At breaking point with toddlers sleep.

(57 Posts)
YellowEllis Sun 18-Oct-20 04:22:11

15 month old has always been a pretty good sleeper, 7.30-6.30/6 everyday for a long time. For the past 2 months, very different story. He goes to bed at 7.30, wakes up at 2.30, 4.30, 5.30 and then that's it. He stands up in his cot and screams, not cries, screams, like a shrill throaty scream. He screams so hard he ends up sounding like he's lost his voice. It's so upsetting. He cut all his first molars around the same time this started 2 months ago, so we assumed things would settle down but they are now fully through and all other signs of teething have stopped and he's still doing it. Sometimes if we leave him to cry for 10 mins he'll fall back asleep but sometimes nope. I've been up with him since 2.30 and everytime I calm him down he starts screaming the second I put him down.

We've always made sure he self settled, we put him down at night and for his naps awake. He is fine at those times.

He has a nap at around 9.30 for 1.5/2 hours.
Sometimes he has a mini nap at 4-4.45 but not always.
We've tried pushing bed time earlier, later, we've tried letting him nap in the afternoon, keeping him awake. I'm at my wits end.

DH has now got in the habit of bringing him into the spare room and sleeping in bed with him this last week just so we can all get some sleep but I just know deep down it's making it worse.

Please can anybody offer any advice I really can't keep doing this forever

OP’s posts: |
YellowEllis Sun 18-Oct-20 07:24:19

Bumping for the morning crowd..

OP’s posts: |
BeGoneDom Sun 18-Oct-20 07:31:41

Mine was an early riser and napped at 9:30 as well but he would go to bed at 6-6:30pm to compensate. When you say that you've tried things like earlier bedtime, later bedtime etc. How long do you try them for? Because I would think it would take a couple of weeks for new patterns to form.

Also definitely not to the 4pm danger nap on any day. I would say even earlier bedtime that day and expect a very early morning but hope that the overall sleep would make the following night easier.

TeddyBeans Sun 18-Oct-20 07:31:43

My DS has just gone through a screamy night time phase. I did the same as your DH for a while and brought him into bed with me. What eventually ended up working was settling him, leaving for a minute and then going back, settling him again, leaving for 2 minutes and so on.

It's a slow process but he's gone from screaming every second I'm out of the room (including when he wakes up in the middle of the night when I'm not there) back to going to bed without a peep and sleeping through until 7am.

It took me 4 or so months of perseverance to get to this point and of course it may not work for your little one. There are plenty of methods to try and I'm sure others will be along with what worked well for them.

Good luck, I hope you all get a full, good night's sleep soon

Insertfunnyname Sun 18-Oct-20 07:35:22

Yes I’d just pop him in my bed and go to sleep. I love sleeping!

My youngest was like that. He stopped coming in our bed age 4. Just a natural change. But until then he did and we all got to sleep which was lovely.

He’s the youngest of 3 and we always said “he won’t still be in our bed at 18”....

shesgonebatshitagain Sun 18-Oct-20 07:44:59

totally agree with @BeGoneDom no way would I let any child have a nap at 4pm it’s a recipe for disaster

Sometimes things like ear infections and teething can cause this but after two months plus I think you can rule that out as it’s continuous.

Is he hungry / thirsty when he wakes up? What does his daily food and milk intake look like. Sometimes hunger can upset their sleep.

Have you tried a white noise machine or something like the lulla doll or the breathing otter from fisher price. These can help to settle and mask you leaving the room

With one of mine I did have to bring her downstairs and let her play for a while just half an hour or so it was awful but it worked. I would have a cup of tea while she played and then feed her a little bit she’d settle again quite well

It might be one of these development leaps that no amount of tinkering can fully resolve

I also wonder if he doesn’t like his cot. My eldest son developed a hatred of his around 18 months and cried dreadfully: we got him a low single bed with a guard and he loved it. You can also settle him in there and get out then put a guard up so that might work for avoiding physically putting him back in a cot which can be fraught with difficulty in thisbdontexr

Indecisivelurcher Sun 18-Oct-20 07:45:01

Sorry you're having a tough ride! It sounds as though you've got two things going on, firstly the teeth coming through has upset things and he now expects help when he wakes. Secondly he's now not getting enough sleep and has run up a sleep debt. In this situation the body releases stress hormones that then stop him sleeping well. I think you need to tackle both problems.

Either you can do routine first and see if that helps on its own, or you can do routine and self settling at the same time.

Routine wise I think 9:30 is a really early nap, if he's only having one. I guess that's because he's flippin knackered by night wakings and a 5:30 start! But if he's up from his nap at say 11, that's the a really long slog to 7:30 bedtime. I would say the longest he should be awake is 5hrs.

Babies and toddlers do well with a 12hrs day /night, so if he's up at 5:30 then he needs to go to bed at 5:30! I'm not kidding...

Ideally you need to push everything later, morning, nap, bedtime. I think your options are,
1) treat morning wake up at 5:30 like a night waking. Might not have much luck though...
2) do a really early bedtime!!! Stick with it a week then try to gradually push things back by 15 mins every couple of days.

