17mo very regularly waking 2-3 times - common/normal??

(27 Posts)
redundant Mon 07-Jan-13 12:00:31

hello

My 17 mo is under paediatric care as he has been quite challenging (extreme "tantrums" for want of a better word, doesn't eat well, not thriving). He has improved lots in certain areas of his life, but sleep is not one of them. I have lost sight of what's normal and would be really grateful for others perspectives.

Looking at my diary, from 14 Nov to today he has slept through 11 times (am counting getting up anything after 6am as sleeping through). The other nights he wakes anything from once to 4/5 times, generally screaming rather than crying. Does that sound awful or ok to you?

I have wondered if it is a really extreme reaction to teething (no teeth arrived since diary started though) - we generally calpol him in the night to be safe, give him a drink of water and put him back down.

It has been going on so long (he had a spell of sleeping through till 5/5.30 ish when he was about 1yo) that I have no idea if I should be saying to the doctor that this is a problem/not normal or whether I just need to keep on going. We're all exhausted, obviously, but its been going on so long we are somehow managing!

thanks all x

DomesticGoddess31 Mon 07-Jan-13 20:26:00

Sounds normal to me but then maybe I'm so sleep deprived I've lost my grip grin See my post re putting 18mth old in big bed. I'm clutching at straws as we're desperate for our DD to sleep better. No advice but you're not alone!

birdofthenorth Mon 07-Jan-13 20:28:54

Is there any such thing as normal when it comes to infant sleep?! 4-5 times sounds like a nightmare but once or twice for a baby that age is pretty typical of my own and friends/ family experience. If only they all slept through from a few months!

PoppyWearer Mon 07-Jan-13 20:32:52

My 16mo has slept through <counts> um, once. Just the once.

I felt jet-lagged the whole following day.

He still wakes twice a night, primarily because we pander to his demands for milk and cuddles. But it becomes a vicious cycle and you the habit becomes ingrained, doesn't it?

We went cold turkey with the nighttime milks with our DC1 at 2yo and she started sleeping much better then.

I don't think there is any such thing as "normal" based on my two!

redundant Mon 07-Jan-13 21:56:40

thanks guys. So sorry some of you are going through similar! But it makes me feel slightly less alone, so thanks.

I don't know anyone at all in real life that has had a bad sleeper like this, so have nothing to compare to. It is awful really - affecting his sibling and our social lives, jobs etc, but we are plodding on through because I suppose we don't have any other option! If I could understand why he's waking I might be able to do something about it, but I don't! thanks.

DomesticGoddess31 Tue 08-Jan-13 11:41:57

I bet you do know people in real life. In my experience people are often not honest about their DC's sleep habits as perhaps they feel they are failing somehow and don't wish to broadcast their shortcomings. I bore tell anyone who'll listen so a few of my friends have confessed in the past. People with grown up kids sometimes are more inclined to confess as its all in the past for them iykwim. I do know what you mean though, If I'm having a bad day I often feel very alone and a bit hard done by if I'm honest. That said my DD is an absolute delight when she's happy and rested and that more than makes up for it all. I often tell her how lucky it is she's so darn cute smile

Emsmaman Tue 08-Jan-13 11:44:39

DD 21 mo still wakes during the night. Frequently. Has slept through (by which I mean 8-10 hrs) less than 10 times in her life. No SN or developmental problems which I'm aware of, just a very poor self settler. And always wakes up screaming, except for when she's up for the day in the morning where she wakes up chatting and only screams if we don't go in quick enough (anytime from 5am).

DomesticGoddess31 Tue 08-Jan-13 11:48:21

Oh I should add as it may be useful for you....I'm going to try putting my DD in a big bed this week and see if it helps. I'll report back if its of use to you? My thinking is maybe she needs more space to be comfy as she's a bit of a roller. Also, my DD has always struggled with teething and developmental milestones more than other babies in her peer group. Her dad was the same as a baby and still finds it hard to sleep so I'm fairly convinced she's just made this way. Nothing we can do will completely solve the problem. I think??? Maybe we just need to make our peace with it, embrace caffeine and just plough through. It won't be forever, right? <lets out a little sob>

DomesticGoddess31 Tue 08-Jan-13 11:52:00

Ah there you go, Emsmaman considers 8-10 hrs as sleeping through. That would mean a 2am wake up for my DD. I have a different view on what sleeping through means. Thats not to say she's wrong, but just shows that other people you know may not have it quite as good as you think!

ComfortablyCurvy Tue 08-Jan-13 11:54:28

Did I read right that you give your ds calpol every night? You shouldn't be giving it every night unless you know he needs it.

