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18 month old sleep regression hell

(14 Posts)
squiggleywiggler Wed 07-Sep-11 14:11:53

Please help me before I shrivel up with fatigue.

DD 18 months always been a patchy sleeper. Have had a couple of amazing blocks of sleeping through but generally quite a light sleeper.

For over a month sleep gone to pot. Waking several times and impossible to get back to sleep.

She's never fed to sleep (still BFing but she was naturally night weaned before this), we can't co-sleep (she finds it overstimulating and just wakes up even more).

Most effective way of getting her back to sleep is to stand next to cot with hand on her and gradually withdraw when she's asleep. But it often takes several attempts, is doing my back in and the more i do it the more she needs it. I can be standing there for an hour at 3am.

She's now refusing to go to sleep at bedtime without me there (after doing it reliably for a year), won't go down for her nap and yesterday i had to stop in the street and crouch next to her whilst in buggy to get her to sleep as she was screaming with tiredness. I got v wet and some odd looks.

We've tried everything it seems - even PUPD and going in every 5 mins. It just winds her and me up and CC is not for me.

DH and I exhausted, am finding it hard to get work done and really need a plan as I seem to be making it worse.


squiggleywiggler Wed 07-Sep-11 22:16:17


I had over an hour of trying to persuade her to go to sleep tonight.

rubyslippers Wed 07-Sep-11 22:22:48

They go through a phase of seperation anxiety at this age and it can last a while

My DD did this for a long time - 5 months on and off

In the end, I accepted she needed patting/feeding to sleep and tried to roll with it - it was intensely frustrating at times and around 1 month ago I let her cry for one night and then it stopped (I went in every 5 mins) and she was crying with anger not anything else

It was a very hard decision to make but it worked for us

She still breastfeeds and I think the novelty at 18 months or so of being able to ask for it was a big thing for hee

squiggleywiggler Thu 08-Sep-11 10:33:36

Thanks Ruby - it's comforting to know will pass eventually.

Last night was the worst night ever. I couldn't get her back to sleep and ended up sleeping on the floor in her room as she would not settle if I left the room.

She tossed and turned and needed to know I was there every 15 mins or so.

Beginning to wonder whether she's in pain - lots of shuffling, bottom right in the air and even when i got her deeply asleep she'd wake 15 mins later.

Dh away this week and I have just shouted at her for being whingy as have reached the end of my tether a bit.


AntPants1 Fri 09-Sep-11 20:30:25

squiggly am in the same situation with an 18 month old. Last night sent two hours on the floor next to his cot at 1am.

I just don't know if there is anything I can do.

He is very very clingy to me at the moment. I cannot put him down for a minute.

We went through the same thing with our DD.

Am wondering whether to move him to a bed so at least I can get in with him and get some sleep!

I am sorry I know I am not giving you any answers. Just wanted to let you know you are not alone. My DD did eventually grow out of this and is now a wonderful sleeper.

Secondtimelucky Sun 11-Sep-11 10:56:13

Oh God Squiggley, that sounds like hell.

We had a similar with DD1 at 11 months, so developmentally a rather different stage, but very similar behaviours. She was screaming for two hours in the night whatever we did (i.e. rocking, cuddling, patting, co-sleeping etc didn't help). In the end, much as I hate CC, we did it for one night. We figured that, if it didn't work, that was no worse for her than an average night really. It seemed to break the cycle. She was very easily overstimulated, so I think the things we were trying to do were waking her more.

We had a similar issue for going to sleep at night and did something from NCSS. We started off with the hand and patting, then added a noise (DH used to count sheep to her very softly). Once she'd associated both of those as a going to sleep thing, we could start withdrawing the hand and talking to her from by the cot, then the door, then coming to the doorway if needed, etc. Took quite a while, and it felt like a bit of a backwards step adding an extra thing, but did work over time.

Around 18 months she also started becoming fond of her teddy. Does DD have anything?

DD2 is generally improving a bit by the way, although last night was pretty useless and she was up on and off from 4am (yawn). She is actually doing the miraculous 'put in cot still awake and drift off'. Am bracing myself for the four month sleep regression!

evitas Mon 12-Sep-11 16:41:01

squiggly my sympathies.

We also have moments like that. I put it mainly to separation anxiety because it usually happens after returning from holiday.

We usually try to CC... but I know it's very hard.
Sometimes I'm not strong enough to do it and we do the same, I stay next to his cot and gradually move to the door.

But having said that last night DS was awake between 4 and 6am just chatting... no crying. I gave gave him some milk to see if he would calm down but he just wanted to chat/play. I just let him chat... there was nothing else I could do. He eventually went back to sleep.

This is just a phase and TTSP


squiggleywiggler Tue 13-Sep-11 13:18:19

Thank you secondtimelucky! Glad to hear DD2 is doing the magic thing I won't jinx by mentioning it again. Long may it last in the face of the 4 mnth regression.

DD has a favourite teddy who she adores and is NO consolation to her in the wee small hours. I'm thinking an adapted NCSS technique like yours might be the way forward.

In my darkest hours (when hours of everything else has totally failed) I have tried a bit of CC. It breaks my heart and she does not respond to it at all - just gets more and more and more worked up so we've made a pact that however desperate we get we won't try it again.

I do think we need to be careful of not overstimulating her though.

We've had very slightly better nights the last few days by really focusing on making the hour before bed very wind down-y and also cutting out the cup of cow's milk and replacing it with a breastfeed as I think it makes her windy. Saying that we had 1.5 hrs of desperately trying to get her to sleep at bedtime yesterday and 40 mins before she would go down for her nap earlier.

evitas I'm TTSPing under my breath at all times. If she was awake and doing anything but crying I'd leave her, but she always wakes up upset and desperate to get back to sleep.

DH rethinking the plan to eventually have another child!!!

Secondtimelucky Tue 13-Sep-11 16:11:30

You'll probably tell me that this is so obvious it has been tried and failed a million times, but have you tried really incorporating teddy into the bedtime routine? You know "teddy is waiting for you in your cot littleSquiggley" "does teddy want to sit on your lap while you have your story?" "give teddy a hug while you close your eyes". If it succeeds, just remember teddy has to come with you when you go away <<learns from bitter experience>>.

squiggleywiggler Wed 14-Sep-11 22:26:50

Thank you. Today teddy read stories, had milk, sat by the bath, got dried ad even put some sodding pyjamas on and DD still wouldn't got to sleep.

It did only take her 30 mins to settle though asa opposed to an hour and a half!

I'm thinking of getting one of these to ease the transition when we leave the room...

Secondtimelucky Thu 15-Sep-11 21:52:30

Hope tonight went ok. Unfortunately it takes a while - we used to tell DD1 to hug teddy if we went in when she woke in the night too (which she still had patches of doing even once she started sleeping generally), even if we then had to do other things. It was good once it bedded in because it settled her quickly, and sometimes she would do it all by herself.

ps tell your DH not to rethink the plan to have another child. No two siblings sleep alike (just ask my mother - I was a nightmare). Plus, you have beautiful babies!

squiggleywiggler Sun 18-Sep-11 21:05:00

Aww thanks! I think we do, but then I'm biased!

It's been awful, but last night was much better (due to pre-emptive dose of calpol). Have discovered a potential medical cause, which I'm getting checked out...

gonwan Tue 25-Jul-17 03:03:14

Hi Squiggley
i know its been a few years but interested in how you got through it in the end.


FATEdestiny Tue 25-Jul-17 08:16:10

@squiggleywiggler has not posted on Mumsnet since January 2013

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