My ds is 20 months and for a while we have been able to put him in his cot to sleep at night awake and he would get himself to sleep. However, over the last 4weeks he has been ill with an ear infection and then a severe sick bug which resulted in being admitted to hospital because of very low blood sugar, currently he has been full of cold and I think he maybe teething. On top of this I am starting my final school placement of the PGCE in 1 week and so we have been staring ds in a day nursery, he is full time and cries on and off throughout the day. It has been since all this that now we can not get ds to settle unless he is playing with my hair through the bars of his cot. He can be disturbed and doing this for hours at a time in the middle of the night (it has been like this for 7 nights now) basically he will wake about 1am and won't go back until about 4am. This makes me think that maybe his teeth are to blame because even though he is playing with my hair he is trying to settle but can't seem to.
I am aware that all these changes must be very unsettling for him and so do I just be patient and let him have his comfort or just be firm and wait out the tantrums and tears (I have tried waiting it out but I figure that just lately he spends so much time upset that I don't want to add to this)
There was a woman on Bedtime Live with this problem, Tanya Byron said she ought to wear a latex swimming cap over her hair when putting the child to bed (not joking, she actually said that!!) to keep her hair out of the way and give the child something soft or silky to play with instead as a replacement for the hair.