I'm back again...toddler sleeping problem - any ideas?

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Esther.R
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I'm back again...toddler sleeping problem - any ideas?

Post: #251157 Esther.R
Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:04 pm

Hello :wave: its been quite a while since I last popped by, 3 kids under 6 are keeping me fairly busy!

Just wondered if anyone had any ideas about James' sleeping...he is 13 months and we have always had a problem with him sleeping (co-slept quite a lot when he was younger, but he won't do that now...just screams :dontknow: ).

He still has a bottle of (cows) milk at bedtime but is on sucky cups for the rest of the day, there are 3 options (and always have been) to get James to sleep easily
a. bottle (which works if he is tired, doesn't if he is not)
b. buggy
c. car
and the hard way which is going in every 5 min laying him back down "night, night James" and back out again...this can take anything from 1/2hr to 2 hrs and can be reasonably painless or hysterical (if hysterical we pick him up, sooth him, and then back in cot again) - he is utterly unpredictable about this. If we do this on an evening then I can almost guarantee he will wake again in the night and we are back to the start again..not so bad doing 1 1/2hr at 1.30am (not much fun though )...but what the heck do I do when he wakes at 6am and I am still going in and out when it is time to get everyone up for the day? He won't even go back to sleep if I bring him into our bed, he lies quietly snuggling, then when he gets sleepy he kicks and screams hysterically. Hate doing this as I don't think it is working and it goes against the rest of my child rearing..but what else can I do :dontknow:

I did this method with the girls for 3 nights when they were one, they never looked back went to bed absolutely fine, with James this just doesn't seem to work...or rather it eventually works but there is no consistent improvement...but I cannot rely on him falling asleep on his bottle forever (he tends to sleep through when he as gone to sleep that way) He just never relaxes, he is a lovely little boy, very bright, very lively, very affectionate, very clingy...

He just doesn't seem to know how to fall asleep on his own...but how do I approach this? The usual strategies just do not seem to work, have tried sitting in his room with him until he is asleep...no more successful than going in and out, just screams and screams. This has been going on for months..health visitor just says keep going with the going in and out it might take a few nights but it will work.....urrr no it doesn't work on James....really doesn't, not the way we have been doing it anyway Am loath to ask again in case we get the same health visitor (have lost my lovely one to retire to working at an orphanage she set up in south africa and the new one thinks I am daft I think).

Have to add here that I was diagnosed with hyperactivity at his age and was the same...except my parents couldn't try the other methods as they were in a terraced house and the neighbours complained..so they sat up with me while I rampaged around the bedroom....I stopped spontaneously when I was two..When I mention this to the health visitor she says I am causing it by projecting my experience onto him...yet my previous two kids were absolutely fine, so surely that doesn't hold water...and he was even remarked on as a restless, active baby and poor sleeper while we were still in hospital. I'm not saying he is hyperactive at all, and he certainly needs his sleep more than I seem to have done...but I thought it was worth mentioning a family history of poor sleeping toddlers.

I realise the answer may well be "he will grow out of it" but just wondering if anyone else had any experience of similar and any ideas?

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Re: I'm back again...toddler sleeping problem - any ideas?

Post: #251159 Marmalady
Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:15 pm

Does he still have naps during the day?
Can you cut back on these so that he is tired by bedtime?

What sort of time are you trying to put him to bed? Maybe keeping him up a bit later but using the time to establish a "winding down prepare for bed" routine might help enforce the bedtime is for sleep idea

Esther.R
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Re: I'm back again...toddler sleeping problem - any ideas?

Post: #251163 Esther.R
Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:31 pm

I forgot to add that. He usually has about 20min during the day, if he has it before about 2pm then he will generally be sleepy by bedtime and will fall asleep on his bottle (generally rouse him a bit to put him to bed so he knows he is in bed if he wakes in the night). If he has it after 2pm he can easily be up until 10pm. The girls go to bed at 7pm (they are 3 and 6) and we try to get him into bed somewhere around 8ish. He has a routine he is used to of tea, bath, girls getting ready for bed, he waves goodnight to them then his bottle and his bed.

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Re: I'm back again...toddler sleeping problem - any ideas?