Could he be hungry? We give our 18 mo supper before bed. Usually a bit of rice pudding or a tea cake or crumpet.

Does he go to bed ok?is it just the self settling that he struggles with?

Does he have a teddy or blankie or comforter? If not maybe try introducing one? My boys won't sleep without theirs.

And my 18 mo has only been sleeping through for about 3 months. An he still wakes on the odd night.

Does your lo nap in bed in the day? Our ds2 used to sleep in the buggy in the day (coincidence as we were on the school run). But when we started to out him in his bed for his daytime nap he started to sleep better at night.

Is he getting enough fresh air and opportunity to burn off his energy during the day?

But tbh it is normal for kids this age to still be waking. And by normal I mean common!

Emsmaman Tue 08-Jan-13 11:55:40

Domesticgoddess good luck. I think I will keep my DD in a cot as long as humanly possible though as I'm certain she will come into our room all the time once she can.

One of the tips for toddlers in the NCSS is to make a little "bed" next to your own with cushions etc and explain that if they wake in the night they can go there. Am thinking we will try that when we finally give in to changing over to a bed. It's gotta be an improvement on having a starfish shaped toddler taking over our bed from 1/2am onwards like it is at the moment. Am also confused about the reason for wakings as even when cosleeping DD wakes crying, and she is literally in my arms so shouldn't be because she's scared? Other problem we had over christmas was looong night wakings, 2 hours plus. Not realy sure how to deal with that, whether we get her out the cot or not it goes on and on, have found DH asleep on the floor of her room before with hand through the cot rails!

ComfortablyCurvy Tue 08-Jan-13 11:56:55

Just re read my previous post-didn't mean to sound like an inquisition smile
Just maybe some things to consider.

Emsmaman Tue 08-Jan-13 11:59:24

Domesticgoddess I have long given up hope for a 12 hour sleep from DD. I find when she sleeps solidly she needs less sleep and can be completely refreshed on 8 hours, it must be such a change to her system to have slept so deeply/restfully! I am delighted if she wakes up at 5am, if she's slept through from 11pm or earlier, as it has given me a decent chunk of sleep. My expectations are very poor these days though!

redundant Tue 08-Jan-13 13:49:53

ah thanks all. CC - no don't worry at all - any ideas welcome! Yes agree with you re the Calpol - we are trying to be better at that but so often he screams as though he's in pain and I don't feel I can leave him to cry unless that's ruled out (and leaving him to cry is sometimes the only option as he's often worse - thrashing and throwing himself around - when picked up or brought in our room) Paediatrician agrees we should be trying to reduce use of it.

Not hungry I don't think, although he's never been a good eater tbh. Has a comforter which he loves. Very good at self settling when first put to bed, so he does know how to do it.

Still haven't ruled out something physical underlying as he can be very difficult during the day sometimes too, but then sometimes he's delightful, so I am coming round to thinking it's just his temperament and the way he's made.

Emsmaman - thanks for sharing - interesting your DD also wakes screaming. My DS does this even when getting up in the morning, very rarely babbles.

DG - I am also boring anyone that will listen of my nighttime woes!

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and support, will keep you posted and hope we all get a half decent nights sleep soon x

DomesticGoddess31 Tue 08-Jan-13 18:32:27

We had the looooong night wakings too over Christmas, anything from 1 to 3 hours. She'd stop screaming if we brought her in our bed but would still roll around for eternity not able to sleep. A tooth emerged on Christmas day so could have been that, or could be developmental. She sure is ramping up her speech at the moment.

DW123 Tue 08-Jan-13 19:27:08

Hello - DT2 is 20 months and wakes 2-3 times a night screaming, either in cot or in our bed. He will normally go back to sleep after feeding. If I don't feed him he will carry on screaming even if he is held. If I'm not around DH/babysitter gets him up to watch TV as that stops the screaming and he eventually drifts off.

During the day he can be delightful bit is very clingy and will scream if not picked up.

I think that's just him as no symptons are consistent with anything I have read/googled at 3am...

I have given up talking to people about it. They look horrified and say we shouldn't feed him and should do CIO/ignore him. I can only say they haven't heard him scream...

Good luck - hope you get some answers soon.

scrivette Tue 08-Jan-13 19:30:54

My 18 month old often wakes up screaming. He has slept through about 6 times in his life. He often wakes at 2 and won't go back to sleep for an hour or so. He is currently screaming in his cot whilst I am siting next to him trying to get him to sleep. So no words of wisdom but you are not alone!

