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sleep probs with toddler after moving to big bed (sorry, longish)

(12 Posts)
upsydaisy33 Mon 05-Aug-13 11:48:30

Can anyone offer help?
We moved DC to own bed she is 2.4, she was climbing out of cot and we will need cot in 6 months for new dc anyway.

She was an ok sleeper before, usually 8.30 - somewhere between 5.30 and 7, rare to wake us in the night and usually linked to illness or nightmares.

Now she struggles with all of it. We haven't known how to deal with it, so have not been very consistent. She won't stay in the bed, and if she wakes in the night gets straight out to call for us. We have put a stairgate on the door to room, but she just comes to it and cries for us, so I'm not sure what the point of it is.

After 3 weeks of struggling with getting her to go to sleep when we first put her down and her crying for hours or being repeatedly put back to bed and getting out, we have sort of solved this one - I now sit with her in the chair next to her bed and wait for her to go to sleep. This takes 30-45 minutes but is cry-free and pretty easy. I can see I might be able to do gradual withdrawal over time.

But in the night this technique doesn't work, she goes back to sleep very lightly and wakes the moment i try to leave the room, no matter how long I wait. And if I don't sit with her she just cries - I cracked after an hour the other night.

I think she is anxious and maybe scared, not sure what of but she has a long list of things that scare her generally and is prone to nightmares. Somehow losing the security of the cot has made her familiar room very unfamiliar. Btw she has always slept really badly if we've gone away, and this matches that behaviour.

Last night ended up co-sleeping in her big bed, which isn't very comfy for me and in the long run I will have a new DC to look after so that won't work.
Anyone have any good suggestions? Please help! Am exhausted and starting to dread the night time, and the general sadness.

anklebitersmum Mon 05-Aug-13 11:55:45

Have you considered letting her have a nightlight? DD2 had dreadful night terrors about this age and post those we got her back into her bed and a full night's sleep with a little nightlight (battery) that she chose.

I'd also suggest trying to get her to go to sleep at bedtime without you in the room..the old in out method and re-tucking but not staying permanently so that you can return her in the night and she gets the same routine as at bedtime iyswim


Misty9 Mon 05-Aug-13 21:23:20

I'm not much help I'm afraid as we're in exactly the same position! Ds is 23mo and suddenly started having major issues at bedtime - so we took the side off his cot to see if this helped. Now we are where you are.

Tried rapid return for one night. 53 returns later (!) dh gave up and we co slept that night. We too have discovered the solution of staying with him until he falls asleep. My technique is to sit with my back to the bed in the gap between the cot end and the bed guard (to stop him climbing out). This also means we are ignoring him and he (touch wood) generally quickly goes to sleep. We do have to wait for him to be properly asleep though, otherwise he just gets out as soon as we leave the room.

We're only one week in, and hoping we can withdraw gradually. Left him to cry one night for 20mins, and that was enough for us (longest we've ever left him to cry) so we won't be CIO.

Same issue with night wakings - he ends up in with us, which is not ideal. My solution for the time being is to buy a superking size bed when we move shortly - at least we'll all have a bit more room grin

This is all from a boy who self settled and went down awake from 5mo until 2wks ago... I think the cot bars make them feel a lot more safe than we realise. Still, they have to go at some point!

Will watch with interest.

Misty9 Mon 05-Aug-13 21:24:37

Ds has also always slept really badly when we go away! And he had a night terror for the first time after he was in cot bed (he loves his bed btw, just not at night!)

SimLondon Mon 05-Aug-13 23:53:30

Put her back in the cot for the next 6 months then until you need it.
Its a pretty common occurrence when they are moved into a big bed closer to two than to three.

upsydaisy33 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:38:59

Nightlight good idea but already have one!

However good news is we had a better night last night, she went off fine and woke twice but went backto sleep after a brief visit rather than a long stay! Am hoping it is the start of settling rather than a freak occurrence...interestingly on one wake up she mayhave been sleep walking as i found her not at the gate but confused by the window....

Misty, it is good to be tired in company, let me know how you get on too...

Return to cot is a possibility, will seehow we go the next few nights.
Thanks for all replies so far

Misty9 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:42:38

Aaargghhh! We're pulling our hair out here! He took TWO HOURS to go down tonight sad he was just full of beans, chatting, trying to get out (we stop him) and definitely NOT sleeping!

Eventually went but I'm thinking we may need to bring the bars back and deal with whatever was causing him to be so unsettled at bedtime all of a sudden - but without the added stress of not being able to contain him.

Bars back - bad idea now??

Hope your night is going better! We had had two nights of relative calm...

Kiwiinkits Wed 07-Aug-13 02:19:44

Is she still having a daytime nap? Could she be a pain to get to bed because she's needing less daytime sleep?

Kiwiinkits Wed 07-Aug-13 02:21:25

(My DD dropped her post lunch nap to 3 days per week at around that age. Now she's almost 3 she's increased back to 4 naps a week).

crazykat Wed 07-Aug-13 03:09:09

How about getting a removable side for the bed? I think it's lindam that make them in pink or blue, they were about £20-£25 when we got one but they helped with the transition.

Also what kind of night-light do you have? We found our DCs prefer one the attaches to the ceiling light between the flex in the ceiling and the lightbulb. It works with the light switch - first time you flick the switch the nightlight comes on or for normal light turn it on-off-on quickly.

Other than that you just need to persevere with putting them back to bed. It's very frustrating but it does eventually work IME.

bronya Wed 07-Aug-13 03:25:39

Is she worried about falling out of bed?

upsydaisy33 Thu 08-Aug-13 08:27:51

Morning all,

Just to say I think we are on the way back to good nights, had a 9-5 night with no waking up (not very long hours I know, but not bad) and then last night 8-3 and 4-7. Although she was up for an hour this was getting up and going back to bed and trying to go to sleep, and the last time worked! She is getting quite good at taking herself back to bed and not needing us in the room as she falls asleep.

I feel we may have partially cracked this, enough to persevere. TBH, for us it wasn't so much about enforcing a strict system which always seems to make her scared/freaked out/upset beyond being able to sleep, but more about waiting for her to get more comfortable with the new bed. Prob about me being comfortable too, enforcing rules in the face of her being really upset really bothers me, and I'm sure she picks up on that!

I'm still sitting with her to go to sleep in the evening but by the door rather than next to the bed, and leaving pretty much as soon as she drops off rather than when I'm sure she's in deep sleep. We did one evening where she didn't seem very tired (long daytime sleep as was in the car, couldn't avoid it) and I promised if she played quietly I'd go back in ten minutes, and she accepted this.

thanks for all your help. Misty, hope you come up with something that works for you. (I have to admit I'm already thinking I'll keep DC2 in the cot for longer if I can, although I wonder whether it's as much temperament as age).

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