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to ask what to do when my son won't settle to sleep?

(21 Posts)
cjt110 Thu 19-May-16 12:45:47

DS, 21m, has had times recently where has hasn't gone down at his usual bedtime of 7pm and instead, has gone down at day 730. Thats fine. But lately, it's getting harder and harder. Over the weekend gone, he was up til 9 on 2 of the nights. Last night he didn't go down until 1040. It appears to all be because of teething but I don't know what's for the best. If we leave him in bed, he cries and cries - nut just winghing but full on sobs with tears. If we get him up he settles and starts playing with his toys. I don't want to make a rod for my own back where he learns if he cries, he gets to get up and play but it's soul destroying to leave him sobbing his heart out.

I am so stuck as to what to do. My brain says he must learn that bedtime is bedtime and not play. My heart says I don't want him to get upset. My head says he's only getting upset because he's not getting his own way. My heart says stop being such a mean mum.... and it goes on!

I really don't know whats for the best. If anyone can help, I'd be really grateful x

Littlepeople12345 Thu 19-May-16 12:54:00

Get him up for a cuddle! I say that as I'm sitting here yawning from have no sleep due to be co sleeping with dc2 & 3 who are 16 months and nearly 2&1/2 grin. If I could go back about a year is try controlled crying. Actually I probably wouldn't.

TormundGiantsbabe Thu 19-May-16 12:55:46

How is his sleep during the day?

CurlyBlueberry Thu 19-May-16 12:58:01

Mine have both gone through phases of this at around a similar time. In my experience it passes. We just let them stay up - they still had to get up the next day and it seemed like for those few months they just needed less sleep, or sometimes they'd sleep at 8pm one night and midnight the next. Annoying but once the phase passes they go back to regular bedtimes - my 3yo hasn't done this in well over a year now and goes to sleep at a regular bedtime. Letting them stay up didn't make any rods and you know, actually some of my best memories are from those times. My two were usually quite cheerful, not grumpy, and it was actually quite nice to play with them.

Cheby Thu 19-May-16 13:09:40

If he's teething then he's in pain? So leaving him to cry is pretty unpleasant.

When DD has gone through stages of crap bedtimes/sleep, I've always stayed with her. Lights stay low. We might read a few more stories, I might climb in bed with her or let her come into my bed but unless it's a very unusual situation (eg properly unwell or vey late nap etc) then I don't get her up to play iyswim. We keep to bedtime quiet activities and we don't leave the bedroom. But I don't leave her to cry, especially if she were teething.

Also, if your DS is being kept awake by teething pain; have you tried calpol?

cjt110 Thu 19-May-16 14:10:57

Last night he had had calpol, ibuprofen and also anbesol. Nothing was soothing him and trying to do bedroom quite activities just wasn't happening. He just stood crying in his cot wanting to get out. He would sit for a minute or two quietly then set about playing with his toys etc.

I tried a few times throughout the night to take hi m back to bed and each time he would end up fit to burst with tears and upset. I can't ignore him but he also seems to know if he cries long enough, he will get allowed to get up.

In the end I got the tablet out, shoved the tablet in between his matress and cot bars against the wall and put ITNG on. He sat up watching it and I could hear him babbling and laughing. Then he decided to play with it, and shouted "Oh no!" when he turned it off. In the end at 1040, I put it in his cot, between the matress and cot bars with no volume and dimmed brightness. He was asleep within minutes.

cjt110 Thu 19-May-16 14:13:34

A colleague says to just leave him to cry otherwise he won't learn how to fall asleep on his own. He's 21m. He's pretty much had a bedtime routine since 6 weeks old. So he knows how to fall asleep on his own. I don't mind the occassional late nights and as a PP has said, some of those nights where he hasn't gone down til say 8, have been lovely. But this is starting to become more frequent and I don't want it to become habit. Surely by letting him get up, it's creating a habit? Or is that just what "they" whoever they are say and it's a load of tosh?

He has never co-slept bar the odd one or two nights as a baby when we couldn't settle him so that's not an option. We have tried to have him in our bed more recently and he won't.

EponasWildDaughter Thu 19-May-16 14:23:36

he also seems to know if he cries long enough, he will get allowed to get up.

Yup grin

If you think a child is ill or in pain at all then that assumption has to take a back seat of course. I think giving meds, cuddles, and back to bed is the way to go even so. Over and over and over and over if necessary. Monitoring them each time, working out is this fussing or is this genuine upset? Then back to bed!

Once you do something with a toddler once they will look for it again and again if it was more fun than the usual routine. So if you're not going to do it all the time then it's best avoided. (Unless they're ragingly poorly of course, then i'd go all out. Downstairs all evening, sleeping in with us, ect.)

Therefore for night/late evening waking I try to give comfort, stop the crying, solve the problem, and pop them back to bed. Once there isn't a real problem there's not a lot of point in calling me up there. They'll just get the cuddle and be put back to bed <boring>.

<fingers crossed>

EponasWildDaughter Thu 19-May-16 14:25:03

Re read my post and I feel like i made no sense at all there grin

cjt110 Thu 19-May-16 14:28:12

Eponas Makes pefek sense grin I know he was/is teething but he'd had so much pain relief, he should have been flying! He had milk in with him, his dummy, his teddy etc so no actual need to be with us. I say this as he wasn't all that interested in us when he did get up with us.

Hoping it's just a blip. He is very clever and I know he is starting to suss it out but at the same time, I can't deal with the sobbing and screaming we get. Whats worse, his room is off our lounge so he can hear us clearer than if he was say upstairs.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 19-May-16 14:30:43

A colleague says to just leave him to cry otherwise he won't learn how to fall asleep on his own. I think children who are left in pain to cry learn something. But it's not how to fall asleep on their own.

