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So what do you do when they can self settle fine, but don't?

(10 Posts)
IdaClair Tue 11-Mar-14 15:36:36

Toddler is 18 mo and has been 'self settling' ie putting themselves off to sleep occasionally since birth and reliably since 6 months.

All the sleep training stuff seems to be about teaching them to self settle, or self soothe ie not need you.

Self settling to me means being out down in sleeping place happy relaxed and awake, and going off to sleep. This is no problem and happens every bedtime and nap time. So the theory is they will do it in the night too.

But what about when they don't? She has slept though the night 7-7 style three times but but most nights will wake up 3-4 times. Usually there is one about 9pm, I don't know why. Then another when I go to bed, upstairs bedtime noises wake her up. Then one or two in the proper night by which I mean 12-6 which is when I sleep.

When she wakes up she cries for about 20-30 seconds, I think disoriented, then will stand up and refuse to lie down. Shout all the words she knows at too volume over and over again, throw everything out of the cot with delighted 'uh-oh!'s and then start climbing.

It's not unusual for us to leave her to it and she will self settle and go back to sleep. But she can also shout and climb for 2, pushing 3 hours if you don't intervene. She keeps everyone in the house awake when she is doing it so quite often we end up in there soothing her and shutting her up, milk, cuddles, that sort of stuff in an effort to get her to go back to sleep.

Everyone says to me to try controlled crying but a) that's not something I want to do and b) she isn't crying or remotely bothered if we are there or not, yet every night this week I've been up with her until past 3am before being able to go to bed and the only thing that gets her to go back off is when she decides it is time.

Anyone had one like this? She will need to switch to a toddler bed in a matter of weeks and there will be no way of keeping her in it.

minipie Wed 12-Mar-14 00:20:47

I have no idea sorry. bumping for you as this sounds like an unusual one, hope someone with similar experience will be along soon.

how long has she been doing this? and why do you need to switch her to a toddler bed?

IdaClair Thu 13-Mar-14 11:36:39

Thanks minipie. I was up 3.30-5am today with her wide awake and shouting. She needs to go in abed because of the climbing, she is going to have an accident otherwise.

She wasn't a great sleeper prior to 6 months and would feed a lot of the night, got into this pattern between 6-9 months where she no longer wanted to feed as much when waking but would still wake and find something else to do instead. Moved her into her own room at 1 year to see if that would help, it helped briefly as she could no longer see us and get all excited, but now she seems to have figured out that if she shouts we will come and she can have some exciting time.

Needless to say she doesn't get exciting time, she gets held and shushed and rocked and all the lights stay off, and she is offered milk or water or whatever she likes but it doesn't make a difference. Neither does just ignoring her, because she's not upset, just playing, shouting, climbing, even dancing.

And her shouting just keeps the whole house up longer.

minipie Thu 13-Mar-14 12:06:59

On the cot/bed thing, would it be possible to lower the cot base more to prevent the climbing? We have an ikea cot and the height can be changed by drilling extra holes in the legs for the base to slot into (we have made DD's cot base really really low that way). Or is there any other way to reduce climbing risk - put her in a sleeping bag, remove anything she can climb on? I'm thinking you really need to buy a bit more time in the cot while you sort this out...

How much does she nap? And when is her bedtime and usual awake for the day time? My DD (15 mo) doesn't need much sleep - she will only sleep about 11-11.5 hours in 24 so I limit naps to 1.5 hours and put her to bed at 8.30. If she had more naps and/or was put to bed at 7 I can imagine she'd be up a lot in the night for playtime. I find that the more tired DD is at bedtime, the easier it is to get her to go back to sleep if she wakes at night.

IdaClair Thu 13-Mar-14 13:29:58

Up for the day 7am usually, naps around 2 hours in the middle of the day if we are at home. Doesn't sleep at all in the day if we are out of the home. Goes to bed 7.30pm ish, but more when tired, so could be 6.45-8.30 depending on when that is with 7.30 being average. She settles herself for a nap if you sing her a song and put her in the cot, same at bedtime, no hassle apart from the occasional complaint when you leave the room, rare that it isn't settled by a return shush pat though.

Last night she sent herself back off to sleep at 5am, I gave up and left her to it at 4.15am, 5am is when the shouting stopped so I assume that is when she decided to sleep again.

cogitosum Thu 13-Mar-14 13:31:28

Following. Ds is 7 months and self settles but wakes throughout night and won't settle. So different age but similar - I feel I'm reading what I may write in a year!

IdaClair Thu 13-Mar-14 13:32:51

Cot is on it's fourth child and knackered, wouldn't survive being taken apart again!

pileoflaundry Thu 13-Mar-14 13:53:21

rare that it isn't settled by a return shush pat though

Can you repeat this in the night? Go into her room, shush and pat with minimal eye contact, leave, rinse and repeat 5 minutes later? And repeat, and repeat? This would be much more boring for DD than the current cuddles, rocking and milk, which sound lovely. Consistency would be the key though. I think that this should take a few nights to start seeing an improvement, but this is based on books I've read rather than practice.

How does DD know that it's night time, as oppose to getting up time, when she wakes up? I'm a big fan of the gro clock but there are cheaper ways of doing this too.

IdaClair Thu 13-Mar-14 14:02:08

Night time is blackout blind, dark, very low light by fairy lights, good nights, wash and brush, story, sleepy song, all fine. Morning is blackout blind up, light pours in, good morning, wash and dress.

We have tried complete darkness, no light at all so she can't see to play but it is hard to achieve as there is hallway light which needs to be on as lights stairwell for everyone else, even with no light she was pretty much the same bar more falling over and crying bonking her head on the bars stuff.

Shush pat is tough because of her refusal to lie down.

It's nothing more than a bit annoying really, I could do with a bit more kip, but I am glad not to be alone in having midnight play dates

pileoflaundry Thu 13-Mar-14 15:01:52

If your DD refuses to lie down, can you shush pat with her standing up? Sounds silly but what I mean is can you go in, do something she associates with sleep but which takes little time from you and isn't interesting for her, and leave? And then do it consistently? Once she knows that that is all that she will get in the night then she should, hopefully, get bored of it.

Morning is blackout blind up, light pours in, good morning, wash and dress.

Do you do this once she is awake, or do you pull the blind up whilst she is still asleep? What I'm thinking, and clearly expressing badly, is that if she wakes up, and you're not in the room, can she tell if it's night time or getting up time? If she can't tell, could she be chancing it, hoping that if she calls you and you come in then it might be morning? Whereas if she could tell, she might be able to decide that there is no point trying to shout as it's night time and all she'll get is a shush pat, so she might as well get back to sleep.

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