17mo awake for 2 hours every night - at wits end

(16 Posts)
herethereandeverywhere Wed 28-Aug-13 14:54:09

17MO DD2 wakes every night sometime between 1am and 4am and it takes 2 hours to settle her EVERY NIGHT.

Things we have tried:
*Milk on waking as she doesn't eat well so thought it might be hunger - drinks a varying amount, doesn't trigger sleep
*Calpol on waking: she's just over a throat infection and before that an ear infection and before that cut 2 teeth. She now fights the syringe and sometimes gags so hard she vomits and we have that to clear up too
* quick cuddle and put her down again - just cries out again - sometimes after 2 minutes, sometimes 10
*cutting down her 2 hour daytime nap - sometimes this has worked, sometimes not, either way it means she's in a vile mood all afternoon and too tired to eat her evening meal.

I also have a 3.10 year old to look after and am SAHM so am supposed to do the housework too. I'm suffering my second infection in a month (ear now throat), am feeding the family crap and am absolutely at my wits end. We're wading through a floor full of crumbs and kitchen full of old food ATM.

My parents live 250 miles away. They're coming next week to keep me company when DH goes away on a lads holiday for 5 days but TBH they don't really do the tough stuff. Mum's usually on the vodka by 3pm and dad does wind the kids up to high doe with exciting fun games so I'm the sensible adult doing the night wakings and early mornings and unusually difficult bedtime routine whilst he's here.

DH's parents are over 300 miles away and only visit a couple of times a year.

I have followed the MN mantra of this too shall pass but we're in the 3rd about to be 4th month of this and it's gone from a couple of times a week, to every single night with no end in sight.

Have been fantasising about throwing myself under a train all day, I'm assuming it's the tiredness. I'm literally at my wits end.

teacher123 Wed 28-Aug-13 16:21:27

Read Ferber's book (don't tell anyone I told you to! wink) it has a whole section on ideas to fix all sorts of sleep issues, including prolonged night wakings. What time does she wake/eat/sleep? If she sleeps in late in the morning would waking her up earlier help (much as I can imagine that idea fills you with dread!)

dizzy77 Wed 28-Aug-13 16:26:59

Agh sorry to hear this herethere. If any consolation we went through the same at a similar age with DS1 just before Christmas. He was downing litres of milk too and just seemed to want to play, became screamingly inconsolably cross if we tried to put him back in his cot and just sit with him till he calmed down, and was even worse when we left the room.

In the end we did cc - checked there was nothing physically wrong then left him for one minute before going back in to check, reassure & lay Hume down, then two, and were prepared to go up to 5 mins. The longest we went was 3mins before he sorted himself out. You're supposed to give it 4 days to word: things were much improved after 2 and whilst we had the odd relapse for a night or so we just used the same approach. Know it's not always popular on here but we'd tried being present to no avail.

mewkins Fri 30-Aug-13 22:50:07

What naps does she have? And is it the same time eachnight?

herethereandeverywhere Sat 31-Aug-13 00:17:47

Thanks to those who've helped so far. I'm still ill as the abs for my throat infection made me more ill than the infection so I'm on my 3rd batch in less than a month, will have been feverishly ill for a solid week come tomorrow and she's STILL waking EVERY NIGHT. I cannot get better and I cannot be a functioning never mind good parent. I cannot see the point in anything atm.

She naps at lunchtime, goes down between 11.45 and 12.30 for what was 2 hours but have limited to 1.5hrs or less (today nursery did 1hr 15min)

She wakes some time between 1am and 4am so not the same time each night but she WILL NOT go back to sleep. Last night was 4am and she finally fell back to sleep at 5.53am, DH's alarm goes off at 6am.

I'm not well enough to go into the whole cc thing at the moment but will look into it when I'm (finally) better.

I need to get some sleep in readiness for tonight's torture, will check back tomorrow.

mewkins Sat 31-Aug-13 07:38:28

I would stick rigidly to limiting the nap and hopefully that should help. If she still does it then yes cc will probably help at some point wgen you see up to it. Do you ever feed her when she wakes? Could I t be hunger? In which case you could try a high carb snack before bed. Hope you feel better.

MaryPoppinsBag Sat 31-Aug-13 07:53:33

Will she settle back to sleep in your bed? Not ideal but sometimes needs must. You sound done in.

DS2 woke regularly in the night from 9 months + until 3 y o. It's so hard isn't it? We did calpol / milk / weetabix! / cuddles / pick up put down method.

I think he had reflux/ stomach ache when he woke. Or had had a night terror sometimes we couldn't sooth him at all. But we will never know. He just seemed to grow out of it.

What does she do when she's awake? Is she quite settled wanting to get up or is she distressed?
Do you give her something to eat before bed? We used to give him porridge or weetabix. As he wasn't a big milk fan.

DS2 is now 4.5 and is going through a period of night waking again, but a quick drink, toilet and a cuddle does the trick. We've just moved house and he's starting full time school so it could be that.

herethereandeverywhere Sat 31-Aug-13 12:08:31

Thanks - we have tried milk when she wakes (see my OP). She's not a great eater so I simply wouldn't get loads of carbs into her before bed - even if I offer biscuits rather than cereal she just picks! That said, even on days when she's eaten really well all day she still wakes.

