17 month old waking for hours(8 Posts)
Hi all. Long time lurker but first time poster please be gentle !
My 17 month old DS has been sleeping through pretty consistently since 11 months. However on nights he does wake he is up FOR HOURS! Nothing seems to settle him, he isn't crying, there is nothing wrong we can tell - he is just awake and screams if you try and leave the room. We've tried letting him cry and returning every few minutes, calpol, patting - nothing works! The only thing we can do is sit in his room or lie on the floor for 2 or so hours until he decides to go back to sleep.
Has anyone has any experience of this and got any advice on settling techniques we might try? We have an older DD and she never did this so at a loss! Thanks!
It sounds like, and is the right age for, separation anxiety.
The most effective way I have found to deal with this is to give lots of reassurance, then gradually reduce the amount of reassurance needed. Leaving baby to cry is only going to make him insecure.
I would set up a mattress on the floor. Or if you are comfy, just a chair by the cot. Keep establishing that sleep time is for lying down, still and quiet. So every time he gets up, lie him back down. Every time he shuffles, place a firm hand on his chest/back to still him. Every noise gets a shushhhhhh in reply. Also I think comfort needs compassion too. I don't buy into this idea of ignoring the child (well, not until much older anyway). I would give lots of eye contact, lean into the cot to give plenty of physical contact.
Constant reiteration that you will be there to give as much comfort he needs, but there are rules. He must lie still and quietly and go to sleep. A dummy or comforter toy may help as sleep triggers.
Once he accepts the rules and trusts that you are always going to stay to give him comfort, it stops being a battle. There will be no fighting to stay awake. He'll start to learn 'the drill'. So you should need to do less actively reassuring him, maybe just lying/sitting/standing nearby to feel secure enough to sleep.
That's when gradual withdrawal starts. You could start gradually moving further away. A little more each night/week. Until he just needs a door open and to know you're just outside the door, but will come if he needs you (you don't need to be waiting outside his door really, he just thinks you are. You could be in bed. You just need to respond quickly if he calls.).
Then the final step is closing the door - but with him trusting that he's not separated from you, you are still there, he doesn't need to feel anxious because you'll come straight away if needed. But once he's settled, he should feel secure enough to then let you leave.
Thanks so much FATEdestiny I did wonder about separation anxiety. He goes to bed fine but guess maybe he needs to check we are there in the night! I will make sure I've got some bedding etc in there and just accept I may have to be rest in there some nights. Hoping just a phase!!
My 17 month DD is doing this at the moment, usually wakes up anytime between 12-3 and is up for 2 hours, not crying just wanting to play. We cosleep so pretty much just ignore her and occasionally lie her back down, she gets the hint eventually. We've had phases of this before, usually around some sort of developmental milestone so presuming it just that.
Moving her to her own room on Friday though, probably won't be so blasé about her nighttime antics when I have to actually get up to deal with her.....
Hope your LO gets back on track soon!
Thanks CobsAhoy - that sounds exactly like my DS and they are the same age...must be something going on ! We've got some back molars coming through and also still working on the walking so that might be adding to it here. Hope the move goes well!
We've had something going on since day one! Very jealous of your impressive 8 month stretch of LO sleeping through, sounds like it won't be too strenuous getting him through this phase.
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