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2 year old sleep/Tantrums in the night, nursing

(26 Posts)
fooogle Wed 23-Jul-14 11:12:23

Sorry so long, I've posted in sleep but not sure where is best!
We have a 2.8 yr old and a 4.7 year old. The 4.7 year old is overall a great sleeper (touch wood), was bottle fed from about 4 months and just seems to realise his bed is where he is meant to be.
Our 2.8 year old has been an atrocious sleeper since birth. Has never slept through the night and I have somehow ended up nursing her still which wasn’t my intended plan but we ended up stuck feeding to sleep and yada yada yada. Her sleep has pretty much broken me and my partner and my relationship is hanging on but a very, very thin thread –just wrote shred, that’s probably more the real state--…
Bedtime has a v clear routine, tv time for ½ hour, bath time, story downstairs and milk, teeth, wee, story upstairs, nursing then into bed. She was settling after I held her hand for 5 mins and went out to do ‘jobs’ but something went wibbly and now I am back in holding hand til she falls asleep. Sometimes 15 mins sometimes 45 mins. So not great. Partner can put her to bed at greater speed but only if I am out or she dashes around screaming and ‘finding’ me and then I just don’t know how to handle it, too old for CC I think and I don’t really feel right with it. Rapid return I guess but I am so exhausted I bulk at the prospect (weak). She seems very, very strong willed to me.
She wakes in the night at least twice between 10-1 then once more before 545 or later if I am lucky – I end up nursing her. She has started climbing out of her cot and wants a ‘big girl bed’ but we are reticent as really can’t imagine she will stay in it and will be even worse when easier to get out. She goes BALLISTIC several nights of the week on waking in the night. Last night she just screamed like a banshee, despite ‘yes, you can nurse’/’here is some water if you say you’re thirsty’/’no you can’t get up it is sleep time for everyone’ then ignoring screeches but still in sight. She screams ‘go away/I don’t like you etc’ then as soon as you do, screams for you back REALLY loud. Partner then gets riled and sometimes shouts/swears sad blush/ threatens to throw into bed etc. I just don’t know what to tackle first or how to restore order, feels horrible and like a battle I don’t know how to plan for (and feel v.guilty about). Any suggestions (gentle please)? Have Gro-clock but don’t know if can employ to help, do I risk a bar-less bed? Reward chart?

fooogle Wed 23-Jul-14 19:51:40

Anyone have any sage ideas?

GoogleyEyes Wed 23-Jul-14 20:45:51

Poor you! Do you want to night wean, or just get her to stay in bed? I think I would split it into chunks and do one thing at a time. So perhaps start with 'no milk when the Groclock is blue star', and see how that goes? Or first try moving her to a big bed (if she's climbing out anyway, you're not losing anything) and see how that goes?

Once you sort out one issue, see how she is during the day, and if she seems fine then try sorting the next thing. If she seems clingy or otherwise not herself in the day, then maybe leave it for a few weeks before the next change.

I suspect you will need to deal with quite a lot of crying - but at that age I personally would be ok with 'very cross mummy is changing things' crying. If it turns to 'panicked sobbing' then I wouldn't be ok with it, but if you do one thing at a time I suspect she'll be cross but not panicked.

Crucially, you need to agree the plan with your DH - you will need to be a team to make it work. In fact, I'd expect night weaning (if/when you try it) will work better with him dealing with her, and not you. See what he thinks about methods, I'm not sure it matters as long as you agree. I think that age does better with an immediate reward rather than a chart, so maybe a little toy in the morning if she stays in her bed until the yellow sun on the clock. Perhaps her big sibling might get one, too - a bit of trying to get what s/he has might work grin.

Is any of that any use?

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Wed 23-Jul-14 20:50:43

Oh I feel for you. My DD is only 22mths but they sound similarly determined and anxious to avoid sleeping. smile

Biggest thing that has helped us (and we have by no means cracked it) was to stop feeding at night completely. DD was a massive boob monster, fed to sleep, and would wake up loads and demand to be fed, I now refuse to feed her from 6pm to 5am/later if I can avoid it. Clearly 5am is not ideal, but the wakings have gone from 10+ to just 1 or 2 (sometimes she sleeps through till 5) and the screaming in the night has stopped.

It was tough and she went nuts the first night, but I stayed with her the whole time, stroked her, sang to her, and shhhed her as I didn't want her to feel deserted. It was definitely cross crying rather than despair iyswim.

Hopefully someone will come along who has had a greater degree of success/knows about older toddlers, but didn't want your post to remain unanswered! smile

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Wed 23-Jul-14 20:52:09

X post with googley (going to steal the reward idea for myself!)

