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16 month old awake most nights for up to 3.5 hours. Advice please!

(13 Posts)
Halfpintmummy Thu 04-Dec-14 17:11:44

My 16 month old DD has always been very relaxed and a great sleeper, but in the last 4 months it's all gone to pot and i'm shattered. From around 7 months to 12 months she'd usually sleep through the night (7-6.30ish) But now, roughly 5 nights out of 7 she wakes in the night crying and wont go back to sleep for up to 3.5 hours. If i try to leave the room she'll scream (often until she is sick!) I'm totally baffled as to what is causing this or how to deal with it & feel like i've tried everything. As soon as i go to her, she calms down very quickly, and after a quick cuddle (and sometimes a sip of water) she'll lie back down and is calm, but will just stare at the wall and occasionally fiddle with her hair or a teddy and fidget, but its not like she's wide awake and wanting to play or anything, but will sit up if she cant see or hear me and if she notices i've left the room, she screams blue murder.

We have a good, regular bedtime routine (bath, milk, book, cuddle, then down) and we usually leave her to fall asleep on her own (ie. we leave the room once she's settled and she falls asleep herself. She's in bed by 7 every night, and in theory sleeps till 7, although sometimes later if she's been awake at night an she has a solid and consistent 2 hour nap 11.30-1.30 during the day.

We used to give her milk when she woke up, but we wondered if it was causing "learned hunger" (ie waking up because she wanted milk) so have stopped that for several weeks, but it has made no difference.

She's had 4 of the smaller molers coming through over the past few months - and my husband is convinced it's this that is causing her to wake up, but we give her calpol, we rub on lots of teething gel and she'll still lie awake for ages...I'd love to hear if others have experienced this with teething and then got through it as right now this feels like its been going on forever.

... the weirdest thing about it is that almost no matter what time she wakes up, she almost always just falls asleep around 4am and its like nothing i'm doing is making any difference (fyi i've tried every approach i can think of, ie long cuddle sitting in chair, rocking her, singing, stroking her back or hair, not touching her at all, ignoring her and sitting in a chair nearby but not interacting etc etc.) I'm going loopy because its like she just wants me to stand there, leaning over her cot for hours and hours!

I'd love any advice or even just to hear people have had the same issue!

AndThisIsTrue Thu 04-Dec-14 17:51:30

My 20month old has been dong this since he was 9 months old. Not every night but probably 4/7 It's usually after 12 when he wakes and it is almost always 2 hours until he goes back to sleep. He usually wakes at least twice before this long wake up as well.
I'm afraid I have no advice as I have no idea why he does it!! You are not the only person awake for hours during the night if it makes you feel any better!

Halfpintmummy Fri 05-Dec-14 12:57:36

Well, its nice to know i'm not alone! Thanks AndThisIsTrue. Do you have to stay in the room with him? what have you tried? is he wide awake or calm like my DD?

RoganJosh Fri 05-Dec-14 13:04:04

I'd try and cut her nap a bit and see if that helps. Maybe try 1 hr 20-30.

mewkins Fri 05-Dec-14 13:08:38

I too wpuld cut the nap down. I think dd had about an hour ay that age as she started random waking.

LST Sat 06-Dec-14 03:18:10

Is anyone awake? I have a almost 11mo. He's been awake since 1 screaming sad I am at the end of my tether sad

EdSheeransGString Sat 06-Dec-14 03:28:27

I'm awake.

My 17mo is refusing to sleep she can't even open her eyes but she is still screaming the house down. She fell asleep about midnight and woke about 1.30am and it's been brutal since.

I'm absolutely shattered and I'm up early with dd1 for a choir concert.

Her sleeping can be amazing some nights and then others it's just awful.

EdSheeransGString Sat 06-Dec-14 03:30:27

I genuinely have no idea what is wrong with her tonight. I've tried wind, milk, story, cuddles, teething powders, music, leaving her to scream, I've had her in my bed, changed her nappy I just have no idea what else to try.

I'm pretty sure I spied a tooth popping through but the teething powders usually work wonders.

ArtemisTheHunter Sat 06-Dec-14 08:01:12

This sounds familiar OP. My DD is almost 16 months and is doing something similar. She has never been a good sleeper but it had been improving, for the past month or so she's slept through pretty reliably 7 - 6 and we thought we had cracked it. Fools! Since last weekend every night has been similar - awake crying around 1.30 - 2am, calms down with a cuddle but screams blue murder if I try to get her back into the cot. We have resorted to bringing her in with us where she will fidget and complain for about an hour, finally drop off, then zap wide awake at 5.30 on the nail and be up for the day. I don't know what is going on as nothing outward has changed. She has all her premolars through and I don't think teething is an issue at the moment. Bedtime routine is good, we put her in bed and leave the room after which she goes to sleep herself. She is a pretty crap napper but will usually have 1 to 1.5 hours during the day either as one long nap or two shorter ones. I just can't get her to nap in the cot, she screams her head off so I end up walking the streets with her in the pram to get her to sleep which is just brilliant at this time of year <sigh>

Any ideas? If nothing else it's good to know we are not alone!

