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Thread: Starting to get depressed about DS's sleep (a bit long) WWYD?

  1. #1

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    Question Starting to get depressed about DS's sleep (a bit long) WWYD?

    DS has never been a 'sleep through' kind of kid. He slept through exactly 6 times before he turned 1. We have been to sleep school (using hands on comforting and parental presence in the room, rather than CC or CIO) when he was about 17 months old. The exact pattern has changed as he has grown up (he is now 2.5yrs) but there is always some kind of issue. I night weaned him when he was 12 months old because I was returning to work and couldn't cope with the 2 hourly waking (as he was doing back then). Promptly regretted it but stuck with it He fully weaned at 19 months - mostly his choice but the family was kind of in crisis and we were staying elsewhere and he was forgetting to ask due to being distracted and I was so distracted myself I didn't even notice for days that he wasn't asking So anyway, there is no more breastfeeding.

    What he's doing atm (past few months) is taking ages to go down at night (he was always a straight to sleep and then multiple waker before that). So I am sitting in his room until at least 8pm, sometimes 9pm on a bad night, waiting for him to go to sleep. He has been waking early, from 5am, as with most kids and the lead up to daylight savings. No drama really, I found it frustrating that most of my evenings were gone but he was sleeping through finally so I was tolerating it ok. He is in a big bed and has been since about May/June. The taking ages to go down pre-dated the big bed and we shifted him thinking it would help Now, if I don't sit with him we can be putting him back to bed 30+ times an evening for hours so it's easier to just cuddle and sit.

    More recently, (past week or so?) he's also been combining the late bed times with overnight waking. When he wakes he stays up for 1.5 to 2 hours each go. He wants me (not daddy) in his room, initially cuddling him and then sitting there until he goes to sleep. When daddy has tried, I usually still end up in there anyway and it just prolongs the process. When we co-sleep and let him into our bed, usually he still stays awake rolling around and fidgeting between us for that time so I'm still not able to sleep and then he gets restless from about 4:30am or 5am so wakes me early anyway.

    Both DP and I are slipping back into sleep deprivation and this is starting to really depress me. I have so many conflicted feelings about his sleep. In theory, I fully want to be there at night to comfort him and help him back to sleep. In theory I totally accept that he is not a good sleeper and is still really young and needs me at night time. In reality, I go through phases of being really resentful of him disrupting my sleep, of the fact that he won't accept DP, of the fact that I have no control over how long I sleep for, when I wake or how much sleep I get. I hate the night waking and it feels like it's been going on FOREVER and then I hate myself for feeling that way. From past experience, DS keeps a sleep pattern for a couple of months at least (usually longer) so I'm not expecting it to get better anytime soon. We went through a phase after he turned one that lasted for most of last year of him waking up multiple times for at least an hour a go and after that stopped and just went to multiple wake ups with quick (15min or less) resettles I thought it was over. It's so demoralising and depressing to be back there

    He is still having a day sleep most days, not always but it's random. There's no pattern or correlation with what goes on at night that I can tell. Sometimes he seems to catch up on lost overnight sleep, other times he is awake at night and then has no day sleep. A couple of months ago he was sleeping through (later but still) and usually still having a day sleep too. Day sleeps can be anywhere between 1 hour and 3!!! I have previously tried to drop them but he didn't want to know and has kept them of his own accord.

    Any ideas or advice? How long could this continue? until he's three, four, five? longer? Any ideas on how to prevent myself from sinking into a full blown depression over this would also be appreciated. So far I've managed to avoid becoming clinically depressed but the longer this goes on for, the harder it becomes. I'm back to living a double life, fine during the day and depressed at night and it's only a matter of time before it crosses into day time too


  2. #2

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    Oh Kaz that would be HARD! No break for 2.5yrs, no wonder you're frustrated.

    I'm not sure if I can help because I know you've tried everything. When you go in to him do you talk to him at all? Are you sitting or lying down? Do you face him or away? With DD1 if she's mucking around I just face the other way and ignore her, tell her 'I'm going to sleep now, goodnight', and then pretend to be asleep.

    Can you talk to him about it? I know they're only young but sometimes I just tell DD how it is and even if I don't think she's listening/understanding she then later does something that makes me realise she does know what I'm on about, lol. Maybe sit him down and tell him how tired you are and how it would be so nice if we all slept all night because we would have so much more energy to do fun things during the day! Tell him that if he wakes in the night it's ok to grab his teddy (or whatever he has) and cuddle and go back to sleep. Or tell him that mummy will come and tuck him in and then go back to her room to sleep.

    Sorry, I don't have many suggestions! But I do have lots of hugs

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    Hun, I don't have any advice for you but plenty of warm hugs

    I know what it feels like to be be alone at night, and a bit of the double life thing. But nowhere near your level.

