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Thread: Toddlers with sleeping difficulties

  1. #1
    Melinda Guest

    Default Toddlers with sleeping difficulties

    Can anyone give me some ideas on how to help a toddler with sleeping difficulties? Jacob developed some sleeping problems when he was 6.5 months old and we had a stay in a Mother & Baby Unit that practised gentle settling techniques and through that, we had some success and I feel like we've got a fair bit of knowledge when it comes to settling/soothing techniques. None of which is helping us now though, let me assure you! LOL

    A few weeks ago, Jacob was unwell and since then, his sleep has been awful (not to mention the tantrums!). He's having 1 sleep a day which is around 2 hours on average (sometimes more, sometimes less). He normally goes to sleep by 7.30. He has decided that he won't go to sleep at this time any more though and will scream the house down. He has been getting himself really distressed at both his day and night time sleeps - screeching, screaming, crying hysterics, whenever you leave the room.



    I was starting to think perhaps he didn't need a day time sleep any more, but he certainly does as he gets way too cranky otherwise and I don't think he'd last the day out.

    I just don't understand why he's getting himself so worked up at sleep time. He hasn't done this since he was 9 months old - it is like he has lost all ability to self-settle and has regressed significantly on that front. He will wake frequently during the night (although some nights only once or twice which is a blessing) but this is really tiring for us all. Not having him go to bed until 9pm or after (and this is after spending perhaps an hour or more trying to settle him) means no "us" time either (relationship-wise). He will happily chat and play in his cot when he's put to bed - provided you stay in the room with him. If you leave, then all hell breaks loose.

    Any ideas?? Furthermore, over the past week, regardless of the time he goes to sleep of an evening, he still wakes at the same time. Prior to this week, if he went down later, he would sleep in longer (there were days when he'd still be in bed at 9.30 am), but I attributed some of this to illness and recuperating (some nights he slept for 14 hours whilst unwell and recovering).

  2. #2

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    Hi Mel,

    I'm so sorry you're having problems with Jacob. I know what it's like to be struggling and I don't know if I'm going to be able to help you or not however I'd like to hope that having somenoe to bounce it off can help you work through what's happening the way you've helped me.

    It's so difficult to get back into the routine after your baby's unwell. I guess my first thought is to make sure that Jacob has fully recovered. If you have any doubt that his health is the underlying cause of his inability to settle, go back to the doctor. Even if you go back and get the "all clear" it's for your own peace of mind. You can eliminate health as an issue and really focus on the routine again.

    Some children around Jacob's age are ready to drop their naps. Only you can tell if it's worth perservering to get Jacob to have one. If it were Blake I would be trying really hard to keep him having a nap.

    Anyway, it's not whether or not to nap that's your major concern, it's getting Jacob sleep at any time.

    Did he have ear problems when he was unwell? Perhaps the change in his ear pressure has upset him and he is 'frightened' to lie down to sleep? Can you slightly elevate one end of his cot? Do you think this will help?

    I know you've established a good routine, particularly in the evening with 'dinner, bath, massage, story, bed' etc and I understand it's not working. Do continue to do it as I know you will as it will keep the continuity that Jacob needs, even though it may not seem to work at the moment.

    Do you think he'd like something that smells of you to sleep with? From memory Jacob has his comfort toy if he's awake in his cot to play with, however perhaps a piece of clothing with your smell on might give him the extra confort he need. My sister's kids always loved a slinky nighty (or pair of boxers) to cuddle up to. Every couple of days my sister would give her baby/toddler her slinky nighty to cuddle up to in bed, and put on a fresh one. The one the baby previously had went in the wash and the cycle continued. Not only did it smell like Mummy, but they loved the texture. Might this help Jacob?

    That's about all I can suggest to hopefully get you through this rough patch.

    I guess my train of thought is try to perservere with the routine and not give into him. You've done so well so far I know you'll get there.

    Hugs.
    xx

  3. #3
    Melinda Guest

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    Rachel, you are such a treasure. Thank you so much for your reply and your kind thoughts!

    Actually Jacob doesn't have a comfort toy (I think that was just something I was tossing around as an idea for Blake LOL).

    I do think that Jacob has fully recovered from the recent illness, but it's definitely worth reconsidering and having him checked out again by the GP if things don't settle - I totally agree with you there! No, there were no problems with his ears at all.

    I definitely think Jacob still needs a day time nap - I can't see him getting through the day without it. We both went and had a nap today at 1pm - I took him into our bed, closed the curtains and we curled up together and slept. I only slept briefly, but he slept for over 1.5 hours and I just loved that time with him. It was lovely being curled up with my boy - so peaceful.

    I will definitely be continuing with our evening routine as it has worked really well for him. He may well be at an age where it needs some fine tuning though and I guess I need to think about ways in which to do that and what will work best for him. But basically the bath/bottle/bed thing will stay the same. He is definitely a creature of habit as I mentioned to you in Blake's thread so I think changing his little routine in the evening now will only disturb things more for him.

    It's funny as he went down this evening at 8 pm without fuss - so perhaps he is turning the corner, although I'm not going to hold my breath just yet LOL. It's just so heartbreaking when they screech and cry like that and can't be soothed.

    I'll see what the next few days brings.

    Thanks for posting again Rachel......I really do appreciate having someone to chat to about it as it can be very stressful (as you know!)

  4. #4

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    Hey Mel,

    Just thought I'd ask how the last couple of days have been going with Jacob. Has his sleeping settled back to normal yet?

    Things for us are going quite well. Blake has learnt to roll onto his tummy in bed - he's usually tucked in so tight that he can't but he's managed to loosen the blankets to roll over and he's sleeping really well, not waking half as much.

    I've dropped the rollover feed as it wasn't really making all that much difference in the scheme of things, although Blake will wake once during the night and need a drink to settle him. He also might lose his dummy once which needs replugging. Other than that, it's pretty peaceful between 8/8.30pm when he's finally asleep and 6.30/7am when he wakes. I'm feeling so much more human again.

    I know it's been your support and words of wisdom which have helped me through this tough time. Thank you.

    (I'd do a line of emoticons with the flower for you, but I'd rather just look after the BB server and tell you to imagine them there instead) :-)

  5. #5
    Melinda Guest

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    *imagines a beautiful bunch of flowers*

    Awww, thanks Rachel!

    Well after having a shocking night on Saturday night, we had 2 great day/night sleeps on Sunday and Monday night. Tuesday night was awful (we were up with him between 1 - 4 am as he just couldn't settle) so we were pretty tired yesterday, but we worked out why as the day went on and he started to sneeze a lot and his nose started running.....he's got a cold!! So last night was terrible again as he couldn't settle, even in bed with us. But I know it will be short lived and he will settle down again.

    Poor little thing has had a really bad run of colds since I started taking him to playgroup late last year - it's like ever since then, he ends up with something at least once a month!!!

    Thanks for thinking of me, and I'm so glad to hear that Blake is doing so well!

  6. #6

    Join Date
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    I think a bit of Blake's problem was a bit of a cold too. He was snuffly, and I even had the vapouriser in his room at one stage - never know if it works or not.

    Fingers crossed for better nights all round.

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