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16MO awake nearly every night for 2-3-4-5 hrs. Any ideas?

(13 Posts)
Ineedacoffee Fri 02-Sep-11 09:35:27

Sorrry this is long.

DS has always been a terrible sleeper at night. Was breast fed which we stopped a couple of months ago. He is currently inbetween 1 and 2 naps a day but it makes no difference to night time sleep which continues to be crap. He wakes up - can be any time between 11 and 3 and is awake for at least 2 hrs.

We have tried controlled crying which works after 4 or 5 nights of screaming but only for a week or so then it starts again. This weekend having been up for 5 hours (11-4) on Saturday I left him for 30 mins on Sunday night when he woke up at midnight then went in to find him covered in vomit - so then I am shattered and feeling incredibly guilty.

I never feed him or give milk in the middle of the night - just offer water which he usually doesn't want.

If we go in and hold him he fights and fights until he seems to have dropped off then start screaming again as soon as he's back in the cot. If I bring him into our bed he hurls himself out (on holiday a couple of months ago I put him in bed with me and fell asleep to be woken up by him screaming and put the light on to find him covered in blood having put his tooth through his lip in falling out sad ), if I leave him in the cot and shush pat he stands up, holds onto the bars and shakes them and screams. He is still tired in the mornings (as are me and DH)

I am a wreck and have No idea what to do. in fairness he does sleep through ponce or twice a week but I can't function like this. Any ideas from anyone? Please?

BertieBotts Fri 02-Sep-11 09:40:16

Is he hungry? I know if DS wakes up for an extended period of time it usually is hunger - it's like his brain is telling him his need for food is higher than his need for sleep now, so he thinks it's the morning and keeps demanding brefkust.

You could try giving him an extra filling meal before bed, cereal perhaps? Or keep some not-too-crumby, plain food upstairs (or even some milk?) so that you can feed him without too much bother. I'm sure others will disagree with this but I have done it with DS and he sleeps through fine now he's grown out of that phase.

jazzandh Fri 02-Sep-11 14:48:54

I had this with DS1 (and now DS2 has similar tendencies). I would say he is chronically overtired. This seems to cause many and prolonged night wakings. A night time awake cycle is generally 1.5 hours. So with DS2 now, I try and settle him in his cot, or give him some toys, or go in and out periodically, and after about and hour and a quarter, feed him to settle and put him back in his cot and he will go back to sleep.

Sometimes if I heard him stirring, and I got in really quickly I could soothe him back to sleep, but once wide awake - you may as well save the soothing to resettle at the end of the period!

Whilst between 1 and 2 naps, all you can do is put him to bed as early as you possibly can. DS1 bedtime limit was 5 hours after waking from his nap, later than this and he was overtired.

Put your Ds to bed as early as you can for several nights, it takes a few days to catch up on sleep, and I used to find that first you lose the prolonged wakings, but get several quick easy to settle wake-ups, then the wake-ups get later in the night, before they catch up fully and sleep through.

Ineedacoffee Sun 04-Sep-11 15:38:57

Thankyou both good ideas. Going to start trying super early bedtimes and very quick soothing back to sleep from tonight with food in reserve! (have been leaving him for 20 mins to self settle.......not working!!!!)

dreamingbohemian Sun 04-Sep-11 15:53:45

My DS is 16 mo and we have had some bad spells lately too.

Could he be teething? We had a few weeks of screaming and then suddenly four new teeth appeared!

We found it helpful to give him a good dinner but nothing too hard to digest, so no tummy pains.

My MIL gave us some camomile vials to give him before bedtime, I was sceptical but I have to admit that he seems to be sleeping better since we started them (it's not a one-off thing, it works best if given every night).

I think it would also help a lot to put him on a consistent daytime nap schedule, I know it's hard when they're transitioning but I think consistency is key.

we finally got DS sleeping through again when we switched from two naps to one. He sleeps from 10 til 1 and is then fine the rest of the day before going to bed at 8.

It's possible your DC is overtired, but at least in our case it seems to be the opposite, he needed a longer period awake to sleep better at night.

but good luck! hope something works soon smile

Fontsnob Sun 04-Sep-11 18:42:01

Will be watching this with interest as 12 mnth old dd is the same, down to the thrashing about in our bed so we worry she will throw herself out. Last night we pushed our bed against the wall and padded the wall with pillows. Then I worried that she'd get stuck in the pillows. sad I go back to work tomorrow and am dreading the tiredness.

