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What to do when even co-sleeping isn’t really working

(11 Posts)
Metalhead Mon 06-Nov-17 13:40:38

DD2 (23 months) used to generally sleep well until a few weeks ago when she started to kick off massively at bedtime and wake up every night, refusing to settle back down with the usual white noise/cuddle and the only option was to bring her into the spare bed with one of us. She’d had another ear infection and I’d been away for a weekend, so we thought fine, it’s a phase, she’s ill/needs extra reassurance, just go with it. Last week she suddenly started sleeping through again, until Saturday when she went back to her previous shenanigans.

Now here’s the problem: the last couple of nights when DH and I have co-slept with her, she’s still taken 2-3 hours to settle again! She just keeps rolling around, or trying to chat.

Any advice on how to handle this?! Part of me thinks we need to let her cry for a while just so she tires herself out, although I’m not sure my nerves could take it at the moment as she absolutely screams the house down.

RefuseTheLies Mon 06-Nov-17 13:45:33

I end up getting up with my 23 month old because listening to her whine for two hours in the middle of the night makes me want to kill myself. I get her a drink, change her nappy and we read a few books. More often than not, she's ready to go back to bed after an hour whereas if we'd taken her in to our bed, she could be thrashing around and screaming for two or three hours.

Metalhead Mon 06-Nov-17 16:33:29

That would probably be a better use of my time Refuse, but I’m determined to drive home the message that night time is for sleeping only. angry

To top it all off, the last two nights she’s had some sort of night terror at 6am where she’ll start to scream as if being attacked or call for mummy/daddy but won’t be comforted by us, in fact she’ll push us away and scream even louder! Only thing to do with that seemingly is to wait for it to pass...

fatfingeredfran Mon 06-Nov-17 16:40:36

I’m no expert but it sounds like she’s not tired enough at night time. Perhaps her sleeping needs have changed a little as she has grown, what’s her daytime napping like?

Metalhead Mon 06-Nov-17 17:01:08

She usually naps for around 1.5hrs after lunch; I’ve wondered too whether maybe I should cut this down, but on the occasional days where she doesn’t sleep as much I can’t say I’ve noticed any beneficial effect on her nighttime sleep.

FATEdestiny Tue 07-Nov-17 16:27:08

I'd do Rapid Return. She is a free thinking toddlers now, not a defenceless baby. She needs to know that
(a) night time is for sleeping and nothing else
(b) that when you set expectations of her behaviour, you will be very consistant consistent in applying boundaries

The second point being important in all aspects of life with a 2 and 3 year old. There's a lot of learning to do which is centred around the toddler learning they are not the centre of the universe and they will be expected to behave in certain ways in certain situations.

Metalhead Tue 07-Nov-17 22:07:34

I totally agree fate and believe me I’m no pushover, but things are complicated by the fact that a) we have DD1 to think about who’s at school and it’s not fair on her to be kept awake for hours by all the screaming, b) both DH and I work and are utterly exhausted already, and c) DD2 keeps getting ear infection after cold after cough etc so we can never be entirely sure if she’s not in pain or uncomfortable.

I guess the fact that she slept through again for a whole week last week is a reason for hope as it shows she can still do it...

JennyLane Tue 07-Nov-17 22:13:32

When our daughter was this age she went through a massively restless stage. She would wake at a mouse fart and refuse to settle. As she was sharing our room at the time (no where else to put her) we ended up sleeping downstairs on the sofa so as not to disturb her. Totally not recommending this as a solution. It was horrible, stupid and at 8 months pregnant it was bloody uncomfortable!
As soon as we moved and she had her own room we used the sensational baby sleep plan by Alison Scott wright. Used it with all three kids and it's been great. Baby doesn't sleep through yet.. but she will and she wakes for one feed and goes straight back down with the plan so I don't mind.
Toddler and preschooler sleep like legends, I wouldn't fall in the trap of reducing day time sleep. Sleep breeds sleep, overtiredness is a recipe for bad nights.. or it is with our kids at any rate! Our now 2.5 year old sleeps 12-13 hours at night and still naps 2-3 hours during the day.

SimultaneousEquation Tue 07-Nov-17 22:22:00

+1 for rapid return.

We did rapid return / boring parent. The boring parent bit is that you don’t make it more interesting for your child to be awake than asleep. So the rapid return was accompanied only with the words “sleepy time”. Dc trotting into room at 1am is led back to his own bed, with the single phrase “sleepy time”. Noisy, upset dc was comforted with “shhh”. Then “sleepy time” and led back to bed. Didn’t get cross, didn’t say anything else, just quietly and calmly said “sleepy time”, whatever dc did, keeping a poker face, not making eye contact.

We had it cracked on night 4, but on night 3 we had only one attempt. Afterwards, if dc woke up needing toilet or thirsty we would give them drink or do toilet without chitchat or eye contact, and say “sleepy time” as we led them to bed afterwards.

Metalhead Wed 08-Nov-17 09:30:19

Thanks for all the advice; we sort of do the whole thing of saying “it’s time to sleep” and then go out again simultaneous but maybe not consistently enough. Also when she screams, she screams so loudly that she wouldn’t even hear us shushing!

Anyway, after a 30 minute tantrum at bedtime she slept through again last night, so I’m hoping it’s just another phase that will end soon...

Metalhead Thu 16-Nov-17 21:15:17

Quick update in case anyone’s interested: after a horrendous night last Thursday, it became apparent that DD2 had another burst ear drum on Friday, and she has been sleeping through again ever since... the bedtime tantrums have also stopped, so it looks like for her it was a combination of being in pain and separation anxiety that caused her sleep to go to pot!

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