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16 month old cosleeps, whines and cries all night, but I don’t want to sleep train. What do I do???!!

(20 Posts)
Themosttiredperson1 Thu 08-Feb-18 08:30:09

My 16 month old has been a hard-work baby since birth. When he was born he cried literally all the time and as he got older that turned to whingeing. I call him a “high needs” baby and I’ve posted about him before (under a different username) as he honestly has us on our knees.

He’s our third dc and honestly feel like we’re starting with scratch with him. Nothing that worked with our other two works with him. He’s clingy, needy, whingey, forceful and quick to cry. (I should add that he is very loving and sweet, too.)

He cosleeps, not because that’s our ethos or anything, but because that’s literally the only way he will sleep - period.

The reason I don’t want to sleep train him is because I can’t see it working. He would honestly just cry until we went to get him, however long that would be (and I couldn’t stand that either).

But I don’t know what to do! I have to be holding him in some way all through the night. He whines and cries for no big reason almost every night.

My husband and I are zombies and our marriage is suffering. I think it might break us. My other kids are also tired and grumpy for school as they can hear their brother in the night and it wakes them.

Every day I’m snippy and quick to temper because I’m so tired. And I think part of the problem with my DC3’s daytime behaviour is that he’s also tired.

What on earth do I do????? Any advice at all?!

Schwanengesang Thu 08-Feb-18 08:42:55

I've just stopped cosleeping with DS (15 months). He has been chronically and acutely overtired and an absolutely terrible sleeper, waking 20-30 times a night, with super-late midnight bedtimes or 3+ hours awake in the middle of the night happening several times a week as well. We tried 5 lots of DH cosleeping instead, but none of it worked.

However, putting him in a cot in his own room has done amazing things - the first night he cried for 25 mins, then slept 7pm-12am, 12.30-2.15, 2.30-4.45, 5-7.15am; the second night did a little couple of protest cries then rolled over and went to sleep, slept 6.45-1.30, 1.40-2.30, 2.45-4, 4.30-7am. So far on the third night, he just lay down and went to sleep with no crying and has been asleep since 6.45 and it's now after 9.30pm.

Themosttiredperson1 Thu 08-Feb-18 08:45:11

Schwanengesang - wow! Well done! Do you go in when he cries?

NannyOggsKnickers Thu 08-Feb-18 08:48:13

This won’t be popular in here but you need to bite the bullet and do a bit of gentle sleep training. You’ll all be better off. He’s old enough now and he needs his rest to grow. And you need your sleep for your sanity. Do it. And don’t let anyone make your feel bad about it.

The usual crowd will be along to tell you about how terrible sleep training it. Don’t let them put you off.

Themosttiredperson1 Thu 08-Feb-18 10:05:28

NannyOggsKnickers - I honestly don’t think it’d work on him. He’s stubborn and I can’t see him just giving in and going to sleep! He’d really wind himself up (I can’t stand the idea of that).

I think I’m just at a loss at what to do.

MrsJayy Thu 08-Feb-18 10:09:30

Is he up and down in the night or just crying in his sleep I would rule out illness reflux or allergy then try some sleep training you can do retreat rather than cry it out.

Neeenaw Thu 08-Feb-18 10:40:01

There is a lot more to sleep training than just the nights. The fact he was a high needs baby indicates there is something else at play here.

But the long and short of your question is no. If you want things to change you'll have to sleep train, if you don't want to you'll need to adjust your expectations and accept the status quo and let go of how you're feeling.

NannyOggsKnickers Thu 08-Feb-18 13:41:43

My DD is the same. But she was a good sleeper up until about 14 months. We started, actually DH started, to sleep train her. I couldn’t do it. And she seemed to accept it better from him.

First step is own room for naps and bedtime. Next step was to teach her to settle- back rubbing, white noise etc. The key for us was to have milk downstairs and then one book upstairs and that was it. No more milk from that point. Also, no more books, no pretend hurt hands, fake poopoos etc. It took just over a week of faffing about to get her to realise that once she was in the cot she wasn’t coming out. Once she got that then it was much easier.

He would stay in the room with her and shush. But they key was not to engage or entertain her distractions. Once she was ok in the cot and could get herself off to sleep then we start s reducing the time we stayed. Now we have book, kids, put down, lights off, sleep.