We have resorted to bringing her into our bed as this stops the crying which otherwise wakes DD1. In fact this morning we weren't quick enough so DD2 woke at 4.45 and by 4.50 DD1 had come into our bed for a cuddle too. Luckily she went straight back to her own bed and sleep but I feel very unfair sending her away when DD2 gets to be with us for half the night (or so it feels!). Anyway, once in our bed she fidgets, moves from me to Dh and back again, lies in all places and positions but doesn't fall asleep for 2 hours so I think we got about 25-35min extra before DD1 woke us at 7.30 this morning. I'm surviving on about 4.5 hours sleep per 24 hours and it's starting to affect my mental health. Was watching a TV programme about hospitals and was thinking how nice it would be to be ill as I'd be shut away from the kids in bead all day sad.

AidanTheRevengeNinja Sat 31-Aug-13 16:14:38

OP I haven't got much advice with the sleep as my DS is only 6 months old, but I couldn't ignore you mentioning fantasising jumping under trains and being shut away in hospital sad Prolonged sleep deprivation is serious business and it does do awful things to your mental health and I feel worried about you reading your posts.

In your position I would pay a sleep consultant to guide me through. Some people on here have used Andrea Grace with good results - I have her book and like her approach - I would probably use her if my DS's sleep doesn't improve in a few months (it's manageable at the moment). I would also arrange for someone - your DH, or a paid childminder or similar if need be - to take the children out for a few half-days so you can get some solid blocks of sleep. Or get your DH or a night nanny to look after them while you spend a night in a Travelodge. It might not take that much to feel human again but you need it. If money is an issue, I would cancel absolutely any extras including holidays to be able to afford it. It really is a priority.

How is your DH with all this? It doesn't sound ideal that he is jetting off on a lad's holiday when you are feeling so desperate and ill but perhaps there is context...

herethereandeverywhere Sun 01-Sep-13 18:47:22

DH has been really quite supportive to be fair, he's got up as well as me and is often first to her whilst I lie there feeling ill or haul myself downstairs to make milk. He does a really stressful well paid job (currently sole breadwinner) and has being doing it on precious little sleep too. His trip isn't ideal but has been planned for a year and he doesn't see his mates that often since we had kids.

Worryingly on the sleep front DD2 now does the screaming freak out when we put her down for her daytime nap too. It's like she's forgotten she'll be okay and fall asleep and instead she panics and works herself into a complete state.

I will definitely look into using Andrea Grace, thanks for the recommendation.

AidanTheRevengeNinja Sun 01-Sep-13 19:36:34

Ok fair enough, I'll let him off the hook then smile This is Andrea Grace's website - we've used her book to get DS into a good bedtime routine and out of our bed - he now settles to sleep brilliantly and stays in his cot all night which is amazing. (He's still a bugger for frequent night feeding which we're going to start tackling tonight - fingers crossed...) I like her methods because she focuses on working out the cause of the night waking, rather than just treating the symptoms - it's all common sense and quite gentle too.

Look after yourself OP brew

magicstars Sun 01-Sep-13 19:47:07

Hi here. It sounds exhausting, you poor things. What does LO do during the day? Is she tired enough? Have you tried adjusting bedtime? Could you put her down at 8 instead or 7 for example? Or try waking her an hour early in the am? dd (also 17m) wakes sometimes at night (though thankfully not too regularly) & I'm so desperate to get us all back to sleep I push her in the buggy blush.
Could it be that there's a noise disturbing her? Could DH try sleeping on her floor one night & check a neighbours dog isn't barking etc that may be waking her?

herethereandeverywhere Mon 02-Sep-13 13:45:38

Well last night she slept!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel like a different person! I cannot tell you how much more positive I feel and how much more I have got done even just this morning.

So, he's what we did yesterday - please could someone tell me what it was that caused the sleep!:

1) She had basically refused her afternoon nap as she screamed when I put her down for so long i just got her up
2) She ate quite well and drank all her bedtime milk
3) She woke crying/screaming at 10pm. We tried CC but the 8 minute cry was so long I crumbled and DH went into her. We gave her more milk and she drank about half a bottle. This did calm her and she spent some time awake in her cot (on her own) but chatting to herself happily before drifting off I assume.

Today she's been unsettled going down for her nap again and cried on and off for the first half hour - I let her have 1.5 hours in total.

magicstars Mon 02-Sep-13 16:37:56

Great! Sounds like its a combination of her being really tired & having a nice full tummy then. Maybe try giving her a dream feed when you go to bed if she doesn't wake up for one?
It sounds like she might not need her daytime nap anymore & hence night waking, as not tired enough.
Glad you're feeling restored grin

Middlesexmummy Mon 02-Sep-13 17:46:42

Hi there , the dream feed has really helped us as well , our dd is 17 months and doing exactly the same . Now we give her a quick feed at 10-11pm . She can sometimes sleep thru till 6 but sometimes if she wakes at 4-5 am we give her some milk and she sleeps till 7. I know that we are not meant to be feeding her but I need my sleep !

herethereandeverywhere Mon 02-Sep-13 18:37:20

Will try dream feed tonight - I'm starting to realise this is the start of dropping the nap - no time to myself fills me with dread!

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