GoogleyEyes Wed 23-Jul-14 20:57:51

And Thanks! Also, having a Groclock (or equivalent) is handy, as you can blame the clock. Think 'computer says no'! And, by the time they are old enough to realise you control the clock, you can have a more sensible discussion about night wakings causing a grumpy mummy who doesn't want to go to the park / play tea parties / insert favourite activity.

fooogle Wed 23-Jul-14 21:14:26

Thank you very much googley and And, that at least attempts to untangle the web we re in. Would you try sides off and gro clock together or one at a time? Tackle getting out of bed or just general waking up/calling out?
I failed to mention I basically sleep in a spare bed in her room blush, should I stay in there when in big bed so you think of make the break? I find the screeching so hard to handle, she's just beserk... sad

GoogleyEyes Wed 23-Jul-14 21:21:32

I would only change me thing at a time, personally. I'd go with whatever you and DH agree on is the biggest issue. Just discussing that (and what you want to fix 2nd, 3rd etc) might help you feel a but more in control.

If you did want to do two things at once, it might work to introduce the Groclock as being 'now you're in a big girl bed, you need a clock to tell you when it's ok to wake up mummy. Crying and calling out is for babies in cots. Big girls in big girl beds use clocks, because they're so clever and know their colours''. But I wouldn't try and do that, plus night-weaning, yiubskeeoing elsewhere plus rapid return. Just to much change for a small person who doesn't have the language to properly understand / process it.

fooogle Wed 23-Jul-14 21:47:06

Thank you, yes that might work if can psych self up. Things are pretty ropey at home just now so broaching subject and having a coherent strategy is tricky. Often dh would rather I go away of dd is kicking off but I don't know if that feels right but it's a kind of removal of the reward i.e. me type thought I think...
I have visions of her nipping into bed with me though and things being even less great!
Rewards sound good though paranoid I ll end up making older ds need a reward for something he already does brilliantly.,, I think too much. confused

GoogleyEyes Wed 23-Jul-14 21:53:55

Well, if older ds does end up getting a tiny prize every morning, does it matter? It only needs to be small. And it wouldn't be forever.

I can see its hard if things are so ropey with your DH. Would asking him to sleep in dd's room and implement a new plan (maybe no milk when blue star) work? Or are you worried he would get too cross with her? Perhaps he'd be up for doing rapid return at bedtime? I suspect whatever you do will be fine, if you do it in small steps and can somehow get the support that means you both stay boringly calm and consistent. If you get cross / upset it can inadvertently turn into midnight toddler cabaret...

fooogle Wed 23-Jul-14 22:12:02

Yes I do kind of sorry dh will get cross or that I ll end up feeling compelled to go in (clearly not helpful). Would you avoid chastising type talk? I tend to point out that shouting makes me very sad though sometimes it clearly makes me v cross though I don't shout. Dh asks her to day sorry in morn for shouting at me/him. I just dunno what behaviour framework I'm trying to child anymore!
I wondered if I was out first eve or two of sides off as she's less likely to play up for him, then she can be rewarded (I hope) so it's worth it to her? Or I'd that just a cop out...?
Sorry to keep yabbering, is v useful to hear your point of view.

GoogleyEyes Wed 23-Jul-14 22:24:06

Going out sounds like a good plan, if you want to crack bedtimes first. I wonder if you're just so interesting because you're so cross (though not shouty) that it's fun for her. Might be worth both of you being very, very boring. Monotone, no emotion, few words. Still cuddles if needed, but extremely dull.

Going to bed now, but do update!

Lala83 Wed 23-Jul-14 22:35:37

Fooogle. I fully sympathise! We are going through same thing with my 2.5 ds. You're not alone! The most important thing is to agree a plan with your partner. .i actually said to my oh, right so what are we trying to get to here... What sleep training method are we using? This made him take a step back and realise he had done zero research on the subject and saw it as my problem. When he realised it was our problem to solve together, we agreed. 1) limit boob in the day (his request) 2) he does the whole bedtime routine whenever he is home so the night weaning starts. 3) we get him asleep in his own room via whatever method he needs at first, even if that is cuddling to sleep/boob. If we are still up when he wakes or up to about 2am we settle him back in his own room, if it's 3am beyond, let him join us in our bed. This rule setting has helped our relationship a lot. The baby is just a baby trying to get asleep. It will all be done in a couple of years max, so not worth breaking your relationship over.

Lala83 Wed 23-Jul-14 22:40:31

P.s. Our rules are crap by the way! I'm not suggesting they'll work in sleep training, just that they work for us, getting us through this hard period! Your rules can be whatever you think will make your life feel less chaotic and miserable! I think extended breastfeeding without cosleeping is pretty hard to manoeuvre but I want it because our bed is too small and I'm struggling to sleep!

fooogle Wed 23-Jul-14 23:43:55

Thank you googley and lala.
I think the needing to go out is good and bad. Prob shows how hard we re finding it working together but may try that.

lala it'd be good to be on same page re a plan. I think I feel guilty I've kind of got us here (being the one with the boobs!) so feel just awkward... Your rules sound fine to me lala, I'd like to have some clear in my head so i know what I'm insisting on. Currently it's boob no more than twice before 615...and I'd like no shouting and staying in our beds like big boob d brill but not sure I'm strong for that yet...

