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Need some help please. New baby, now DD 2.5 won't sleep (long)

(2 Posts)
Primafacie Tue 19-Jul-11 12:50:33

I wonder if anyone can advise on how to deal with this? Our DS was born almost 12 weeks ago. He was 6 weeks early and we had three stints of a few nights each in the hospital (all better now, just mentioning it as part of the background). DD was, and still is, thrilled to have a baby brother. She's even tried to breastfeed him, bless her. However, she has in the last three weeks (ie not when the baby arrived but much more recently) had a massive sleep regression. She used to have a good nap in the afternoon (typically 1.5 to 2 hours, sometimes less and sometimes more), then go to bed at 8 and get up at 8. She still wants her afternoon nap and will beg us to let her go to sleep after her lunch, but bedtime has now become a nightmare - she just refuses to go to bed. We've tried putting her in bed a bit earlier or a bit later but it is not improving. Basically she wants me to read her books for hours. No matter how many we read, it is never enough! At some point (after warning her) I eventually say "ok, it's bedtime now, we love you and will see you in the morning". She then starts wailing and can go on for well over an hour, sometimes closer to two. I feel horrible leaving her to cry, but when we go to comfort her it upsets her even more as we won't let her get out of bed. sad

Also last week there were two nights where she was up from 2 to 5 am, which is obviously exhausting. This morning - final straw - she got up at 6 am, so even though the baby was asleep I had to be up. Aargh.

I know the arrival of a sibling can cause regressions and stress and don't get me started on potty regression which is a whole other story but how on earth do we then go back to a routine? DH thinks we need to drop the afternoon nap, which we will try tomorrow. What else can we do to help her settle at night? I hate leaving her to cry but can't think of anything else - if we go to her room she immediately gets up and wants out. It does seem to be a cry for attention.

Please don't be too harsh, I feel horrible that my little girl is upset.

NoSquirrels Tue 19-Jul-11 14:16:45

Oh poor you! I know how frustrating and end-of-the-world this feels, although our sleep regression hell (with all of the things you describe) happened just before the new sibling was born, and so probably we got off easier. I felt like absolute hell when it was going on -- an awful mixture of frustration, anger , guilt, exhaustion ... just terrible. Huge sympathies.

Practically, we did a lot of the leaving to cry business, and eventually it seemed to resolve itself without our help i.e. I don't think it was anything we did or didn't do that solved it, it was just time passing!

But you could try
1) indulging her -- lots of cuddles and ramping up the affection and fuss during the day along with lots of talking about bedtime and how many stories we'll read etc and how the poor boring baby doesn't get to read stories and so on, but really a lot of talking throughout the day about what you expect at bedtime.
2) we bought a Gro-clock -- "go to bed when the stars are sleeping, get up when the sun wakes up" -- this has been a big hit!
3) reward chart? bribery may help here ( "if you're a good girl and get x stars we'll buy some chocolate/desired toy of the moment/whatever -- poor baby, he can't have chocolate, can he?")

Also, who does bedtime and does she play you up equally? Has anything changed about her bedtime routine with the arrival of the baby? We make a big deal of putting the baby to bed first in the cot with the mobile playing whilst DD1 goes to bed so she doesn't think the baby is getting to stay up with mummy and daddy. Even if it then means getting DD2 out of bed again to feed and settle properly.

My DH thought we needed to drop the afternoon nap when we were going through it and I told him if that was the case he could stay home and deal with the fallout because I had no intention of doing so. Over my dead body, I think I said, and I meant it -- I thought I might die without that respite in the day! If you do want to try it I recommend just limiting it to an hour and seeing if that helps rather than dropping completely.

Courage!

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