Help me teach my 22 month old to sleep

(46 Posts)
BananaPie Sun 23-Dec-12 21:40:50

Bedtimes have never been great, and there's no sign of them getting easier. Dd is 22 months now. It is 21:30 and I have been sitting in a darkened room with her for well over an hour. If I leave, she screams. This is normal. How can I teach her to go to bed happily and quickly?

I've tried leaving her to cry, but she's a tenacious little madam, and there have never been any signs of improvement over the course of a few nights. Also, really not convinced that it does much good - I think it makes her associate bed with being unhappy.

I've been trying to cuddle her iin a darkened room until she's dozey then put her down. If she's really exhausted, this can work in about ten mins. If not, like tonight, it's easily over an hour. I'm getting a bit fed up with it tbh. Dh can't help as she screams blue murder if he goes in, and demands mummy.

All ideas gratefully received!

YDdraigGoch Sun 23-Dec-12 21:50:20

I used to say that I was just going to go downstairs for a minute to tidy up, and that I'd be back in a few minutes, and stretch the time by just a little bit each time. Always kept my word and went back because sometimes DD would still be awake. Start with just a couple of minutes.
You may have to think of several excuses per night at first (do some ironing, phone granny, put the milk bottles out etc etc), but this tactic seemed to work once DD was confident I would always go back. After about a week, she was always asleep the first time I went back.

Gilberte Sun 23-Dec-12 22:00:13

I sympathise.

I have had two that didn't go to bed without me feeding them to sleep. DD1 was always settled to bed by me until she was 2.5 years old and things had to change because I was pregnant. At that point DH had to start settling her to sleep and yes she used to cry/scream. I hated it and had to go out for a walk so that I didn't have to listen to it so I wouldn't intervene. After a few days it got easier for him to settle her. I would never have left her to cry it our alone but I figured that if she was crying in the arms of her loving father than she would be angry yes but she would not feel abandoned.

We probably had a few setbacks on the way but it was the start of getting her to settle more easily.

With DD2 (now 2), we started earlier at about 18 months. boobing to sleep had stopped working and she was taking much longer to fall asleep. I started taking her out in the pushchair (DH was at home with DD1), when she was tired. Then once she was asleep I would transfer her to her bed ( she was in a toddler bed from a year). She still woke up lots but at least getting her to sleep wasn't a problem.

Right from the begining this trime, DH took turns to try to settle DD2 from time to time so she was more used to him as part of bedtime routine.

He started to lie next to her on the bed and I was lucky she would usually fall to sleep as long as her nap had been early enough in the day/ she wasn't overtired but she was showing tired signs. If I try to settle her it involves boob and always takes longer because the act of feeding keeps her more awake I think.

My first question would be when is your DD's nap. Can you bring it forward? 8.30 seems quite a late bedtime for a baby this age but perhaps you start your day later than me.

Could you try taking her out in the pushchair to chill her out/wind her down/ even get her to sleep. Just doing it for a short period might help transition from you having to do bedtime to your DH.

Could you ask your DH to try to get her to sleep one night ( however long it takes). Maybe go out. Say goodbye to her so she knows you are not in the house. Have a routine in place that you will both start to follow religiously so she is expecting bedtime and stay out of the house so you don't have to hear the noise. She will go to sleep eventually and it will then get easier for your DH to settle her again.

It's normal for a baby to scream if you try to leave the room so stay with her. If she doesn't seem tired, take her back downstairs, read to her- keep stimulation/light levels low, maybe take her for a walk in fresh air, wait for next yawn then you probably have a 15 minute window in which she will go down easily until the 2nd wind strikes again.

Whiteshoes Sun 23-Dec-12 22:00:56

Does she go straight into her cot/bed? Or is there reading and stuff before? I am in no position to give anyone advice about sleeping, but we have a slightly easier time than you, because after reading and messing around on our bed, we can persuade her to go into the cot with toys that are kept for that purpose, and if we're lucky she goes off herself.

What happens at the lunch time sleep?

Will be watching with interest.

