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20 months, never slept through

(3 Posts)
Cwodavids Fri 05-Jun-15 20:30:40

Our son is 20 months old and has never slept through. We refuse to let him cry it out (AP parents) but we are both shattered and NEED to find a solution.

My wife breastfed on demand for a yr and mid-week attends to him during the night; I do the weekend shift. It has gotten so bad that we just cannot face the thought of another child despite wanting another. As we have no family within 400 miles we have not had a night off since he was born as she invariably wakens when she hears him crying.

When he wakens he usually settles within a minute (unless teething), but normally wakens 2-5 times for no obvious reason. About once a week though he will not settle, he doesnt cry, but gets hyper and wants to play or say all his words etc. it can take up to 2 hrs to get him back to sleep. We dont engage talk, play or encourage him, he just wont sleep! We are at a point now whereby our social life is non-existent, we are losing touch with friends, I am exhausted at work and we are in bed at 1930 most nights to try and get what little sleep we can; he is turning us into zombies!

Any ideas on how to stop this cycle as we are desperate?

FATEdestiny Fri 05-Jun-15 21:52:05

I have a lot of respect for Attachment Parents. My understanding of AP is that the parent is the child's source of comfort for sleep. This differs from my parenting style since I have always promoted sleep independent of me from birth. But that doesn't stop me having great respect for AP who parent in a different way to my four children.

There is some research (in terms of AP as it happens, but can be related to other sleep methods) that would suggest a child does not develop the emotional capacity to be able to self-sooth until school age - so 2 or 3 years away for your daughter.

Now as a parent who encourages independent sleeping I read that article and think it gives perfect evidence for giving a child a dummy from birth to school age, so that baby always has his/her source of comfort to sleep. But that is not Sarah OC's point in the article. She is suggesting that expectations should be altered for the AP so that they don't expect baby to be able to self-sooth to sleep or during the night consistently.

I understand you are desperate. I understand you want some Mummy & Daddy time. Relatively speaking it is not that long until your child is of an age where she will have the emotional development to sleep like an adult would (tired, lie down, close, eyes, sleep). You, quite reasonably, take pride in being an AP and not letting your baby cry. So maybe lowering your sleeping through expectations is the best way forward for you.

It may need you to continue being there for your daughter whenever she is disturbed in the night to help her go back to sleep. And to be there or her when she needs you to go to sleep. So lower what you are expecting for when she can sleep without you. Or face reassessing your diligence to the Attachment Parenting style.

Willothewhip Sun 07-Jun-15 19:04:08

FATEdestiny what a great response. I love the link too.

My DD (28 months) also used to wake up at the end of every sleep cycle. I'm also practicing AP and, if my experience is anything to go by, your night time purgatory will shortly be coming to an end OP. Things got considerably better when she turned 2 and she's now pretty reliably sleeping through (I've recently stopped bf, and I think this has helped a lot).

I wish you luck and well done for all your compassionate night time parenting.

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