Slipsliding Tue 08-Jan-13 19:37:28

Hi redundant. Your ds sounds like my 21 mo, who wakes 3-4 x a night and always screaming. He also goes crazy if we bring him into bed with us (alas, as we'd love to co sleep). Sometimes he seems in pain (rather than just furious) and we think its to do with his dairy allergy, which he's had since birth as well as reflux. Sometimes we are a bit lax with allowing him a wee bit of dairy and then we think he has tummy ache. I just wondered whether you had considered an allergy as an underlying cause of his temper?
Btw he's goregous during the day usually but can be a nightmare if he's uncomfortable with allergy

Slipsliding Tue 08-Jan-13 19:41:26

DW123 so pleased we are not the only ones with a real screamer. People just don't believe us and think we are wimps but they haven't heard ds scream!

redundant Wed 09-Jan-13 12:13:29

Hi Slipsliding - that is so interesting, thanks for posting. Have considered an allergy or intolerance so going to ask about that at next docs appt. Was your son tested or did you have to just eliminate things from his diet? The thought of cutting out wheat or dairy fills me with dread as he exists on a diet of garlic bread and yogurt! (I'm exaggerating, but he's not a good eater!)
He also had reflux as a baby and was on gaviscon and domperidone (Dom perignon as my husband calls it).

Hoping everyone else on here had a good/ok night last night, thanks all

redundant Wed 09-Jan-13 12:17:42

dw123 - poor you. Before I had our son I would have been one of those people telling you to leave him, do CC etc because I never experienced anything remotely like this with my daughter - she slept brilliantly from the word go (and I was probably horribly smug about it). Have DS has opened my eyes and taught me I was just lucky first time round!

Your son sounds a bit like mine, so I will keep you posted as to how we get on x

Slipsliding Wed 09-Jan-13 19:01:17

Hi redundant. Ds was referred to paed at 6 weeks old as screamed constantly and had developed rash all over. She diagnosed reflux and, at the same time, I gave up dairy (bf), which made an enormous difference. Ds is under dietician and they have diagnosed on symptoms, which were rash, reflux, explosive (and I mean projectile) poos, mucusy poos and lots of discomfort (ie screaming). Every so often we challenge and give him dairy and then watch for symptoms. Generally the rash appears and he becomes clingy, difficult and cries a lot. Hth

onelittlemonkey Wed 09-Jan-13 19:10:04

how relieving to see everyone here...thought I was the only one as DG you're right no-one owns up to it... DS 20mo wakes once, usually back to sleep after milk and I thought I was hard done by. A year ago I weaned him off the night-time feed by gradually making the formula weaker and weaker...worked a treat til we went on holiday and then he started waking again.

The thing is, I know milk sorts him out but HV says I already give him too much so every night feed feels like I'm giving in. Maybe I should just think myself lucky that it's only once and that milk is the answer and put up with it...

Hope everyone gets an ok night's sleep...

SunshineOutdoors Wed 09-Jan-13 19:19:01

It's refreshing to read this thread. I'm sure no one in rl is honest when you ask them. Dd's not a particularly bad sleeper but when I talk to rl mums it seems like everyone else's sleep 7pm while 8 or 9am, which can't be true. 6.30's a good lie in for us, with wake ups in the night not unusual.

Fwiw I think there's so much variation in little one's sleep patterns, it's just a bugger if you end up needing more sleep than you manage to get smile

Tertius Wed 09-Jan-13 20:22:44

My 17 month old is fairly rubbish too. Teething, illness etc don't help. She wakes every night at least once.

wanderingalbatross Wed 09-Jan-13 20:37:57

Another one whose (19mo) wakes regularly in the night smile She doesn't very often sleep through, and when she does it's inevitably on a night when I didn't sleep well for some reason or another!!

We normally start off the night in separate rooms, but co-sleep when she wakes the first time as she settles fairly quickly in our bed, and neither I nor DH can face waking up properly to settle her any other way. I think she just wakes up confused and wants a bit of reassurance. On some occasions she won't settle and it's normally because she's hungry, so she gets a simple snack and a drink of water.

DW123 Thu 10-Jan-13 13:50:30

Redundant and slipsliding - thank you for your messages. It's actually getting better so there is hope! When he was about 9 months old he woke every 90 mins- 2 hours, then it went to 3-4 times a night and now it's 2-3 times. Last night he woke at 11 and 5 (don't expect to happen again - just saying). The nighttime screaming is slightly less intense although he is more clingy during the day (but has been very ill). The comforting thing for me is that I know it's nothing I am doing wrong as his brother sleeps ok (at the moment and just saying again). Hoping both of you get some better nights soon - and daytime stuff works out for redundant.

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