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16 mo taking ages to settle after waking at night

(11 Posts)
Metalhead Thu 23-Mar-17 13:14:35

My nearly 16 month old DD2 has never been a brilliant sleeper, but we've had good stretches of her sleeping through, and even if she woke up she used to go back down fairly quickly with white noise and maybe a quick cuddle.

The last couple of weeks she's started to wake up, mostly between 3-4am, stand up in her cot and cry. The only way to get her to lie back down is either lean over the cot with a hand on her tummy, or take her into bed with me. But even then she's taking up to an hour to go back to sleep properly, she'll just lie there wriggling, playing with her comforter, sometimes even trying to chat hmm.

I'm back at work, have had a cold for two weeks and this is doing my head in! Is it just a phase? Or do I need to get tough and do CC or something similar?

FATEdestiny Thu 23-Mar-17 16:56:18

It is a phase, sounds like separation anxiety. Quite simply, she just doesn't like the idea of being alone during the night. So if you stay until she is asleep, she feels reassured. If she wakes up, she needs that reassurance again. But eventually she just won't wake up.

You are doing the right thing. Leaving her to cry will only increase her anxiety, not decrease it.

Metalhead Thu 23-Mar-17 20:55:05

I get that she wants company, but I can't help feeling that we've been too soft with her so far... we were much stricter with DD1 when she was little and she's an amazing sleeper!

Annoyingly, DD2 has started playing up at bedtime as well now, so tonight I ended up leaving her to cry for a bit out of pure necessity. I stayed with her for about 15 minutes until I thought she was asleep, but as soon as I moved she got up and started crying again. I'd promised DD1 some games and story time, so ended up leaving DD2 to cry for 10 mins before trying to settle her again. Same scenario, but after another 5 mins crying she finally went to sleep. I hate leaving her to cry, but equally it's not fair on DD1 to feel like she's always playing second fiddle...

miniloco Thu 23-Mar-17 20:57:57

No tips but my 2 year old went through a phase of doing exactly the same. We took the easiest route (which also felt like the right thing to do) and that was sleeping beside her. On a blow up bed! We honestly couldn't face the hassle of reading/learning about sleep training properly, and I'm not sure I could have faced it even if I did. Hope it doesn't last long.

FATEdestiny Thu 23-Mar-17 21:23:52

I stayed with her for about 15 minutes until I thought she was asleep

That anxious feeling of "is mummy going to go and leave me to cry now?" Is the cause of it taking her ages to fall asleep. She will actively try to stay awake for as long as possible, so you stay.

If you do stay until she's properly asleep (so maybe 5 or so more minutes from where you were) she would learn to develop trust that you'll stay. With that trust, the battle goes and so going to sleep quicker and quicker. You can also start slowly withdrawing - step away from cot one night. Two steps away next week. Two steps and facing away the following week. And so on. Without the trust, that won't work.

Regarding DC1, firstly they are all different. Her sleep won't be the same as her subling at the same age.

You could seperate bedtime, to allow for settling dc2. I would suggest doing DC1s bedtime first, then focus on DC2

Metalhead Thu 23-Mar-17 21:46:09

Thanks mini, I'm still hoping it'll be a short-lived phase!

fate we usually do split bedtime, but DH wasn't here tonight. DD1 is nearly 7 so can't really go to bed earlier than DD2. I suppose it makes sense what you're saying about the trust issue; I'm just worried she'll forget how to settle herself and go to sleep on her own if we start staying with her all the time!

miniloco Fri 24-Mar-17 03:35:22

We had to stay til she fell asleep at bedtime too. Then one time we tried letting her fall asleep on her own and she did, no tears she was fine. Then whenever she woke up during the night we were able to just pop in and reassure her then come back out again. They're all different but sometimes it just helps to hear others are/were in the same boat.

Metalhead Fri 24-Mar-17 09:25:13

Yes it's good to know we're not the only ones with this problem! Dare I ask how long it lasted for you...? We're going away for Easter and won't be able to have her in bed with us then as there's just not enough space, so not looking forward to having (another) holiday ruined by lack of sleep.

miniloco Fri 24-Mar-17 20:23:27

Hmmmm, not sure my answer will make u feel any better! We were only able to stop maybe at about 20 months. But obviously this might not be the case for u at all. I hope not, I know it's not much fun!

dinobum Fri 24-Mar-17 20:39:32

Definitely a phase, mine was doing it a few months ago and it's all stopped now and she's settling quickly (although I still cuddle her to sleep as I rather enjoy it!)

Metalhead Fri 24-Mar-17 22:43:50

Well tonight she went to sleep by herself again without any complaint so that's a start! We've had quite a few grumbles since then but no proper wake ups, so hoping for a better night (and it's DH's night "on duty" anyway! grin).

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