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Gradual withdrawal hell for toddler... Feeling close to despair.

(12 Posts)
Redwhine Tue 14-May-13 06:14:21

Please can someone tell me gradual withdrawal starts to work, because I'm close to breakdown here after three days and nights of awfulness.

Background: DS2 the child that never has slept. DS1 slept through at 8 months and has been great since then. DS2 has maybe slept through half a dozen times, usually he wakes at least 3 times a night. We coslept out of desperation for ages, but he started waking constantly and thrashing around, hitting out at us and generally it was unbearable. I'm not against cosleeping, I enjoyed it when he was littler, but none of us were getting any sleep.

He is in a cot in his own room. He used to go down fairly easily, wake in the night and usually by around 2am I would give in and haul him in with us just so I didn't have to keep getting up and down. Resolved to stop this though as it wasn't really working (see above).

We tired controlled crying out of desperation and it DID NOT WORK. after 4 days he was waking just as often, and crying constantly. It had the added lovely effect of making him scared to go to bed. We used to be able to settle him in bed awake at the start of the night and he'd get himself to sleep. No more.

He was poorly a few weeks ago and so I was responding to him straight away. Now he's better we resolved to try something else. Gradual withdrawal seemed kinder. I can't leave him to cry again, I feel so guilty about it, especially as it was all for nothing.

Sample of the new regime... Last night was night four.

Nap - slept for about an hour at one
5pm tea
5.30 Charlie and Lola
6pm bath
6.30 playtime with brother/ daddy
7pm teeth, sleeping bag, story song
7.15placed in cot
Sat by the door, didnt cry and finally fell asleep at 8pm
9.20 pm awake. Sat by chair until 9.30 when he went back to sleep
10.00 awake sat by hair until 10.30 when he slept
12.45 awake for an hour. Quite a lot of crying, kept standing up. Eventually back to sleep 1.45.
Awake 4.05 lots of crying and standing up, asleep by 4.38
Up at 5.45.

Surely this can't be normal? I took him to the doctors yesterday to get him check out, he's fine. He's okay in the day, obviously grumpy at times from lack of sleep and clingy. But I am a ZOMBIE. I cannot go on like this. My DH is recovering from serious surgery at the moment so he can't really help.

Please someone tell me this gets better soon.
Sorry for massive rant.

dontmeanto Tue 14-May-13 06:21:58

Does playtime with daddy/brother get him excited, i.e. wrestling, tickling, running around before bed?

Poor you, it must be exhausting. What about an overhead lightshow thingy with soft music? That worked wonders for my son.

Hang in there!

Redwhine Tue 14-May-13 06:31:25

Thank you... I do think they got over excited, you're right. It's hard to keep them quiet when they get into a silly mood! I used to put Charlie and Lola on after the bath but was trying for no screen time in the hour before bed, maybe should rethink.

He has a night light that plays music/ sea sounds. Doesn't seem to make a difference much.

dontmeanto Tue 14-May-13 06:47:28

Yeah I'd try winding him down completely starting with bath. Ask if daddy would be willing to tell stories or something calm, quiet, and relaxing. Easier said than done.

Also you could try what my fried did. She took her LO to a shop and let her pick out a "bedtime bear" but basically said it was her DD's job to help bedtime bear get to sleep. Basically it gives them a companion and her LO would sing and talk to it in bed but would eventually drift off.

Depends how old he is though and whether he'd grasp that concept?!

I'm so sorry for you, though. Lack of sleep is truly awful.

Redwhine Tue 14-May-13 06:52:07

He is not really bothered by soft toys... Think he would use them to throw at me probably!

Just wondering if gradual withdrawal works this way, do I need to give it more time? Things are getting worse not better...

dontmeanto Tue 14-May-13 07:01:50

I don't know much about gradual withdrawal as I've had fairly good sleepers (not trying to rub it in!), but hopefully someone will come along to enlighten us.

Wish I could babysit for a couple hours for you now!

lougle Tue 14-May-13 07:03:43

We did gradual withdrawl for our dds. dd3 took a long time and we had to take much smaller steps than you're currently taking. it's a bit like ' how to boil a frog'. They are cold blooded, so if you warm the water really gently, they don't notice the increase in temperature until it's too late. Our pattern went something like:

- Hand on back as she fell asleep.
- intermittent hand on back
- hold little finger through bars
- hand on mattress through bars.
- hand on bars
- Sat by head end with eye contact
- Sat by head end no eye contact
- Sat by shoulders
- Sat by waist
- Sat at end of the cot
- stood next to the bed, but not quite in line of sight
- stood by the door
- stood outside the door but door open
- stood outside door, door closed
- routine of ' where are you going to be? in bedroom. where am I going to be? in my bedroom'

we still use the last bit, which comforts her, but she's fully aware that we actually go downstairs.

dimsum123 Tue 14-May-13 07:07:18

We put ds's bed in our bedroom next to our bed so his thrashing about didnt disturb us. Could you try that?

BikeRunSki Tue 14-May-13 07:07:40

I feel your exhaustion. DD is 19 months old and her sleep has been similar. It tool 9 days of CC to actually get her to go to bed. That didn't improve her actual sleeping though! I went back to work in January and had a very near miss on the M1 I was so tired (not to mention the fatigue and short temper). A few weeks ago we decided to ignore her crying in the night. This was worse than CC, but after about 4 days she began to get the message. We have also been seeing a cranial osteopath, which seems to be helping too.

AmericasTorturedBrow Thu 16-May-13 07:43:06

Just another one offering sympathy - my DS slept trough from 8months and has been a brilliant sleeper too.

DD has prob slept through 5/6times, wakes all night for god knows which reason, she's 17months and I'm on my knees

seriouslysleepdeprived Thu 16-May-13 20:38:48

Contrary to popular belief, sleep training doesn't work for all children. CC didn't work for us either.

We have been doing gradual withdrawal for months. Since november actually. At one stage we were wondering if we were doing it wrong, so got Millpond involved. We weren't. It just doesn't work for all kids.

Over all it has improved things periodically. We have had periods of sleeping through or sleeping better but have spent the majority of the last six months, laying on he floor waiting for DS go to sleep, usually with a lot of crying. It has been shit. i regret starting it and wish i had continued co-sleeping, at least you are all in a bed. i second trying him in your room first in a cot.

I would say your night four is pretty good, really hope you make some progress.

PiratePanda Thu 16-May-13 20:47:49

We have a DS who has never slept much. I think you have to do whatever you can to keep sane. What works for us is a total rigid bedroom routine at exactly the same time every night; bath, loo teeth, PJs, 3 stories, light down (but not completely out), sing three songs, lie down in bed, cuddle and kiss and a promise to come back in a bit to check on him.

Then he usually wakes about 2AM and comes into bed with us. If he gets too wriggly, I top and tail - sleep with my head at the foot end. It works brilliantly also helps avoid DH's snoring too

King sized bed and blackout blinds in both bedrooms are essential.

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