BananaPie Sun 23-Dec-12 22:16:08

Thanks, some good advice. Will give it a go!

Lunch time sleeps are hit and miss. She naps well at nursery, but often refuses with me.

Today was messy - we were up at 8 am (late because she was awake from 4-6 in the night), then we were out and about so she had a very late nap for an hour at 15:30. Normally we'd start the bedtime routine at 18;45 - bath, stories, bed by 19:30. But to be honest, she can be just as bad at bedtime on days where we're more in routine.

She is now asleep smile

Gilberte Sun 23-Dec-12 22:28:07

So she was up at 4.30 and then after 4 hours you tried to get her to sleep. I'm afraid the nap was probably much too late. In my experience (i appreciate all babies are different) a baby of this age probably needs to have been up for about 6 hours before they go to bed really, really easily.

My DD2 does go after 4.5/5 hours on a nursery day but that's because nursery tires her out more.

Any nap after about 2pm makes our bedtimes quite difficult. Though we do have a 6.30/7pm bedtime.

BananaPie Mon 24-Dec-12 14:27:04

I agree the nap was too late yesterday, although I couldn't get her to nap earlier because she got up too late (a consequence of being awake for 2 hours in the night). I deliberately started the bedtime routine late because of the late nap...

anyway, I will persevere!

BananaPie Mon 24-Dec-12 20:49:59

Just as disastrous today - I'm an hour in to trying to get her to sleep and no signs that it's going to work in the near future.

She was awake last night from 4 til 6 so we all slept in til 8:20. This meant that it was impossible to get her to nap til 14:15 ( woke her after an hour). I just don't understand how she seems to need so little sleep. It's driving me nuts!

Gilberte Mon 24-Dec-12 21:00:06

Hmm I wondering if this is the 18month sleep regression but a little late. At 18 months my DD started waking up and was really alert and showed no sounds of wanting to go back to sleep. This was just as she started talking. Sleep regressions often accompany a developmental spurt.

I used to get up at 2am and wheel her up and down the street in her pushchair for a bit (15 mins or so) then take her back inside and try again. Eventually after an hour or so she would go off again.
After a couple of months, I was very tired, irritable, tearful and at my wits end. Then all of a sudden it got much better. She still woke a few times a night but I could always resettle her within about 5 or ten minutes. I was co-sleeping so wasn't too disruptive.

It's got better since DH has taken over settling her to bed. She now wakes once a night and sometimes goes through.

I'm wondering if she's still awake at 6AM whether you should get up with her ( I know it will be hard so perhaps your DH will do this). Afterall a lot of 22month olds get up at 5/5.30ish ish anyway ( mine does) If you can keep her going until 9am or so you could try letting her nap then and let her have 2 hrs or so if she needs it. If she gets up at 11.30, she'll be exhausted by 6 and you can get her into bed early and then adjust it a little each day until you get back to a 7pm bedtime.

Would it be worth a shot?

Gilberte Mon 24-Dec-12 21:00:48

Excuse typos. Am knackered having been up since 5.30am myself!

BananaPie Mon 24-Dec-12 21:14:59

thanks, could well be linked to.her development. the number of words she' s got is increasing exponentially at the moment. hopefully she' 'll grow out of it soon! I probably should have got up at 6 - just could't face it this morning!

happy Christmas!

Gilberte Mon 24-Dec-12 21:22:14

I don't blame you re not wanting the early start- would be really difficult being up from 4 so I quite understand. It probably is just a phase. Things change so much and so quickly at this age.

See what happens tomorrow. It's going to be a long day anyway so hopefully you'll have others/family around to take some of the strain or give you a break.

Have a good Christmas yourself!

BananaPie Wed 26-Dec-12 20:17:11

A bit of success yesterday - she woke late at about 8:15 (having been awake for half an hour in the night), then refused her nap, but was asleep by 19:30.

Today seems to be back to the normal pattern though. She woke at 5:30, we got up with her at 6:30. I got her down for an hour's nap at 11:30. She is now tired. I've been sitting cuddling her in the dark for half an hour so far. But she will not sleep. It's ruining my evenings!