It did take about two months of sitting in a darkened nursery repeating ‘shh, sleep’. At the time it is wearing but worth it in the end. She never had to cry herself to sleep on her own. We were always there. But there was crying (screaming) and she got really angry. You just have to push through because you know you are helping them in the long run.

Good luck.

NannyOggsKnickers Thu 08-Feb-18 13:43:09

That’s should be a kiss not kids

teaandbiscuitsforme Thu 08-Feb-18 15:17:53

I would move to his own room but continue to cosleep - then wean him off that.

Either move him into a single bed so you can sleep with him there (and escape once asleep) or put a single/double mattress on the floor and then cosleep there. Hopefully that might give you a few hours peace/downstairs/with DH and you've got the option to cosleep on wake ups but he's not in with you.

I've just done the mattress option with 13mo DS and I put DD in a single bed at 16mo. Both worked well but DD took a while for us to gently night wean before she slept through. DS has taken to it really well and slept through on the 3rd night - not what I was expecting at all!

Schwanengesang Fri 09-Feb-18 21:54:33

TheMostTiredPerson1 I go in when he cries and is awake (he does cry out in his sleep). I give him a quick feed (swap sides after a few minutes and do the Pantley pull-off) then cack in cot awake & being patted to sleep. DS is pretty laid back generally but is mightily persistent when he wants something, so I am amazed it is working this well. Since I posted above we had one not good night (woke every hour) and one amazing night (7pm bed, woke 1.30, 4.30, 6.30).

I am patting him to sleep with the intention of this neing gradual withdrawal, but he's doing so well that sticking with brief feed & patting seems fine for the moment.

Schwanengesang Fri 09-Feb-18 21:55:41

*back in cot awake!

molehill79 Fri 09-Feb-18 22:01:08

I'd try sleep training before discounting it completely - it might just work despite you thinking it won't. Also might be helpful to play a white noise app in the other kids bedrooms while the crying is still going on - something like the sound of rain or whatever app. I had to very different girls and sleep training worked anazingly on both - even the one who normally would make her self sick if she got too upset! There's various forms of sleep training. Needing to be held is not sustainable but us also just a habit they can get out of. Good luck x

ruleshelpcontrolthefun Fri 09-Feb-18 22:02:08

I'm in the same situation! DS is 16mo and wakes conatantly. Following for advice....

Biboundeo Fri 09-Feb-18 23:06:04

I have an extremely stubborn 18mo DS who was just the same at 15mo. Did what Nannyoggs described, except it took 4 days for him to fall asleep within 10min rather than 2hrs and sleep until 3am rather than wake up every hour. Now he comes to our bed at 3am and falls straight back to sleep until 7.30. We're happy with it. He screamed (first night: a lot) but he was never distressed and didn't cry himself to sleep, it was more a ok I'm angry but I'm tired too so now I'll just lay down and sleep

Petalflowers Fri 09-Feb-18 23:10:44

If you don’t do sleep training, how long do you envisage co-sleeping for, until he is two, five, fifteen?

It will difficult, but will be worth it in the long run.

lorisparkle Fri 09-Feb-18 23:26:58

We sleep trained our ds and I never left them to cry so there is a way. We bought the book ‘teach your child to sleep’ and it describes lots of different methods to sleep train and then you choose the best for your family. We did a gradual retreat with a very stubborn ds1. It took quite a while but was very successful.

saladdays66 Fri 09-Feb-18 23:32:50

Well, why are you posting then? It doesn’t sound as if your ds is sleeping well with you, so the logical solution is to put him in his cot in his room.

You say he’s high needs - does he have SEN/A diagnosis?

Agree with the Elizabeth Pantley sleep book - excellent ideas.

Strokethefurrywall Sat 10-Feb-18 00:25:37

I would hire a sleep trainer and have them do it for you.
Maybe part of the reason your child is so high needs and whiny is because he's chronically exhausted.

You and your DH leave the house, go for drinks, whatever you need and let a sleep trainer work with him - it's the only way you'll get some rest.

Once he learns to get himself back off to sleep and more importantly back to sleep, the better.

ClaraLaraLaLa Sat 10-Feb-18 16:30:08

I second lorisparkles suggestion of a gradual retreat, the book 'precious little sleep' also has sone ideas on how to do this. I've just started the process with my 6mo, early days but we have made progress already.

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