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2 year old/bad sleeper/at the end of my tether/warning LONG!

(11 Posts)
IAteTheCake Tue 21-May-13 15:23:29

DD 2, has always been a bad sleeper. After much solution finding, blackout blinds, temp control, diet changing, carnial ostoepath appointments (when she was tiny), sleep consultant (from 9 months) we finally had her sleeping from 7pm to 5am after many tears from her and me, and frustration from dh. She learnt to self sooth and was sleeping pretty well just in the nick of time to stop my marriage collapsing and me having a lack of sleep induced breakdown (ok, I exaggerate a little but it was BAD!)

Until the transition to toddler bed....when it seems we are back in lack of sleep HELL.

She has taken to her toddler bed well, goes to bed ok, likes her pillow and duvet and having her animals around her... but is waking from 1-5 times a night and comes to find me. If it is dh trying to take her back she screams the house down, if we have a gate up on her bedroom door it makes no difference she just screams the place down. I take her back quietly to bed, don't engage and she soon settles back to sleep. But doing this 1-5 times a night is taking it's toll. I am 26 weeks pregnant and work full time and just can't do it any more... I am soooo tired. I just want her to settle and happily sleep. The room is dark, she has a nightlight, a good bath/bed/milk/cuddle/story routine we stick to and she likes. I try not to stay with her too long and she has learnt to fall asleep on her own. It is the night waking which is the problem. I am getting about 2 hours sleep at a time, what with her waking, dh snoring and baby kicking. It is affecting my health as I now have constant over tiredness headaches. DH does what he can, but is often not home from work in time for bed/bath but does pull his weight at weekends and let's me nap then. That aside, dd is overtired too, so we need to get her into a better sleeping pattern. The sleep consultant suggested the gate on the bedroom door and warned about a few screaming nights but that things would improve and she would sleep. She was right there has been crying (from me and dd again), but dd hasn't learnt to go to bed and will shout all night. I don't think it is a solution.

Can anyone help please? I am really emotional about the whole thing now and we must get this sleeping sorted before the whole cycle begins again with a newborn who is due in August... I cannot remember the last time I had a full night's sleep or when I woke up refreshed in 2.5 years inculding the end of my pregnancy with dd! I know this is part of parenthood but please tell me it gets better! Can anyone recommend anything or share their stories. Tell me it will be ok! I can't believe I am still employed, can drive or do normal day to day tasks on the sleep I am getting.... I feel awful and will never ever shift these dark circles! I am worried we have more of this to come with dc2 when baby arrives and the thought fills me with dread. We all need some sleep.

I beg you.... please tell me your sleep solutions!

smee Tue 21-May-13 15:38:17

Oh my, sounds horribly familiar. DS was like that. I have no idea if this is any help or not, but this is what we did.

First off, try an easy solution and see if she goes for it, so promise an audio book if she stays in bed and is quiet. Put it on very low and she'll nod off listening. Bad habit, but hey adults go to sleep listening to the radio and if it works, what's not to like. If you put it on a loop it'll keep playing if she wakes again.

Second more drastic solution is to make yourself a bed up by hers - everybody told us not to do it, but we were so desperate to break the pattern. Logic is similar to pick up put down, but instead you do a deal - she's 2 so she should be old enough. So if she wakes up you're right there. If she stays lying down and quiet you stay. If she insists on getting up/ out of bed you walk away and say you'll only return if she lies down and closes her eyes.

Now clearly that sounds insane, but once they're compliant, when they wake you just mutter it's okay I'm here and you'll find she drops back off far more quickly - as do you. Then you start to find that she'll wake less and less as she feels safe and knows you're there. To be honest it did take 4 months with my son, but by the end of it I had a child who slept through most nights and we were both getting far more sleep from day one. DH and I used to take turns.

Once DS was sleeping pretty well I just went back to my own bed. If he woke I just said I'd nipped into see Daddy and pretended I was always coming back.

Feel free to think I'm mad! grin

onceipopicantstop Tue 21-May-13 15:53:34

Hi I'm so sorry you're having a tough time! I have a 3 year old who wakes in the night at least once and find it extremely frustrating! And I a SAHM and not pregnant!! My ds wants to get into our bed and will happily go to sleep very quickly but then we don't sleep well so we have to transfer him back! Only for him to wake again! We would also like a solution but don't think we are as desperate as you sound!
Just a few thoughts I had reading your post:
1. Why is she waking? Noise, light, hungry, thirsty, too cold? Or just habit?
2. Would she respond to a reward type system? eg. sticker if she goes back to bed quietly and a small treat after x number of stickers? Then gradually building up to staying in bed all night.
3. Would using a gro-bag stop her getting out of bed and into your room so easily? (Or like ds can she still move at a rapid speed in one??!!). Might also keep her warmer if that is a potential trigger as no risk of losing duvet etc?
4. In the short term I think you need to get a couple of decent nights sleep so you are refreshed and more able to tackle the problem. Could she stay with grandparents for a night? Or could you have a night away - I know it sounds desperate but once you're exhausted managing this sort of challenging behaviour seems even more difficult.
5. Also does she ever stay with relatives on her own and if so how does she sleep there?