Is it worth getting her referred to a sleep clinic? Is this through the health visitor? I'm almost at my wits end.

Gilberte Wed 26-Dec-12 20:42:58

Don't think they will recommend sleep clinic at this age though worth speaking to your health visitor as they may have some good ideas. If your DD is tired she might be overtired. (Is she chatty, bouncing off the walls or calm).

Why don't you try taking her out in the buggy for a short walk before bed. I know it's a real pain to get dressed to go out but what if if it helps you get through the interim.

If she doesn't doze off it will at least help you and her to unwind. What have you got to lose?

Also if she wakes at 12.30, when does she first show tired signs. It may be she's ready to go to sleep at 6.30-7pm and by 8 she's got a second wind.

Also try no TV or bath before bedtime as these can be stimulating to some children.

minimuffy Wed 26-Dec-12 21:45:28

bananapie, i am in the same place as you.

i just want my wee girl back who used to just roll over and go to sleep!

is it just a phase?

BananaPie Thu 03-Jan-13 05:53:43

We've seen a bit of improvement at bedtime in the last week, but the night waking is now driving me mad!

She woke up at 3:30 today. I spent two hours going in and out of her room trying to settle her and have now given up and we've got up for breakfast. Help! How do I crack this one? Luckily I don't have to work today, but it's unsustainable in the long run.

davidtennantsmistress Thu 03-Jan-13 06:13:36

No advice jus lots of sympathy, our 18 month old has been up since 2am today on and off every half hour, gave up at 5 and go him up, funny thing s h settled right Down over Christmas when was off work sleeping pretty much around but one a back in nursery...... Apparently as a mother I'm not allowed to tell them when he naps. hmm for us 5-6 hours awake is what seems to work, then a 2-3 hour nap then the same again as bed is at 6.30, but as I say nursery know best and expect him to go from 4 am until 12.30 or 1 poor lamb is exhausted.

Sorry to rant but lots of sympathy.

BananaPie Thu 03-Jan-13 18:47:01

Thanks, good to know I'm not alone! Such a shame your nursery can't be more accommodating, but I guess it's easier if they're all on roughly the same routine.

Dd is drifting off to sleep now having been awake since 3:30am with a 30 min nap in the buggy. I don't know how she does it..

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Fri 04-Jan-13 10:36:14

Hello - I meant to post about my 20 month old this morning but got distracted. He takes hours to settle to sleep, and wakes constantly - I can settle him in the early part of the night but if he wakes after 2am he just will not re-settle unless I lie with him (actually holding onto him quite tightly, sitting next to the cot is no help at all so we lie on a mattress on the floor) and if I try to sneak away he wakes, so I end up sleeping with him from then on - and he still wakes frequently as if for reassurance, and wakes fully if I try to inch away from him to sleep more comfortably - he usually ends up sleeping on top of me. He shares a room with his big brother at the moment, which makes dealing with night waking more complicated as he does wake his brother if he cries for more than about a minute - I had a bad back and wasn't getting to him quick enough a couple of months ago and my poor 5 year old was getting up and trying to look after his little brother before I got there, which is not an option!

I have a 5 and a 7 year old and work 3 evenings a week, which also complicates matters (have to leave the house at 6.30 three nights a week, DH is lazy about following my usual routine so I usually come home at 10pm to the big kids in bed, having watched exta TV instead of a story, and the toddler asleep on DH's chest or on the sofa next to him), but I really need to solve his sleep issues, as apart from anything (this may sound mad) I am finding it hard to lose weight I desperately need to lose as I am so sleep deprived and have such slumps of energy/ motivation/ will to live in the day! He seems happy on his limited sleep, developing well, he does become over tired but certainly not all day long, only usually if he is ready for sleep at a time its just impossible due to other demands (other kids etc) to start trying to settle him.

Following this thread with interest...

BananaPie Sun 06-Jan-13 21:15:04

ukgrinch that sounds so difficult, you have my sympathies!

