help with DD's bed time routine- am I alone in this?(25 Posts)
My DD is 14 months old and since she hit the 12 month mark, her bedtime has been erratic, in fact- her whole routine is erratic.
She is still breastfed and usually feeds to sleep, I realise i have made 'a rod for my own back' maybe here, but I don't mind her falling asleep in my arms.
However- since she was born, she has fought sleep, especially on the nights, and its worse than ever now. We do EVERYTHING to try and keep her routine but it just doesn't happen. We have tried the following:
She has her tea around 5 and sits for an hour or so with it.
She then has a bath around 6.15 and has a good play in there for 20- 30 mins.
Then we dry her and get her into her pyjamas in a low light room and we keep our voices soft (usually she is quite hyper at this time)
We then take her down stairs and play some quiet games with her, but by this time she starts to get quite frantic and tantrums with her toys. So we try to start rocking/ shushing and I might offer her a breastfeed.
Then we start the looooong drawn out cycle of her just about to drop off, then waking herself up by thrashing around and so I put her down to play a bit more, then she starts crying, so we pick her up again- and repeat..she hits, kicks, thrashes..ALL.NIGHT.LONG.
She is still up now and she hasn't gone to bed before ten all week.
I realise Christmas and her daddy being off work will have messed her schedule up a bit, but the sheer amount of energy she finds from fucking SOMEWHERE at bed time is astonishing.
I should add that we suspect she is teething at the moment, but this has been going on for two months now and she hasn't been teething for two months straight!
Can anyone offer any advice because its seriously getting me and dh down- he comes home from work and we are both so tired after an evening with her that we both just go to bed without saying a word to each other.
I just want her to fall asleep at a reasonable time! Everyone else's baby seems to be in a pretty good routine and I don't know if I've made a huge mistake somewhere along the line!
you need to start putting her in a bed/cot to fall asleep. i used to do similiar with dd and it turned out it was no longer comfy for her to fall asleep in arms.
does she nap? what time does she get up?
Maybe when she wakes herself by thrashing around you need to leave her to settle again? Hoiking her out of bed and taking her off to play more games must be wearing her out completely - have you tried just reassuring/offering a quick cuddle the first time she wakes but leaving her in bed, then leaving her to settle down again? She won't necessarily go straight to sleep - DS used to chat to himself before sleeping but it's kind of like giving them some time to process their day before letting their brain /body realise it's time to sleep.
No perfect answers, but much sympathy. My nearly-2-year-old can be similar. She was bf to sleep until October, and we've managed to move on from there to her falling asleep either in her cot or in the bed in her room with one of us there, but some nights she just won't go to sleep (normally if we want to go out and leave her with a babysitter!).
Some thoughts: how late is her last nap? We find if dd is awake from nap by 2:30, she tends to go to sleep better at bedtime.
Have you though about giving calpol for the teething? We do this when she seems particularly bad and I think it helps her fall asleep.
Why do you take her downstairs again? Would reading stories/singing nursery rhymes in her bedroom work better?
Hope you manage to crack it soon, it can be so exhausting spending all your evening trying to get them to sleep.
If bathtime is the start of your bedtime routine you shouldn't be playing with her afterwards. You're stimulating her even further and she's getting over tired.
Just from reading your post I was going to suggest that once DD goes upstairs for bath time she stays upstairs - rather than bringing her back downstairs for her feed and more playtime which gives a confusing message. Dim lights, soft music and a final feed before bed.
It might mean a few long nights of one of you being in her room with her whilst she settles but eventually the message should be that bedtime means bedtime.
I found the 'No cry sleep solution' really helpful.
Her dinner time is too long. Cut it down to half an hour and then have playtime. She can't be eating for an hour so she's obviously either not hungry, has too much or she's getting bored and playing with it.
Then bath time 6.15pm or 6.30pm and let her play and then wash. Try a little robot bath bomb from Lush.
Then straight into bedroom, put some lavender drops on a hankie or cloth inside her pillow or under her sheet. Dry, dress and feed. Then storytime and leave her to sleep.
It sounds like you are both knackered so you may have to persevere but you need to cut out all play time after 6pm or so. At the moment you are sending mixed messages. Quiet time after bath, then play time, then sleep time, then play time if she won't settle. She will settle into a routine pretty quickly but be aware that as day time naps change so will her night time routine.
What happens if you leave her to cry? My DD was a nightmare to get to sleep, then one night, when she was 10 months old, I decided to try some 'controlled crying'. I settled her in bed, walked away and stood outside her room for 1 minute. Then, I went back in, didn't pick her up, but soothed her and told her it was time to go to sleep. I went back outside, again meaning to wait another minute, but she fell asleep before I could go back in. I couldn't believe it. It normally took over an hour! Might be worth try - although I might have just been lucky!
Your making life way too interesting. Why should she sleep when she can play.
I'd do bath, pj's in low light bedroom, stay in room for feed and then pop into bed. If she awake try story or we had quite good success with with light thing that shines on ceiling. Then I'd give a kiss and leave her to it for 5/10 mins.
I discovered one night when at the end of my tether that my dc needed to thrash and tired wail for 5 mins before dozing off - I'd gone to bathrokm for a cry!
Weirdly shushing and rocking made him even more frantic too.
I also found sleeping bag with blanket firmly tucked under mattress stopped leg thrashing
Some good advice here. Yes you need to shorten dinner, once you go for bath that is start of bedtime routine as others have said so quiet time and stories only before bed and all in her room.