AngelDog Mon 05-Sep-11 00:23:08

Agree with jazzandh. The transition from 2 to 1 naps is horrible. If you do 2 naps, they're awake in the night because they've had too much daytime sleep. If you do 1 nap, they're up because of overtiredness. It does improve, and earlier bedtimes will help, although it'll be a few days before you see much benefit.

I'd offer food as well too in case.

Resettling after 1.5 hours awake has worked really well for us too.

Zimm Mon 05-Sep-11 10:24:03

Agree with others this is prob overtiredness. Filling meal before bed followed by a goood glug of bedtime milk and an earlier bedtime will help. My DD goes to bed at six when she is really tired!

Kveta Mon 05-Sep-11 14:38:22

oh god, DS is like this too - has been for too too long. he was up at least 5 times a night over the weekend.

sadly, I cannot offer a solution - we tried the earlier bedtime for a few nights (result: earlier wakings and longer ones at night) and the extra food (result: oats all over the bedroom, and no difference in his night wakings).

we have resorted to taking turns to sleep in his room so at least one of us gets some sleep.

we did notice some better nights sleep when we took the side off his cot bed and he could get out is he wanted (although, strangely, he doesn't get out at all), and bed time is certainly nicer now, but it hasn't stopped the repeated wakings during the night.

Ineedacoffee Wed 14-Sep-11 10:37:20

Update - we had 5 nights of sleeping through which was amazing!!! I was thinking all I had to do was post on mumsnet and problems magically go away!

However the last 4 or 5 nights are back to his old ways up every night for minimum of 2 hrs. Have tried feeding him - isn't hungry. Wont take food. Will take milk but doesn't then go to sleep. Have been trying to get him down earlier but he doesn't want to go to sleep so that is just creating another battle.

DH and I have different approaches - he wants to hold him for hrs if necessary, or more accurately he wants me to do this and I CAN'T. He's too big. My back is killing me and IT DOESN'T WORK. He is really anti leaving him to cry as it doesn't work for very long and he gets in such a state.

We're both so shattered and shouting at each other in the middle of the night sad

Do sleep clinics do anything other than telling you to cry it out? I'm seriously putting a tv in his room <v v bad mummy>>

Ineedacoffee Wed 14-Sep-11 10:38:48

sorry other thing is - he doesn't know about the 1.5 hr sleep window - just sails right past it!

MrsGravy Thu 15-Sep-11 11:32:35

I was about to start a very similar thread to this about my 15 month old. She used to self settle at bedtime but now won't go to sleep unless held and rocked for an hour or more - she gets absolutely hysterical when left. Then she wakes up in the middle of the night 2/3am and is awake for hours, nothing will settle her, she was also climbing out of my bed in the middle of the night and having a massive tantrum when I tried to settle her back down. She tends to finally give in 2 hours later, by which time I'm in tears along with her. Me and DH are trying to take it in turns but she also starts yelling if we bring her into bed and one of us leaves to go downstairs and get some sleep! It's an absolute nightmare. I haven't tried CC with her as I don't want to wake my elder 2 who are worn out with being back to school.

Sorry OP, no words of wisdom but I just wanted to vent to someone going through the same thing. Let me know if you find anything that works...

TadlowDogIncident Sat 17-Sep-11 08:05:54

Can I join this thread (watching with interest for any helpful tips)? DS is only 13 months but I think is also in the transition from 2 naps to 1. He's waking every night and being up, screaming, for a couple of hours. God knows what he wants - sometimes he seems to be hungry, sometimes he just seems to want us. The first episode we had like this we thought he'd had a nightmare, but since it seems to be happening every night. We are shattered, DS is miserable, we're wondering if we can scrape together the money for a night nanny to try to crack this. I'd also like to know if sleep clinics do anything useful (bit sceptical as a friend tried one and just ended up poorer and still with a non-sleeping child).

ineedacoffee, your DH sounds really unhelpful - does he know your back is killing you? Why can't he hold him and rock him?

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