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2.4 ds has never slept well and now wakes every hour. anyone else been here?

(18 Posts)
dsmama Wed 25-May-11 09:40:02

My ds is lively, hilarious, sweet-natured and we love him more than I can say. The only problem is that we haven't had a decent night's sleep since he was born. He had a tongue-tie that wasn't spotted until he was seven months old, which I think set us up for terrible nights, because as a breast-feeding tiny baby he was ALWAYS hungry, and fed every hour for many many months. And we are incapable of leaving him to cry - why put him through that when he only wants a cuddle?? We co-slept for 18 months, but the wriggling/feet in face meant we had to move him onto a mattress and then into his own room after that (he has always been a cot-refusnik). The best we have have had in terms of sleep (very occasionally) is an unbroken night with a 4.30/5am start, but usually there is a combination of 1-3 wakings (that only require a bit of a cuddle, nothing too protracted) with the early start.
But for the last week, he has woken at least every hour, and seems to need to have us near. He's not ill, he has all of his teeth, and I'm guessing that it's developmental, combined with his natural traits... as independence during the day increases, perhaps he needs more reassurance at nights?
Does this sound familiar to anyone? Does anyone have any suggestions?! We are both working and living in a fog at the moment.

Rycie Thu 26-May-11 13:16:11

I feel your pain!!

My dd is 2.5 and has slept through the night once in her whole life. I'll never forget it, it was a thursday. I don't want to revel in your misery but it is very comforting to find someone else in the same position. Most of the sleep threads are about babies, not toddlers, and it just makes me feel even worse.

I got a sleep trainer in when she was 10 months old, which was a mistake in hindsight because she implemented a very rigid controlled crying approach, even for day time naps which just made it worse.

Typically, she would want us to lie with her until she fell asleep, then would wake the first time at 11ish (she is in her own bed) and then for the sake of some sleep would get into bed with us, although she would still wake me up throughout the night wanting her water, her blankie or crying for no discernible reason.

Anyway, I have finally reached breaking point and am implementing a self devised sleep training program, which I am hoping will work for her. I started last friday, and she is staying in her room all night now, but still waking every couple of hours and often from about 4pm I don't think she really goes back to sleep.

Are you also getting ready to tackle it?

CamperFan Fri 27-May-11 15:22:16

Yes, we had this, but not just awake every hour, but awake for several hours in the night. It was awful, but for some reason I didn't really implement much sleep training - I tried many things, but nothing seemed to work and I wasn't into controlled crying, especially not at that age. Around 2.6 I started being a little harsher in going into his room, ie I would wait much longer - it coincided with us moving bedrooms into our loft conversion, so it was a bit easier to ignore him!!! Also around this time it started to get a little easier to reason with him. By his 3rd birthday we had introduced reward charts (although the step before this was actually a chocolate treat on waking if he had slept well - this worked really well) and he understood that waking us up in the night was making us tired and unhappy. We always made it clear that if there was a problem he could call us though.

I'm not sure whether this helps you, but by a few weeks after his 3rd birthday he was sleeping brilliantly (just in time as I was pg!) and all of last year he slept well. Since he turned 4 he has had regular nightmares, not sure how to deal with those, but in comparison it's not that bad. So he went from being a terrible sleeper to a really good one, so there is hope for you.

A friend of mine used the Millpond Sleep clinic, which worked really well for her - the phone package I think. I bought their book and was starting to think about gradual retreat, etc

EvaPeron Sun 29-May-11 20:55:47

Does he cough a lot at night? My DS woke us every hour for a while - couldn't find anything that would help. HV even told me I was harming his development by not doing controlled crying (not sure how that would have helped, he went to sleep ok, just woke frequently).

After a hospital appointment for breathing problems, the consultant asked if there was a family history of asthma (there is) and if he was waking frequently as that's one of the more common symptoms in young children. An inhaler has dropped the wake-ups to every 3-4 hours (unless teething...). Might be worth getting him checked if you think it's a possibility?

chrisonabike Mon 30-May-11 08:38:24

Rycie you made me guffaw at "I'll never forget it, it was a thursday". grin I'm a bit jealous of your Thursday, DS has never slept through. Not Once.

DS is nearly 2 and not quite at the 'reasoning' stage that CamperFan describes. I cannot wait to start with the sticker charts and general bribery. I wish he could tell us what was bothering him enough to make him wake every hour and wail like a banshee. All we get out of him is "mummy gone" sad so it's obviously a separation anxiety thing. BUT WHY DOES HE WAKE UP EVERY HOUR <tears out hair> Surely even toddler sleep cycles should be longer than that?

