15 month old still waking multiple times at night - help!

(11 Posts)
Monkeybrain10 Wed 21-Oct-15 14:28:15

My 15 month old has never been a great sleeper, but we have always been glad that he's generally pretty cheerful in the daytime, despite waking multiple times. He occasionally sleeps through now (8pm-5am ish) with just the odd murmur - if this was every night I would be super happy, but it's not - it's still rare. Instead he wakes usually at 11pm ish, then again at 1.30am, and this 1.30am wake can last until sometimes 4am!! As you can imagine, when that happens, I am on my knees. he is literally wide awake, and fairly happy as long as he gets a cuddle. The second I put him back in his cot, whether he's awake or (apparently) fast asleep, he freaks out, thrashes around, screams the house down, throws his head back and usually ends up bashing it on the side of the cot so then the wailing gets even worse, and he stands up and reaches his arms out for a cuddle.
We have tried the telling him to lie down (no chance), making him lie down (even less chance) letting him cry (seriously! he sounds like he's being murdered and hyperventilates), so inevitably I end up sitting on a kitchen chair in his room next to the cot, cuddling him til he goes to sleep. Fine if that's 10 mins, not fine when its 2 and a half hours.

Any suggestions? The thing I don't get is why some nights he just can't sleep and is wide awake and others he sleeps through. Exercise,outings, food etc - none of it seems to make any difference. Thanks.

mintbiscuit Wed 21-Oct-15 14:46:01

My first thought from your post is that ds can not settle himself back to sleep when he wakes up. We all wake up numerous times during the night but babies who cannot self settle will need what ever sleep prop/association they are used to. How does he settle to sleep at bedtime?

His behaviour sounds like typical protest behaviour which you can expect at this age.

You could continue as you are doing and let him grow out of it. Or you could try to help him learn how to self settle. If you choose the latter option you need to select a method and be consistent with it (your post sounds like you may have tried a few things but haven't been consistent?).

Also what are naps like? Is ds getting sufficient day sleep and not napping too close to bed time?

Paintedhandprints Wed 21-Oct-15 16:19:30

Watching with interest. 18mo ds has probably slept through about 7 x total.
He now ends up in our bed at some point. Won't do cio he just ends up vomiting. Last few months I've managed to settle him in his own cot. I had to get in with him. Now I can sit outside and stroke his belly. But he still wakes up 1-3 times in the night.

Monkeybrain10 Wed 21-Oct-15 22:09:44

He won't self settle going to sleep at bedtime but the odd thing is that sometimes he will self settle at night - but only occasionally, usually for a few days in a row then he reverts back to multiple waking. Like Paintedhandprints, I just don't think cio would work as he would just end up hurting himself seriously - he goes properly nuts if we leave him. All he wants is a cuddle and there's no way I'm traumatising him with cio (or risking a hospital run!) I just can't get my head round what makes him sleep well and what makes him wake up? If anyone has advice on how to self settle to sleep without leaving the room? I think mintbiscuit, your thought of just waiting for him to grow out of it might be the only option .

Monkeybrain10 Wed 21-Oct-15 22:12:51

Sorry forgot to answer re daytime naps : he usually has a late morning or lunchtime nap for an hour ish .That may not sound much but he is always very cheery when awake in the day. I think he just likes being awake - I guess when he's a teenager he'll like sleeping more - ha ha!

FATEdestiny Wed 21-Oct-15 22:29:25

If anyone has advice on how to self settle to sleep without leaving the room

There is no magic wand.

Like you are doing, staying by the cot and being a constant reassuring presence until asleep is one way. But this could sometimes take hours for a 15 month old. It's also no guarantee of no crying or distress. Then very gradually and very slowly try to lessen his dependence on you.

Set some realistic expectations in this kind of gradual withdrawal. If you want to do this without creating any distress then starting now it might be a good year or two until you are withdrawn enough for him to sleep independently. Shorter time frame if you allow for creating some distress and crying during the GW.

Your opening post reads as though you might be most inclined towards just embracing the sleep situation as it is and accepting it as part of the baby years. So just waiting it out. Your child will be able to sleep by himself by the time he is a teenager!

I just can't get my head round what makes him sleep well and what makes him wake up?

Long term and well established over-tiredness causing disturbed sleep is my suggestion. I don't think your DS is getting enough sleep either during the night, during the daytime or in total over 24 hours.

Could you try co-sleeping for the daytime nap to try and extend it?

Monkeybrain10 Thu 22-Oct-15 21:07:02

So last night was a good sleep 8pm to 5 am . So I should be happy ....except...he's been a total cranky nightmare all day! Tantrum central , which is totally unlike him. I'm thinking my choice is either no sleep but cheery baby or sleep and horrid cranky baby :-D

mintbiscuit Thu 22-Oct-15 22:07:44

Just reading your recent posts Monkey. It reads as if ds has 9 hrs approx sleep per night and 1 hr during the day? If so I really think some of the struggles you are having could partly be down to lack of sleep as PP suggests. On average a 15 month old should have 11 to 12 hrs sleep at night and around 2 hrs sleep per day (either over one nap or 2). Don't be fooled by a cheerful baby - some babies handle overtiredness in different ways such as disrupted sleep patterns and early wake ups! 8pm is a very late bedtime if they are only getting 1hr sleep in the day. I would suggest either extending day sleep or going for a much earlier bedtime .

Monkeybrain10 Fri 23-Oct-15 11:18:11

Yes, I do see what you're saying but when he wakes up eg at 5 am I bring him into our bed (my rule is only after 5 am! ) so he then sleeps again til about 7 am. Sometimes it takes him a while to get back to sleep but usually he goes back straight away...its just me that finds it hard at that time!
As for daytime naps - his routine changes because when he's at nursery he has one lunchtime (after lunch) sleep but when he's at home it's hard to keep him awake that long so he often ends up having a late morning and a mid afternoon nap . This again depends on thing such as whether I'm in the car having to go somewhere etc. He wakes easily from his daytime sleeps and there's no going back! Eg. Switching off the car engine will wake him ....and obviously I can't just leave him in a car park with the engine running!
So it seems that life gets in the way of naps, or naps get in the way of life.

FATEdestiny Fri 23-Oct-15 11:43:07

Ah, that makes this quite different. I had assumed a 5am wake up was waking up for the day!

Queendedede Fri 23-Oct-15 12:36:55

All I can say is you are not alone.... The longest my 18mo sleeps is 5hrs and that is as rare as a solar eclipse (well, maybe not quite, but you get the idea....!)

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