T.P. asks from Winter Springs, FL on July 01, 2009
Not Sleeping and Tantrums
I have a 17 month old that is very strong, full of energy and is generally happy. I am a stay at home mom and he doesn't get daily interaction with children but I try to do playdates and go to the library etc to get him out. He started sleeping through the night at about 1 yr old when I stopped nursing, but he still doesn't sleep well, and will ocationally cry in the night for a few min and then fall back asleep (if he falls asleep within 10 min I don't go in the room. I normally put him to bed around 8:30. He wakes up almost every time (and from naps) screaming. No matter if I put him to bed awake or completely asleep. I have been still giving him a bottle and rocking him before bedtime and naps (unless he is already asleep). He has started throwing full blown tantrums in the middle of the night (once every 5 days or so) throwing everthing out of the crib and screaming at the top of his lungs. I've tried milk, water, rocking, scolding, letting him play (which one time from 1-3 screaming and playing from 3-6am was the only thing that calmed him down) If I let him out and try to hold him he will thrash, kick, and hit. If I let him onto the floor he will arch his back, kick and pull his hair. I don't know if I have a bad feeding/eating schedule. Or if I should push to get him not to drink milk before bed. We do have a pillow and a few toys and teethers in the crib. I try to get him to sleep from 8:30- 7:30. If he wakes up earlier I try to get him to sleep more. He is usually in a better mood if he wakes up closer to 8-8:30. He also HATE HATE HATES to get his diaper changed (I dont know if it is also because he has to lay down) and will twist, turn, scream, kick me in the face, hit. Once it took BOTH my husband and I 10 min to get a new diaper on him. I can't let him just cry as my husband is a VERY light sleeper (will wake up if I blink too hard). So when Nathan is crying a little I usually camp out on the couch to see if it will pass or if I need to go in.
He has 11 teeth so far and he is almost in size 3T. Any advice would help. My family is mostly in WI (and we are in FL). And I don't really have a circle of friends, especially ones with children. So we are pretty much on our own and as this is our first child it is all new. The last advice I got was "you should call super nanny". He has his own language but wont communicate to us, even with trying to push sign language. He only really gets out mamma and dadda so far. He does point every once in a while but only to things interesting like a light or picture (not a cup or blanket).
-update- The last check up the doc (at 15 months) said he was normal and nothing wrong (never had an ear infection). We haven't ever really pushed a schedule so I don't know where to start. Normally he gets up around 8 (crying) I will give him a 8 oz bottle of milk (tried other cups but maybe it's time to try again). breakfast around 9, play until 11:30-12 8 oz of milk in a bottle-rocking-Nap. wake up around 2:30 (crying)lunch. play until 7 dinner. (Dad comes home around then). Ususally dad tries unwinding and will turn on the tv and play with Nathan. Bath (not every day, as he doesn't like the water and will just tug on the faucet and knobs, trying to tear them off the wall). 8oz bottle of milk-rocking-story-humming and bedtime. Normally He will wake up 2-3 times during the night and cry for 5-10 min and will fall back asleep. if he cries longer we go in, say "it's night time", rub his back and close the door (responded by a full blown scream at the top of his lungs).
So What Happened?™
Thank you for all of the comments and sugestions. It is nice to hear what other people have to say. Here are my additional thoughts as some people had asked me questions as well.
I'm not sure if milk would be a problem as he doesn't throw a fit every night, and he usually gets the same amount of milk each day. But I have done more looking and talked to a few people to see their feeding schedule. I think I might be feeding him his last meal too late. So I'm going to push the sippy cup before nap/bedtime and try to get rid of the bottles. And move both lunch and dinner earlier. I tried it yesterday and he was in a better mood. Although I'd love to hear what schedule other people are using. I am going to try getting my husband to wait to turn on the tv until after bedtime, as most of the day it is off anyway. I turn it on maybe for and hour at most with seseme st or elmo.
Ginger: I haven't want to really think that dairy would be an allergy. As since it doesn't happen all of the time. but I could be wrong and I'll try to cut back and see if it makes a difference.
Tiffany: yes I wish you were closer as well. I have tried desperately to find a good moms with children group and so far haven't found a good one. Although I am trying a new one that looks hopefull. Yes friends would help me (and Nathan) out greatly. I will try the changing the diaper on the floor and see if he takes that better.
