I'm posting this more out of interest but am also interested in any advice - does anybody else have a toddler that wakes multiple times a night?
I see lots of threads about getting babies and children to sleep, and lots of information about wake ups of babies, but less that seem similar to our situation
DD is 21 months. She was breastfed to sleep and co slept for a long time. Around 6/8 months ago I would put her to bed in her cot (after she had fallen asleep feeding), and then bring her into my bed when she first woke (or when I went to bed) as I was unable to resettle her in our bed. I then night weaned so she would fall asleep in her cot with stories/cuddles while I sat next to her. I continued to be unable to resettle her successfully in her own bed. Fairly recently I've been trying to keep her in her own bed all night. She now falls asleep with me sitting at the end of the bed with no input from me, but wakes between 6 and 7 times a night and needs me there to go back to sleep. Her longest stretch of sleep is 3 hours ish at the start of the night and maybe 3 hours before she gets up. But the period in between is peppered with her waking every half and hour or so, and I can see even in between these wakes that she is tossing and turning and opening her eyes regularly.
Is she just a light sleeper? Has anybody else experienced this? Any tips?
As I understand it, all people have sleep cycles where they have periods of lighter and deeper sleep. Children have shorter sleep cycles than adults. Mine both toss and turn like crazy in their sleep (one regularly removes her pyjamas!)
What's probably happening is that your dd is coming out of a deep sleep and needs you there to go back to sleep because that's what she's used to.
If you want to fix it, she will need to get comfortable going to sleep at bed time without you there. I'd probably try some sort of gradual retreat where you sit a little further away from her bed every night until you're just outside the door.
I had / have a similar situation with my ds (26 mths). I ended up tying the no-cry sleep solution where you gradually retreat out of the room. For example, wk 1 sit by the bed, wk 2 sit in the middle of the floor, until gradually you wait outside of the door (same as RNBrie suggested).
I'm outside of the door now but I have to knock on the wall so he knows I'm there! Haven't cracked night-waking yet as I generally just bring him in with me. I need to address this now though as I'm due ds2 in March.
You aren't alone. DS is nearly 21mo, settles alone at bedtime but still wakes 4 times a night. He never comes into our bed, all I do is tuck him in and walk out again and he goes back to sleep. I guess some kids need more reassurance than others.
I would also say my DS has the same sort of pattern as your DD - 3 - 4hr stretch at start of night 2 - 3hrs at the end and all the wake ups happen in the middle of those stretches. He is teething 2 yr molars so presumed as that was the lightest sleep in the night discomfort was stopping him from settling well.
I've moved from sitting in the bed to a chair next to her bed at bedtime. First night of this was 7 wake ups between midnight and 4. Second night was one hour awake at midnight and then she went through til 6. Appreciate this is a long game so not expecting rapid changes!