DD got attention but never anything 'fun'. A tablet with ITNG would have been baby crack to her so that couldn't happen in this house. I would never have slept again. grin

Basically all bets are off when they are sick or in pain, back to routine when they feel better.

Vikkijayne2507 Thu 19-May-16 14:32:33

I won't let ds get that upset whinging is very different to full on sobs. I will not take him out of his room, gentle talking but generally shhing a bit of s cuddle to relax him then back down and repeat. I often leave the room saying night night ( he's still in cot at 2 years 2 months ) for as long as he doesn't get really upset. He knows if he really needs me I'll come but whinging and babbling won't get him anywhere, if he's ill or in pain then I would definitely not leave him and do whatever it took to help him

cjt110 Thu 19-May-16 14:36:40

Would it be worth trying a slight later bedtime than 7pm for him? say 730, or even 8? Routine is out the window in some ways today and tomorrow as we have a guest who is flying from Canada to see him so he may be up a bit later anyway. We go away on our hols in 4 weeks and I'd like to actually get some sleep before his routine is thrown out the window again! grin

MrsTerry Oh, believe me it, was my last resort. We had already sat in silence, in the dark with no tv etc on and he still wasn't finding it tiring or boring.

Vikkijayne2507 Tried the whole touching, shushing etc and cuddling. It's like trying to wrestle with a pissed off gorilla who is screaming at you sad

I would lay him down and he would instantly start crying. I'd say to him "It's bedtime now. Sleep tight" and leave the room but it would go on and on and after say 5 minutes I'd try again and get nowhere.

I don't think I could do CIO. I know some people swear by it but it's too distressing for me, let alone my son.

Onlyicanclean10 Thu 19-May-16 14:37:50

Op cc saved my sanity with ds 1 at a similar age to your ds. It was tough but took 2 determined nights and then bliss.

Go to him, smooth, don't pick up if poss, leave. Keep it up and he will get that it's night time and not play time. He doesn't care you need sleep and down tine he's a kid.

Did same with all my other 3.

They are all now exceptional wonderful adults.

Onlyicanclean10 Thu 19-May-16 14:39:33

Cc is distressing for you but trust me your son will benefit in the end to have a rested happy mummy.

Your choice though. smile

CurlyBlueberry Thu 19-May-16 14:40:08

Well as I say I let both of mine stay up when they really weren't tired and didn't want to be in bed, and once the blip passed they went happily back to their normal routine, it didn't break them. Each to their own, but personally if I was feeling less sleepy one night I would want to be able to get up and read or something, not just lie awake in bed getting upset. So I figure they felt the same way. Putting them back to bed just resulted in more upset; actually we coslept so I tried getting in bed with them, but they weren't tired so just got out of the bed and wanted to play. They didn't want me, they were just awake and bored!

cjt110 Thu 19-May-16 14:42:57

They didn't want me, they were just awake and bored! Yes! This appears to be the thing. Some nights he will literally run into his room and try to climb into his cot and be asleep within minutes. Sometimes I have to go in once or so to say, no, time to sleep and lay him down. Then there's last night....

EponasWildDaughter Thu 19-May-16 14:51:44

Is his room nice and dark? I know it's hard at this time of year but you can get black out lining for curtains and peg the edges together for maximum gloom grin

I think the fact he can hear you all in the next room is a bit of a problem to get past at this age as they want to join in with everyone now. Not a tiny baby any more. However - if you can stick to your guns and teach him that even if he can hear your noises it doesn't mean he gets to get up then he will learn.

I have teens who forget to creep about upstairs and i hear them set the baby monitor off with their noise! Throwing their shoes about and - the cheek of it - laughing together! Grrrrr. wink Sometimes it wakes DD4 (27m), sometimes she'll call one of their names, but she just babbles for a while then and then goes off to sleep again.

I think doing a later bedtime for a while could help get through this patch. Babies can't tell the time - you can gradually pull back to the usual routine once this stage is over.

SkafaceClaw Fri 20-May-16 11:25:55

We are going through the exact same thing as you!

We tried letting him cry and comforting him as the HV suggested but now leave his door open and sit in the hallway so that he knows we are there. He cries as soon as he gets in the cot but relaxes when he sees us. He goes down in 20 mins if we pretend to sleep.

I think it is a combination of teeth and the fact that they are developing an imagination and there is a big wide world around them.

We don't plan on doing this forever but was relieved last night when he woke up and self settled. I'm sure it will just be a phase.

Poor things - can't be nice!

SkafaceClaw Fri 20-May-16 11:29:24

*That's at 7pm - his regular bedtime by the way.

Just realised I didn't say that he had been a fab sleeper up until two weeks ago.

startrek90 Fri 20-May-16 12:14:28

We have little one the same age and he is doing the same. We put bedtime back and are gradually returning to normal. Another thing I tried is watching when and how long he naps. Mine was staying up late and refusing naps before crashing down at 3/4pm and sleeping 4 hours. No he goes down 1pm and sleeps an hour or so. It helps with bring bedtime back to 7:30.

I also do ( I am not sure that this is cc or cio) leave him when I know he is fed, clean, medicated etc... He rarely cries longer than 5 mins now. If he cries longer I check on him, especially if he sounds really distressed, but usually as soon as I walk in he stands up smiles and says hi! I know then that he just wants out to play. I cuddle and do bedtime again.

Good luck! Both my mum and MiL said that it was normal and that you just have to get through it.

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