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15 month old wakes up at night and very difficult

(12 Posts)
Feya Tue 16-Aug-11 16:49:09

Hello all, I am at a loss with my 15 month old DD. She doesn't sleep through the night, but that's ok - I am fine being woken up and having to go and cuddle/reassure her. But the last few weeks have been difficult. She wakes up, cries and cries till she is picked up and then takes about an hour, sometimes 2 hours to back into deep sleep. We tried pacifying her without picking her up, but it doesn't always work (less so with me) and we end up picking her up. But last night was terrible because she woke up, screamed, we did the usual, but for reasons beyond me, she was angry - she kept kicking me and hitting me when I was trying to bounce her and rock her. I think she was really tired, but wasn't happy with what i was doing (no different from what I do the other nights) and it got to a point where we had to put her back in her cot because nothing we were doing was helping and she cried herself to sleep. It was terrible. This morning when she woke up, I could swear that she remembered last night as she was being a bit aloof with me until I managed to get her toys out. She is just 15 months old. I dont want to do controlled crying, but I am at a loss here. She is generally a happy baby and the girls at the nursery love her, but its just that bedtime is a fight (has been for the last 2 months plus now, inspite of the usual bath, massage, cuddle time, dim lights etc) and night wakings are 2 hours of screaming. I think she is now used to waking up and screaming and having one of us come in. Also, she cries every time she wakes up, even after day time naps (she has an hour in the morning and an hour early afternoon). I remember waking up listening to her play on her own, but that hasn't happened in ages now. I work and my mom (who is taking care of DD when she is back from nursery) just called to say that she is throwing things around and hitting herself and generally not happy. Can a 15 month really be angry or insecure? I even thought about taking some time off from work to be with her as I think she may be missing me. But its not a long term solution as I have to work. Any suggestions anyone? She loves her nursery and is otherwise with my mom who adores her. One of the girsl at work suggested Cranial Osteopathy, but I am nervous about that as there is no scientific proof that it will work.

Bmatoes Tue 16-Aug-11 18:34:47

Um I don't have much advice but would hate for your post to go unanswered and maybe bumping will get you more replies

If you can take time off .. I would .../as sometimes a few days makes a huge difference to a childs habits.

Is she waking at the same every night? Do you think it's just becoming a habit?

Octaviapink Tue 16-Aug-11 19:07:54

Are you positive that things are ok at the nursery? She's not having issues with one of the other children? The pre-verbal stage is VERY hard. Also, you don't mention whether she gets anything to drink when she wakes in the night. The last few weeks have been hotter - might she be thirsty?

vez123 Tue 16-Aug-11 19:33:53

Her behaviour sounds a bit like my ds at 14 months when he started at the childminder recently. Thrashing, hitting, head butting, full-on screaming sessions. Then the CM went on holidays for two weeks and somehow he is much more settled now since she returned. We think that his behaviour was also due to teething and an illness. Is it possible that your little girl could be unwell? Also, re the nighttime waking. Have you considered moving to one nap at midday? My DS wakes up at night if he has two naps. Ie wakes up and stays awake for hours!

Flisspaps Tue 16-Aug-11 19:52:07

To be honest, we had the same sleep problems with DD at around 14mo, and the only thing that worked (which was bloody horrible) was controlled crying. We tried the usual rocking and singing and walking and nothing worked, I put her in her cot and left her there - and she went off to sleep. And after three nights of not rocking, singing or walking around, we had the first run of full sleep that we'd had since before she was born.

Feya Tue 16-Aug-11 20:21:48

Thanks for all the posts! Bmatoes, thanks for bumping me up! To answer all the questions:
DD loves the nursery - when we leave home in the morning she is all excited and she is very happy to see the girls. I don't think she notices the other kids - they are all under 18 months and crawling / toddling around oblivious of the others. Also, I get to see her on webcam from work and she is happily playing around. General feedback from the nursery is that she is happy there - plays a lot, jabbers a lot, eats most of her food etc. Re night wakings, I have tried water and milk at night, but she just pushes it away and in fact gets more angry. She isn't unwell at the moment - she was, about two months ago when she started the nursery and that was difficult and may have gotten her into the habit of night time cuddles and us being around. She has a mid morning nap and then an early afternoon nap (1 hour each). My mom tried her best to not let her go to sleep in the afternoon, but she fell asleep without any fuss! She wakes up around the same time every night - around 10:30pm, then between midnight and 1am. Each time, I have to rock her until she falls into deep sleep before putting her back in her cot. I don't mind it if she wakes up at night, I go and pat her and she is reassured and goes back to sleep (though a full nights sleep would be very nice). What has upset me is the anger and thrashing and kicking.

Bmatoes Tue 16-Aug-11 20:57:34

It's the anger that I don't have any experience with I'm afraid. But with waking at the same time every night ..... I was once advised to wake them before they wake you and it bloody well worked! My ds used to wake at 4 am every night and cry and fuss , so I set my clock and gently woke him a3.30 the first night and 3.45 the next night and he never woke me the third night he went back to sleeping through! He was the same age as your Dd at the time. It may not work but it's worth a try?

butterflyexperience Tue 16-Aug-11 20:57:38

I could have written a similar post to you!
My dd2 who is also 15 months has been waking 3/4 times a night somtimes settling with a bf and sometimes not to the point I have to take her downstairs for an hour untill calm then bf back to sleep.

I'm exhausted

Just lending my support that your not alone.

Maybe teething maybe a development milestone.

Who knows? confused

Flisspaps Tue 16-Aug-11 21:13:10

Yep, it was the fighting with her that made me put her down in the cot and leave her to it in the end - and actually, that was the only thing that worked. Milk, shush-pat, rocking, singing - everything made her get more and more frustrated (and in turn, we did as we didn't know what to do)

If nothing else works, it may be worth a go, even just for a night or two to see if things improve.

cheerypip Tue 16-Aug-11 21:19:17

Are you sure it isn't teeth?

We're also having a hard time with my 16.5 month old at the moment, and have been for the last two or three weeks. I am pretty sure it is teeth related as she has four molars in various stages of coming through, plus some very suspicious looking patches where the incisors will come. Her teething symptoms, including night waking have always been at their worst some time before the teeth actually appear ...

MotherOfHobbit Wed 17-Aug-11 20:29:51

Hmm, my 14mo has been waking more frequently at night and being angry about it. He'll wake up and cry, and then get quite angry when I try to soothe him. Weirdly, he puts his arms up to be picked up and then gets cross about it and wants to go back in the bed - doesn't know what he wants.
And then about a week ago, he bumped his head and wailed so loudly I could see his whole mouth and I spotted that he had had about three new molars come through.

AngelDog Thu 18-Aug-11 00:19:38

Could well be the 15 month developmental spurt - it messes up sleep for a few weeks beforehand - I think it happens at about 65 weeks. Children are often described as 'clingy, cranky and crying' during the day when they're working on a developmental leap. You can read about it in The Wonder Weeks. Their world & brain are changing so fast it's frightening and frustrating for them until the brain development slows down again.

I agree that teething does funny things too - when DS cut his canines at about 14 m.o. he had 2 weeks of terrible sleep (including 2 hours awake every night) and only wanting to be rocked to sleep. He was pretty cross about it all at the time.

If bedtime is a fight & she's waking in the night for a while, it might also be worth considering one nap to see if it helps.

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