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18MO won't go to sleep

(9 Posts)
hankins Wed 20-Jul-11 10:30:05

Hi Everyone. I'm really struggling to get my 18MO DS to sleep at night. He has never been a good sleeper, and still wakes in the night a couple of times (or more with illness/teething), but just recently he has taken to resisting going to sleep for sometimes up to 2 hours. It's making me feel stressed out, angry and tired.

He sleeps on a futon in his own room. We bath him, massage him, read him a story, then I BF him, and then the wrestling begins! He is highly active, and easily stimulated, and just won't settle. I rub his back, rapidly return him when he gets up etc etc, but he can go on like this for a long time, until finally, DH and I swap, I go downstairs feeling awful, and he falls asleep with his dad.

I would like to gradually withdraw from him until I can just kiss him and leave him to it, but he would just get up and out of bed if I left him. Does anyone have any tips? I'm not up for CC (don't think it would work anyway - he would just get up and run for the door). Thanks so much. I am at the end of my tether!

fluffyanimal Wed 20-Jul-11 10:34:17

I don't have much advice for you I'm afraid, just wanted to let you know you are not alone. My 23 month old has for a while been taking ages to get to sleep, and no matter how tired he is just keeps fighting it and wanting to play. I do stay with him until he is asleep (I know, I know...) but it can be frustrating sometimes. My older boy was the same at that age. He eventually grew out of it so I'm hoping DS2 will too!

hankins Wed 20-Jul-11 10:41:41

Thanks for your response - it's so hard isn't it? It doesn't feel right to just leave him to it, and I have worked so hard to meet his needs calmly and affectionately, this is just so frustrating. At what age did your older son grow out of it?

Ktay Wed 20-Jul-11 10:44:13

Hello, I am becoming a broken record with this top tip but cutting the bedtime routine down to a strict 30 mins (5 mins for bath) has really helped us. A sleep consultant told me that if you let it go on longer than this then you lose the opportunity to make the most of the temporary shot of melatonin (sleep-inducing hormone) that a consistent bedtime routine produces - its effects only last half an hour and then no more melatonin is produced naturally until the middle of the night apparently.

Might this help you or are you already quite businesslike with your bedtime routine? Good luck regardless, it's very stressful.

hankins Wed 20-Jul-11 11:04:12

Thanks Ktay - we tend to go for a bath between 6 and 6.30pm, and it does take about half an hour to get to the point where I am trying to get him to sleep, perhaps a bit longer, so I will try to make sure we stay within that half-hour window. He is always so tired when it comes to bedtime, so it is a shock to me that he doesn't just go to sleep - why the battle?

fluffyanimal Wed 20-Jul-11 11:49:12

Ktay that is really interesting. Half the problem in our house is trying to combine the needs of DS1 (5) and DS2 (23 months), and they so easily egg each other on to one last burst of play. I will try to bear the melatonin thing in mind.
Hankins, DS1 grew out of it probably between the ages of 2 and 3, can't remember precisely.

Ktay Wed 20-Jul-11 12:12:18

fluffyanimal I can see that balancing the needs of two adds an extra complication! I have all this to look forward to from Jan next year.

Hankins - it might be a bit trickier for you to limit the total time of the routine as you are still bf. I 'only' bf DD until 13 months so it might be different for you but I found the bedtime one could go on for ages. Is there any way you could move that part to before the start of the official bedtime routine? Makes it easier to fit in post-milk teethbrushing etc. too.

hankins Wed 20-Jul-11 12:27:45

That's a really good idea Ktay - I might try that. I have been thinking about it for a while. For the past 18 months, I have been there every night to give him his final feed (and loved that snugglyness), but it does get tiring, and I do need his dad to be able to do bedtimes in their entirety sometimes, so I can have a break after a long day running around after DS. I may BF DS before he has his bath, since it no longer has the 'sleepy' effect that it used to! Thanks so much for your help with this smile

Ktay Wed 20-Jul-11 12:53:27

No worries, I hope some of this works for you too. We're still not out of the woods ourselves but reached the 'put her in her cot and leg it' stage of the gradual retreat programme last night. I hope these improvements stick as it is great having my evenings back!

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