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Please help, at wits end with 19 mo suddenly not sleeping

(7 Posts)
bootus Sun 30-Sep-12 07:45:06

DS2 19mo has gone from being a good sleeper (roughly 7.30 - 7.30 with a good nap in the middle of the day, he dropped from 2 naps to 1 about two month ago) to just being a total nightmare.

In a nutshell every nap is a battle and he is waking up earlier and earlier.

Yesterday he did not nap once despite being put down several times, once from falling asleep in the car which he always did with no fuss. We have tried leaving him to CIO, an hour and a half later he is utterly hysterical and no closer to being asleep. I have tried sitting in his room with my back to him (the hysterics stop but an hour later he is still bouncing around the cot chatting and talking). We have tried pick up/put down; ditto with the hysterics. A nightlight as he seemed genuinely upset at being taken to his room so I wondered if he was scared/worried about something? I realise that this is a huge developmental stage so teeth/asserting himself/brain going bonkers are all likely to be contributing.

At night he normally goes down with minimal fuss but we are now getting earlier and earlier wakings which follow the same pattern if you try and get him back off; hysteria,chatting etc and with a 4yo who has just started school nursery getting woken it just isn't working!!! I'm assuming he is now so over tired any attempt to get him to sleep is leaving all of us frustrated and angry. We have always been quite persistant with routines etc.

We haven't tried 'wake to sleep' to address the early wakings; I would be interested to hear opinions as it goes against every instinct but equally we are willing to try anything!

As for addressing the nap thing I'm genuinely out of ideas and cant believe he is ready to drop them at his age (despite still being happy and lively up until bed last night...again overtired???) If it helps then I have to pick up DS1 from school at 11.45 am so naps have to fit in with that and he is a willfull little bugger!


NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown Sun 30-Sep-12 08:11:27

this may explain a few things, as may this

You say you realise this is a big developmental stage but you're still trying to 'fix' it! I personally have found that going with the flow wherever possible is a great help for my sanity if nothing else. FWIW we have a nearly 20 month old doing the same (I've posted about his naps recently before accepting there's not a lot I can do) - his one nap has become a 30 min affair and he's often grumpy and over tired but my thinking is if he's been given the opportunity to nap I've done my bit

have you tried staying with him? I'm 38 weeks pregnant so need every opportunity to rest so I generally put DS in his cot after a feed and tell him goodnight, he cries for a couple of minutes but tends to settle when he sees I'm not going anywhere. There's a huge peak of separation anxiety at this age, he might just need you close by

I think (for us at least) its a case of waiting it out for another couple of months, give opportunities for sleep and reassurance and trust that 'this too shall pass' - sending strength and patience!

bootus Sun 30-Sep-12 08:21:47

Thanks cupoftea, I will read the links in a tic. I guess I'm trying to 'fix' things because I can see how exhausted he is and being totally honest I'm hideous without sleep; I find it so hard and envy my friends who seem to bounce around on a couple of hours. I have tried sitting with him as I think there is an element of separation anxiety but he just bounces around the cot for hours babbling with the odd meerkat bob to check I'm still there. With ds1 downstairs/awake its just not possible to be lying down with him for hours on end trying to get him off. Hey ho; maybe I just need to chill out. Best of luck with the rest of your pg.

NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown Sun 30-Sep-12 11:34:58

I'm the same, I need at least 8 hours to even feel human, more like 9 or 10 to function normally...without it I'm an absolute bear, DS is the same but doesn't seem aware of it yet. Just had a complete meltdown, I know it's because he's desperate for a nap but he thinks otherwise. To be fair he's always acted like sleep was the absolute enemy. From about 8 weeks he'd fight to stay awake the entire day, then cry for hours, I'm sure because he was over tired/over stimulated.

I'm guessing your older DC wasn't this way? I can only imagine how hard it is to deal with when you have another one to look after. I'm hoping that I will get through anything with DC2 a little more laid back because DS's sleep has been so awful.

Of course you can't spend hours trying to get him to sleep, does your older DC still take a nap? I expect your DS is terrified of missing out on something. I am confident it will get better in a few months, these things seem to come in waves, just when you can't take any more things turn around. Hope it's short-lived for you, I'm sure somebody with older DC will be along with some pearls of wisdom in a bit smile

NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown Sun 30-Sep-12 11:39:01

Ah he's given in now with me lying next to the cot holding his hand. He'll probably only be out 30-40 minutes and then up all day (with a meltdown hour around 4.30) but it's easier to handle than no nap at all.

We've got Adele's album on, it's a bit of a miracle worker to get him to chill out and he often asks for it now... Might be worth a go?!

bootus Sun 30-Sep-12 12:02:27

Are you me??? I've just been sat on the floor by his cot to get him off, which will no doubt result in a 20 - 40 minute nap and then exhaustion later. Oh the joys. I need at least 8 hours to feel human so I massively sympathise!!!!

DS1 went through the odd wobbly phase with his sleep but has a much more placid character and was easier to 'train' which sounds awful but he certainly wouldn't scream for hours on end or throw raging tantrums. He dropped his day naps pretty early (but not as early as this!!!) so no such luck there; and to be fair he is very good while I'm trying to get the little 'un off and entertains himself but I don't like leaving him on his own for too long.

I'm off for some caffeine and to buy the adele album grin

omama Sun 30-Sep-12 14:20:59

op what time did he usually nap & how long for? and how early is he waking?

there is def a lot going on developmentally at this age, so you may find all settles down again within a couple of weeks. That said, at this age I did have to make a change to my DS's routine, as I found he wasn't tired enough for his nap anymore, and his total sleep needs had dropped a bit so he didn't need so much at night anymore.

So we went from this

Up: 7am
Nap 12.30-2.30
Bed 7.30

to this:

Up: 7am
Nap: 1-3pm
Bed: 8pm

And we still do this now at 2.1yrs.

If your DS's usual naptime is 5.5hrs or less after his wakeup time, I would try increasing that a bit. You may also need to accept no longer needs quite so much sleep at night, now he's that bit older too.

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