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feeling desperate - 2 year old suddenly won't sleep

(14 Posts)
littlemissblue Sun 12-Jun-16 14:23:22

Hi all

My 2 year old DD has always been an amazing sleeper - going down for all naps and bed on her own and self settling within 5-10m. Waking happy singing to herself and calling for us to get her after a bit.

Last week however she suddenly didn't want to go down for a nap and had to leave her crying for 5m (she didn't get out of her bed) until she laid herself down and dropped off. That night she didn't want to go to bed and was near hysterical when I went to leave her, as soon as I walked out she was out of bed screaming for me and opening her door. I took her back to bed and this continued for about half an hour, she said she was scared and wanted me to sit on the chair in her room. In the end I did as she did seem genuinely scared and it's so unlike her. She dropped off in a few mins but woke in the night again hysterical and desperate to get out of her room. She came in bed with us and slept on and off.
Next day she went to childminders and napped there fine apparently. At bedtime she was upset at the mention of going to bed and kept saying. "Mummy sit on chair, my bed naughty, me sleep mummy's bed etc" she went into bed at 730 and didn't go to sleep til 930pm. I tried rapid return but she was getting so upset. So I sat next to her door in the end reassuring her I was there. In the night she woke at 2am screaming for me and i ended up lying on the floor next to her bed for 2 hours but she wouldn't go back to sleep! She just lay there quietly with her dummy and bunny?!?! Again took her in with me at 4am and she slept til 5 then was up for the day.

Yesterday I decided maybe she was having too long nap (1.5-2 hours after lunch, getting up no later than 330pm) I lay her in bed after lunch but she just lay there and was so tired but wouldn't go to sleep, just lay quietly. I gave up after 45m and got her up and she seemed fine. She slept in car for 15m at 3pm but that was it all day. At bedtime she went off in 10m as was so tired, with me in the room. She woke at 2am v upset and again I tried everything to settle her - drink, laying with her, rapid return, being v firm, and at 4am I gave up and brought her in bed with me but STILL she wouldn't sleep. She was so tired but wouldn't let herself sleep- kicking covers off, kicking me, crying on and off asking to get up. At 5am I lost it and put her back in her bed shut the door and said to my husband he can deal with her. He tried and failed (she was screaming like a banshee) so took her downstairs. We have a 1 year old and a 6 year old aswell so didn't want to wake them.

She had a 40m nap at 10am and that's it so far. No idea what to do/ try tonight. I'm exhausted and dreading it.

Is it a nightmare that's made her scared to sleep? If so I don't want to be mean and make her stay in her bed if she's scared. She has fairy lights and music but didn't want them on. Never ever been a sleep problem before I just want to help her sad

If she's just being defiant (she's a v v strong willed stubborn child) then I'll happily be v firm with her but don't want to add fuel to the prob if she's really scared.

Cutting her nap altogether and she'll be overtired but I thought she could have an hour max (if she will?!)

Help confused

c737 Sun 12-Jun-16 19:50:51

Watching with interest OP as I am having a near identical situation with my 2.4 yr old. Amazing sleeper up until a few months ago and we are often up in the night lying down next to her bed praying that she will go bk to sleep. Also have an eight month old we don't want her waking so we are also treading on eggshells when she starts screaming 'mummy...daddy' in the night.

Out of interest did your dd have separation anxiety at the 9/10 month mark when they say it kicks in? Mine didn't, she was always v happy to go anywhere with anyone and the HV said it would prob kick in around 2 yrs old instead so we are wondering if this is separation anxiety playing out at night time. She is also v clingy in the day constantly wanting cuddles and reassurance.

Sorry I have no real advice but am hoping someone else with come along with some!

littlemissblue Mon 13-Jun-16 02:56:53

C737 thanks for replying! She was v cross at bedtime and only went to sleep at 945pm after I had done rapid return and put her back to bed 86 times... She has just woken again (245am) and I put her back in and she's laying in bed crying on and off, sure she'll be out again in a minute and the fun will begin again.

She has always been quite clingy to me but I'd say more when she was a year plus than 9-10 months. She went to nursery from. 6 months and was fairly happy to go (stopped crying after a minute of being dropped). She's fiercely independent so different to my son at that age.

Hope your DD settles soon it's so exhausting - what strategies are you using? Does she still nap?

littlemissblue Mon 13-Jun-16 13:40:20

DD was up at 245am and I did rapid return until 340am. She got up again at 4am 3 times, my baby woke for milk at 420am, DD up 430am 4 times and then didn't get up til 530. Not sure if she had slept for those 45m though.

Naptime today she was a little worried about me leaving her but I said I was doing the washing and when I popped back in 10m and she's asleep... No tears hurrah!

c737 Tue 14-Jun-16 11:46:44

Hi littlemiss, how was last night? My dd seems a little better and we only had one settling period last night from around 10-10.30. She slept much later this morning than she usually does which was amazing but im sure we will be returning to form tonight as my sister has taken her out for the day and she won't be bk til near bedtime which always seems to disturb her and make for a horrible night 😩

littlemissblue Tue 14-Jun-16 14:28:14

Ah that's good you had a better night, I know what you mean about them getting home late - it disrupts the routine! Fx it won't upskittle her too much.