Post: #251178 Pumpkin&Piglet
Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:16 pm

It's a matter of opinion but I don't think there's a problem with him having a bottle to get him to sleep if this works. He's not quit 2 so he's far from too old and he won't be having a bottle to get to sleep once he's married with his own children so don't worry about relying on it too long!

I'm just trying to give a little reassurance, I realise this doesn't solve all your problems! My youngest son is 7 months and we are having to do things very different to our first son for similar (but less severe) reasons to yours.

It seems to be 3am when he wakes (just as I dropping off as I have trouble sleeping at the moment) and seems to be a scaled down version of what you descried about James - just can't settle him to sleep in his cot or our bed.

We have never had any problems with our eldest (now 3) regarding sleep.

No definite answers at the moment, sorry. But if I come across anything that works I will share with you! I will also keep looking on here to see what everyone else says!

Good luck!!!

Esther.R
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Re: I'm back again...toddler sleeping problem - any ideas?

Post: #251223 Esther.R
Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:19 am

Thanks :) Thats kind of what I am thinking, it doesn't always work, but it does seem to give a quieter night and less stress than any of the other methods....last night we didn't put him into bed we left him up...but he got through 2 and a half 9oz bottles of milk (he gets very desperate for milk when he is tired and asks and asks for it) and ended up having to be put to bed anyway at 9.15pm as he still couldn't get to sleep, however he did then go to sleep after a few min with no crying as he was shattered (my husband sat in the room with him). This is despite having had his nap earlier on in the day and seeming tired...however he did sleep through the night (as he generally does after not crying at bedtime). Its hard to know what to do with him..the girls were just so textbook!

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Re: I'm back again...toddler sleeping problem - any ideas?

Post: #251660 sammyh
Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:19 pm

I really sympthasise. I have a now 6 year old and have had issues with sleep with him. I actually 'gave up' and got some advice from a sleep clinic when H was 5 months old- I was having chemotherapy at the time and needed someone else to tell me what to do :(

I know it's controversial but we did the controlled crying thing- and it worked over 3 nights. I'm afraid we didnt even bother thinking about the nieghbors at that time! But must say 2 years later we got a note thro the door 'threatning us with the social when H went thro another sleep thing....

The main thing with the controlled crying is not to give too much attention- you sort of wean them off the attention they are seeking. I must admit having someone (albeit down the phone) telling me what to do made it possible. It sounds like you suspect there may be other things going on so can you ask for some more help from your gp if you don't like your health visitor? Also I work as a childminder and often children (I include my own!) are more hstyerical and emotional when it's their (knackered) parents dealing with them. Have you got anyone who could come and take over for 2 nights to 1. give you a break 2. diffuse the ticking bomb a bit? Big ask I know!!

Good luck and I hope you get some sleep

Sam

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Re: I'm back again...toddler sleeping problem - any ideas?

Post: #251705 yvette
Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:34 pm

Sounds so similar to my son - bright, clingy, active... Sympathise with not getting much help from the health visitor, I cried when my lovely one moved on.
I do feel for you, I remember dreading bedtimes.This is not much of a solution, but we did persist with the 'lie him down, leave for a few minutes, go back, reassure and lie him down again, leave for a few minutes' with our boy and it did eventually work but it took ages and ages - months. It got worse before it got better as he would climb out of his cot and run around the top floor if allowed. We used to take it in turns to sit outside the bedroom door and put him straight back to bed if this happened. He used to wake up early too - but I gave up on trying to get him back to sleep after 6.00am. Sometimes we would be sitting downstairs with him at 5.30am waiting for Sesame Street to start (bad, bad parents).
BUT, there were consolations to come - that incredible energy and interest in the world produced a child that took in everything quickly and easily like a little sponge. He's almost 15 now and hasn't lost it. Life is never dull....
Good luck. Maybe just deciding to adopt some kind of plan or strategy, whatever it turns out to be, will help you feel less helpless. But my feeling is that with a boy as bright as yours, you may have to persist with it for a while.

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Re: I'm back again...toddler sleeping problem - any ideas?

Post: #251718 Davie Crockett
Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:30 am

This may be totally unrelated and I apologise if it sounds a little off the wall. Is there a possibility your son is suffering from reflux? In my job as a paramedic practitioner, I've come across a few babies/toddlers who have this condition. Basically, stomach contents come back up the gullet giving a very uncomfortable sensation (like indigestion) which prevents the child lying flat.

