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HELP! 20 month old and sleep problems....

(6 Posts)
Kodit Thu 21-Jul-11 13:47:25


My wife and I are haing all sorts of problems with our 20 month old son and sleep, we hae differing views on the solution and would like the opinion of the Mumsnet community as we are both thoroughly fed up with the current situation, basically our 20 month old DS has never really been what you would call a 'good sleeper' - my wife usually breastfeed's our son to sleep, it's always taken a while but lately it has just got worse and worse in terms of time - at night she usually takes him up about 6:30pm, and she can be up there with him until 8:30pm-9 before he finally gives up and goes to sleep! - At the moment she lies in bed with him and tries to feed him to sleep and also keep him in bed, our DS plays during this time and tries to get out of bed, also, while she is feeding him he either bites her nipples or pinches her until she is screaming in pain, he laughs at this and then she walks away for a couple of minutes before going back, now she is convinced he is just over-tired and so is taking his frustration out on her, but I am convinced that we just need to leave him alone in his room and he will eventually wear himself out. Our son is also a slow walker, he 'bum-shuffles' his way around at the moment and we are both convinced that once he starts walking/running he will sufficiently wear himself out during the day to be knackered at night and sleep quite easily (hopefully!). I have suggested to my wife that we leave him in his room with toys and let him eventually fall alseep and then we can transfer him to his bed, but she doesn't think this will work coz during the times she has tried this he's just sat in the middle of his room and cried coz he wants to get back into bed, and can't get himself back in, now I'm convinced that he is now at an age where he is 'trying it on' a little bit and this is becomming a bit of a power struggle with sleep, which is no good and I want to nip it in the bud, my wife doesn't agree with me on this and it is causing a few issues between us. Anyway, I am going on a bit now, sorry for the very long post, if any of you have gone through a similar thing and come out the other side (seems a long way off at the moment) we would appreciate some advice greatly!

Many thanks,

debka Thu 21-Jul-11 13:58:55

I think you need to put him back in a cot that he can't get out of and just leave him. I wouldn't put up with this behaviour from my DDs, your wife shouldn't have to do that every night. When DD1 was 20 months she would have a story, a kiss then I'd put her in bed where she'd go off to sleep.

If he has to stay in the bed, I've seen Supernanny where she just keeps putting the child back in bed every time they get out. Eventually they get the idea!

Hope this gets resolved between you and your wife, I know these issues can be hard for relationships.

Kodit Thu 21-Jul-11 14:31:52

Thanks for the reply Debka, to be honest the reason we moved him to the bed is he was very funny about sleeping in his cot, we are convinced he didn't like being in the cot, once we eventually got him to sleep in the cot he would wake up a hell of a lot upset and we think he didn't like being in the cot, hence why he is now in bed. I might suggest the supernanny way but I am not sure that will work as he does seem to want to sleep, but he does wake up a fair bit in the night and when he does my wife wants to get into bed with him and feed him to sleep, he doesn't tend to climb out of bed any more once he has first gone to sleep, I think in the early evening it's more of a thing of having too uch energy which he needs to burn off.

JoinTheDots Thu 21-Jul-11 14:32:49

I have never been one for letting a little one cry it out, so maybe I am a little more like your wife. However, if the current methods are not working and it is causing issues between you then something does need to change.

First thing I would do is look at the bedtime routine. Is there wind down time in the run up to bed? You said he likes to play is his bed time a tad too early? Are there sleep cues eg bath, story, milk, cuddle fingers crossed sleep?

In terms of biting, if he does this you either need to stop the feed each time it happens to help him learn the good stuffs stops when he is bad, or ignore the behaviour (sounds too painful to do this) so he learns there is no point.

Can your wife express milk or use warmed cows milk and you try bedtime to see if he would react differently to you?

I still feed DD to sleep and it does take an hour some nights but its not an issue as there is no biting, just snuggles she doesn't want to end.

Kodit Thu 21-Jul-11 16:39:13

Thanks for the reply Join, we used to bath him every night but a couple of months ago we discovered he has quite bad ecsma so we now only bath him twice a week and the bedtime routine is now applying DoubleBase cream (for his ecsma), while he watches In The Night Garden, and then have him upstairs for 6:30. My wife thinks that he is a child who, if you miss his window of opportunity for sleep, will go overtired, which basically means hyperactive. I think she may be right on this and so we are going to try and get him to bed earlier, maybe upstairs by 6:15 tonight. Fingers crossed that works!

With regards to the biting, she walks out of the room at this point after telling him no very strongly. I think this is probably just part of the upcoming 'terrible 2's' so there's not really too much we can do about this, it'll pass. Also, this may be a part of his losing control if he is over tired.

Did you find it just passed in time? Just a phase like so many other things? How old is your DD now?

JoinTheDots Thu 21-Jul-11 17:31:31

I only found biting happened when new teeth cut, it was like she was testing the pressure to see what she could and could not get away with. She would also do it if I was trying to feed her to sleep and she wanted to be doing something else (like rolling about or sitting up and trying to touch the little animals on her mobile above the bed).

The saying on this site is "this too shall pass" and so far it has served me well. No matter how bad, or how endless a phase seems, it will pass. Of course when you are living it, you really want to know when.

Good idea to try getting your DS into bed a little earlier if you think he is over tired. Sometimes if we have to miss bed time (if my DH is working late and I know he wants to see her before she goes to bed) DD gets a bit hyper. I sit her on my lap for a while and read stories to her until she calms and is in a better state to try to feed and get her to sleep. They are all different though, your DS might just take this as a sign its time to play even more!

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