    You are an amazing strong mother and I do admire you. Everything you go through... you're amazing.

    Hopefully someone will be able to offer some form of advice for you my dear...

    ETA - Heaven's point about talking to him is a good one. I've found that really effective with DD. Along the lines of "DS, it is sleep time now. Mummy needs you to go to sleep. We've had a great day today, haven't we? Now you need to rest so we can have another fun day tomorrow!" Or something.

  4. #4

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    Hi There
    We have some similar issues - DS1 didnt sleep through until he was close to 3 and DS2 MIGHT JUST be starting.... but he wakes and wants me.
    I have been telling DS2 when he goes to bed what I want to happen - 'no crying tonight, stay in bed til its light in the morning, call out if you need me but stay in bed,' and REALLY laying on the praise if he does well overnight. we are having some success with that.
    I think they do understand... and they def react well to knowing they are doing a good job of improving!
    (hmm I bet DS will be up all night now that I have dared post any advice!!)

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    Heaven - When I go into him, conversation is minimal - he says he wants to snuggle and we do for 5-10 mins and then I tell him I'm putting him back into bed and he usually goes along with that (not protesting etc) but asks me to stay 'in the chair'. I've never really talked to him at night, even as a newborn (except when I lose my cool and rant and rave a bit cause I'm so tired and over it ). There is a comfy lounge chair in his room opposite his bed that is still there from breastfeeding days so I sit there and he lies in bed. We can't see each other well because it's quite dark in his room and I listen for his breathing etc and try to doze myself. When he comes into our bed I do turn away from him and tell him I'm sleeping. He will either get upset (but I insist lol) or he virtually suction attaches himself to my head and shoulders from behind and lies like that, up high on the pillow, no amount of moving him back changes it. I've seen him do the same to DP when they were in a bed together asleep before I came to bed. The other night I was close to going to the spare room but I knew he'd follow me and it would be the same there. DP must have read my mind because he got up and put DS on his side and DS stayed there all night long and DP ended up in the spare room!


    With regard to talking to him during the day, I have done this but probably not consistently. When I have done it he says "no....no way" and laughs. I agree with you guys that I think he does understand.

    Maybe I will keep talking to him during the day and before bed and I also think I'm going to whinge more LOL. The other day I whinged in FB about him taking ages to go to sleep and then that night it was a bit quicker and today I made this post and then he was asleep just after 7pm, even though he also had a day sleep today and I can't tell you the last time he went down at 7pm. (We did have an argument and he got a bit upset and a few shenanegans in the room beforehand but I'm focusing on the positive that he is down). He is more than likely catching up on the last week of horror sleep as he asked for dinner really early tonight and wanted to be in bed even though it was still light outside!

    Cross your fingers he will stay down all night and I can sleep through and kick this cold to the kerb!!

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    Kaz, I'm sorry- I don't have any suggestions/advice or anything. It sounds like you have tried everything.

    I'm hoping for you that someone here will have some good strategies for you to try, otherwise big BIG xx

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    Does he sleep better if he's in bed with you?
    Just a thought - sometimes the more we try to pull away, the more they cling to us, you know? So if he's insecure about being alone at night and worried about you leaving (just a possibility), then insisting on leaving him in his bed may make it worse.
    Talking about it is a great idea. It takes time for this to work, but it really can work well.
    It goes against a lot of the advice, but sometimes engaging with them is effective. My DS always needed help to calm down and settle for sleep - sitting quietly and avoiding eye contact or not talking to him made him upset, but talking, singing and making him laugh helped him to sleep.
    With any luck this phase will pass sooner than you fear. Really hope you get some rest again soon

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    Seems I spoke too soon. Am back in his room now, first wake up about 10mins ago. This kind of illustrates the ramdomness. He hasn't woken in the mid evening for ages, usually its around the 2-3am mark.

    MadB - sometimes he does sleep well in our bed and sometimes not. But you've raised a good point in that my response to his waking has become variable again and depends on how tired I am, what else is going on, whether i'm sick etc (cold + cough atm for example). One of the guiding principles of unconditional parenting, which i'm trying to do more of, is to look at the situation from the child's perspective. I can do that no worries during the day but I'be just realised I don't do it so well at night. I have no idea what posseses him to wake so consistently at some point pretty much every night or resist sleep when he's tired. I love sleep lol and I can't seem to empathise with him like I did during his first year.

    I might just try having a consistent response and really try to be more available because I think he knows on some level i'm resenting it and that insecurity is making it worse.

    Thanks for the replies. They helped.

    Sent from my HTC Desire S using Tapatalk

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    Resentment is a pretty normal and understandable way to feel The constant waking really takes it out of you.

