This article on toddler sleep freaking me out, opinions?(19 Posts)
My 21mo still wakes 3 - 5 times a night, very briefly but needs me to go to him before he will settle down. I don't stay with him, just a quick tuck in. At bedtime he self settles alone. Read this article now I'm worrying he will end up with issues due to frequent night waking!
I often have to sit on my hands and have consequently hidden the sleep topic as I see so much advice being given which I feel is wrong.
My brother is a paediatrician and he told me when dd was 6 weeks old, that I was doing her no favours by pandering to frequent waking. In his words. "She needs her fucking sleep! Cuddle her during the day, feed her during the day. Most parents I see whose children don't sleep through the night feel guilty for not cuddling enough, so parent and baby come to view night-time as cuddle time."
There. I've said it. First and last time I'll ever say it!
That could be true..... But I don't cuddle him when he wakes!
An alternative perspective evolutionaryparenting.com/toddler-sleep-problems-should-we-be-worried/
Basically the research doesn't tell us if the behavioural issues are causing or caused by the poor sleep.
I haven't read the original study but I have written press releases for academic work in a previous life and can tell when they are reaching for a conclusion that isn't supported by the particular research they have done. My guess is that they haven't tried to "unpick" causality in any meaningful way in the research and have just shown a correlation between poor sleep and behavioural outcomes and then pinned this angle on it to sell the research.
I'm pretty sure that sleep training is very, very new in evolutionary terms.
I'm also sure I've read something that says that night waking is completely normal and part of a child's development.
In general advice in this country is that babies should be sleeping through from 6 months, if they wake at night, you're not doing it right. When it comes to the babies and toddlers, many haven't read the memo.
There's also evidence that sleep training raises cortisol levels, but people pick and choose the research (often dubious) that suits them/their ideals the best.
Do what works for you, ignore articles like this, or you'll be forever changing the way you parent based on the many, many opinions of people who write stuff like this.
6months?! Good lord mine were much later. I'd have been over the moon had they been sleeping trough at 6months. I think the threds on here/cht at toddlers etc suggest 6months isn't the norm as such. There must be at least a significant minority who don't.
I have a poor sleeping 4.3yo. His sleep issues were caused by obstructive sleep apnoea, which was resolved when his tonsils were removed at 2.8yo. He would wake terrified when his breathing stopped, many times a night, and this fear is still with him when he wakes now (albeit not as often as he used to). And believe me when I say we have tried it all to improve his sleep issues.
I have noticed his behaviour is much worse when he has had a poor (by his standards) sleep. He is more emotional - crying over very minor things, more hyper, doesn't listen and is generally much harder to deal with.
I agree that all the above research has proven is that there is a correlation between poor sleep and poor behaviour. This is pretty obvious to most people, since I don't know a single person who isn't somewhat irritable and below par when they are sleep deprived.
Same here but tonsils weren't taken out until 3.5. I'm shattered!
Thank you all, anxious parent alert here! You have all helped to chill me out about it. How was obstructive sleep apnoea diagnosed out of interest?
OP don't worry. Mine was the same, he is four now and sleeps like a dream.
IME sleeping through is a matter of maturity.
Mine only started sleeping well once (a) he had mastered object permanence and metallisation so knew that we were still upstairs and he hadn't been abandoned (!) and (b) he fully dropped his nap and moved to a genuine "awake all day and asleep all night" pattern.
He was getting on for 3.5.
PS I think if he is still not sleeping well once he is school age, then as other posters say there might be some actual problem, rather than that he is simply not old enough to sleep through.
PPS Children CAN sleep through from very young, if you train them, although I think it comes at a cost.
Of course for parents on their knees with terrible sleepers that might be the best way forward for overall family sanity and health.
We were lucky in that my son only woke briefly usually once in the night as a toddler and it didn't take much to resettle him, so we never bothered with sleep training.
But I can see if you have a really terrible sleeper and you are exhausted then it might be the best option (though I would do it only as a last resort). After all kids need parents who are not totally strung out all the time.
Not all children need "training " to sleep . DD & DS from quite early on both just started to sleep for longer periods . Both slept through 7-7 at about 4 -5 months , only thing we did was not wake them !
I wouldn't class him as a terrible sleeper, more a light sleeper who is easily bothered by stuff (teething last molars currently). I'm happy enough that he doesn't take much to settle back after a wake up - just a quick tuck in then back to sleep. Not sure what sleep training we could do other than shut the door at bedtime and not go in again until morning - can't do anything like controlled crying as after the first check he goes straight back to sleep!
My DM did CIO with me from the day she got me home from hospital, never came when I cried and even locked me in when, as an older child, I would sneak into my grandmother's bed. As an adult I could not sleep in the dark, I had night terrors and huge problems sleeping alone which took decades to overcome. This is all anecdotal but I do think sleep training comes at a cost.
Meh don't worry.
Ds was a terrible sleeper - as in horrifically awful. He's 9 now and has been a sound sleeper since he was a toddler.
Dd slept through almost from birth - just because she wanted to. She's 5 now and wakes quite often.
I agree booboo, hence the reason why I still go and tuck him in when he shouts me. I must admit, I do worry that I've created this problem as it now seems habit that if he slightly arouses from sleep his automatic response is to shout me until I come. Don't know how to overcome this to be honest other than ignoring or reassuring him through the wall verbally without the physical contact of tucking in. Or just wait until he outgrows it, could be a while.......
I did observe DS1 breathing at night and witnessed it stop, pause for longer than normal, then restart and a lot of the time the jerking as his breathing started woke him. He'd be frightened and often hysterical with it. He was also a terrible snorer. Sounded like a pig with a heavy cold!
When I finally got to see a GP who took me seriously, he referred him to ENT who said it happened because of his narrow airway and enlarged tonsils.
Following the surgery, his breathing was normal with no pauses and the snoring stopped. However he still has the fear when he does wake up, so he either screams for us or comes running to our room. If we don't wake quickly enough he just gets in our bed shaking and whimpering. We've had endless discussions with him to help him get over this fear, tried bribery, sticker charts, everything. He goes to bed saying he's a big boy and will stay in his bed all night, but every night is up between 1 and 4 times. He was on melatonin which worked brilliantly to get him relaxed enough to fall asleep on his own at bedtime (used to have to hold his hand until he was asleep because he was scared to be alone), but it's made no difference to the night wakings. Frankly I'm on my knees with tiredness and cannot keep getting up to return him to his bed every time (DH is the same), so we put up with co-sleeping part of the night for now.
Join the discussion
Please login first.