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Sleep problems with 2 DC - 2 year old and 8 month old - help!!

(9 Posts)
Sunflowergirl2011 Sun 29-May-11 15:18:19

Hi
I realy hope you can all give me some advice on what to do with the nightmare bedtimes we are having at the moment. I have 2 little ones, close in age (which i think is part of the problem - when DD2 was a baby we let things slide a bit)
My elder daughter is just 2. She sleeps reasonably well once she is asleep but WILL NOT go to sleep without me or DH lying next to her. We have a bath, milk, teeth, story routine which we stick to pretty much without fail but if we then try to leave the room she howls and howls and gets out of bed until we come back in. Once we are there she will lie down and go to sleep - BUT, this can take an hour or more sometimes, so realy eats into the evening. Any ideas?
Our youngest daughter is 9 months. Again, she is a good sleeper once she is down but will not go in her cot until she is propery zonked out with us either holding her/next to her. So we tend to keep her doenstairs with us until she has her last bottle at 10:30 ish.
Please help! We are at the end of our tether (would rather not leave them to cry but will consider it) - do any of you more experienced mums have any ideas. Thank you in advance.

Mumcah Mon 30-May-11 13:58:19

Hi there.
As you are having problems with both children I'd be inclined to just tackle one at a time.
I think it's really important that babies/children can go to sleep by themselves,and then they will also be able to self settle as and when they wake up in the night. This is key to a good night's sleep.
With your 2yo I think you will have to put up with some tears tbh.

Have you always laid down with her to get her to sleep?
Your routine looks good.I would just keep putting her back to bed (when she howls and makes a fuss),lead her by the hand and tuck her back in,no fuss or talking more than necessary. She will learn quickly that you are not mucking about,you may have to do it loads of times to start with but constancy is absolutely key.

My DS has just woken up but I'll be back later...
The Millpond Sleep book is very good to read,it helped me a lot.

cbmum Mon 30-May-11 22:40:04

You could be talking about our house from your description. DD1 is 2.9 and DD2 10 months. DD1 used to sleep really badly but cracked sleeping through the night just as DD2 arrived! Then came January colds, asthma coughs and exczema flair ups and sleep became crap again. DD2 has always slept better than her sister but that's not difficult!

I second getting the Milpond book. I've cherry picked the parts that work for us. As of the past week (said with hushed breath) DD2 has gone to sleep without being cuddled. A first. I've used music whilst she is being fed then sitting by her cot and holding her hand or patting her back. The first night took 20 mins but after that she quickly got the idea. My own version on gradual retreat I suppose.

DD1 is a harder nut to crack. She too has the same music. Bath together with DD2 then she watches a DVD while I deal with DD2 (DH isn't home til late) and once DD2 is asleep we do teeth story with music in the background 2 stories, quick cuddle then lights out. It used to be that I or DH had to lie next to her to get her to sleep. That progressed to me sitting on the floor by her bed. Still do some nights. Most nights though I tell her I will sit with her for 1 song then tell her I'm going downstairs to tidy up and will be back in 5 mins.

When I get the 'I can't go to sleep' bit from her I just say she doesn't have to sleep but MUST stay in bed and listen to her music. More times than not she is asleep when I check on her.

Now-if only she could stay in her own bed all night!

Sunflowergirl2011 Wed 01-Jun-11 15:56:17

Hi both
Sorry for not replying sooner and thanks for your replies. I am going to go on Amazon in a mo and order that book! Last night was particulalry bad so i think as of tonight we are going to start trying to 'crack' DD1.
Mumcha - We havn't always had to lie down to get DD1 to sleep - up until just before her sister was born she went off but herself (and i think they both self settle when they wake during th night sometimes). - but then it all went to c**p! And now as a result of her and us being so tired i think it is all a bit of a vicous circle.
Cbmum - i know what you mean about lots of things coming and ruining their sleep pattern! Thanks for the summary of your routine. It will help us come up with something similar. 20 minutes for DD2 sounds good - we tryed to settle her in the cot on Sunday night as DD1 was sleeping at grandmas - after 1.5 hrs of crying every time we put her down, we gave up. sad

cbmum Wed 01-Jun-11 22:24:29

I think your right in trying to sort out 1 before the other. Why give yourself a further headache when not needed! I suspect if you can get DD1 to go to sleep without all the current fuss the prospect of dealing with DD2 will be less daunting.

When you tried to put DD2 in her cot on Sunday night was she wide awake or not? DD2 is usually dopey when she goes into her cot as she's had her milk, listened to music whilst doing that, then by the time she has burped she's happy enough to go into her cot. It may be a co-incidence but I wonder whether the fact that she has the music to focus on has anything to do with keeping her calm-ish? What do I know, just trying to come up with theories!!

How is DD1 when she is at grandmas. Does she need cuddling to sleep then? Mine always seem to sleep better when staying with Granny.

