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18 month old DS waking every night

(10 Posts)
SpanglyGiraffe Fri 16-Sep-11 21:41:07

I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do really!

DS is 18 months old, and he's waking 2/3/4 times a night. He goes down fine, but then an hour/hour and half later he wakes up, and then throughout the night.

He goes down with a bottle, and i usually give him bottles in the night if he wakes, and he tends to go straight back to sleep. I know this is a terrible habit, and i really want to break it.

I'm really not sure if he's waking for milk, or if it's other reasons? The first time he wakes up, he's usually quite distressed, and i have to bring him downstairs, to settle him. I have wondered if he's possibly having nightmares?

His Dad & i are separated, and whenever he sleeps at his dads (2 nights a week) he sleeps through all night!

He eats well, and he has an hour and a half/two hour nap in the morning, but is usually always still extremely tired for the rest of the day.

Are there any ways that i can get him back to sleeping through? Any help would be great, TIA!

MrsJRT Fri 16-Sep-11 21:43:43

Just marking my place as I have an 18 monther who is the same and await any inspirational advice!

SpanglyGiraffe Sat 17-Sep-11 16:01:41

I'm glad i'm not the only one MrsJRT! smile

Anyone...!?

Herecomestheninkynonk Sun 18-Sep-11 12:47:29

Lol can I join? My 18month old is the same. Have posted on SN thread this morning. We've been awake since 3.30. Please someone.... smile

debka Sun 18-Sep-11 12:52:07

It sounds like he may be overtired, from your description of him being tired for the rest of the day. Overtired children are more likely to have disturbed nights. Can you give him another sleep in the afternoon, or move his current sleep back a bit to after lunch?

SpanglyGiraffe Sun 18-Sep-11 22:07:36

Thankyou debka, that does make sense, i'll give it a go!

Herecomestheninkynonk have just read your thread on the SN thread, good luck, i hope you find a solution! smile

InmaculadaConcepcion Mon 19-Sep-11 20:27:13

Ooh, poor you, that's tough.

I think the key is that your DS sleeps through when with his dad. By the sounds of it, he's putting on the nocturnal show for your benefit - has he ever tried it on with your ex? If so what (if anything) did your ex do about it?

TBH I think you need to go cold turkey with the overnight bottles of milk. From what you say, he doesn't need it for nutritional reasons, it's just become an expectation when he wakes up in the night.
Also, I would suggest you try not to take him out of his room when he wakes up, even if he's quite distressed. It sounds like he needs to learn the association that nights are for sleeping and his bedroom is for sleeping in when it's night time. Comfort him in his room, but try and keep lights off and try and put him back in his cot again as soon as he's calm.

I think maybe rapid return might be worth a try. So instead of giving him milk in the night, maybe offer him a drink of water from a sippy cup, then give him a cuddle and resettle him once he's calmed down. The leave the room. But if he starts to cry again, go back in after a couple of minutes. Calm him down again and put him back in his cot, then leave. Go back in again a couple of minutes later if you need to...etc.
CC isn't much fun, so this is why I'm suggesting you don't leave him for very long each time. He knows you're there and that you will comfort him, but - and this is important - he should soon stop expecting the bottles/being moved from the room/you staying in the room until he's asleep etc.
If it's going to work, the key is to stay calm and stick with it. Accept that for the first few nights, there'll be a lot of going in and out and you'll likely both be a bit sleep deprived, but all being well that should pass quickly.

OR....if you hate the idea of doing that, try gradual withdrawal.
When he wakes up and cries for you, go in and comfort him (again, don't take him out of the room, don't offer him milk) then, as soon as he's calm, lie him back down in the cot. Have a chair set up close to the cot and every time he gets up, lie him down again. Keep talking to a minimum and try not to get him out of the cot. Leave the room when he's asleep.
Then gradually move your chair further and further away until you're at the door, then outside it so he can just see your feet through the door, then just leave your shoes there until he's not waking up any more. It would probably take a couple of weeks to work and a lot of patience, but it's probably do-able. Again, the key is to stick with it and remain (outwardly) calm at all times.

It's possible he's awake too long after his nap - maybe try moving it so it's a bit later in the day, say at lunchtime? My DD - who's around the same age - usually sleeps for 1.5 - 2 hours as some point between 12.30 and 15.00

Blimey, that was an essay! Good luck, I hope you crack it soon smile

SpanglyGiraffe Tue 20-Sep-11 23:09:19

Thankyou so much Inmaculada! I've only just read your post, and he's woken twice already tonight. Both times i've bought him downstairs & given him milk. So, tomorrow night will be a new night, and i think i'll give the CC a go. As long as i know exactly what i'm going to do, i think i can stick to it!

When he was younger, and exP and i were together, we used to do a form of CC, and it worked miracles! It just seems so much harder now i'm on my own.

I agree that the bottles needs to go, he has so much milk it's ridiculous!
Thank you so much, i really appreciate all the advice! smile

InmaculadaConcepcion Wed 21-Sep-11 18:47:43

You're welcome, I hope it helps you!

I can only imagine how much tougher it is when you're on your own - so just to let you know, you're not. The MN family is here! I've been thinking about you and how you and your DS are getting on and would love to hear any updates.

Please feel free to to vent your feelings about the sleep training on here, I'll happily keep an eye out and offer some metaphorical hand-holding if you need it. smile

InmaculadaConcepcion Wed 21-Sep-11 18:50:52

PS The second night is often worse than the first, so don't be disheartened if you don't seem to be getting any results to start with....

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