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    I just thought of something else. DD woke up this morning and came into our bed and we realised she had no nappy on. She said she wee'd in the night so she took it off. Then she obviously went back to sleep.
    Maybe something like that? Totally random and probably not it, but worth a try maybe checking if he's wet and changing him? Maybe he doesn't like it at night how he doesn't get a new nappy when he wets? (No idea if you already do this or not but we don't change nappies until the morning if they're just wet).

  11. #11

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    Ok so sleep here has been our single biggest challenge over the last 5 years. DD1 has had a severe sleep allergy since 16 weeks old and she is 5. We had tried all sorts of approaches and in desperation at 2.5 we just gave up and let her come in with us. Some nights this is as early as 10pm and anywhere afterwards. Initially we all got vaguely more sleep than we used to but she was often wakeful or restless in her sleep at best so it wasn't a perfect solution as such however we were all struggling badly and I was really quite deranged to be honest. When we were talking to her she said she was scared of the dark and just wanted cuddles. When we talked about things she said she just wanted me and got really upset at not being able to sleep through.
    To be honest I wish we hadn't made a big deal of it as she has quite a bit of anxiety associated with not sleeping through thanks to the unhelpful help we have had. So I would now tend to brush over it and move on. It has been really hard and we have often functioned at a pretty low level but it is getting better. Some things I do to help are cook up big batches of food and freeze them for the harder days. I also try to tag with DH for naps on the weekend, this has been hard as he has had some health issues and has been less able to help. If you have the opportunity for time with other people to help out then I would grab it! Most importantly be kind to yourself - try not to assign blame/guilt/negative thought about it to yourself as it is very easy to slide down from there. Easier said than done.

    I hope things improve for you soon.

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    Hi KAz I don't have any advice just DS is 21 months and has slept through maybe 3 times. There is no pattern to his waking like you said. You can't predict anything. I'm often exhausted and cranky and then feel bad if I lose my cool DS also won't accept comfort from DP so it's super frustrating and hard. So just and know you're not alone

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    Kaz

    I don't know what to say except that I have been there. We have had the whole range - going to bed easily but with hourly wake ups, 2 hour + tantrums at bedtime, easy resettles, hard resettles, won't resettle at all....

    Basically we just lived through it. It would be terrible for a few months, then relatively better, then it would go downhill again in a never ending cycle. We tried everything we could think of. I tried talking to him during the day, yelling, rewards charts, CIO, me going in, DH going in, limiting day sleeps, no day sleeps etc

    The first night after DD2 was born (3 weeks ago) at just over 4, DH told him that if he stayed in his room and read books until he fell asleep for 3 nights then he could pick any present he wanted. Plain, simple bribery. And it worked! He has gone to bed by himself and slept through most nights since!

    I guess that is not helpful, we had to wait 4 years for it to happen. I really, really hope that he starts sleeping for you soon, you deserve some rest xx

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    Thanks so much for all of your posts and hugs and similar stories. I don't wish this on anyone but it is so nice to know that he's not the only toddler with a randomly changing pattern. Everyone else I know with similar aged or older kids were sleeping consistently by this age and while I don't say much IRL (the odd Facebook whingey notwithstanding lol) I kind of feel like people think we're doing something wrong. It's hard not to blame myself but I know that doesn't help or change reality.

    to those of you in similar or worse situations. I am really starting to believe that this will just be part of ds throughout his childhood.

    He took 1.5hrs from 9pm to settle last night and then another quick wake up at 4:30 and then he slept in til after 7!!!! So random. He hasn't slept that late for weeks and weeks. Daylight savings might help

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    Kaz, I often don't say anything IRL either for the same reason, people thinking we're doing something wrong. But I really think the reality is it's just them being crap sleepers and eventually they will grow out of it.

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    Most people I know with kids 2-4 years old don't sleep through all the time (if at all), and still need help from mum or dad. Totally normal. Many pepole are 'ashamed' to say anything, which just helps to perpetuate the myth.

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    Last night was evil. Got about 2 hours sleep before he came in. Tried co_sleeping but it was 5 hours of all three of us tossing and turning. DP hardly slept at all. Now we're all tired and I feel physically ill. I think i'll have to give up on the dream that co-sleeping will solve the issue. At least when I sit up with DS, DP gets some sleep. I'm on my way to work. Feel like i'm in a fog. Today, I hate my life and I know that's a ****ty attitude but I don't have the energy to reach for the positives.

    MadB - I want to live near you! Where are these parents IRL?

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    I agree MadB, seems sleep = good parent in most conversations which does not help!
    Kaz I wanted to give you a chuckle as you made me reflect on some of my more desperate measures to get sleep. My silliest moment was when she slept 5 hours straight after eating crappy snags for dinner, so guess she had the next night? Yep and it worked! Only for 2 nights tho, then the preservatives must have kicked in. Ironically after much procrastinating we gave in and had a KIng size bed delivered last week and guess who slept through for the whole night in her own bed???
    xxx

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