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14 month old screaming the house down at bedtime

(3 Posts)
Squaffle Wed 31-May-17 14:21:10

DD is 14 months. Sleeps 11-12 hours a night and in the last month or so has dropped from 2 naps to 1. She usually wakes up between 6 and 7am and naps 12:15-2:30pm. Bedtime is at around 7pm and she is usually tired by then (rubs eyes/ears, yawns etc). She has a dummy and a bunny which she only has in her cot, and sleeps in a sleeping bag. Eats like a dream and has never been particularly bothered by teething.

She has just got over being ill and since then she has screamed the house down every evening at bedtime, for over an hour. We have followed the same bedtime routine since she was tiny (bath, stories, milk, bed with blackout blinds with nightlight). When she was ill this didn't change but she woke up several times each evening and settled herself back to sleep.

Initially I thought it may be down to separation anxiety and was quite happy to sit or lie next to her for comfort, but she pushes me away, shakes her head and cried louder. It seems to distress her more.

We used to cuddle her to sleep so have tried that and she arches her back and wriggles out of my arms or thinks it's time to play. A definite no-no.

If I give her eye contact, she grins, and then goes back to crying as soon as I look away. Monkey!

I have also tried lullabies and leaving the door open. The latter is a nightmare as we are in a tiny flat and as soon as she hears/sees us she cries harder. She loves music so we might carry on with the lullabies but so far I can't say they are making a difference either way.

Have I missed anything? I am wondering whether this is a new learning phase, i.e. 'let me see what happens if I yell...'. She never usually cries during the day/night unless she hurts herself, but now seems genuinely distressed. To me it seems the only option is to leave her and pop in every 10 minutes to lie her down (she is usually standing or sitting up crying), no eye contact, say the same (nice) phrase and leave the room, repeating until she eventually gives up. FATEdestiny I always find myself agreeing with you (if you're not a sleep consultant you should consider it; they charge a pretty penny too!) and would love to hear any advice!

Of course it is just a phase, like all the weird and wonderful things our little ones do, but if there's anything glaring that I have missed or anything else I can do to lessen her distress I'd love to know! Thanks everyone x

FATEdestiny Wed 31-May-17 16:18:31

When I read your first two paragraphs, my first thought was separation anxiety - usually around 18 months but can got anywhere from 12-24 months. However, I more note you have that covered so it doesn't appear to be that.

My next suggestion would be molars. They creep up on you. You start wondering what all the fuss and bother is about teething (mine were a bit off colour with teething, but nothing terrible), then bam! You get hit with the molars cutting through and it's horrendous. My children were around 12 months for first set of molars and my DD has just cut second set at 2.7y. Her first set of molars gave me the worst sleep I had since she was born.

If it's not molars, my next guess would be over tired from the change to 1 nap days. For comparison my youngest was having 2 nap days until 20 months old, transitioned and by 22 months was having only 1 nap days.

You say about a month ago she dropped to one nap - no transition period? In my experience it's not a switch, it's a gradual change.

It would start with a single day of missing the morning nap and having just one nap, followed by maybe a week of normal 2-nap days to 'recover'. Then maybe a 1-nap day and only 2 or 3 days of 2-nap days are needed to recover. Then maybe she could manage 2 consecutive 1-nap days. Then 3 or 4 consecutive days with only occassional 2-nap days to catch up. You get the idea.

To have made the change on the young side (18 months old would be an average age to transition to 1-nap days) and also to have done it so suddenly - I wonder if her body clock isn't ready yet and the bedtime upset is to do with being over tired.

Squaffle Wed 31-May-17 19:46:10

Thank you so much for your reply, I really appreciate it.

It's tricky; the reason we went so abruptly from 2 naps to 1 was because she just wouldn't go to sleep! It would take 30-45 minutes of chatting to herself before she would fall asleep, for both naps and then again at bedtime. With 1 nap she goes straight to sleep and usually again at bedtime. I did try to do it more gradually but felt that overall she was getting less sleep than she needed on the 2 nap days because it was taking her so long to go to sleep.

I was wondering whether maybe she was sleeping too long/too late at lunchtime so today we got her up 20 minutes earlier than usual and at bedtime she fell asleep pretty much straight away. She cried for a few minutes, but just quietly and then settled. Nothing like the bellowing of late! I'll try that again tomorrow and see what happens.

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