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Have I ruined my toddler's sleep for good?

(6 Posts)
MogTheForgetfulCat Wed 12-Feb-14 20:39:25

DS3 (who will be 3 next week) has, bar a little blip when he was a baby and the odd period of 5a.m. starts, been a good sleeper. Until recently, he used to go into his cot, tuck himself up on his tummy and fall asleep pretty much straightaway, sleeping through until about 7.

A couple of weeks ago, DH and I went out for a rare night out, and a friend (whom the DC know) babysat. DS3 was still awake when we were getting ready to leave, and had a meltdown - "No, Mummy, don't go out!" He fell asleep after a short while, but woke later in the evening, howling, and was up in the night, also howling, although he did go back to bed.

Since then, his sleep has got progressively worse - he will no longer fall asleep on his own, seems scared of the idea of going to bed, howls and cries for ages (he is up there now, hollering - DH is with him) and is then up multiple times in the night, often screaming the house down when we try to put him back to bed. I have resorted to sleeping in with him, as he will then sometimes go back to sleep.

He is having a lot less sleep than usual, so is cranky and over-tired. As he kept climbing out of the cot, and we thought that this might have a novelty value, we've moved him to a toddler bed. He is also not napping much, whereas previously he would happily have a 2-hour nap, although we were starting to worry that this was too much and he would not be tired at bedtime.

Is it just too much change all at once? Have I traumatised him by trying to have a life? <Joke> Do toddlers sometimes just go through phases like this? <Hopeful> It is exhausting, frustrating - but at the same time, I feel sorry for him as he seems so unhappy and tired sad Any ideas??

MomOrMum Thu 13-Feb-14 22:53:28

You are me! Exactly the same. My DS is 3 next week. Sleep turned hellish at Xmas. In my case, I didn't go out in the evening but did have a baby so that could have been the trigger in my case.

No idea what is going on. Overnight he's gone from sleeping 12, sometimes 13, hours a night and napping too...to nap refusal and sleeping maybe 11 hrs max at night. Plus waking up several times a night crying that he doesn't want to go to sleep, doesn't like sleeping, etc.

The only things that have shown any slight improvement are a sticker chart with promise of Lego at the end (this helped reduce night wakings I think) and crazy early bedtimes....like 6 pm! He's still often waking at 5:45 but at least better rested.

He was my good sleeper. His older brother has been awful since birth and I was so glad that one was normal on the sleep front. Now have DD aged 7 weeks and am knackered!

I hope it is a phase but almost 2 months now for me and I don't see him ever going back to those 12-13 hour nights.

MogTheForgetfulCat Fri 14-Feb-14 12:49:48

Sorry to hear that you are in the same boat - but it is also encouraging to hear that we are not alone!

He is upstairs asleep now, conked out as soon as we got in this morning, after another terrible night hmm. So I am just going to let him sleep in the hope that sleep begets sleep. Am so gutted, as he was such a great sleeper and a happy little soul - now he is cranky and whiny and sad.

Going to try to run him around like mad this afternoon and see if I can tire him out. Hadn't thought of sticker chart, so may give that a whirl, too - am willing to try almost anything!

Best of luck with your DS - I read on here a long time ago 'once a good sleeper, always a good sleeper' so am clinging onto that and hoping it's a blip for both of them smile

Doitnow Fri 14-Feb-14 13:34:02

Just a thought - is it time to drop the naps completely. My Dd's sleep suddenly went downhill and dropping the naps helped massively. I had a few painful days when she was very tired indeed but that sorted itself out when the nighttime sleep improved.

I have lots of sympathy for you both as am struggling for sleep with my little one at the mo!

MogTheForgetfulCat Fri 14-Feb-14 14:12:47

It might be - it's just difficult to put into practice. He fell asleep on his bedroom floor earlier, still in his coat and boots from being outdoors. Sigh. But we have been thinking along those lines and may need to push him through the initial tiredness. Just worried that he is having so much less sleep than before and so I let him nap. But maybe it's just exacerbating things confused.

MomOrMum Sat 15-Feb-14 02:34:50

It's mostly academic re: naps for us as he suddenly started refusing them. We've had a good few weeks of no naps and nights never lengthened, the meltdowns just grew more epic! I can sometimes lure him into the buggy for 45 mins or so.

I really hope you're right about once a sleeper always a sleeper! Let me know if you strike upon any effective strategies!

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