AnotherStitchInTime Thu 24-Jul-14 00:10:49

Are you sure she is fully conscious when waking screaming and shouting only dd1 had terrible night terrors and used to do this at her age and dd2 does this now at 2.5. I found with dd1 that talking to her calmly, but not touching worked to calm her (if you touched she freaked out more). Dd2 is the same, but only calms if you sing her certain lullabies (that I sing at bed time/nap time) or play lullaby toy music.

Your DH losing his cool is not going to help in this situation and it will only wind the situation up further. Best bet is to calmly offer water only no breast. Would be easier if your DH could do this, but only if he can detach and not take her behaviour so personally.

Re: the bed I would do some preparation about big beds for big girls that don't have breast (if you want to stop the night feeds and/or bedtime feed). Get her some story CDs or lullaby CDs and some new bedtime books to make a special routine for moving to a big bed.

fooogle Thu 24-Jul-14 07:35:09

Thanks another. Don't think it's terrors but think there's an element of confusion briefly when she wakes.
Totally agree re cross ness blush, wish I didn't get so irritable. Tired etc not the best me or dh.

If dh goes in she really tends to flip and his temper is sometimes short. Funnily though she stayed with brother over night the other weekend and woke twice and accepted comfort from granny. Will try again soon for a rest.

This morn she woke at 5 and I got confused that she'd nursed twice and was about to again but had to back track which wAs not fun. I get all in a lather about the fairness of my rules! confused

fooogle Thu 24-Jul-14 16:53:05

Hah, now lovely dd won't nap for me but will for everyone else... Bit galling. Think should try praise/reward for older brother having rest time at least or just let it slide? Feel I may have to go out a lot over the summer holiday if I want her to settle for dh...
Sorry to ramble folks. Help appreciated

ikeaismylocal Thu 24-Jul-14 18:16:59

I found nnightweaning really helped, my child was younger (13 months) and the purpose of nightweaning was that I couldn't cope with breastfeeding at night ( I had terrible nursing aversion as I was pregnant) it was a lovely surprise that ds started sleeping all night. I found strict rules worked, one day we just said that there would be no boobie in bed, it really helped to have clear boundaries for me and for him.

Ds did cry and it was horrible, we co-sleep and we comforted him constantly whilst he was crying but just didn't relent and give him boob.

I think any upset that your dd will experience if she isn't allowed breastfeeds in the night will be less than the upset she would get by her dad shouting at her.

Does she feed in the day still? Maybe you could make a special time for a pre-bed breastfeed, if you do it somewhere other than the bedroom it hopefully will be free from bedtime connotations.

Best of luck flowers

fooogle Thu 24-Jul-14 19:34:12

Thanks ikea, how I wish I'd done it when she was pre verbal and not climbing out of bed... She 'just' feeds wake up time (though wasn't but is now), bedtime, naps (attempts at!) and the 2 night ones... [hmmm]. I think the rules are muddy now as it's two feeds in night but they can be any time at the mo', if she wakes a third I have a lot of bother resettling esp. As it's usually not far from dawn. I just feel in a muddle and don't want to try to do too much and fail/make her very unsteady but lots needs to chsnge.
Agree dh shouting not good. He's kind of crumbling under the disruption and discord though I loose the sleep as I think he'd go/or have gone cc she's ago...

fooogle Thu 24-Jul-14 19:35:29

She's ago read ages ago. grin

GoogleyEyes Sat 26-Jul-14 19:48:43

Hmm, I wonder if she doesn't understand the 'no more than two feeds' rule, as time sense / sequencing is quite a late thing to develop. Can you make some sort of signal (perhaps use the clock?) or it might be simpler just to night wean? I do remember the needing a feed but more than one was taking the mickey stage. But mine were younger and I enlisted DH to go and soothe them, so milk wasn't available.

ikeaismylocal Sat 26-Jul-14 20:15:41

I also think the 2 feeds limit might be tricky for a child to understand, especially when she has just woken up, when ds fed in the night I would often have no idea how many times he had fed as I was half asleep when I was feeding, maybe your dd is too sleepy to properly realise how many times she has fed.

We found putting boundaries as to where ds could feed really helped as no feeding in bed is easy to understand. As your child is older maybe time would be a good boundary.

fooogle Sun 27-Jul-14 19:33:59

Thanks googley and ikea, yes I think two times is tricky rule as I sometimes get confused myself. I keep trying to psych self up to once a night but clearly no times is better, I just want to get back to sleep in the night so am weak willed...
Contemplating taking sides off bed tomorrow. Have been using gro clock last few nights to let her know it tells us when waking up time is. I just feel like this badness is predictable and I am scared of what's next! So, taking sides off with gro clock to remind and rewarding staying in bed and brother staying in bed is first stage? Sound ok?! confused

GoogleyEyes Sun 27-Jul-14 20:59:39

Sounds like a plan! You will need to make it clear whether getting out for feeds means no prize, and that she should call you. Or whatever you want to happen. And repeat it lots, at that age repetition is important grin

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