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Help Please, where have I gone wrong?

(15 Posts)
guineamango Fri 05-Sep-08 21:39:30

My DD has just turned two. After being a brilliant sleeper with a great bedtime routine she has started to refuse to go to bed. Wakes in the night and cant go back to sleep. I've tried comforting her, tried controlled crying. I'm exhausted. Nothing seems to be working. Any suggestions? Anyone else been through this?

Lazarou Fri 05-Sep-08 21:41:31

How about giving her a bottle in the night when she wakes up, and change her nappy. ds2 gets quite upset if he hasa wet nappy in the night, and sometimes that's all he needs, a nappy change.

countrylover Fri 05-Sep-08 21:56:33

Our DS did this when he was around 2 years old. Previously a great sleeper and then after a bad cough and a few night wakings his routine went out of the window.

The hell lasted around six weeks and I thought it was never going to end. We were up several times a night and it was almost like he was having a tantrum when we kept saying it's nightime, time for sleep.

In the end persistent controlled crying worked and he is now back to his regular 8pm-7pm routine and has been for nearly a year now.

BigBadMousey Fri 05-Sep-08 22:21:08

Yes, been through this - going through it right now (literally). I've taken a lot of advice and been unsuccesful with everything else I've tried so now we are on to just ignoring the screams. The idea is to go in once to check all is OK if you suspect there could be a problem then just leave her to it afterwards.

My DD is incredibly stubborn and it is incredibly hard to do. We had tantrums during the day which lasted 2.5 hrs they have stopped after I completely ignored them and now she just has tantrums at night when she knows it is hard for me to ignore her screams (because of the other DCs, neighbours etc) so she knows she is more likely to get her own way.

Is your HV nice? You need some help on board. I know how hard it is but you need to stop her ASAP if you are exhausted. You have my sympathy.

kittywise Fri 05-Sep-08 22:31:25

When any if mine are really upset during the night I take them into bed with me.

It has NEVER turned into a habit that is hard to break and I am on dc no 6. It might last a wee while but they go back to sleeping on their own again.

babyinbelly Sat 06-Sep-08 09:59:30

I agree with bigbadmousey. I have always ignored tantrums and this seems to work.
On turning 2 we had more problems than usual going to bed. He would scream as soon as I mentioned the word. I just took him to bed and left him there having his tantrum. This may be more difficult once dc2 comes along tho.

guineamango Sat 06-Sep-08 12:07:52

Thanks for all the advice. Had another bad night last night It's just so frustrating after 2 years of very good bedtime behaviour.
Not to mention being ill myself and having to work today!
I did try letting her just cry last night but she gets hysterical and I find that hard to deal with. It doesn't solve the problem and I still end up sitting with her.
Anyone got any tips on controlled crying??

babyinbelly Sat 06-Sep-08 14:57:38

I would say if you were going to try ignoring it you have to be tough and not go in at all, unless you are worried.

In some hope tho ds has now decided after about 2 months of tantrums at bed and nap time that he is quite happy to go to bed and even climbs in himself.

I found introducing a very rigid bedtime routine helped. So before every nap I would tell him he could have ONE story and then bed. Avoiding the 'B' word made things worse. He could then chose the story he wanted. Once that was finished I would say, ok you have had one story now we have to go to bed.

He would often ask for more but I said no because otherwise it is putting him in control of the situation which ends in him thinking he can have more and more stories and can get out of going to bed.

At night time he has a bottle so we get this and then go to bed.

A routine kiss and cuddle also helps and saying night night. Only small things but seem to make a difference as it is a signal that you mean it is bedtime IYSWIM.


Not tried controlled crying so cant help on that score but perservence will pay off in the end

BigBadMousey Sat 06-Sep-08 15:33:39

guineamango - we had not such a bad night thankfully. DD2 was 30 mins into a tantrum when I posted last night - she had got out if her cot and was screaming right in my ear as I typed. I didn't even look at her once - just acted as if she wasn't even there. That of course made things much worse so she started pulling my hair (it came out in chunks - ouch), punching me in the face shock and kicking me. In the end I couldn't take the abuse so I got up and paced up and down the hallway (holding babyDS who had been BFing before she came down) - she follwed me about climbed up my legs, sat on my feet and screamed a fair bit but I still managed to ignore her (and DH who was starting to kick off too). She tried every trick in the book

'I want to go back to bed'
'I want a cuddle'
'mummy I'm crying' etc etc and I ignored the whole lot and didn;t even look at her (felt awful doing that but needs must).

At 11.25pm she stopped screaming and sat down to watch the TV (I got DH to turn the TV off - no response thankfully) - at 11.45 she promptly said 'I've had enough, I'm going back to my cot' and off she went. I didn;t put her back to bed, she went upstairs herself and climbed back in, sorted out her toys, had a quick drink and woke up again the next morning! This is a first for her, I've never been able to ignore her at night but I thought the neighbours would prfer the screaming in at that time than at 3am.

You have to be firm, it really helps if you have some support because it makes you feel awful but tbh if you are not getting enough sleep then you need to do something. DD2 wakes up every 30 mins and sometimes only gives me 10 mins between episodes. She is remarkable in her lack of need for sleep. She can keep this up even after walking 2.5 miles that day.

