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nearly 3yo suddenly needs cuddles/attention all night - help me!!

(6 Posts)
rainshine30 Wed 31-Oct-12 14:20:13

I am exhausted. I work fulltime and am studying 5 nights a week (stupid, I know but this sleep problem with DD is new).
DD is 3 next month and has almost always been a very 'good' sleeper. Down via steady routine at 7pm each night, come what may. Nods off by herself and wakes around 8am - sometimes later.
I'm spoiled it seems.
Out of the blue last week (this is Day 8 and counting), she changed into a different girl and, although sometimes takes a few more reassurances before she settles down she does settle OK by 7:30ish. Problem is around 2am.. she's awake, at her gate and wanting cuddles.
I can refuse her anything (calpol requests, drinks requests and stories and even breakfast at 3am) EXCEPT when she either asks to pee or for cuddles with Mummy.
Guilty working Mum happening do you think? Am I being too soft? Should I do the rapid return / ignore thing for 3 nights and try not to chew my own knuckles with guilt at not giving in to demands for cuddles?
We think she's been spooked by all the Halloween stuff on tv/nursery/every single shop! Something is bothering her and she just wants company it seems.
Have tried night light, opening the door a wee bit etc which pacifies her to nod off, but not to stay in bed through night.
Sorry this is so long. I guess my bottom line question is: Is it OK to say no to cuddles at 3am?
Rainshine 30 x

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 31-Oct-12 14:59:04

Could you get in her bed?

rainshine30 Wed 31-Oct-12 18:50:18

Into our bed you mean or her own?

We won't co-sleep we managed to resist this route with DS and he's a great sleeper. If you mean can we get her back into her own bed, yes. She will get back in but resurfaces within moments of me leaving.

I feel like a yo-yo. A very tired and fed-up yo-yo !

Arcadia Wed 31-Oct-12 20:36:25

Have you tried making sure she has her favourite toys, or putting on a nightlight, or getting into her bed for a cuddle and telling her a story then going when she is asleep again, etc? Ruled out any health issues?

If she has always been a good sleeper then I think you can assume this is a 'blip', maybe some kind of development phase, a phase of nightmares maybe triggered by Halloween as you say, or similar. If that is the case you just need to ride it through and do what you need to do to all get some sleep in the short term - and not worry too much about getting into bad habits.

Is your DP/DH around? Could you alternate nights so you don't get too knackered?

I really sympathise, sleep deprivation is the worst!

Arcadia Wed 31-Oct-12 20:45:19

Sorry just noticed you said you tried nightlight already. Is she too cold? The weather turned much colder about a week ago, I've been wearing fleece and pyjamas to bed this week!

Tricccky Wed 31-Oct-12 21:02:18

Have had something similar here. We worked out that DS would go back to bed if we agreed to wait by the door until he was asleep (I didn't want to get into a habit of having to be right next to him). He seemed reassured by this and this is what we now do. If he is distressed in the night at all then I definitely give him a cuddle, but no chat, just a "It's still nighttime, back to bed. I'll wait by the door til you go to sleep."

A few times we have had to use rapid return but only a handful.

Not ideal but not too bad and in reality we don't stand by the door for more than a minute or two. He does now like us to do this at bedtime as well, having never needed anything like that in the past, but we're ok with that and I'm sure he'll grow out of it. A number of my friends have experienced similar regressions in great sleepers at this sort of age.

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