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Am I doing something wrong or does my two year old just not need as much sleep as others?

(15 Posts)
alittleteapot Sat 08-Aug-09 20:29:13

dd is just two and no longer naps in the day - her bedtimes were becoming ridiculously late and it became clear she no longer needed the nap. There was a while where she sometimes did and sometimes didn't but now she mostly doesn't.

But, she still doesn't go to sleep till, mostly, 8.30 or 9, which is when I'd like to be going to bed as am 31 weeks pregnant and totally exhausted. She wakes up between 7 and 8 which I know is a lie-in compared to some toddlers. She has recently started to sleep through at least some of the time but still often wakes at least once and sometimes comes into us at about 5 but goes back to sleep.

The problem is not just that I'd like her to go to sleep a little earlier but that our bedtime routine has become crazy long and because I am so tired by then I feel a bit out of control of it.

She has her bath and gets into her pjs and then has a bowl of porridge, then teeth then to bed for stories. This is where the messing around starts. She keeps getting up again and just messing around and seems genuinely not in the least bit tired.

Sometimes we just give in and let her roam about the place till she voluntarily says she wants to go to bed - but this will be after 9pm. Other times we try and persist. It sometimes becomes a battle and feels like she'll only realise her tiredness and succumb to it after tears.

I am an extended bf-er and for most of her life she's been fed to sleep. In the last couple of months we have made huge advances in that she will now fall asleep to a story and has even fallen asleep to other people reading a story - previously bedtime was strictly mum only. Also I can now leave her once she's in the zone and she will fall asleep alone. However I am succumbing to using the breast to wind her down as it just works like magic - because i'm pg there's really no milk there and I don't really want a long term comfort thing but more importantly I don't want her getting used to full feeds again when the baby comes and the milk comes back because I just don't feel I have the energy to bf two at once (I don't mind the odd one for dd but know that she'd get right back into it.)

Maybe we just have to get her up at 6 and then she'll go to bed at 7 but somehow any attempt to engineer things fall flat.

I'm just anxious that whatever our "routine" is is stable when the baby comes and that doesn't feel the case at the moment.

Sorry this has ended up being so long! Any thoughts welcome. What are other two year old sleeping habits? I know some that sleep from 1-3 and still go to bed at 7!!!


alittleteapot Sat 08-Aug-09 20:36:57

PS She's pottering around wide awake as i type. She got up at 7 today but did have a short nap (no more than half an hour) at about 2 because today she was really tired. But now, just so very wide awake, unlike her mother...

snickersnack Sat 08-Aug-09 20:45:52

So she's getting between 10 (on a bad night) and 11 hours sleep? That's almost exactly what ds gets - he's just 2, he'll usually go to sleep around 7.30, but often nearer 8, and wakes between 6 and 6.30. And he doesn't nap either.

It is very frustrating. At this age, dd was comfortably having a 2 hour sleep in the day and sleeping for 11 hours in the night. I just don't think he needs as much sleep - he never has.

It does sound like you'd all benefit from shifting her sleep patterns back a bit so she goes to bed at a sensible time. But it probably means waking her at 6 for a while, which is very very hard.

puffylovett Sat 08-Aug-09 20:46:17

My DS has had on again off again naps since he was 2.2. I tend to find that if he has a nap for an hour in the day, he won't go to bed and sleep until 8.30 or sometimes later. However if he doesn't have a nap, he's in bed asleep for 7.30. I just have to play it by ear with him because some days he's so over tired, he needs the nap and the later bed time.

Generally he wakes between 7-8, so if he wakes at 8 I don't let him have a nap. He's 2.6 now though.

It's a tough call - personally if I still had milk I'd probably also be using it as a weapon ! But mine dried up when I first fell preg sad. Is she teething ? Does she need comfort due to final molars ? Also they DO go through a phase of mucking about at bedtime, particularly when potty training - it gets used as an excuse not to go to bed. I would say just persevere as you are doing, you've done great to get her self settling and it can take time, especially at such a difficult age

puffylovett Sat 08-Aug-09 20:48:13

PS I personally couldn't do the getting up at 6 thing, I'd rather he went to bed later and i got a lie in !! Especially when DP keeps me awake all night with his snoring and DC2 kicking me in the bladder all night hmm

snickersnack Sat 08-Aug-09 20:58:48

I don't have a choice - it's his default setting! Even if he goes to bed later, he wakes at 6am...

