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17mo and sleep's gone to pot - this is literally getting dangerous

(8 Posts)
CakeJunkie Mon 10-Oct-11 11:23:06

Our 17mo DS, who's been a pretty good sleeper for the last nine months or so, has started waking in the night repeatedly. For example, last night he was first up at 1am, then up and down like a yoyo til about 5 when he crashed out. He's done this for the last couple of weeks, so DH and I are now seriously sleep deprived.

Last night was particularly bad even by DS's standards. Probably as a result, DH had a momentary lapse of concentration while commuting this morning and crashed his motorbike into the back of a car. Thankfully he's okay and so's the other driver (though the motorbike's not), but we clearly can't go on like this. If DH had been doing 30mph, not 15, I'd probably be on my way to A&E right now.

So, can anyone shed any light on what might be causing DS's sleep issues, and how can we help him get back into a pattern of better sleep? He used to be pretty good at self settling when he woke in the night, but now that's gone out of the window. We've tried ibuprofen in case he's teething, we've repeated the routine that works to settle him at bedtime, we've cuddled back to sleep, we've tried giving him more milk (yes, I know that's not a good idea in the long term, but at 3:30 we thought it was worth a go). He still uses a dummy, but he's waking with it still in his mouth, so we've ruled out lost dummy as a cause of the waking.

He naps 1.5 - 2 hours in the day, usually from 12:30 to 2ish, and is in bed by 7:15. His evening sleep is good, but once he wakes up in the middle of the night, he can't seem to get back into a solid period of sleep. He's just started walking properly but I thought sleep regressions were supposed to happen before they gained a new skill, not afterwards?

Any advice would be much appreciated

queensusan Mon 10-Oct-11 11:34:41

My first thought is "oh no, not another one!" Sorry I can't offer any advice but 17mo DD is exactly the same and has been doing this for about a month. We have tried everything. Yes, it's getting serious for us too - there are days when I daren't get into the car to drive anywhere and I seriously f**d up an interview last week (i'm meant to be trying to go back to work but it is impossible right now).

At the moment my older DD is sleeping with me as they share a room but the younger one is just keeping her awake. People will suggest controlled crying - we tried that and she just whinges for 2-3 hours, which is fine but I can't sleep through it. People will suggest co-sleeping - we tried that and it was a disaster, just a couple of hours of playtime in mummy's bed as far as she is concerned.

I have tried lengthening her daytime naps but that seems to make it worse so I am seriously considering shortening her lunchtime nap from 1.5-2 hours to 45 mins. I have also noticed that she's not eating as much at the moment, possible due to teething or just because she is so distracted. She's certainly hungry in the night and will take a bottle quite happily so I am trying to get more solids into her during the day.

I'm afraid it may be a case of waiting it out and getting as much sleep as you can when you can. I'd be interested to hear from anyone else how long this "phase" is likely to last because it is ruining my relationship with DH and DD at the moment.

Trillian42 Mon 10-Oct-11 12:39:08

I can empathise. We've a 16mth old DD who is pretty similar. No accidents yet thankfully, but DH put shampoo, conditioner and cotton buds in the fridge after the shopping this weekend. Like queensusan, there have been days I've avoided driving because I'm afraid of what could happen in my zombie state. I'm even strongly considering not trying for another baby as I don't know if I'm capable of doing this again.

A couple of ways we cope - I deal with DD during the night so DH can go to work and be relatively productive. DH then takes her on Sat & Sun mornings and I catch up on my weeks sleep. You could maybe try ear plugs and splitting the night in 2? I don't drink coffee as I don't like it, but I do start the day with a large glass of coke for my caffeine fix. I occasionally go for a lie down during the day if I'm worried about having to drive, but as I'm setting up my own business at the moment this is not helpful. I also can't fall asleep at night at the moment because I'm so anxious about the inevitable upcoming ordeal.

The one good thing I see about your situation is that your DS slept well at one point which is definitely pointing to something being up at the moment, whether is a developmental thing or a physical thing. I'd be tempted to go to a GP, to rule out something odd like an earache?

windatmytail Mon 10-Oct-11 12:51:35

DS2 is now 2 and only just started to sleep through with no wake ups (6.45 pm - 6.15 am) he has always had long daytime naps which I encourage.

We never tried controlled crying and tended to give a bottle when he woke, we never took him out of his cot except to change his nappy and never turned the light on or talked to him during night-time wakes.

We went through months of regular frequent night-time waking, in the end I stopped giving him any milk and just gave him water. This was met with outrage for a few nights but eventually he just seemed to get over it. he carried on accepting water and waking frequently for a few weeks then suddenly started to sleep through - GOD ITS BLISS!

I know its only one example but in my experience it does get better

festivalwidow Mon 10-Oct-11 13:24:08

No solutions I fear but lots of sympathy... my DD is exactly the same and has not slept properly for the last three weeks. Resists napping at nursery and doesn't nap at all at home; crashes out at her normal bedtime only to wake 3 or 4 times during the night, for each of which it can take anything between half an hour and last night's record of 2.5 hours to settle her again.
On good days she just wants to zoom around, play and look at books when she wakes up (hellish, but at least she's in a good mood) and on bad days she cries non-stop and has to be held or patted during her waking intervals until sound asleep. She's also very very clingy during the day and has major meltdowns if not held, entertained and read to on a constant basis.

I am so tired I can't cope with her and am usually in tears. The only reassurance I have is that I've met a lot of 17 month olds lately who have turned from lovely, smiley good sleepers into insomniac terrors - wonder if it's a major development leap or something?

bubbles12 Mon 10-Oct-11 13:36:32

This is sounding all very familiar! My DD2 is 17 months and had been getting much better at sleeping but has regressed recently.

I know that a poster called AngelDog (I think!) posted some intersting links to a site about a major sleep regression at about 18 months which I am assuming this is. I am afraid I cant remember any of the details (too sleep deprived wink) but it might be worth trawling through the past posts with '18 month sleep regression' in the title.

Let's hope this passes quickly.

nethunsreject Mon 10-Oct-11 13:39:01

Ooh, I here ya!

Ds2 was never a good sleeper but has hit an real low this past week.

It's a big developmental leap, apparently. Try googlin 'wonder weeks'.

I am demented soul wink

bozemum Mon 10-Oct-11 13:49:53

At 18 months my DS suddenly stopped self settling and screamed if we went out the room. When previously he had no problem being left on his own. So I lay with him while he went to sleep.

I was watching supernanny the other day and she said kids have separation anxiety at nighttime at 9months, 18 months and again at 2years. Which really struck a chord with us. I think they start to get scared at night at around 18 months.
This isn't a particularly helpful post. But just thought I'd share it as I thought interesting. Perhaps explain why they go through this phase at around this age.

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