18 month old still not sleeping through. Help me ladies before I loose the little sanity I have left!

(14 Posts)
ImNotAFlower Sun 31-Jan-16 07:43:17

My 18 month old DS has never slept through... Actually that is a lie he has twice slept 7-5.30. Twice in 18 months shock. My husband and I are about on our knees.

He goes to bed happily at 7pm, self settles after a bottle of milk (which he is beginning to loose interest in) simply turns over when put into his cot and goes off to sleep.

He often stirs when we go to bed between 10.30-11 but a settles with minimal intervention. Then anywhere between 1.30 and 2am he starts to whinge and cry at intervals of about 20 minutes-1hr until someone gives in around 6am

When he is whinging he has his eyes closed and often in moving around the cot (mostly up the wrong way)
He will settle if turned around and told to go to sleep. He sometimes will have a little drink then settle but again in is for less than an hour.
Up until recently a bottle of milk (I know blush) around 3am would send him back off until 6am but he doesn't really want it now and it does not help.

We are at our wits end, the only blessing we have is that our 5 year old sleeps like a log and is not woken by him.

He has one nap during the day. Sometimes he will sleep for 2.5 hours but we have noticed this makes nights worse. I try to only let him have 1-1.5hr per day.

He has all teeth bar the 4 K9's which are beginning to cut now. He is a terrible teether and has been from the first tooth. His sleep is always worse (?!) then.

He is a happy, smiley, chatty, affectionate, running everywhere little boy the rest of the time he just does not sleep well.

Any help or advice would be wonderful. I had convinced myself that once his teeth were through things would change but I think I may be clutching at straws with that one confused.

Sorry for the long post.

Gotheftosleep Sun 31-Jan-16 07:59:14

Following! My 17 month old is just the same.

EMS23 Sun 31-Jan-16 08:00:39

I have no advice but lots of sympathy. My DD2 didn't sleep though until she was 2 years and 2 months old. She has slept through every night ever since.
It's exhausting and gets into every aspect of your life and no one understands!
I wouldn't sleep train so just rode it out but it was the worst time of my life.

ImNotAFlower Sun 31-Jan-16 08:14:32

Gothe- in some ways it makes me feel better that I am not the only one.
Ems23- did your DD just sleep through one day?

We used controlled crying with our DD but she dealt with it really well. We tried one night with DS and his cast iron will meant he just screamed and screamed for 3 hours even when being held he had lost it that badly.

TheSteveMilliband Sun 31-Jan-16 08:18:36

May just be teething, but if habits a part of it then lifting him when asleep helped a bit for us- ds woke around 12 every night but picking him up at 11ish (in deep sleep), quick cuddle and back to bed (still asleep) seemed to disrupt routine, I guess he was probably woken slightly and situated his sleep architecture enough that habit of waking broken. I had nothing to lose anyway!

poocatcherchampion Sun 31-Jan-16 08:20:39

If he is just fussing can't you out ear plugs in and leave him to it?

Also why not take turns?

ImNotAFlower Sun 31-Jan-16 08:24:37

Poo- Because fussing turns into screaming if not intercepted
- Because I don't think sleeping with ear plugs with two small children in the house is particularly safe.
-We do take turns to get up not that that has any relevance. We are both disturbed when he wakes.

poocatcherchampion Sun 31-Jan-16 10:57:02

Iperhaps you should take turn of having one night on and one night off and then having ear plugs so you get good sleep?

I'm just offering suggestions, I don't have it perfect, I've got a 3yo good sleeper, 2yo poor sleeper and a 3mo old. I use ear plugs from time to time as parental sleep is not optional in this household. It means you can ignore the low level winging and only rouse for actual problems. The footfall of the 2yo will wake me even with them in. Or another trick many mums I know use is just one ear plug,so you can lift your head off the pillow and your good ear will hear.

Is the 18mo in their own room? Perhaps getting yourself a mattress in there might help - if it is reassurance they are looking for?

FATEdestiny Sun 31-Jan-16 11:45:32

Ear plus are very useful, I wouldn't knock then until you have tried. They don't block out cries but do dull down grumbling and fussing that don't need your attention. Also, as PP said, they help dull the urgency of the noise when it is your "night off" to get a bit more rest.

Does he have a comforter of some kind? Like a snuggle toy or similar. Is he bonded to it? I find having something to create that feeling of comfort and security in the night might help.

I can imagine the though process: Augh! I'm waking up and I am still tired, I want to go back to sleep. Where's Mum? Mum! Dad! Oh, rabbit is here. I love Rabbit. Snuggle, snuggle rabbit. Ah, that feels nice. Its OK, rabbit is here with me.

When you do go in and settle him, I would avoid picking him up. Just lie down, firm hand on chest and stay until he is back to sleep. I probably wouldn't even speak. I am not a fan of ignoring, but equally I don't seek to interact massively. Just that firm hand that said "I'm here with you until you go to sleep".

