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17month old won't sleep

(9 Posts)
Ashleyc123 Tue 02-Feb-16 16:45:03

Hi all, so my 17month old has slept for 12 hrs a night for a year now (other than the odd teething spell) and this past month he has been up through the night anything from 1hr to 4 or 5hrs, he cries and cries and cries (I don't believe in leaving him to cry) and he is ok when I go in but as soon as I leave he screams the house down.
I have even been lying on the floor with him but some nights he is stil winging while I am there.
Some people saying its separation anxiety as he's started nursery at the end of December and I've read up it could be sleep regression.

Has anyone else experienced this?

P.\s he will have the odd night sleeping through but I'd say 90% over past month have been disturbed sleep.

FATEdestiny Tue 02-Feb-16 20:44:21

That sounds very much like separation anxiety.

The key for this is developing trust that when he needs you, you will always be there to give reassurance. So, as you are doing, be free with your time and reassurance so that he trusts you will stay reassuring him until he is asleep. Just being there on the mattress might not be enough initially, he may for example need to touch you, feel your touch.

Then be conscious about gradually and slowly reducing the amount of reassurance he needs, while continuing to keep his trust that you will stay giving him the reassurance he needs until he is alsleep. So you might start off leaning over the cot with a hand on his chest/back. Then be sat next to the cot putting hand on chest/back when needed, then removing hand and just citting quietly. Then just one reassurance and sit/ly by cot.

Each time making a gradual change until he has the confidence to feel safe and secure on his own going to sleep.

I'd also set up a comforter toy, blankie, that kind of thing for comfort.

Ashleyc123 Tue 02-Feb-16 20:56:35

Thanks great advice, he has a bunny that is his comforter be actually has 7 in his cot (don't laugh) so which ever position he is he can always just reach for one, he did actually sleep 7-6.15 last night.
I don't mind lying with him by his cot but it seemed the more nights of disturbed sleep he is having the worse he is getting! He was holding my hand for a while the other night and then he started winging when he could see me next to him.
It upsets me so much as I know lots of people say "just leave them crying, cruel to be kind" I can't and won't do that I don't believe this situation calls for tough love.
Am I wrong? I watched the three day nanny and she did as you said; reassuring with touch but no words so maybe will have to stick with what I'm doing and hope it's a phase

FATEdestiny Tue 02-Feb-16 21:39:02

DC4 is currently 16 months old and I have never let her cry at all, ever. I have always solved whatever is the cause of her upset as quickly as I possibly could.

I did the crying method sleep training with DC1 when she was 14 months old. While I can firmly say that at that time nothing else would have resolved her sleep issues because I had made so many mistakes and 'rods for my back' with regards to her sleep.

But I have since gone on to have 3 more children and while I understand that crying sleep training methods do have their place for the desperate parent, that a better option is to not get to the stage where you have no other option.

Suffice to say I never repeated all the mistakes I made with DC1 and so DC2, DC3 and DC4 have all been brilliant sleepers using gentle, kind processes than never involved any distress.

Ashleyc123 Wed 03-Feb-16 07:32:03

Hello so just had a night of 30 min sleep!!!! He woke at 12 and cried and cried and cried I lay next to him and he still cried I held his hand and he'd fall asleep and then wake crying it's almost like he wakes up and then gets frustrated as he can't go back to sleep.
I lay there from 12 til 7.15 and I'd say he's slowly for 3 hrs.

Help me please I'm at the end of my tether confused

FATEdestiny Wed 03-Feb-16 10:25:44

Gosh, that's awful. It sounds like he's in pain.

That is more than just separation anxiety, I would be inclined to think there is something physically wrong. If there is nothing you can notice outwardly, could he have a sore throat or ear ache? Maybe he picked up something from nursery.

Ashleyc123 Wed 03-Feb-16 12:48:06

I have a doctors appointment tomorrow afternoon, he is perfectly happy in the day and has afternoon nap no problem at all and will happily go to sleep at 7pm it's just wen he wakes that's it.
He can see me and will still winge and even if I shush him to calm him he will make little noises.
And also last night he started saying "mum" so he would stick his hand out and say mum so id hold his hand till he took it off me or I'd stroke his back til he fell asleep and then a few mins later he's whining again.
If he was in pain would he not be off in the day aswel?
In the past month he has had ear infections in both ears and been on the hospital with a 39.8 temp ans tonsillitis but he's finished 3 seperate courses of anti biotics ans since has had throat swabs which were normal and his ears checked and no longer inflamed so I'm really beginning to panic whah it could be? Sleep regression??
He eats very well and can have upto 10oz of milk before bed so I am assuming it's not hunger it's just so strange sad

araminem Wed 03-Feb-16 14:33:38

FATE. I am curious! What were the mistakes you made and what can I do not to make them?

FATEdestiny Wed 03-Feb-16 15:06:28

She never had enough sleep in the daytime (or indeed at night either, really) as a baby. I worked far too hard on "not getting into bad habits" in the first 6 months that she didn't really learn to sleep at all. So I had to have a million additional "rods for my back" when lack of sleep for both of us reached crisis point after 6 months old, just as a means to cope.

The most significant was rocking to sleep. Also reliant in milk at night time, never resettling without a feed (and lots of rocking), even when an older baby/toddler. She still ued to scream for several hours before going to sleep even when in my arms being rocked.

There's loads more. Having that middle class scrunched-nosed distaste towards dummies meant I left it too late to introduce one and she never gained much benefit from it. No comforter toy/blankie to give comfort was established either. So she had nothing to give her any chance of any comfort or security when she did wake up in the night. So of course it meant she always screamed shouted for me when she woke, because I was her comfort and security.

By the time DC1 was 12 months old I was 7 months pregnant with DC2, maternity leave hand ended 4 months previously so I was back to teaching full time. She was waking 2 or 3 times between 11pm-7am and taking anything from 30 minutes to 2 hours to go back to sleep. We did CIO. I am not proud, hate that we had made all these mistakes to get to this point but acknowledged the fact that something had to be done immediately. I vowed that I would never make those mistakes again so that I never needed to be so uncaring towards my child again. I kept my vow.


If your baby goes to sleep independently normally, can normally go to sleep alone and access his own comfort and was previously doing this reliably - then there has to be something causing the change.

Like riding a bike, a baby doesn't 'unlearn' how to access comfort and security themselves to go to sleep.

Various things can cause a child to need extra reassurance though - illness, upset, insecurities, pain, uncomfortable, change in routine.

With so many illnesses recently, it could be whatever was cauing him being ill. It could even be a reaction to 3 weeks of antibiotics - these can cause urine infections, yeast infections or tummy upsets.

Periods of time when extra reassurance is needed are usual right through until aged 5 or 6, so this is all just part of parenting really.

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