13 month old tantrums, night time waking and napping nightmares

(3 Posts)
Pickles84 Mon 27-Jun-16 10:53:44

I'm a first time poster so please forgive my lack of acronyms etc but I'm having a complete nightmare and would love some help and advice. My 13 month boy has generally been a dream sleeper. We have always maintained a good sleep routine: bath, bottle, book, song and then sleep. He has always been put down in the cot awake but drowsy and has been great at falling asleep by himself. On the odd occasion he has had a grumble for long enough that we have gone in but generally a hand rested on him has settled him and we have been able to leave again. Similarly at nap time I haven't really had problems, again putting him down when he looks tired and being able to leave the room.
However for the last week, he has suddenly started waking at night absolutely screaming. Not crying, but screaming blue murder and we have had to go into him. On bad nights he has woken 3 times and taken up to 2 hours to go back to sleep, screaming if you try and leave the room before he has fallen asleep again. He has also been waking earlier (probably not helped by the summer time light) and napping has been irregular. At nap time he has a full on tantrum when you take him into the darkened room, being almost impossible to hold as he is pushing, kicking and screaming so much. I have tried holding onto him and shushing and patting loudly and firmly which always worked when he was littler. Sometimes it works but sometimes it doesn't he is just so cross and I have had to resort to using a dummy which I haven't touched for over 6 months. As soon as I put the dummy in he immediately droops with tiredness and falls asleep, with me normally being able to remove the dummy again after a couple of minutes. At night we are having a similar problem: screaming if we try and leave the room before he has fallen asleep. We are trying the gradual retreat and last night he was happy enough to fall asleep while I sat right next to the door. But he had another bad night, waking every 2 hours. This has all coincided with him being quite clingy with daddy (not so much with me) and he did start nursery about 6 weeks ago; however he is fine at drop off and pick up now with no tears or clinginess.
I have questioned separation anxiety as well as whether or not it could be teething related, but generally he seems ok during the day, it is really just nap and bed time. Also I am loathe to keep resorting to a dummy when he is like this as we only ever used one irregularly when he was little and haven't used one at all for months. Any advice or ideas as to what the problem could be as I am dreading every night and nap?

chloechloe Mon 27-Jun-16 18:09:05

I would put my money on a developmental spurt - DD was very fussy (but not that bad) at around the same age. Have you heard of the Wonder Weeks? It's a book written by some Dutch researchers who after years of studies established that babies go through a predictable set of developmental leaps in the first 18 months or so which can basically turn your dream baby into a nightmare during the leap periods. There is a book but also an App - it may be a bit late for you though, as I think there is only one more leap after this one. The App only costs a few pounds though.

Pickles84 Tue 28-Jun-16 14:36:11

Thanks for the reply chloechloe. I had a little look online and you are right that he would fit bang into the middle of that developmental stage. I do hope that means that he will go back to his usual self afterwards. Certainly it makes the fact that I actually had to bring him into bed with me for the first time in nearly a year last night bearable. Today he has only managed less than 1hr of naps in total and that was only achieved with the help of a dummy as I couldn't get him to stop screaming any other way. Incidentally he fell asleep in the car for 10 minutes and there was no pre-screaming then, so it really is just when being put down in his cot. Any advice on how to calm these tantrums without the use of a dummy?!

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