Snipped from a baby reflux website:
Silent reflux is one of the most difficult conditions to diagnose and sometimes the baby's consistent painful reaction to being laid flat and inability to settle at sleep times, is the first indication that something is occurring. If you think you may have cause to consider silent reflux, think about putting baby in an elevated sleeping position. A baby wedge or bed blocks should be a good start. You may notice a difference immediately. if your baby has other symptoms of reflux too - little cough, hoarse crying, bad breath, arching during a feed, then it may be worth visiting your local GP.
Time flies like an arrow; vinegar flies like an uncovered wine must.

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Re: I'm back again...toddler sleeping problem - any ideas?

Post: #251750 happyhippy
Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:19 pm

I'm with Sammyh on this one.My youngest was similar to your son.I brought my kids up in Australia and was advised by a trained Mums and Babies Nurse to do the controlled crying.She stressed(and this was a long time ago and I still remember it well)you have to be commited and consistant for it to work.You know how it works,you put them down,make sure they're comfy,ect,tell them its time for sleep and leave.You start off leaving them to cry for 2 mins,then increase the time each night.The nurse told me my daughter should settle down by a week.We did this night after night and yes she was settling much much better and by the end of the week,was pretty much perfect.Yes early on she did scream ect and yes it was very hard,but it worked and our household was much better for it,especially my daughter.Good luck hon,I know what its like.

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Re: I'm back again...toddler sleeping problem - any ideas?

Post: #251752 seasidegirl
Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:38 am

It's a long time since I went through this but do remember how exhausting it is.

My advice would be to start the day earlier and then he will end it earlier. Also don't forget that it's us parents who change the clocks twice a year. He might be settling to real time while your clocks are different. 6 am seems pretty reasonable to me and when the clocks change it will be 7.

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Re: I'm back again...toddler sleeping problem - any ideas?

Post: #251767 Esther.R
Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:49 pm

Thank you all :iconbiggrin: well to update, things have gone downhill with his sleeping :roll: we got to the point where he was not sleeping more than 3hrs a night and was hysterically screaming and shaking as soon as you mentioned "bed", "sleep", "night" or approached his room. We have put him onto goats milk as I had it as as a child and it improved me a lot in a few areas, both my asthma and my hyperactivity. The sleeping has continued to deteriorate...however since starting the goats milk the constipation he has had has gone utterly - he has suffered on and off (since I had to finish breastfeeding) and it has been worse since he was one and went onto cows milk rather than formula...well we have been on goats milk for a week - HUGE improvement, normal bowel movement every day and a much more comfortable little boy which is great! If this continues he will be staying on goats milk, it obviously agrees with him much better than cows.

However on the sleeping front, we have utterly given up controlled crying, it worked with the girls but I am just not prepared to put him through it, he is terrified of being put into bed, of even entering his room, yet we did it by the book and most sympathetically. We are now getting some sleep by bringing him into bed with us for part of the night, but for some reason this only works after midnight :dontknow: before that he will thrash and scream with his eyes closed. Even in with me his sleep is very disturbed and he tosses and turns..will be taking a trip to see GP next week and look into things like reflux (although it isn't solely when he lies flat - its whenever he gets sleepy - except in the car - he will thrash and scream) - thank you.

I wouldn' mind if he was rising at 6am...the problem is a typical night now looks like - bed at about 8am (he is getting v tired with all this and falling asleep) and into his own bed, 9.30am wakes screaming, got up again and dozes sat with us, sometimes waking and crying, until he either falls asleep enough to go into his own bed, or comes in with me, but at this stage its hard to get him in with me without screaming, so into his own bed tends to be better once he falls fully asleep, then he will wake crying sometime between 1-4am and come into bed with me and go to sleep straight away until about 7.30. If we don't do this he was starting to be awake all night crying. Hope that makes sense, feeling a bit sleepy..but not as bad as I was last week!

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Re: I'm back again...toddler sleeping problem - any ideas?

Post: #251943 sammyh
Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:05 pm

I can 'fess up that H starts the night in his bed and EVERY night makes his way into our bed.... last night didn't even know what time just woke up in the morning and he was there!!

I remember being terrified at night time- had a very strict mum who terrified me into staying in my own bed, not a technique I would recommend.

I really hope you get some easing of the symptoms and all move towards a more restful time- best of luck.

sam


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