Cricket1 Thu 02-Jun-11 16:08:05

I really sympathise and I am also in a desperate situation.
DS2 (2 years 4 months) will not go to sleep without me sitting there since he had to go into a bed at 2 years 2 months. I didn't want to take him out of his cot so early but he started climbing out. Previous to this for over 2 years he had gone off to sleep alone. I had always put him down awake but all that seems to have been of no use now he is in a bed.
As a result DD1 (aged 6) is getting to bed late, around 8.30 to 8.45 as I am sitting with DS1 for so long, up to 45 minutes.
Once after 30 minutes sitting I gave up, attended to DD1 and left him screaming at the gate across his bedroom door. He screamed for 45 minutes and then got himself back into bed to sleep, result! But my husband didn't like me doing that and in any case now he can open the gate.
Last night I gave up again at 30 minutes and he got through the gate and so for the first time in our lives I closed his bedroom door (handles are quite high up). I didn't like doing this and I heard all sorts of banging and crashing with toys etc until he upturned an IKEA plastic storage box of toys, stood on top of the empty box and opened the bedroom door!

On top of all this he wakes once every single night and only goes back to sleep if one of us lies down with him. He had cranial osteopathy at the grand age of 22 months and for a wonderful 3 months he stopped waking in the night. Now he is in a bed it's all back to square one.

So plan is go back to cranial osteopath, ha, ha but I'll try anything and change the gate across his door to a different one and if necessary tie it with string in a knot because I guess he could open any gate! Also remove all toy boxes or anything that could assist him in climbing over the gate.
Can anyone suggest anything else?

I have read Little Angels and Richard Ferber but it all seems to boil down to letting them cry and scream and as he not in a cot any more not easy to do.
Wonder if he is too young to have a CD player with music or story? DD1 goes to sleep very well with a story CD.

Thanks a mil and good luck to everyone.

cbmum Thu 02-Jun-11 21:24:32

Oh goodness no not too young at all for music and stories! We use an old Ipod filled with music and stories which is hooked up to some cheap speakers from Argos (about £20 I think). In the day we have stories or music whilst playing and at night DD1 has the 'bedtime' music which is classical music/nursery rhymes.

If your DD1 already has this could you not convince your DS1 that he is being all grown up like his sister and doing the same thing?

I couldn't put up with crying myself which is why I favoured a gradual retreat idea. Could you not try telling DS1 to listen to his story while you get DD1 ready for bed and say you will check in on him every 5 minutes to make sure he is ok but make a fuss about how he is being all grown up etc?

DD1 would still prefer one of us to sit next to her bed while she goes to sleep if she had her way but that doesn't happen. Tonight is a pretty typical night. Two bedtime stories from me. DH arrives home about 7.50 just as we are finishing stories. I go downstairs to get DH. He went up to give her a kiss goodnight and if she is lucky he may read her 1 story. He then told her he was going to get out of his work clothes and would check on her later. 5 minutes later she was asleep.

If she is feeling a bit off one of us may need to sit with her for a few songs after her stories have finished but we are usually able to say we need to do some task like tidy the kitchen and leave her to it. The trick seems to be to make them think you're just popping off to do something rather than a big song a dance about how they need to be on their own to go to sleep and you are leaving them.

cbmum Thu 02-Jun-11 21:26:35

PS. I hasten to add that although DD1 will go to sleep ok now as a general rule instead of being cuddled which is what happened a few months ago it is a rare night that she stays in her own bed until 6.45am when her sheep clock tells her it's time to get up. 3 times in the past 4 weeks even with the bribery of extra sparkly star stickers!

Sunflowergirl2011 Sat 04-Jun-11 21:37:46

Hi boht
CB mum - DD1 is better when staying at Grandmas but i think thats because grandma is happy to lie next to her for as long as it takes! And she sleeps in their room as thats the only place so when she wakes up there is someone there with her. We have tryed putting DD2 in cot wide awake and sleepy but neither work! We do try music sometimes but i think you are right about it keeping them calmer.
However, we have had much sucess (touch wood) with DD1 this week, which i though i would share as it might give you some tips too Cricket1. On Wednesday we decided to start the 'back to bed' thing. We go through the bath, milk etc routine then put her in bed and read 1 story. Then we leave the room. Each time she got out of bed i just went in and put her back into bed without saying anything. She cryed and got out of bed a lot, (19 times i had to put her back), but then went to sleep. We have been doing it since then and it gets better each night. Today it only took 2 put backs. We also have a stairgate across her door but luckily she can't open it yet. I don't like the crying either but at this age i think it is just temper a lot of the time! I am amazed how quickly this has worked, might be worth a try smile I know how you feel though, and when you are tired it is much harder to stick with. It also helped that we resigned oursleves to the fact we were going to have a few long nights doing it and that helped. Also, this might be a coincidence but like your DS1, my DD1 would wake up once every night and need us there to go back to sleep - well since we have been doing the back to bed she (touch wood), hasn't been doing this. I guess its because she goes to sleep on her own so isn't worried when she wakes up on her own?
So, thanks everyone and good luck cricket1. Now to sort out to DD2.....

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