DP and I are getting seriously fed up with co-sleeping from 2am, or whenever we give up and haul him in with us. He flails around like an eel and I keep getting kicked in the tits angry We can't do CC as he gets in such a state so quickly and relations with neighbours are already v strained.

Sorry OP, no suggestions, just sympathy!

Zoidberg Mon 30-May-11 15:21:24

Oh I feel your pain too, same sort of thing over here, DD is turned 2 last month and nowhere near sleeping through. She seemed to be doing better earlier this year (down to 2 wake-ups and a 10-11 hour night overall) but sometimes wake upsa are an hour or 2 long, or sometimes it's every 2 hours.

For the last 4 weeks she's been snotty at night so has gone back to every 2 hours. But I have no idea why she usually wakes up, or why some nights I'm up for two hours putting her back to sleep only for her to sit up again a minute later. Tear my hair out too! Argh!

But I'm resigned to going with it, I don't want to leave her to cry and I can't do anything else - I reckon any sleep training plan would just be passing the time til it changes of its own accord. Sigh. I do believe it will get better sometime in this year i.e. by 3 year old.

We are fabulous strong caring women, just remember that grin And patient, we are very patient...

choceyes Mon 30-May-11 21:47:28

I was just about to start a thread about my 2.5yr old DS when I spotted this!

Basically he has slept through twice in the last 2.5yrs. Those 2 nights where 2 nights in a row.....when I was in hospital having DD 9 months ago!! I was up all night with newborn DD as she wouldn't go in hospital cot and I had to hold her all night. but what a coincidence, so I didn't benefit from those 2 nights of DS sleeping through.

He co-slept with us till 21 months, when DD was born. He went into his own bed at 2yrs and usually wakes up 2 or 3 times a night. For the last couple of months, his sleeping has got much much worse and he is waking up and screaming for milk for ages. My DH tries to calm him down. He gave him milk in desparation a few times, but we haven't done it for ages now, but every night he is like this. It is sooo tiring.

We thought it is because he is sleeping on his own and missing us, but DH usually goes and sleeps with him when he first wakes up, but DS still wakes up even with DH in the bed.

Also we have the added problem recently of him refusing to go to bed and wanting us to be with him when he nods off, otherwise he is ina nd out of his room like a yoyo and will carry on till gone 9pm. I go and stay with him sometimes if I've already got DD to sleep.

we have thought about cutting out his day time nap or limiting the time. He sleeps for about 1.5-2hrs during the day usually. There has been the odd day when he hadn't hat a nap and he goes to bed so much easier.

GingaNinja Tue 31-May-11 08:27:24

Thank god we're not alone. grin I write down the good nights (one wake up only. Or less - in theory). The gaps between good nights were getting smaller (5 or 6 weeks) but that seems to have stopped. And for some reason DD has been bloody awful since last Thursday; I got 90 mins interrupted sleep on Sat night. Bad last night too though compared to Sat, positively bliss - only 5 times up with her and each time short. I suspect the last 2 molars for the last week's shenanigans.

I have considered losing/curtailing her nap, but TBH she doesn't sleep that long (just over an hour) and if that's been shortened for any reason in the past she has been an antichrist for the rest of the day and usually slept even worse at night. Cue start of another vicious circle.

I'm also planning on moving her into a bed this summer; and as that'll be a big change I figured I'd tackle the whole going-to-sleep-on-Mummy thing at the same time.

Bucharest Tue 31-May-11 08:30:34

Dd first slept through at 4 and a half.

<helpful>

theothermrsclooney Tue 31-May-11 08:48:49

The is light at the end of the tunnel... I refused to use CC on wither of my DCs as I beleive parents should respond to their children's cries (I know many disagree!). DD1 slept through from 1.2yo (easy) but DS2 has literally started to sleep through in the past month he is 3.3yo. He has rarely slept through the night, waking at least once but things got worse when I went back to work last year. He would come to our room at about 2/3am shouting Mummy and it was just easier to let him climb into our bed. We tried reward charts with limited results. I then told him that he was now a big boy and that he needed to sleep in his bef an that if he came into our room when Mummy was sleeping that I would not wake up but Daddy would take him back to bed. SOmehow this worked he has slept in his own bed all night for the past 4 weeks bar one night when he had nightmare. I did go to comfort him on that occassion. I think you have a choice with go down the controlled crying/rapid return etc route and get sleep or wait as we did safe in the knowledge that it will eventually pass!

