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3rd birthday approaching and still no sleep through - wtaf am I doing wrong?

(9 Posts)
PenelopeChipShop Tue 16-Jun-15 08:58:45

I'm getting desperate again. I used to be a regular on these boards then essentially just chose the co sleeping option - my DS woke every night but would sleep soundly tucked up next to me, so that's what we did until very recently. It was fine, if a bit cosy.

A couple of weeks ago we transformed his cot bed into a toddler bed - it's the same one, just with no sides now and and lower head rest, but he thinks it is 'new' and he LOVES it - will play in there, bounce, get in at bedtime and lay down fairly well - no massive dramas. And since being in his own bed he doesn't want to come into ours anymore, which is great!

The problem is that he still wakes up after (I'm guessing) each sleep cycle - it's about every 2 hours. And he insists on seeing me to resettle to sleep, and ideally touching my skin somehow (ideally my boob if I'm honest!) my DH has tried but he can't resettle him - it has to be me. I'm talking screaming to the point of vomiting.

I'll be honest, he still breastfeeds evening and morning but no other times and is night weaned. He's not expecting to bf when he wakes at night, it's almost as if he just needs to check I'm there. I suppose after so long co sleeping he's used to my constant presence. How do I crack this?? He's never slept through but now I actually have to get out of bed every 2 hours as if he was newborn again which is surely ridiculous.

Any theories welcome!! Do I need to push this (how??) or do you reckon he'll naturally stop waking in a month or two? anyone been there?


Nerris Tue 16-Jun-15 09:09:04

I sympathise my 3 year old DD still doesn't sleep through, although the amount of times she's waking has improved.

Does your DS still nap? Does he go to pre-school? Does he do lots of running around/general physical activity during the day?

Also, could there be any food groups/specific foods that trigger off wind/tummy pains during the night? Does he wake up thirsty?

Sorry for all the questions! As you can see I have given this subject a lot of thought!

PenelopeChipShop Tue 16-Jun-15 13:12:25

Hi Nerris, they are good questions!! I do think the Naps are relevant. He has 2 days of nursery and either one or two with my parents while I work. He naps at nursery (which I think helps him get through a long day to be honest, so am happy for him to have an hour only) and with my parents usually - I've raised the topic of not letting him sleep but I think they want the break! But on his days at home with me and weekends he usually doesn't, so his routine is a bit different depending on the day. I do find he sleeps in later in the morning if he's gone to be earlier - but he'll only do that with no nap the previous day.

I'm confident that he isn't uncomfortable or thirsty - he almost seems irritated to be stirring, not fully awake and in pain as he would be if ill. Unfortunately I wonder whether it's the classic reason given by all sleep consultants - teaching them to fall asleep without you in the room. Are you able to walk out and let your DD fall asleep herself? Bc I admit I stay and sing songs to soothe him off, maybe that's why he'll always call when he wakes...

lexyloub Wed 17-Jun-15 06:00:56

Don't engage with him when you go in just a cuddle and a shhh

Katekoom Thu 18-Jun-15 10:37:52

Could you bribe him?
I read somewhere that you can give them vouchers, three a night for example and they're allowed to use them to come into mummys room but one they've used them all they have to stay in their own room. He can also trade in any unused vouchers in the morning for a special treat. Or another mum I know had a gro clock and when her dd came into her she'd take her back to bed ,show her that the stars were still out on the gro clock and that means you need to stay in bed.

I've no idea wether either of these ideas would work with a 3 year old !

ChocolateIsMySleep Thu 18-Jun-15 11:06:36

Hi I sympathise! I have two partly reformed crap sleepers...

Have you thought about a gradual withdrawal technique? So you are slowly reducing his dependency on you being there and shushing/rubbing his back or whatever you do without it causing too much distress for anyone.

This was a slow process but it did work with my now 3 yo when she was 20 months or so (I've had to repeat it a few times, but basically skipped to the last couple of steps) and for my 18mo where I started doing this very gently from about 4 months.

So you would do your usual bedtime routine then just sit quietly next to the bed, maybe just holding a hand or something for two nights, then sit without holding a hand for two nights then move further away until you are next to and then outside the door. You could also change the singing to a music tape or talking books? My DD1 loves having stories on when I turn the lights out. She also has a nightlight she can turn on herself if she wakes.

During the night, could you try sleeping on his floor for a few nights? Again, no fussing etc, just being present to reassure him.

DD1 who was a truly awful sleeper for most of the first two years is now just average - she wakes occasionally, more if she is ill but can sometimes settle herself back off and most of the time will now sleep through. Now I just need to sort out DD2's 4am waking/current refusal to go to bed without screaming - see above re sleep regressions and having to repeat the gradual retreat!!

I'd also recommend that your DH take over some of the bedtime routine and maybe build up to doing the full routine and putting to bed - it makes life so much easier!

Heels99 Thu 18-Jun-15 11:13:21

He is used to co sleeping and having you there. Re wtf am I doing wrong, that's your answer.
You could try sleep training as per various methods above, bribery, cutting naps etc.
Or wait for him to grow out of it.

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Thu 18-Jun-15 22:04:39

I agree . I think you need to work on him falling asleep alone as his first step. smile

fatpony Sat 20-Jun-15 19:30:19

If he's seeking comfort from you what about something that smells of you? Like an old tshirt or sleep with a teddy for a few nights. I only have an 8 month old but could he understand if you explain to him that Superted (or whatever) will be there for him whenever he wakes etc? Or could he call out to you as an interim measure - e.g. he wakes, shouts mummy etc and you could just call back it's fine go back to sleep? Might take a bit of practice!

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