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22 month old waking five times a night

(7 Posts)
RedCrab Sun 20-Nov-16 14:54:45

I'm desperate! I'm 21 weeks and usually co sleep with her because it gets me the most sleep. But I MUST stop co sleeping before baby arrives because I can't deal with a newborn and a toddler through the night.

Sometimes she just wants to be comforted. Other times she's screamjng and doesn't want to be touched - which leaves me wondering if it's a nightmare? All the advice I've read says to leave them be until they'll accept comfort but she shares a room with DS (4) so there's that pressure to keep her quiet.

We're working on leaving her awake in the evening when she wakes up to remove me as a sleep crutch but it's tricky because she screams and I'm worried she'll wake DS. Also working on her accepting my husband going to her in the night - currently she screams at him too.

I'm so tired. I'm exhausted. Last night was the first time I slept in my own bed and I was back and forth five times with her. I eventually gave up at 4.30am and fell asleep with her. I know it's going to take hard work to train her into settling by herself but I'm just so tired sad

RedCrab Sun 20-Nov-16 14:59:09

Should add she's never slept through but I kept thinking it would get better as her brother did eventually learn to sleep well. Think now Ive just let her develop bad sleep habits.

SilverLinings2014 Sun 20-Nov-16 20:11:47

Wow, that sound tough at 21 weeks. I understand why you feel you need to do something before the new baby arrives.

At 22 months so much will be going on developmentally as well as things like teething that will all affect sleep because they find it so hard to unwind and/ or are uncomfortable. I think you can still massively improve things but you're right about it taking hard work, mainly because you need to be consistent which is difficult when you're so tired and in the middle of the night it's easy to cave to get some rest. It honestly doesn't really matter what strategy you decide to use (I've never been a fan of cry it out approaches but some people find it works) as long as you and DH are agreed on the approach and both stay consistent. I would suggest spending a day telling DD what's going to be different about bedtime (daddy will do it/ you will be going to sleep in your cot etc etc). Repeat it loads so she remembers it, if you can get her to repeat it back that's great. She'll still complain but will accept it more readily than if it's a complete surprise. When she does cry acknowledge her anger/upset/frustration and tell her again about this being the new normal. You may have to accept potential for waking DS for a few days.

At her age it could go either way. You may find she resists for a good few days because she has a well developed memory so remembers how bedtimes have been for the past few months. But toddlers are also smart so you may also find she accepts it in a day or two...the more consistent you are the quicker she will understand that it's the new normal.

The worst thing you can do is start something and then stop again a few days/weeks later. Not only is it unfair and confusing to DD but it'll make it much harder next time you try to changes things.
Good luck

RedCrab Sun 20-Nov-16 21:36:32

That's such great advice, thank you. I feel so lost with it all - you wouldn't know I'm pregnant with DC3!

Do you think it would be ok to try - if she wakes in the evenings, going to her but leaving her awake and getting her used to that. And then introducing that tactic to the middle of the night wakings? I'm worried if I try that too soon, she will just scream and scream and wake the whole house.

But I don't want to be inconsistent either and send mixed messages. Argh, why is it so hard? smile

KatyN Sun 20-Nov-16 21:50:23

Has she ever woken your 4 year old?? My 4 year old sleeps through his sister screaming and if he does wake we just tell him that it'/ her and he goes back to sleep again?
Not a solution but might mean her crying for a minute isn'5 a total disaster.
I might try rewards/bribery?? Sticker/toys etc. Could be just a good age to appreciate that.

RedCrab Mon 21-Nov-16 06:28:16

Actually no to be fair, he sleeps through most things - including the home birth when she was born. I think it's just me that gets worried about it because to my ears, the screaming is awful envy

Fortified by Silver's post, DH and I met every wake up with just "night night, love you" and tucking her back in, and then leaving. No screaming or resistance shock She woke several times between one and five am but it seemed like a massive improvement just to be nipping in and out. I ended up getting up with her for the day at 5.30 and she's full of beans so maybe there's developmental stuff going on. Don't mind though because I'm just amazed at the new way of doing things.

And typically...I actually missed cuddling her shocksmile

SilverLinings2014 Mon 21-Nov-16 07:48:21

That's great red, well done. Lots of praise for DD today and keep reminding her about the new routine. I really believe children need boundaries and find life much harder when they are unsure of the 'rules' or have too much power.
Your DD will probably resist at some point just to test the new boundaries. You might find it happens tonight or you might find things are great for a week or two and then she has a little push back. But either way keep acknowledging her feelings and remain consistent and it'll pass.
And congratulations on the pregnancy smile

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