficult sleeper for the first two years or so, although not this bad. I never left him to cry so would feel guilty doing it to my second son.

Wildernessrock Mon 19-Oct-15 20:12:57

Have you tried sleeping with him? 18 months is quite little to sleep right through. At that age mine stirred but because they were in bed with us they would put a hand on our ear/ face etc! And go back to sleep immediately!
Waking at night is normal for that age group-it prevents SIDS as well.

Pinkpowderpuff Mon 19-Oct-15 20:19:50

No I haven't, I'm sure he would love it but I really can't sleep with children in my bed - I bedshared with him on and off for the first couple of months. I just don't hear of other parents having this issue with their toddlers, which makes me worry that there is something wrong.

Clarella Mon 19-Oct-15 20:51:58

This is very normal on the spectrum of toddler and child sleep - just because they're not taking about it does not mean it doesn't happen!

Some children just feel a strong sense of anxiety at night and need to be near parents.

Could you put a double mattress in his room for the tough nights?

It is hard but it does all get better, especially when they get better at communicating their needs.

Clarella Mon 19-Oct-15 20:53:10

Alternatively, could he have a little bed near yours/ you have a little mattress near his, not bed sharing but near by?

timelytess Mon 19-Oct-15 20:58:32

I'm 57 and I still wake at night. I don't blame my parents.
Do put a little bed near yours. That's a great idea.
Its so unfair that many adults sleep with an adult partner and expect their tiny children to sleep alone.
Both my parents shared double beds with their siblings when growing up. Why not bundle your children in together?

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Mon 19-Oct-15 21:18:20

Where are you up to with teeth?

Dc3 was a nightmare at night from 14mo until erm about 2.5 (or maybe even a little older) GP laughed at me but it started when he was cutting his first tooth and stopped suddenly when the last one came through. Ds was often quite distressed when he woke, he definitely seemed in pain. But once in our bed he was wide awake and wired. It nearly broke me, so I feel your pain.

I don't think an 18mo waking is all that unusual tbh. If it helps reassure, ds sleeps through brilliantly now and has done for years.

For your peace of mind, it might also be worth getting his ears checked?

Pinkpowderpuff Mon 19-Oct-15 21:32:33

Thank you everyone. We are going on holiday next week and he will be sharing a room with us, will be interested to see if he settles better with us closer to him. I have thought of putting him in with his older brother but worried about it disturbing said brother as he is at school the next day. I was going to pop them in together once (if) youngest improves put still waiting!

Teething-wise, he has 16 so just the two year molars to go. He got his first tooth at 15 weeks and all the others have followed one after the other. This has been a big factor with his night waking - awful teether - but thought it would settle now he is nearly finished teething. He has had 3/4 ear infections in the last year. Got his ears checked again a week ago, one looks slightly pink but not infected so shouldn't be causing any issues apparently.

I don't expect/want him to sleep through especially and I don't mind offering comfort but I was feeling that 3 - 4 night wakings is quite excessive at 18mo?

Clarella Mon 19-Oct-15 22:08:36

I've certainly had that many at that age and with teeth, very much developmentally too with my son. Learning to jump properly for example! Talking and play leaps. He'd just wake him self up. Plus mine seems to get a lot of nightmares.

Don't underestimate the havoc teeth can play, also I think some children get mild growing pains. My son went through a phase around 2.5 where he said his legs hurt quite a lot.

It's more about how you all cope in a manageable way; if he sleeps near you and you sleep too then that's fine, it really isn't for ever.

My totally clingy cosleeping bf baby decided aged 20 months he HAD to sleep in his own bed, and did so most of the night. I've instigated night weaning to help that second half of the night now, at 34 mo, (it wasn't comfy anymore) but he's so much more able to understand and be encouraged etc. rewards etc.

You are doing really well, I think it's best to listen to your gut about your child and remember that a lot of people make a lot of money from touting stuff about toddler sleep. We are the weird ones not sleeping with or near our children here in the west.

Clarella Mon 19-Oct-15 22:09:16

It never hurts to double check with a GP though.

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