For night waking at this age, really you're looking at controlled crying, with interval checks. It might be tough for a few nights. But at 15m you can't 'make' him sleep, and it's not your job to. It's your job to support him to learn to sleep on his own.


shesgonebatshitagain Sun 18-Oct-20 07:51:12

Yes I also think try and treat 5.30 as a night waking. Has he got blackout curtains in his room though we getting darker mornings now

Indecisivelurcher Sun 18-Oct-20 08:00:14

Also don't forget the clocks go back in a couple of weeks, so 5:30 will be 4:30!

Indecisivelurcher Sun 18-Oct-20 08:01:23

Just reading back what I wrote and actually it's not mutually exclusive, I would say to do all of it!

LeslieYep Sun 18-Oct-20 08:01:59

My DD did this but was younger. She was waking around 10:30-11:30 pm and we couldn't work out why.
I was always adamant that DC would stay in their cot. Then stay in their room, but no matter how long I spent rocking her back to sleep (she stopped crying, so obviously wasn't in pain!) she would wake as soon as I tried to move her!

Eventually we decided to bring her into our bed. She fell asleep straight away and so we'd all get some sleep!
We did this for a good few months until I left her to cry in her cot. She was about 13-14mo then.
I only did this because I knew she wasn't in pain, uncomfortable, cold, wet, and would happily sleep. She took about 15-20 minutes before dropping off and she's been fab since.
I know many don't agree with leaving to cry, but her sleep is so important and I was willing to let her be angry with me for a little while one night to ensure her long term rest.

OnlyFoolsnMothers Sun 18-Oct-20 08:03:48

I would try and cut the morning nap and have a longer earlier afternoon nap. Eg.1-3/3.30pm

TheVanguardSix Sun 18-Oct-20 08:10:38

Poor little guy. It's the teeth. Those first molars are a bitch! Sorry about the language, but with all 3 of mine, the molars were a killer at night. Have you tried a bit of calpol?
I'm a big fan of the motto 'sleep where you can, when you can'. Yes, it's a bit of a rod for your own back but to be honest, my kids slept with us or we camped out in their rooms. DH and I made a total pact that we'd just get through 'trench warfare' any way we could and see each other on the other side... at some point! grin Our sleep had to become more important than sharing a bed and yes, even sex. We just HAD to sleep. The thing is, those periods seemed to go on forever and ever at the time. Looking back, they were just short spurts.
It may not be the answer you're looking for and our 'method' isn't a one size fits all. Try a bit of calpol one night to see if it helps. If it does, there's your answer: teeth.

shesgonebatshitagain Sun 18-Oct-20 08:13:18

Anbesol liquid is great for teething babies. Much better then the gel.

Hercwasonaroll Sun 18-Oct-20 08:17:13

Morning nap is far too early or encourage sleeping in later.
Move it back until 11 at the earliest.

Thismummyruns Sun 18-Oct-20 08:29:54

We've just had this screamy thing at 16 months out of the blue. Weeks of waking up at 4am/5am and not going back to sleep. I was knackered.
No real advice but persevere.
I got the sleeping bag back out after not using it over summer and she started sleeping better again, coincidence maybe but I'm not complaining!

The one thing I would say is the morning nap is WAY too long. Depending on the time of wake up with my LO, I don't let her sleep longer than 45 mins if she has a morning nap- it messes everything up if she has longer. But we are trying the 1 nap route and she's having an almighty lunchtime nap most days now, so far so good

Indecisivelurcher Sun 18-Oct-20 08:33:29

I don't agree that the nap is too long, if it's the only nap it should be a couple of hours ideally.

Russell19 Sun 18-Oct-20 09:11:55

I'd say the naps are all wrong. Ideal nap time is 12-2

YellowEllis Sun 18-Oct-20 09:18:37

He has lunch at 12. If I get him to nap 12-2 do I give him lunch before or after? I've not put him in this routine he just sort of fell into it himself and I've just gone with it!

OP’s posts: |
Hercwasonaroll Sun 18-Oct-20 09:20:17

Lunch before 12, snack after nap and then normal tea.

YellowEllis Sun 18-Oct-20 09:21:51

So he has breakfast when he first wakes up, he then has a bottle at 9/9.30 before his nap, lunch at 12, snack at 3 and dinner at 5.

If I'm keeping him up until 12, do I not give his morning bottle? It makes him sleepy so I think I'd struggle to give him that and keep him awake.

OP’s posts: |
Sexnotgender Sun 18-Oct-20 09:26:04


He has lunch at 12. If I get him to nap 12-2 do I give him lunch before or after? I've not put him in this routine he just sort of fell into it himself and I've just gone with it!

I’d do lunch at 12 then nap 12.30-2/2.30.

That’s what I do with DS who is 20 months. He’s been in this routine for about 6/7 months and sleeps 6.30/7-6.30.

nameisnotimportant Sun 18-Oct-20 09:28:27

Yeh drop the bottle for a snack, then lunch at 11.30 and nap 12-3 ideally. Then another snack once he wakes up. If he wakes early from the nap then do an early bedtime. Don't allow any cat naps in the pram or the car and treat any waking before 6am as a night waking. Most importantly when he wakes in the night, be consistent and make sure you and your partner do the same thing.

YellowEllis Sun 18-Oct-20 09:29:53

Already in hysterics and rubbing his eyes. This will be a fun few hours sad

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Russell19 Sun 18-Oct-20 10:03:29

My boy has lunch at 11.30 and then sleeps 12-2, it works well. Does yours have milk when he wakes up?

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