We're having another difficult night here - so far spent 1.5 hours trying to get dd to bed. She was up at 5:30am, and then had a nap from 11:45 - 13:45. started bedtime routine at 19:00, put to bed at 19:45 and she's still not asleep.

I've just ordered the no cry sleep solution in desperation, but any tips in the meantime would be welcome..

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Sun 06-Jan-13 21:26:10

Hello Bananapie

I am not sure I have any useful tips, but I've decided I have to really work on this now! I've decided I have to crack getting him to fall asleep in his bed and without being held, and for that reason got my DH to switch his cot bed into toddler bed form this afternoon. Did the usual bedtime routine with all 3 kids and DS2 happily got into his bed (where he hated being put in the cot) and said "Night Night", then I heard him and DS1 chatting a bit (I sat on the stairs) but within 2 mins DS2 was shouting "Mummy!" and Ds1 was shouting that DS2 had got out of bed... The good thing about him being in a low bed not a cot now though is that I can cuddle him while he's lying in bed without dislocating my back...

I got him to sleep in his bed, doing a mix of rapid return and actually cuddling him in his bed, and he's asleep now - it's 10.20pm here though and it too 3 full hours of me upstairs the whole time and only managing to walk away from his side for a minute at a time before he got out of bed again...

I think this might work eventually if I'm consistent, at least to get him to fall asleep in bed and I will try to be strong and fight the urge to lie with him, and instead re-settle him in his own bed, however long it takes... but my worry is that I work Tuesday and Thursday nights and I cannot imagine DH spending 3 hours sitting on the boys' bedroom floor and the stairs! I am going to have to talk to him and really impress upon him that he needs to do it, but I just know I'll come home from work and find DH asleep on the sofa with DS2 asleep on his chest! sad

Is your DD asleep yet? Hope this is a better night for us both!

BananaPie Sun 06-Jan-13 22:21:07

Good luck ukgrinch - 3 hours is incredible! I agree that consistency is probably the way to crack it, but life / work sometimes makes complete consistency difficult. I'm away overnight next week - dh is already dreading it as dd refuses to let him settle her. We've thought about a big girl's bed, but I'm pretty confident she'd stand up in it then topple out.

She's been asleep for an hour now. Hope your ds gives you a good night's sleep now he's finally settled.

BornInACrossFireHurricane Sun 06-Jan-13 22:31:39

I have always had problems with my twins (nearly 20 months old). They have never slept through the night, still want milk and are difficult to get to sleep if they nap in the day. If they skip their nap for whatever reason they go to bed much easier but usually at 6ish as they're shattered!

We have to co-sleep as it's the only way we get some sleep. Not any help sorry but you are not alone!!

sleepdodger Sun 06-Jan-13 23:48:33

Waves grin can I join in?
Typing this held hostage to ds cot
If I move he wake again
It been awful since 18mo and we're now at 21 confused
I used to have a 12hr baby
Now in lucky to get 4 hmm

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Mon 07-Jan-13 11:07:09

Hello banana , born and sleepdodger

How was your night banana?

born it must be so hard with twins who don't sleep! I get terrible sleep when I co-sleep, as my DS2 insists on sleeping on my head and wakes so frequently to check I am still there (and to climb back onto my head) if I sleep with him that its worse than getting up and down.

Ds2 got 6.5 hours last night in 2 blocks and I feel great even though I went to bed an hour later, needing some child free time, so I got 5.5 hours grin Although that does kind of show its all relative...

DS2 finally settled at 10pm, slept til 1.30am (he did get out of bed and cried at the bottom of the stairs up to our room - our house is spread over 3 floors) but he only took 10 mins to settle back.

Then he woke again at 4.40am, took 45 minutes to settle, and only slept for 20 minutes before waking again at 5.35... I then fell asleep on the floor by his bad trying to re-settle him, so not sure when he fell asleep, but DH woke me at 6.20am (as we need to get up then to get ready for the school run etc)

I am actually feeling quite positive, but that is on the assumption this is the beginning of a positive change and it will get better daily!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now