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What has happened to my perfect sleeper? Really need some help - please!

(8 Posts)
sleepychunky Tue 27-Oct-09 06:13:28

OK, have a feeling this is going to be long. Background - DS is 2.4 and has been a good sleeper from a very young age - he's been in his own bed in his own room from 6 months, and has slept 7.30-7 from about 8 months. When he's at home in the day (ie. not with childminder or anybody else) he also sleeps after lunch for up to 2 hours - he asks for his bed, we don't force him to nap, and if you wake him up any earlier than after 1½ hours he is the grumpiest child in the world.
In the last few weeks we've started having problems - not every night, maybe once or twice a week. He'll lose his dummy (not asking for advice about ditching the dummy here, he only has it for sleep and that's another issue for another time!) so we go in to give it to him. That will be enough for him to wake up, stand up in the cot and ask to get up and play, regardless of the time of night (sometimes 2am, sometimes 10.15, like it was last night).
We try telling him it's time to sleep, it's night time, time to go back to sleep, etc. etc. and leave the room without getting him out of the cot or giving him cuddles, but then we get full blown sobbing and crying for mummy or daddy. We do it again - go in, tell him it's time to sleep and leave the room, but it just gets worse and worse.
One of the main problems is that DH is much weaker than me when it comes to hearing DS cry, and would rather take him out and cuddle him - this is what he did last night, and they are both together in the spare room having been there all night. As soon as DS is out of the cot he's quiet and happy to lie with someone -he doesn't sleep, but he will lie there. I am stronger in that I will leave him to cry for a few minutes at a time as I know he's not coming to any long-term harm.
Added to this is the fact that DH works shifts and I am 34 weeks pg. DH is starting 4 night shifts tonight so I will be on my own with DS, and I'm still working full-time for another 2 ½ weeks. I'm a really light sleeper and there's no way I can get to sleep if I have DS in bed with me, and to be honest I don't want to anyway - I need my sleep, he needs his, and neither of us gets it if we're in the same room. DS is also going to be moving into his new bed in his new room before the baby arrives - it's where DH and him are sleeping at the moment (6foot2 DH in a single bed with DS, so I can't' imagine it's the most comfortable situation for either of them).
I need some advice on what to do with DS. If we carry on leaving him to cry without going into his room at all he will eventually get back to sleep, but it could take hours; if we go in and tell him it's time to go to sleep every few minutes it just makes the crying worse, and if we take him out of his bed it seems to me as though we're rewarding him for not sleeping. I know we need to be consistent and I really need to be able to sleep on the nights when DH is working - last night even though I wasn't in the same room as them it still took me an age to sleep, and then as soon as DS made any kind of noise I was awake and tossing and turning.
Is this just a phase? Will he settle down again soon? Are we going to make things even worse when we move him into the new room (which will mean moving him into a normal bed where he will be able to get out?)
Really need some advice - I want to get things back to how they used to be before baby comes so that when I'm up doing night feeds and DH is at work, I at least don't have to worry about both of them crying at the same time and only having one pair of hands.
Hope I've explained this all properly! Thanks for your advice - I'm sure there are lots of you out there who have been through this, but at the moment it is really worrying me.

meep Tue 27-Oct-09 06:56:31

No real advice but just to let you know that my dd1 was a pretty good sleeper (same sort of naps that your ds has) and it all went tits up when I was about 34 weeks pregnant! I spent many nights sleeping on the floor of her room and she screamed if I tried to leave. She was younger than your ds at the tiime (around 19mo) but I think she just knew that something was up and needed the comfort of having one of us there with her.

One thing we didn't do was let her sleep with us and we tried not to pick let her out of her cot (though sometimes we had to if she was really upset) - one of us just lay on the floor and held her hand with the lights out. If she woke up one of use was right beside her to shush her and she'd eventually fall into a deep sleep and let us creep out of the room!

We also said every night at bedtime that she wasn't to cry at night and that if she woke up she shoudl cuddle her teddy - she still says to us at night "my no cry" with a big grin on her face!

It all settled down again when dd2 was about 3 weeks old - and now she sleeps through dd1 crying and all sorts of noise.

So - no short term solutions, but you ds may just be picking up on the changes that are happening - LO's are like sponges and absorb everything!

Will your dh have some paternity leave. When my dh was at home I slept in the spare room with the baby and dh dealt with dd1. Once dd2 was just part and parcel of dd1's life it all settled down again.

Now I just have to find a way of getting dd2 to sleep beyond 5.30am..........damn those clocks going back!

sleepychunky Tue 27-Oct-09 11:05:09

Thanks meep. DH will have a month off work after the birth (lucky shift pattern!) which is a comfort, but it's the time between now and then which is really bothering me.

Anyone else got some tips/words of wisdom - the more, the merrier!

sleepychunky Tue 27-Oct-09 12:25:45

bump - anybody who's got the time to read my original post, please let me have your advice. Already working myself up about tonight and it's not even lunchtime yet sad

Ceebee74 Tue 27-Oct-09 12:35:41

I really sympathise with you - DS1 was a very similar age to yours when DS2 arrived - and his sleep went completely haywire for a while.

I wish I had some constructive advice but I don't - me and DH just did what we thought was best in the hope it might resolve itself - which it did.

Just a couple of things though - we moved DS1 out of his cot before DS2 arrived - and I regretted doing it tbh. He was ok in the bed at first but as soon as DS2 came along, he was up and down and in our bedroom like a jack-in-the-box all night for a good few nights - I don't think he would have bothered disturbing us if he was in his cot and couldn't get out - he had always been really happy in his cot and never woke us up with crying/demanding to get out. And unfortunately this developed into a nightly habit (petered out to once or twice a night) which we have only just got round to sorting ot (DS2 is now 11 months). Do you really need to move DS1 out of the cot or will the baby be in with you for a while and not need the cot? I wonder if it would be easier for you to wait until the dust has settled with the new arrival before moving him into his bed?

meep Tue 27-Oct-09 13:26:57

dd1 is still in her cot at 2.4yo! We decided that the upheaval of a new baby AND moving in to a big bed would be too much - and we didn't want her waking up the baby by coming through to outr room.

Saying that we were able to borrow a 2nd cot for dd1. Our next move is moving them both into the same room - then once they are settled moving dd1 into her big bed - eek!

sleepychunky Tue 27-Oct-09 13:40:43

Thanks Ceebee, it's really hard. So many people say it's better to move out of the cot in plenty of time before baby's arrival so toddler doesn't feel he's being pushed out in favour of newborn, others say wait until new baby's a bit bigger.
The thing is that we've been preparing him to move into the new room for weeks now, showing him as it's been decorated, letting him choose bedlinen etc. I'm wondering if this new disruption is because we've been telling him about moving or if it's completely unrelated and just a development thing. It's so hard grrr

Ceebee74 Tue 27-Oct-09 16:06:13

It is really difficult to decide what is to do for the best isn't it? Ime, moving DS1 into a bed before DS2 arrived wasn't the right decision for us (but who knows if it would have been any better if we hadn't - it might have been worse!!)

We moved DS1 into the spare room (his new bedroom) when DS2 was 5 months old - did the whole redecorating, letting him help me shop for the new stuff etc. He loved it from day 1, and although we had given ourselves a month's gap in case it didn't go smoothly, we ended up putting DS2 in DS1's old room the next night and DS1 didn't bat an eyelid about it (we also let DS1 choose nameplates for his room and for his baby bro's room).

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