Sorry if you've already covered these things!

IAteTheCake Tue 21-May-13 16:09:39

Thanks both... nothing is mad or silly.. as you can see I am happy to try anything at this point but the key thing for us is consistency as she does like routine....

just to answer some of the q's. There should be no reason for the waking, she is fed and watered before bed ;-) the temp is set so she should be a constant comfy temp, we tried making bedtime earlier (she wasn't ready) or later (over tired) so about 7.15pm/7.30pm seems to work, I tried stickers - she doesn't get it quite yet, we stopped the gro bag as she could get herself out of it and was getting cold, we tried the gro clock and again she isn't quite old enough to grasp the concept. Neither of the grandparents are able to help as don't live nearby or couldn't cope with a small child in those circumstances due to ill health... so getting a break isn't easy. She hasn't slept anywhere else without us in the house other than nursery in the day which goes well, it is just the night time waking...

AutumnMadness Tue 21-May-13 20:15:40

This must be shattering. But listen - she is only 2. She is probably scared of the new bed and new environment. I would try to create a situation where the new bed is associated with a feeling of security. Right now the new bed has unpleasant association as your DD wakes, goes to you for comfort, but you do not allow her to stay. Why not just let her into your bed? This does not mean that your DD will sleep in your bed for ages from now on. This may just help calm her down and create positive association with her new bed. She will know that if she wakes up and is scared, she can always go to you. So waking up in the night in the new bed will not be so scary and she will stay in it.

Alternatively, I would go with the suggestion of making yourself a bed by your DD's bed. At least you will be away from your DH snoring!

dietcokeandwine Wed 22-May-13 13:46:25

Can I put forward another suggestion....put her back in the cot.

I suspect what she might be trying to tell you is that she's not ready for a bed yet. Apparently my mum tried the same with me at a similar age and it was a disaster, i just wasn't ready. 2 can be a bit young (I have always left mine in the cot bed with sides on till nearer 3). If you need the cot for the baby, try getting a cheap second hand one for DD, or borrow one.

Failing that does she have a bed guard? Might be worth investing in one as that can help them feel more secure....DS2 still has his on at 3.5.

IAteTheCake Sun 26-May-13 07:53:52

And so the sleep deprivation continues...nothing, nothing is working and I am now a teary mess.

dietcokeandwine - she started climbing out of cot hence move to cotbed, it was getting dangerous, she does have a bodyguard but can still get out of bed...infact she says she doesn't want it! She can also get our of grobags hence the move to duvet and pillow...which she likes snuggling down in....

But even trying to be consistent the last few nights nothing is working and I am making myself ill with sleep deprivation :-(

HELP!

IAteTheCake Sun 26-May-13 07:55:06

Bodyguard - bedguard - stupid predictive text!

emmyloo2 Mon 27-May-13 04:53:41

This sounds very familiar. Our 2.5 year old was doing this since about February and I am 40+2 weeks pregnant with DC2. However, we consistently put him back in his bed (we would take turns) and never let him come into our bed. It was really hard. He would appear in our room twice a night and then again at 5.30am in the morning.

However, what I then tried was bribing him. So I told him if he stayed in bed all night and didn't wake up until morning time, we would go for an icecream the next day (or some kind of other treat). Now it's if he stays in bed all night, he can watch Fireman Sam in the morning when he wakes. I make it really exciting. I say "you can jump out of bed and come and grab Mummy and you can say "wake up it's morning time"". Anyway, it seems to ahve worked because he has not come out of bed for the last two weeks. We have still had a few 5.30am appearances but we put him right back to bed and he usually goes back to sleep until around 6.45am. However, it did take a few months though. I just tried to be as consistent as possible. I didn't try any gates or anything like that because I didn't think that would solve the problem.

I genuinely think it is an age thing as well that they will grow out of. However, I feel your pain. It is very difficult. and I really struggle to fall back asleep so I was really tired because I work full time. Hang in there and perhaps give bribery a try?

emmyloo2 Mon 27-May-13 04:57:16

Oh I also tried to gro clock and this didn't help. I also found a slightly later bedtime helped as well, but I am not sure. He goes to bed around 8pm.....

dietcokeandwine Mon 27-May-13 20:23:10

Ah OK if she was getting out of the cot then that's not an option - sorry! What a nightmare for you, I do feel for you, sleep deprivation is awful.

emmyloo2's suggestion of bribery sounds a good one...do you think that might work?

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