Halfpintmummy Mon 08-Dec-14 12:26:00

Hi again everyone,

LST sorry to hear you are struggling too, and sorry i wasn't awake at that point because it was one of the rare nights where my daughter decided to sleep through. I just thought I'd share an update... i was initially skeptical about peoples advice to try and shorten her daytime nap (as i generally believe in the "sleep begets sleep" theory) but at this point, willing to try anything, i looked at my sleep diary (i had started keeping a record a few weeks back) and i noticed a slight correlation between the 2 days shes at nursery and her sleeping through. I know she gets good exercise there (they have an indoor climbing frame/gym) but she usually only sleeps for around 1hr 15 when she's there too (as apposed to the 2 or more hours she'll do at home) this week after nursery she slept through both nights and then on saturday she only had a half hour nap (due to us travelling) and again she slept through. yesterday she napped for 1.5 hours and was awake between 3 and 4.... its not enough to be a proven remedy yet, and there are lots of other issues (she's teething and learning to talk too) but I'm only going to let her sleep for 1 hour today and see what happens... i'll let everyone know.

Good luck to everyone, this is such an exhausting and frustrating baby behaviour!


UngratefulMoo Mon 08-Dec-14 18:51:36

Oh, OP, I sympathise. DD is nearly 16 months and is regularly up for 2 hours in the night. Often she's not upset (until I try and leave her side) but just wide awake. Quite often we crack and give her Calpol and she's almost always fast asleep 20 minutes later. Clearly I'm not advocating that as a solution, but makes me think teething could be responsible.

The length of her nap, or what time she goes to bed seems to make no impact whatsoever.

I work a v demanding job and am absolutely shattered. I've not had a consecutive eight hours sleep for two years! Sorry, that's no help at all, but if anyone cracks it, please tell me!

AndThisIsTrue Tue 09-Dec-14 20:45:53

He is usually sleeping rubbing his eyes etc but just cant seem to get back to sleep. He has been ill for what feels like forever with colds/sick bugs/chest infection so now he won't even let me put him in his cot so I just sit with him on my knee. Last night he woke himself up coughing and was wide awake chatting and everything from 11-3 and then still got up at 6, tired is not the word for today!!
Length of nap makes no difference here, he rarely sleeps more than 1.5 hours anyway but if he does sleep for 2 hours then I would say he actually sleeps better!

Halfpintmummy Fri 02-Jan-15 11:57:10

Hi All, I thought I'd write an update, with the aim of hopefully helping other mums in a similar situation.... so things have improved a bit. I cant for sure say what has made the change - but she slept for 5 straight nights this week which was AMAZING. Basically we took the sleep training advice that says that anything that is there when she falls asleep at bedtime needs to be there when she wakes in the night, otherwise she'll find it disconcerting and wont be able to sooth herself back to sleep...

Things we have changed ;
1) Left the white noise on (low) all night
2) added a dim night light - she had a tiny one before but i think the room must have seemed very dark when she woke up vs how it is when we put her down and the bedroom door is open
3) we were more strict about putting her down, saying a nice goodnight, but telling her we were going, but just next door if she needs us etc - and then leaving the room (i'd previously hover by door and sneak off) we go back in if she wakes but only till she settles then we say it over again.
4) we've given her another thin blanket over her growbag as her room gets very cold during the night (down to 14degrees recently)

... so these things have helped. But when she woke at 1am new years day and was awake for an hour up to her old tricks, we finally decided it was time for cry-it-out.... shoot me down if you like, we've always been adamantly against it (we've believed in fostering a close, reassuring and supportive relationship) but having looked into it we decided CIO was worth a shot because our current method of standing by her cot for up to three hours until she decided she was tired enough to fall asleep again was basically rewarding her for waking up.... anyway, actually, it was horrible for a bit listening to her cry, and it felt like us walking into the room to reassure her sporadically was actually making her worse, but then after about 30 mins of abdabs, she grabbed her teddy, lay down and fell asleep. Last night, she woke up at 2am, we let her cry for 10 mins and she went straight back to sleep. (previously i'd have jumped up immediately and run into her room)

Its early days for sure, but this feels like progress.

Good luck all x

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