My friend R emailed me last week and since my son and daughter are sleeping on the floor of my room and have stopped sleeping through the night again, I thought y’all would be more helpful than I. Or at least make her feel like she’s not a total nut. Probably.
We’re all doing pretty well overall but have had a recurrence of some major sleep issues (with our 2.5 year old)…at times lately I’ve felt like we have a newborn again, which is not a situation I want to be in WHILE PREGNANT! I was emailing a friend about this, and she asked what our pediatrician had said, but of course, I haven’t called him. He and I have some philosophical differences in this area, and I’m too tired to look for a new pediatrician at this point. Plus, I suspect I know what he’d say already. But it did seem reasonable to seek out a medical viewpoint, so if you have any thoughts or suggestions, I’m open!
This has been going on since November or so. Prior to that we thought our sleep issues were over (ha ha), and he was basically just getting into bed at 8-ish and falling asleep, sometimes with one last request for milk or a hug. Since then, we’ve had several variations:
– not wanting to go to bed and running out of his room
– wanting to sleep in our bed (even if we’re not in bed yet–this worked for a minute but now he’ll just jump around on our bed)
– waking up in the middle of the night (fully or partially) sometimes with hysterical crying
– not falling asleep until very late (1:30 a.m. the other night & 11 p.m. last night).
He still naps well and doesn’t often seem tired, even if he’s only slept 8 hours or less. In other words, an amount of sleep that is definitely not enough for me.
At this point we’ve tried several variations:
– no nap
– shorter nap
– earlier nap waking time
– later bedtime
– earlier bedtime
– sleeping in our bed &/or on a sleeping bag next to our bed
Of course, a lot of this coincides with it being too dark/cold for us to be at the park until dinner, which we used to do every day, and with B realizing, at least in some form, that I’m pregnant.
He definitely has nightmares and will say he’s scared, but it’s inconsistent and doesn’t seem to be the main issue. Other than that, we haven’t varied our bedtime routine (dinner, bath, books in the glider) since he was a tiny baby.
So, any thoughts? My husband has wondered if there could be some medical explanation, but there’s nothing I can think of that we wouldn’t see in other areas. I’ve wondered if giving him sugar (esp chocolate) in the afternoon makes a difference but, though we’ve backslid a LOT on the sugar issue, it’s definitely not a daily thing for him to eat candy.
Right now we’re trying to have a calmer evening and an earlier bedtime (7ish instead of 8 p.m.) and one of us lying down with him til he’s asleep or close to asleep. Which seemed to work for a day.
Oh, and we’re trying to survive.
We’re open to any books, ideas, props (music, white noise, fancy nightlights), but I don’t think that my husband can handle him sleeping in our bed because he has so many sleep issues already, and I can’t handle anything that involves B screaming while pounding on his door (we tried that, too).
I need y’alls help. Mostly because I was told that no one believes anything we say about sleep anymore because we are just crazy outliers. I contend that we are just crazy.
So I ask: How can we get R’s 2 and 1/2 year old son to sleep?
Answer that R picked after telling me that it’s getting better by magic. Probably. Ginger Park wrote:
Ugh…sleep is like an obsession as a parent. You are never getting enough, your kid is never getting enough, or sleeping how you want them to, and everyone is exhausted. One book that worked for me with my first was “The Sleep Easy Solution.”
My daughter was finally napping and sleeping well until I became pregnant w/ our second and she was close to 2. I finally figured out that she was pretty scared of all the impending changes. Nightmares and screaming started soon after we had all the new baby furniture delivered. We were also starting to discuss what happens when Mommy has to get the baby out of her tummy. I realized that part of her waking up was the fact that she was scared that I would not be there in the morning. We had been discussing the neighbor coming to watch her. Since the nightmares started when I was about 7 months along…we realized that me telling her at night that “Mommy will be there when she gets up.” helped. We also started taking turns as to who put here to bed….Hubby, then me, one of us reassuring her that one of us would be there when she woke up. Our neighbor, who was the designated baby sitter when I went into labor, also agreed to come over and start putting her to bed or babysit every two weeks working up to the birth. These steps seemed to really help her anxiety.
She was also fairly new to the toddler bed. So, we put a potty in her room to use in case she had to go, and then we put a safety knob on the the door knob to keep her from going out of her room in the middle of the night. We also told her that we didn’t care where she slept in her room; the bed, the floor, her chair, the closet. (although we preferred the bed) but expected her to settle down when the “moon” came on. I bought the “Goodnight Light” online and programmed it for 8:00 (her bedtime). When it turned on, it was bedtime. We also play music for her and told her that once the music stopped she needed to go to sleep. This seemed to work okay.
With both our kids, I did not allow them in our bed from the get go. Why would they sleep alone if you let them in your bed? Mommy and Daddy are a comfort. But I did have comfortable chairs in each of their rooms to cuddle w/ them.