DD is 18 months - how can I get my evenings back?

(13 Posts)
fallingandlaughing Wed 26-Dec-12 14:53:28

DD is 18 months.

Has been a terrible sleeper since 2 months. Was night weaned for a while but back to breastfeeding on demand at night since she had a cold a few weeks ago.

A typical day:

up 8.30 (has to be woken - would sleep much later)

Nap 12.30 to 2.30

Start bedtime routine 7pm

Feed to sleep 9pm

9pm to 11pm try to shift her to cot. She wakes screaming as soon as detached from breast. Occasionally manage to rock her to sleep. She wakes when placed in cot no matter how deeply asleep (floppy, snoring etc).

10.30pm either fall asleep with her in bed or give up and bring her into bed. She sits laughing and chirping til I walk her around to get her sleepy, then feed to sleep.

DP and I get very little time together in evenings.
She gets very angry if he tries to settle her. He is SAHD and they are very close, but she only wants me at bedtime. She gets really angry if I don't breastfeed her for hours - screaming, hitting, going stiff etc.

Against our better judgement we tried CIO twice. It didn't go well. One time she cried so hard and so long her face was swollen and red. Gave up after an hour.

Next time she was distressed and scratched her face badly.

Leaving her to cry not an option. NCSS has not been helpful.

She is a very alert character and fights sleep with every fibre of her being!

How can we move forwards.. Would love to sit and watch a film with DP sometime this decade.

fallingandlaughing Wed 26-Dec-12 14:54:20

mean give up at 11.30, not 10.30!

ilovemountains Wed 26-Dec-12 15:04:24

Waking her up at 7am should help, keep the nap after lunch. Then put her to bed at 7.30pm. Once you've got the timings sorted, then try the NCSS for the night time sleep. HTH.

ilovemountains Wed 26-Dec-12 15:07:54

I'd also shorten the bedtime routine significantly- two hours is a very long time and she might not associate it with sleep.

I only have one DD, so am no expert, but these are my thoughts:

She is getting up too late. At 18 months you will probably struggle to get more than 12 hours of sleep out of her, so an earlier bedtime will mean getting up earlier, otherwise she won't be tired at bedtime. I'd sort out the timings before anything else as you need a tired DD to get her to sleep. Some parents restrict daytime naps. We didn't have to as DD typically naps for about 1 hr at nursery and has longer catch up naps at the weekend, but you might need to do this.

You could try controlled crying. We did a very gentle version with DD which involved going in after 2 min, 3 min, 4 min etc. I think we got to 6 min the first couple of nights and this rapidly changed to no cring at all (within a week). You both need to agree on this if it is going to work. DH and I didn't really agree on whether you had to get her to stop crying before putting DD down again. If you do something like his you need to persist with it for a few days, probably at least a week tosee if it is working. Set yourselves a time period after which you will review the situation so that you ave a goal to work towards.

How do you feel about the BF. If it is working for you and what you want to do then great, but if you want to stop you can too. Do you ever go out in the evening? Going out is one way that we ensure that DD is happy to be put to bed by DH, not just me, though she can get pissed off if I am in and DH puts her to bed.

heather1 Wed 26-Dec-12 15:16:22

From memory when my DS were 18 months they were in bed between 6.30 to 7pm depending on how tired they were.
IMO bed time routine should be no longer than 30 minutes e.g. tell them its bed time soon 5 minutes, give them a bath 10 minutes max, pjs and story and cuddle max 15 minutes.
Is she also getting a good walk or some form of exercise each day? I think toddlers really need this. Regardless of the weather. They have so much energy.
She is little, but not a tiny baby anymore so shouldnt need rocking or feeding to sleep. It may be a bit painful to get her out of the habit she is in but it is possible.
I hope things improve for you and you get your evenings back.

snowtunesgirl Wed 26-Dec-12 15:22:30

OP, I know you said that NCSS has not been helpful but how long did you try the Pull Off Method recommended in the book? It took about three weeks with DD before she got the message that she was not to fall asleep on the boob but after that she got it and was quite happy to go to sleep alert after she was full.

fallingandlaughing Thu 27-Dec-12 16:54:40

Thanks everyone.

I should have been clearer - bedtime routine (bath, books, song) quite short I think - less than 30 mins. The rest of that time is breastfeeding in the dark!!

Will try getting her up earlier - 8.30 is actually an hour earlier than she was getting up until I started a crackdown a week ago. May try cutting back the length of nap too - if we can take it. It is the only rest we have atm..

If I go out DD cries in DP's arms then becomes alert and chatty (overtired?). If my parents babysit my Dad can get her to sleep with 2 hours plus rocking in the dark - he is a trooper!

Strangely enough last night I managed to ger her sleeping in the cot for an hour and half, must have been all the good vibes and good advice coming my way.

Are you getting anywhere fallingandlaughing?

fallingandlaughing Sat 29-Dec-12 19:21:57

Not yet...

unfortunatley actually slept in yesterday morning.. til 9.30.

Cut her nap to 1 and a half hours today and she has been fine. Will see if any impact tongiht.

fallingandlaughing Sat 29-Dec-12 19:22:59

Should say we weren't doing CIO before - I get the terms mixed up. I think it was gradual withdrawal. Anyway she (and we) hated it!

Boardiegirl Sat 29-Dec-12 19:37:11

Agree with heather1, plus i wont be popular for saying this but your dd now needs to learn that u guys are in charge. If she doesnt u will be posting similar dilemmas wen shes 5.

Skiffen Sat 29-Dec-12 19:42:05

How does she go down for her naps?

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