What is the rest of the day like? Is she getting enough exercise/ stimulation and daytime naps? ( ideally 1 short nap /catnap in stroller + 1 long nap 2hrs ish in cot)
Bedtime routines need to wind down not up. She sounds overtures to me - ds2 would get like this - more and more hyper and sleep resistant when over tired. Suggest you change the end of the day to dinner, bath with playing, into bedroom for cuddle/milk/ story then into cot. If it upsets her to be left then you could sit with her but be super boring - shush, shush, time to sleep. Gentle pat, no eye contact, no engaging. Certainly no going back downstairs or play.
Have you tried missing the bath. My boy is always hyper after a bath so we do them in the day. Then perhaps bedtime can be a little earlier?
Why are you taking her downstairs to play? Keep after bathtime upstairs in the low lit room.
Think about really clear cues for sleep, so cut out the toys / downstairs (cue for getting up and play time) and add cues for sleep:
a particular bedtime song (sing it, or a CD - singing is better as you can use it when you go on holiday)
Particular snuggly toy (same one, keep it in the cot, don't associate it with going out)
Sit and read a story, but calmly without big drama or exciting sound effects.
After the story / last breastfeed dim the light further, put her in the cot, dim cuddle and say goodnight, and leave (even if you are going to come back if / when she cries)
Be very boring. No stimulation. have a phrase that you repeat like "sleepy time now" and don't vary it or invite a response. No laughing or playing.
Although you don't want to leave her crying for hours, give her time to settle herself. (a minute, 90 seconds, something like that. Time it - longer than you think.) Come in at intervals and say "sleepy time" or whatever your phrase is, cuddle her, and keep leaving her in the cot.
You might do this for hours one night and find she goes to sleep on the first "good night" the next night. Keep trying. Don't be remotely tempted to entertain her or cheer her up. absolutely neutral comfort in a very low key register is the most she is going to get from you.
Yes I agree with previous posters. You may be confusing her or winding her back up again.
Low light room and calm voices, then downstairs to brighter lights and games which stimulate her brain again? Do you then take her upstairs to feed and try to settle or feed downstairs, then try and transfer up to bed??
She may be getting over tired, but she also knows if she wakes up and doesnt settle she gets to play more, but then is more tired, and the cycle repeats.
Personally my DD rarely has a bath before bed as she loves it so much, it wakes her up rather than relaxes her into sleep. As you say she's quite hyper at this time, could your DD be similar?
Could you do bath time earlier? I would also shorten dinner time, 30mins at most, or taken away when she starts to play with it.... then with bedtime routine, whether it's after bath or not, upstairs, quiet calm room, dressed ready for bed, book/songs, just cuddles and soothing talking to her, winding her down for the night, then feed and into bed.
Whether you want to continue rocking or feeding to sleep if she is unsettled, or wakes, is up to you... or if you want to try controlled crying or another method to get her to sleep in her bed/cot, but settled and "bed time means bedtime, even if you protest, no more playing" is what it sounds like is necessary.
Once you do bath time, I wouldn't come downstairs again. By letting her play games you are stimulating her again. I would bath, get ready for bed following a little massage, feed and then into bed and leave the room. If she cries, go back in, lay her down, leave. Repeat. You don't have to leave her to cry, I went in every couple of minutes. Don't have a chat with her, just lay her down, say night night and leave.
absolutely fantastic replies thank you so much!
Shes only just gone down now, so going to discuss with hubby what we should do.
She was drowsy when she got out of the bath actually, you are right I should be staying in the room with her and attempting to get her to sleep, I actually did that one night last week after me and dh were just too tired to spend all night downstairs with her, it took about 1.5 hours of pacing, shushing, patting, feeding and singing till she finally gave in and realised she wasn't going back downstairs- but she did go to bed much earlier.
She naps very well during the day, some might say a little too well actually- in fact she slept for two hours this afternoon and only woke up at 6 and had her tea, this is not usually so she is seriously all over the place at the moment
I agree with pp wo said she may not be comfortable falling asleep in my arms anymore (although she does cry for me) tonight she has thrashed around like she had tummy ache and I think us cradling her might not have helped..
But she sleeps in a big cot bed that is attached to our bed (like a big co sleeper cot) still in our room. Once she is asleep, she stays asleep for good- no matter what time it is, she sleeps through and has always been good for that, its just getting her to sleep thats the problem.
If I put her down in her cot, she would instantly just roll over, crawl out and just protest going to sleep. Maybe its time we put her cot up properly.
At 14 months since you're having these issues I'd put her in a proper cot in her own room (or if she has to be in your room fair enough but then you have to stay out of your room til she settles). I'd put her down awake and leave the room, but you might have to build up to this with some sort of sleep training.
Like people said, no playing after bath time. Probably need to look at her naps and figure out what's going on there. My DS dropped to one nap early at about 12 months so by 14 months our routine was roughly up at 7. Nap 12.30-2.30/3 and then bed at 7. Bedtime was earlier if he didn't nap well, and transitioning from 2 to 1 naps was a pain.
I know if my DH or guests etc winds DS (18m) up before bed he takes longer to fall asleep.
I hope no one minds me bumping this thread but had to update.
The last three nights have been utterly heavenly (dd is asleep right now..at 7pm!!) we followed the advice from this thread, sorted her day time naps out, gave her tea earlier then let her play afterwards til 6-6.15, then bath, book, breastfeed, BED! No playing downstairs, no tv while she's calming down.
I can't believe the difference in her, she's so much calmer and happier during the day and me and dh no longer feel out of our depth at bed time. We are even getting on so much better.
Well done OP. I was coming on to say the same as everyone else but looks like you have cracked it!
Glad it's sorted OP. I was about to comment that your bedtime routine was a bit bonkers in that you were taking her downstairs after a bath to play! Madness that way lies!
Woohoo! Glad it's worked and you, your DH and your DD are all happier now.
You get your evenings back to yourself!
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