For the night we have done the 3-4 day cry out session at 1 year old (before that he was up every 2-3 hours but I was also nursing too so I'm not sure if that was it) and yes I was crying in the living room as he was crying in the bedroom. but lately it hasn't been a cry, it has been a full out scream, that is why I think it is for attention. But you are right, the night I left him play I should have stood my ground. I will think about the mixed messages and try to think what he would be thinking at those moments. Thank you for your email address. I will try to send an email soon. Thank you for the friend invite, I appreciate it.
Susie S: Well fortunately (an unfortunately) the kitchen floor doesn't get cleaned too much. Most of the time I grab paper towel with soapy water and clean with that. Or if I do a better job it is after he is in bed so he wouldn't get the fumes or the wet chemicals. So I don't think dish soap would cause too much harm. Although my husband has cleaned a few times so I'll keep the toxic cleaner thought in my head. I was wondering what inexpensive cleaner you suggested though. I have seen some but they are pretty high priced.
I have always gotten dye free tylonal, and I try not to give medicine if I can help it. But I will watch it in the foods as I haven't been.
Stella: Actually he did have Phyloric stenosis at 4 weeks old. I was nursing at the time. He projectile vomited up to 4 feet spraying everything in sight. We actually felt him get lighter as the days progressed. His eyes had yellowed, his skull started sinking in and he had blood in his urine. We took it very seriously and I pursisted the doctors as the symptoms occured. I spent that week sleeping ether on the floor with my hand through his crib, or holding him in the rocking chair. He had a successful surgery and the doctors were complementing us on how we noticed it and brought him in earlier than most do. I had thought that he was hurting as well but sometimes when I would pick him up during one of his tantrums he would start giggling and pushing my nose or playing, but would scream as soon as I put him down again. So it didn't really assume to be pain. I do appreciate your suggestion though as when he did have phyloric most people shrugged off my comments after hours of research trying to figure out what was wrong.
Tv is off most of the time, I would love to read and I try but he actually EATS the books, not just a nibble but a whole corner. We do puzzles and games, he doesn't like crayons yet. He is into mechanics. love dials, knobs, hooks etc and already loves taking things apart. He would rather look at the bolts holding a slide together than slide down it.
Victoria: yes I had considered autism. And as when I was pregnant I didn't get those tests done for down syndrom as it wouldn't have made a difference it still wouldn't today. I'm not too worried, but I don't think we'll really be able to tell until he's old enough with tuned motor skills, but I could be wrong. He does give eye contact (except during a tantrum) he laughs alot. people have told me they have never seen such a happy child (but with other people I have known that are the overly giddy kind, they have high highs and low lows, so that might just be it). He sits more content during stories with my husband as he make more fun noises than I do, with me he just wants to eat the book. He does understand when I say no sternly as he has finally started to look and stop (as before he would just giggle). And he will watch my face and react to it sometimes. He does get really distracted when playing though but will sometimes play along with me. When we go out he normally looks for things that are not toys (the fence, a water foucet, cars etc). The things I have in the crib are about 5 soft toys, a couple teethers, a blanket, and a small lumbar pillow (which is kind of a lovey to him, I used it for nursing and he will drag it around the house). I nursed for a year so I didn't get into the habit of leaving liquids with him.
And after going in and then coming back out to a scream I usually sit on the couch for another 5-10 min and wait to see if he is calming or stops. If he is still full blown I will go back in and repeat but try to lengthin the gaps in between going in.
Melissa: I've ready happiest baby, but happiest toddler will be on the order list. Thank you for the suggestion. I try to not give him sugar. any juice cups are about 5% juice and 95% water. but I will watch the red dye as I haven't been.
Hi Mimi: Thank you, I really do feel that it is probably normal, but as you are in the tough time it is always a scramble to see what you can do to "fix" it.