Get a comfy chair next to the cot for this. Then over time, reduce the reassurance needed, but stay there. So it might be firm hand on chest until settles, then remove hand and wait by the cot, returning hand immediately any fussing or stirring happens. Eventually less and less physical interaction will be needed. Jus in there, hand to say you are here, then wait by the cot.

Then go in, hand on chest, take a step away from cot and wait. Then in, firm hand, retreat to the doorway. Return quickly if stirring to settle with firm hand, but retreat back to doorway again. Eventually he will require less and less of your presence and reassurance until she needs none at all.

This is called Gradual Withdrawal. It isn't a quick fix and will need consistency between you and DH and consistency long term in the tiny changes to withdraw. But it will be a gentle way to get him needing you less in the night.

Needfinsnow Sun 31-Jan-16 11:54:29

Goodness,bless you, you must be knackered. I second FATEs advice, it worked beautifully for my dd and I and she is now almost 5 and still a brilliant sleeper. Other things I used for her as a side note in case you aren't and it might work...dd slept in a grobag up until 2.5 and was amazing for her, I also played white noise in her room which seemed to soothe her when she woke in the night. good luck OP xx

EMS23 Sun 31-Jan-16 13:23:40

Pretty much ImNotAFlower - nothing I can pinpoint particularly but she did show signs in the 2 weeks preceding it. Slept that bit longer, had a couple of nights without a bottle of milk and then suddenly, one night just slept through and carried on. I still don't take it for granted I'm that scarred by the whole experience!!!
It was the worst time of my life - I honestly believe it changed me.

But I still wouldn't have sleep trained her, I just don't agree with it (no judgment of those that do, it's just not for us) and I'm glad she got there in her own time.

ImNotAFlower Sun 31-Jan-16 18:27:23

Fate- thank you so much for your advice. The annoying thing is that I don't have to stay with him. It is a case of putting him the right way up. Retrieving his dog and walk out.
He doesn't seem to need or want us really, problem is though he then starts again 20 minutes later confused and round we go.

I appreciate that some people use ear plugs but I just couldn't do it. I wouldn't sleep for fear of missing something.

My husband is fantastic and more than happy to do his share and more but he works full time and needs sleep as much as if not more than I do.

I think tonight I am going to try lifting him earlier to see if that helps.

Just wait until he is a teenager, he isn't going to know what hit him between 12pm and. 6am wink

thanksto all in the same boat

DuchessOfWeaseltown Sun 31-Jan-16 19:45:22

OP this is bashed out but couldn't read and run as my DD was v like this (she is now 3)

'sleep training' helped a lot but we did the v gentle kind, gradual retreat, I don't know if you've tried this soryr if so!! Haven't time to rtft though I know it's only short!! It stopped a lot of the shuffling-type 'wakings' at least. In fact it stopped all but one wake-up a night, the trouble we then had was that it still took her 90 mins to 2 hours to go back to sleep...

We co-slept (and still do...) from the first major night waking onwards. So if just shuffling, I was able to ignore, but once I heard her wake properly I would go in, grab her and bring her into bed with me (not slept with DH in a long time which isn't ideal but I GET SLEEP and that helps my sanity and therefore our marriage!!!) For a long time she still had a tendency to stay awake for long periods (90 mins ish) but that got better and now she only wakes for about 1 min and is asleep pretty much by the time I have her into bed with me.

I KNOW long-term co-sleeping for a big chunk of the night is not for everyone but it was the only solution for us. DD also v strong-willed and v alert and found settling back to sleep v hard on her own. What am I saying?? IMpossible!!! I just got sick to the back teeth of spending all those hours sitting next to her bed in a freezing dark room willing her to go back to sleep. Hoiking her into bed with me changed my life.

Other than that...? Brown/white noise? The dreaded dummy? (hate them in principle but again another sanity-saver for us but DD ahd hers from the word go, not sure it's something you can/want to introduce at this stage?)

But yeah, to sum up, a combo of gradual retreat (which took about 6 weeks at 15 months old but was SOOOOO worth it from turning her into a catatstrophically bad sleeper into a decent one) and then getting her into bed in middle of night... Sorry this is very bashed-out but hope it makes sense and/or helps.

It's grim, I know, I still feel panicked/miserable thinking about all those nights.. If it helps at all she is now 3 and sleeps 12 hours a night with a 1 min wake-up during which time I stagger to her room, pick her up, plonk her into bed with me and drop off again 1 min later myself. We are all getting proper sleep and it is compartive BLISS. We will tackle the middle of the night wake up if we have to, when I feel able to cope with broken nights of sleep again - which may be some time tbh...

flowers for you and good luck!!

ImNotAFlower Sun 31-Jan-16 21:43:13

Duchess- thank you so much for taking the time to write all that!

I wish he would bloody co-sleep but that is like a red rag to a bull. He turns into a mini version of the Hulk fighting, screaming "no no no no bad mummy" was a personal favourite hmm

The odd thing is he isn't awake for long at all, maybe 5 minutes very macimum, it is just a million times a night!!! (Sleep deprived exaggeration)

He rejected his dummy when he was about a year old (damn it).

I'm considering a sledge hammer grin

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