DD had a MUCH better night last night, she went off to sleep at bedtime with no tears or getting out and only woke at 4am. I had to put her back into bed 3 times but she then stayed in and didn't get up til 530am. Early but definate progress!

c737 Tue 14-Jun-16 15:55:00

That's good, hopefully you're near the end of this phase now. Fingers crossed that they are sorting themselves out and we have good nights ahead!

littlemissblue Tue 14-Jun-16 21:19:35

How was bedtime for you? DD was a bit worried about me leaving but she was asleep when I went back after 10m. Hope she sleeps through i'm pooped.

What do you do when your DD wakes in the night?

c737 Wed 15-Jun-16 20:10:34


Bedtime is always ok-ish, she's not happy but she after a five or ten min moan she usually goes off. It's the waking in the night when she gets extreemly worked up. We've tried cc on a few occasions, and going in to settle them coming back out, but she gets so mad she makes herself sick (and wakes Ds in the process).

We've had her in bed with one of us before just to get some sleep, but she was often staying awake and singing and playing with my hair so I knew I had to stop her getting in bed with us. One night not long ago she woke at 2am and I was so knackered I put her in bed with me and she actually didn't go back to sleep all night which was a nightmare. How she lasted out the next day I have no idea.

So we just lie next to her until she goes back to sleep now (usually only 15/20 mins but can take up to an hr). It's rubbish but we just don't know what else to do as she is so strong willed and as I said she will just make herself sick.

I just keep telling myself get through this summer (their rooms get so hot which doesn't help with the sleep) and then she will be 2.7/8 and I think we will have to take a stronger approach with it all and deal with some major upsets and Ds waking because of it all. At the moment she is so clingy that I think this is part of separation anxiety, another reason I don't want to come down too hard right now.

Did your dd end up sleeping through last night?

littlemissblue Wed 15-Jun-16 23:31:49

It's so hard to know what to do for the best isn't it :/ my DD is v stubborn and strong willed/ fiesty and does not back down easily (she spent 1.5 hours sitting at the table the other week as she refused to eat her tea that she had asked for. My dh told her she was going to sit there until she ate the whole lot, and she did in the end! I would have let her down but she gets her stubbornness from him!!!)

I tried the whole putting her in bed with us - she did the same as your DD and didn't sleep just messed about. I tried laying with her but she still wouldn't go off so the option I had was to keep putting her back in bed til eventually she gave in. I was hesitant as if it is Sep anxiety I don't want to make her worse but I know if I give an inch she'll take a mile, and it seems to be working - last night she woke at 130am and I just put her back to bed and she stayed. Woke at 4am to tell me she'd poo'd so changed her and put her back, she screamed then but after leaving her and when she got out I put her back and she went back off til 630am.

I think you just have to do what's best for your family, my baby DD and 6 year old son are heavy sleepers and don't wake up when she kicks off - no idea how as she's loud!

Oh and she makes herself sick too, I just ignore it and quickly clean her up. Bloody kids!

c737 Thu 16-Jun-16 09:50:54

Oh that's lucky that the other two are heavy sleepers, I think I would be a lot more open to letting her fuss and cry if Ds wasn't such a bloody light sleeper!

The funny thing we have with dd is that she doesn't seem to realise that she can just get up and come out of her room and in to ours. We only put her in a bed a few months ago so I think she still has the constraint of the cot bars in her psyche because never once has she come out of her room - she just cries and screams for us, I'm sure this will change at some point and I will do exactly the same as you - just keep returning her u til she gets the message. No way will I go back to having her in bed with us - the god awful hours we spent trying to lie there as still as statues in the hope she would go bk to sleep only to hear her burst in to another rendition of baa baa black sheep!!

littlemissblue Thu 16-Jun-16 14:50:48

Haha sounds like our DD's could be twins - mine often starts singing old macdonald at stupid o'clock in the morning! My DD didn't realise she could get of her bed til last week either - she's been in it since March! She would just shout for us like yours.

She woke at 1am briefly and had poo'd again at 5am, and she didn't go back to sleep after that. She's never poo'd at night until now - bloody annoying. Was your night ok ?

Off to pick her up from childminder now hope she napped ok there today!

c737 Thu 16-Jun-16 20:05:30

Oh god I am dreading when she realises she can come out, sounds like it's imminent.

She was good last night and went to bed fine, starting crying at 5am and I was just about to give up and go in when she resettled and slept til 6.30. So that for us was a great night!

She just had a cry when oh left her for bed and has been moaning sporadically so fingers crossed she drops off in a bit.

What are you doing nap-wise now with your dd? I'm still struggling whether to drop or not, and maybe this has an effect as she never knows if she's going to nap or not. Due to the 5am wakings I decided to cut it out completely (she'll tend to zonk out for 20 mins or so when we're in the car) but she still sleeps at nursery (2 days a wk) as she really loves the routine of that - always tells me who she was lying next to, how nice and warm she was etc! Also I've heard that nurseries still nap them even when you ask them not to - saying they were tired etc. It's hard to know what to do - I'd hate to think of her tired at nursery but not able to nap.

littlemissblue Thu 16-Jun-16 21:08:34

Ah fab night last night for you!! Hope she's dropped off ok now.

Nap wise I'm letting her have 1.5 hours max and trying to get her down early straight after lunch so she is up early enough to get tired for bed. My baby DD sleeps in afternoon too and they always had one after lunch together which was fab for me as they had 2+ hours but I guess it couldn't last forever!! If she doesn't have any nap which has occasionally happened if we were out, then she has a bad night as overtired. All kids are different though so maybe your DD will be fine without one, or just have one at nursery as you say.

I was a nursery nurse and we didn't make the children nap if the parents didn't want them too but they do tend to get more tired when at nursery so she may need one there.

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