Zoidberg Tue 31-May-11 09:28:17

Bucharest, even if it takes that long I console myself by thinking that we're halfway there...

I don't mind the not sleeping through, actually. It's all relative isn't it - if DD woke up twice a night for 5 mins of bf and to come into bed with me, then went off to sleep again (a scenario which has happened several times in the past), that's fine. Once a night, bliss, as I'd be in with a chance of a long block of sleep myself.

Rycie Tue 31-May-11 09:53:43

So many in the same boat, it is a little heartening. My main anxiety at this point is that she will never learn to sleep properly, and get adrenal burnout and ME as a teenager (a helpful comment from the GP).

I don't mind so much about myself as I'm quite used to it, and had relaxed about it all and thought, oh well, she'll get there eventually, but now I'm worried she's going to be an insomniac because I didn't teach her how to sleep. And she is tired, it can't be good for her.

When I said in my earlier post that I was doing sleep training, I didn't mean CC but a gentler "go back to sleep" and with some bribes thrown in for good measure.

Bucharest, what happened at 4, did she just miraculously settle?

Chris ironically I hardly slept on the thursday in question because i kept waiting for her to wake up!!

theothermrsclooney Tue 31-May-11 10:23:34

Rycie what a daft comment from your GP. What about the long term impact on emotional development caused by CC?

Bucharest Tue 31-May-11 11:29:22

She did. (mine was a Saturday!) Previously, she'd woken at least 3 or 4 times every night, and then suddenly whoomp, I wake up and it's light outside!

Ever since that holy of holiest miracle daysgrin she only wakes up if she's ill.

Zoidberg Tue 31-May-11 12:31:15

I also worry sometimes about DD being tired and if that's having a negative effect on her. However 90% of the time she's a happy little soul, pottering about cheerfully, only grumpy-tired when she's woken up at say 5.15 after waking a few times in the night.

Rycie I also think your GP is talking nonsense.

DD bfs on demand at night and sleeps with me after the first wake-up so I feel our approach is kind of natural and if the result of that is that she naturally isn't sleeping all the night then so be it.

Me however, feel like my immune system is non-existent, have had 3-4 colds, hand foot & mouth and conjunctivitis (last 2 courtesy of DD) this year alone.

Rycie Tue 31-May-11 13:40:30

Thanks for that, I feel a bit better. I have been feeling very much like I've let her down and and am setting her for future problems. Oh the guilt of being a parent!!

Bucharest and theothermrsclooney you have given me hope so thanks for that.

deepheat Tue 31-May-11 15:04:47

OP, we're in a similar boat with 2yo DD. We have had the odd unbroken night (one so far this year, a few last year - can easily remember the one this year because it was the night after we bought her younger brother back from hospital - got to give her credit for that I suppose!) but by and large I'm going up there anything from 4 - 15 time per night. (DW is obviously dealing with the baby.)

There is always a reason it seems: teething at the mo, before that we put it down to being unsettled because of the new arrival, a cold before that. They're all good rational reasons, but then, there's always a good rational reason and I wonder if we've just been making excuses to make ourselves feel better about it. I live off a few hours sleep every night and am starting to get repeated infections because my immune system can't fight them off.

Sorry - I'm basically moaning rather than helping. So, what I have decided is this: when DD wakes up, she wakes up for comfort from us of some kind. In some ways this is fair enough, but the reality is that she should not always need it. I'm still going up, but no longer take her out of cot, don't cuddle/kiss her, don't give her her drink (she can get it herself) etc etc. Just let her know I'm there and she isn't alone. I feel harsh, but don't see many other options (not doing CC).

The other big bit of advice - focus on your relationship with your DP. Its the first thing to suffer when you're both knackered in my experience but the reality is that this is when you need each other's support. In whatever way you can, try and invest time in each other, regardless of how knackered you are. Good luck.

choceyes Tue 31-May-11 21:16:46

Rycie - your GPs comment is total nonsence! My DH and I both didn't sleep through till 5yrs and 3yrs respectively and we are very healthy, physically and emotionally! My DH's 2 other siblings were the same too.

We can't bring ourselves to do CC either. I think it's a developmental thing myself. Some children sleep through earlier than others. I console myself with the fact that Dh's bestfriend has a DD who slept through from 6wks, but was left to CIO from 10 days old sad and I don't want to do that if that's what it takes for a child to sleep through.

Although I know some are just plain lucky and get babies who sleep through very early indeed envy

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