I agree with the milk thing actually - whatever works!

hayleybop Sat 08-Aug-09 21:02:14

Mines the same as puffylovet. My DD is 2.5 and some days she has naps and other days she dosnt, if she has had a nap it's 9.30pm which is very late and if she hasnt had a nap it's 7.30-8.30. If she does have a nap it's usually 2.5 hours...
It's a nightmare when she's had a nap though, I used to get so fustrated but now she has a bath and we sometimes read her a book or put on a dvd in her room, a small portable Dvd which i bought for long car journey's to the lakes, we live in cornwall, family live in the lakes....anyhow this keeps her in her room and chills her out. I worrid about it at first but then thought if it keeps her in her room and chills her out ready for bed thats brilliant. Most of the time we go in to see her and she's fallen asleep watching it...
I have a 9 month old so know how it is to be pregnant with a toddler...bloody exhausting...
It's just a DD wakes up at 7.30-8am which is brilliant as there was a time she woke up at 5am every morning. Who wants to get up at 6am anyhow...let your husband deal with her and you go to bed early and chill out, she can self settle now and thats amazing, it's a mile stone so you must be doing someting right..

alittleteapot Sat 08-Aug-09 21:12:18

Thank you. I think I need to keep a diary so I can try and analyse if there's a pattern - as you say snickersnack she seems to need 10-11 hours a night. If I knew to hit bedtime at the right time maybe that would help - maybe I'm not getting it right and then we all get wound up and then I need more time to wind down again before I go to bed whereas if bedtimes were straightforward I could potter for 45 mins and then turn in.

Just now, after my last post, she suddenly said I want to go to bed I'm really tired. So we went. She lay down and we chatted a bit about the day. She didn't want a story but had a bf then lay down awake. I went to the loo and bingo - asleep.

I really don't think she's getting much if any milk - just a bit of that watery stuff you get when you first start producing. But as a baby it was the ONLY way to get her to sleep apart from motion so I guess old habits die hard.

I need to go out more and leave DP to sort it out. It was after we did that that she started to fall asleep with stories etc. The last few weeks have been tough so I've been falling back to the easiest tricks - I just don't think they'll feel easy with a newborn as well!

Anyway, thanks, food for thought...

RedDeadFail Sat 08-Aug-09 21:15:15

My dd gave up napping at 13 months. Now, aged 2yrs 3 months she goes to bed around 8.30/9pm, sometimes a wee bit later and gets up at about 7.30am.

She has never needed a lot of sleep.

Extenderd bfer, feed to sleep-er here too but like you have more success with other techniques now.

puffylovett Sat 08-Aug-09 21:17:14

You might find that you appreciate having a bit of one on one time with her bfing at bedtime, once the baby is here. DC2 due soon for us too, and I'm keen to carry on with his bedtime as much as poss so that we get a bit of 'just us' time.

Especially as you get to lie down with her, that's really special smile

(hayleybop have you tried limiting naps to 45 mins ? that helps us. Even just half an hour some days refreshes him but doesn't cock up his bedtime)

alittleteapot Sat 08-Aug-09 21:29:17

Yeah, that's true puffylovett. I think, thinking about it, my task is to nail what time she's tired and not try to get her to sleep earlier. I think we're all getting in a flap because routine is not quite synching with realities of tiredness and awakeness.

I also think that once she starts nursery (maybe in Jan on some days anyway) she's likely to be a bit more worn out...

puffylovett Sat 08-Aug-09 21:31:54

oh nursery makes a huge difference to us. He didn't nap there initially, and he was always exhausted and sobbed when I collected him. They've had to start rocking him to sleep for half an hour on nursery days, and it makes a huge difference to his day smile.

preggersplayspop Sat 08-Aug-09 21:31:58

My DS has just gone to bed at 8.30pm as well, which is pretty much par for the course for us as well. I am looking forward to it getting darker earlier as I am convinced its the light keeping him awake (even though we have blackout blinds in his room). I'm sure he he used to go to bed at 7.30pm....

I am 25 weeks pg, and still bf my son too (he is 2.2) and I also use the bf to calm him down and get him ready for sleep, so I can really sympathise with you!

My DS wakes at 5.30 to 6am every day (unfortunately) and luckily he asks my DH to go and play with him and I tend to have another hour in bed (on a weekend anyway) which is a real life saver.

He still naps, usually hour and a half most days but longer at the weekend. On the days when he misses his nap for any reason he is so grumpy and plays up so badly that even though he crashes out at 6pm I have such a hellish afternoon it negates the benefits of the early bedtime! I would rather he was rested and happy all day and see this as being the trade off for the early rising (luckily we are a family of larks anyway). It took me ages to get him into a decent nap routine I also don't have the heart to make it too much shorter either!

I worked out he needs 11-12 hours sleep in total, but its just how its spread out. I must admit I do enjoy the nap time he has as well, it gives me a chance to relax and recharge my own batteries. I am dreading the day he doesn't need a daytime nap any more!

alittleteapot Sat 08-Aug-09 22:17:51

Thanks everyone, feels better just for talking! And now I'm going to go to bed...

LeninGrad Sun 09-Aug-09 11:09:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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