I def agree with babyinbelly that you shouldn't go in at all in the first place unless you think something serious is up - going in once then not afterwards just adds to their frustration, they learn quicker if you stick to your guns and don't confuse the issue with going in to comfort sometimes and not others (it's not really fair to do that IMO)

btw - I hate all this controlled crying business. I started with DD1 and thought it was a horrible thing to do to her. tbh she wasn't that bad and we sorted it in a way to suit us all. I won't do CC with DS unless he has a severe change of personality - he won't need it. It's just the DCs who have a stubborn nature and want to rule the roost that really need it IMO. My DD2 at 2.4 is trying to control everyone and everything and I'm having to be much harder on her than I would like to be just to be fair to my other DCs.

IME CC is simple in theory - all you do is totally ignore them - no eye contact, nothing. All this returning after 2 mins to reassure etc made matters worse for us and certainly made DD2 far more upset. Your DD will get hysterical - she is angry because you are NOT doing as you are told. I found it so hard to believe that such a young, cute small person can be so calculating but I really think that is the case because the moment I decided to take this new approach her behaviour has improved (it gets worse first because they try harder to control you - that is when you really shouldn't give in).

Hope you have a better night tonight.

sorry for the mammoth post - hope it helps.

nowwearefour Sat 06-Sep-08 15:39:36

This happened to my dd1 as well when she was just 2. Clearly quite common. Is just a phase. It will end. We just did whatever it took. She still wont have teh door closed to this day (now 3).

balanomorey Sat 06-Sep-08 17:06:15

After vowing never to have dd in bed with me, have had to cave in a few we now do a mixture of ignoring, which is sooo hard, and taking into our bed.

She too was always a brilliant sleeper up til just over 2, then we started getting disturbed nights. The first time it happened was for about 6 weeks, since then it's every couple of months and can last a few nights or a few weeks. We are going through another spell which started on Tuesday.

What I have found is that if she wakes before 5 in the morning, we leave her to cry (after going in no more that 3 times and once we have established nothing is wrong) - and boy, yes, it is hard. She too is strong willed, can bawl for England and makes it sound like she is suffering like hell - it's the worst thing ever. sad But it is the best way to deal with it imo, if you can put up with the crying as they soon learn that all the bawling in the world won't bring you in so they will eventually give up. Also she is so worn out with crying, eventually sleep is an attractive option once again!

It's only if she wakes after 5 that I have started to take her into our bed - simply because by the time you go through the routine of getting her back off by ignoring (which can take well over an hour sometimes) it's getting on for time to get up anyhow, so it's not worth it and she ends up being really dog tired. I don't like doing it, but as she tends to wake earlier most times, it hopefully won't become too much of a habit.

The other easy(ish) option is to lay on the floor til dc drops off again - my dd loved having her daddy in the room, it was obviously a comfort for her (not so comfortable for him tho, and he's fed up with doing that now!). even with him in the room it could sometimes take her ages to drop off suggesting that like us, sometimes it's a simple case of they just can't get back to sleep easily and lying there in the dark becomes scary and they feel alone sad.

Good Luck and hope you go back to quality nights sleep soon! x.

3littlefrogs Sat 06-Sep-08 17:17:19

It is difficult. It depends what you want to happen really. I think that sleep problems are so common as to be almost par for the course. In many cultures small children are not expected to sleep alone, so it is to do with our needs and expectations versus the needs of the child.

You might have to think about possible reasons for waking. At this age it could be any of the following:

Too hot
Too cold
night terror
disturbed by noise
fear of the dark and quiet once awake

A 2 year old cannot explain very well what the problem is.

At that age, we used to let them get in with us, just so that everyone could sleep.

One night, there were so many bodies in the bed that dh fell out of his side onto the floor. He was so tired he just stayed there.

Occasionally he or I would get up and go and get into a vacant bed for rest of the night.

By the time they were about 3 - 4 it was no longer a problem.

That worked for us, but I do realise that it wouldn't be ok for everyone.

Everything is a phase, and doesn't last for ever.

(Dd used to wake a lot from about this age, but that was because there was a ghost in her room, but that is another story....)

3littlefrogs Sat 06-Sep-08 17:18:49

As long as nobody wets the bed it is ok........

Skimty Sat 06-Sep-08 18:27:29

We've been going through this with DS (2 on wednesday) I'm 38 weeks pregnant and DH is 6ft5 so there really isn't any room in our bed!!

We have put a cot mattress on the floor next to our bed and DS has come in to sleep in there if he wakes in the night. It's the least disruptive thing. For the past three nights though he has slept through.

We trick him into staying in bed in the evening by telling him 'we're just popping downstairs and will be back in a minute!!'. If we're going out we don't let him nap so we know we can get him settled for the babysitter!!

HTH - the mattress on the floor thing was a godsend and far better than sharing a bed because we could all still sleep although with the moses basket and the small bed our room does look like a refugee camp!!

guineamango Sun 07-Sep-08 15:55:26

Thanks again everyone for the words of wisdom and support. I've been working all weekend so not had a chance to get on line. Last night was better. DD went to bed and fell asleep in her bed with me pretending to be asleep on the floor next to her! She woke once in the evening I took her back to bed no probs. But woke at 1am and nothing could get her back to bed, so took the easy option and had her in our bed. Always swore I'd never do it, but like some of you cant face controlled crying and I just wanted to sleep my self. Not spend the night negotiating with a 2 year old!
We have good bedtime routine of bath 2 stories read by mum and dad then cuddle and bed. Been this way her whole life! Funny how they change so quickly!
Bigbadmousey I hope you get some peace soon, sounds like you need it! Well done for your perseverance!

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