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21 month old will only fall asleep in my arms or the car!!

(5 Posts)
mumtoalice Sun 14-Nov-10 00:48:57

I thought I would post this to see if anyone has any new idea's for me to try
My daughter slept in our room until she was 13 months old. When I thought she was ready and wouldn't cry I put her into her own room and to our delight, she loved it! Once I changed her nappy, gave her a good cuddle and she had 1/2 her bottle, I would ask her if she would like to have a little rest and she literally dived into her cot and had the rest of her milk. When she woke in the morning, I would hear her talking to her teddies and reading the books which were hanging over her cot. She still does this every morning and every day when she wakes.
For the first 13 months, she did not sleep for more than an hour during the day. Alice had reflux and mostly slept 2 x 20 minute naps during the day and would wake during the night and I would have her sleep in our bed. During the first 13 months Alice would always fall asleep in my arms only, during the day and night. You can imagine my delight when Alice starting sleeping 2-3 hours during the day and mostly right through the night when she wasn't teething or had a cold etc.

My dilemma now is - Alice has gone back to wanting to fall asleep in my arms at night time, I do enjoy it, I love sitting in the rocking chair in her room and cuddling her. If it took her 30 minutes, I wouldn't worry but it's been 90 minutes and by the time she falls asleep and I leave her room it's 9.30. I try not to talk to her, but she insists on counting and talking, pointing to my eyes, her eyes, ears, hair, teeth etc etc and says "love you" so obviously I have to tell her that I love her too.
This has gone on now for approx 4 weeks and I have so far tried..doing the above except letting her fall asleep in my arms and telling her that she can have a rest in her cot and mummy will stay with her. The first night, she kept standing up and I kept placing her back down and after 6 -7 attempts and her being frustrated, she gave in and I patted her to sleep. Now, she will not go to sleep and me being there by her cot must be confusing her because she thinks it's fun and stays awake for a couple of hours! When I think she's asleep I leave the room and she starts crying again.
I have dreaded the controlled crying method, but I do believe it is the only way for Alice to see what is expected.
During the day she has started falling asleep in the car and I can transport her from the car to the cot beautifully, she opens her eyes coming out of car and once she's in the cot, repositions herself and off she sleeps for 2-3 hours...this has been convenient for me because we go out most mornings anyway and on our way home she just conks out.
Today I tried placing her in her cot for her daytime nap but she wasn't having that either and really carried on like never before. I should have just left her in the cot but hate hearing her so upset calling my name and coughing and carrying on, I tried standing/sitting next to the cot and cuddling her whilst she's still in the cot, but I couldn't see her calming down anytime soon and knew that all I need to do was pop her in her carseat and she would be asleep almost instantly..Once I let her out, she danced and started singing humpty dumpty!! Anyway, I put her in the car and she was out like a light!

Alice loves her cot and enjoys waking up in it and even during the day she wants me to put her in it, asking if she can have a little rest (5-10 minutes depending on when she wants to get out).
Most afternoons I end up having to entice her out of the cot, so it's not a cot issue. I know Alice just wants her mummy and that's exactly what I will give. She is very well balanced and even goes to family day care once a week (3 other children are also there) and she loves "Aunty Jam" (Jan) and sleeps beautifully for Jan without a problem.

I would be happy to continue with our 90 minute cuddle and sleep routine if I felt we were getting closer to Alice wanting to go to sleep on her own in the near future but I think I need to be firmer than I have been???

Any ideas or advice would be greatfully received x

dycey Sun 14-Nov-10 12:19:31

Sounds v like me! My ds is right now asleep in the car. I always use the pushchair for naps. Can also transport to bed easily. Also 21 months. Also had a year of sleep deprivation. Bedtime also wants me holding / rocking him! But I am lucky it is quick. Mine is getting up at 5am after 9.5 hrs asleep - my current obsession! Only 1.5 hrs in day. Totally totally understand where you coming from. Will write more later when home?

mumtoalice Sun 14-Nov-10 23:38:54

Hey Dycey,
So I'm not alone then
That's great your ds is sleeping through 9.5 hours during the night. I changed Alice's room around yesterday and repositioned the rocking chair. It seemed to help her nod off quicker. It took about 45 minutes last night and less talking, I didn't respond to her chit chatter. She slept 10.5 hours waking at 8 this morning.
How many hours does your DS sleep during the day?

dycey Mon 15-Nov-10 05:54:13

That sounds pretty good to me. I was wondering if the no-cry fit toddlers sleep book might have some ideas for you. I just bought it. One idea is to make a book about your child with photos to say how you want them to go to sleep - as a preparation. It's by Elizabeth pantley.

I am wondering about doing a version if putting in cot awake and popping in and out to say shush go to sleep. I did this a few months ago and although I really hated it, it only took 20 mins for one night. Trouble is he got ill and hence the rocking.

But reading other threads I do think they can fight sleep as they get older to check you are still there etc. Also at some point they will be able to get out if bed and follow us.

I am pretty undecided!

larrygrylls Mon 15-Nov-10 08:15:46

I am sure you know (theoretically) the answer to this one. The problem is these things are far harder to do in practice with one's own children!

Alice sounds a bright and lovely little girl but you know she is manipulating you. Unfortunately, a degree of tough love is required to get you both on the right track. The thing to remember is that a tired toddler is not a happy toddler.

Firstly, I don't think she should be allowed to go to her cot to play. Her cot should be associated with sleep only. Children do need to learn to "self settle" and the only way they can learn that is to be left alone to do it. What compromise each parent goes for is personal between them and their child but we give our 17 month old 5-10 minutes to settle before going in briefly to give him a cuddle and put him down again and then repeat until he falls asleep. A good evening routine (bath, warm drink, story) seems to help too. However, our boy still has phases in the night so I think it is one of those things.

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