I have tried to go as natural as I can, with teething or any other time. So he hasn't had that many chemicals pushed at him. I am a bit concerned about a chewable at this age though. Really at 17 months? he only has 11 teeth yet and still wont eat food unless it is in itty bitty chunks as he wont nibble or take bites off something yet. so I don't feel he is quite ready yet, but I could be wrong. I haven't thought about the meds still being with him from the pyloric, and I know that he did react (a baseball size knot) to one of his vacinations so we didn't get the last one done. I do try to keep the house detoxed as much as possible (I would rather do a frozen bag of peas for a headache than medicine). But I would like to hear if you have any suggestions for a detox center. We are in the central Fl orlando area. (this would be for my husband as well as he also has a sleep issue, which could be the whole problem with Nathan right there).
Laura: I will look into the web search. Thank you. He actually has another check up today (his 15 month is a bit late) so we'll see if anything looks abnormal.
Thank you again for all the comments and if anyone has any additional ideas or could pass on schedules they used for a 17 month old (also when juice vs milk was used and when) I would appreciate it.
G.M. answers from Melbourne on July 02, 2009
My daughter is 9 years old and has allergy and major health problems her whole life. I went through a lot of what you are describing and just dealt with it all. When she was 7 after years of many allergy tests it popped up that she was allergic to dairy ans soy. After removing her off of dairy it ALL STOPPED!!! For years I had Moms tell me to take her off of dairy but without proof I never did. I felt like I had enough to deal with and that was too hard. I should have!!! She is a different child now. Her sleeping was better in a week. I know removing all dairy from his diet is a scary and exhausting task but try cutting it in half and see if things get better. Taking him off the dairy before bed might make a huge difference. Another this could be he could have silent reflux and it hurts he is waking up acting out due to not sleeping well unhappy due to not sleeping well.
I hope this helps hang in there it will get better.
1 mom found this helpful
P.B. answers from Orlando on July 02, 2009
You say he is "generally happy" so that is great!! A lot of this sounds like normal toddler development to me. I am a mom w/a 9 yo, 13 yo and 15 yo. It is too early for Nathan to talk so 1-2 words is fine and your doctor said development was "normal". Little boys can get really active as toddlers. Does he have rough and tumble boy toys to get out energy and aggression in healthy ways? At this age, both my sons loved the little toy push lawn mowers. Toddler boys also like stuff they can manipulate and figure out like lights and faucets. Do you have baby legos or toys with knobs and stuff he can move/push about (trucks,puzzles, etc.) Is your hubby active with Nathan, as in gentle rough housing, throwing/rolling a ball, taking him outside in a wagon, etc.? Nathan might need to be physically tired out more. Since he is large for his size he may need more physical stimulation/activity than your average 17 month old. You might have a future athlete on your hands! We had a nightly ritual for bed that your son might enjoy (mine loved this as he too was fascinated by lights and fans). My husband would take my son around in his arms and together they would turn out every light in the house (put them all on just prior). My husband would say: "Lights off, turn out the light, everyone is going to bed, good night light" and let Nathan turn off the light. Then we would keep the house dark and quiet for about 15 minutes until my son was asleep. My husband and I would sit calmly together during this time and it was nice for us also. My son thought we were in bed too and that helped him. ALL 3 of my kids fought diaper changes! We also learned you can put a diaper on a child while the child is standing. Have Nathan stand with a toy/drink and slip the diaper through his legs and tape the sides. It doesn't have to be perfect. We also let our kids run naked for a bit if they were not ready for a diaper change. It feels good to them and after a bit they are more ready to have the diaper back on! Wouldn't you fight if you had to wear that hot plastic pant in FL all the time? You said you don't have a schedule but it sounds like you have a good one from what you wrote above. It would be nice if you could join a mom's playgroup or get some alone mommy time. Neither of my 2 boys were easy when toddlers but they are easy now that they are older (9yo and 15yo). I really think it all comes full circle! Hang in there. You sound like a wonderful, caring mom. If you need an older mom for support/friendship my email is: ____@____.com.
J.A. answers from Jacksonville on July 02, 2009
Here comes the harder, less pleasant part of parenting.
I am sure the doctor told you, the bottle has to go. Your sons teeth will rot in no time at all with the bottle and he is big enough for cups. You may have to try a few cups before finding the kind that work well for you both. The best way to get you both bottle broken is to wake up one morning, throw the bottles away outside of the house, take a few asprin (your gonna need them) and proceed with your day. There will be many tears over the next couple of days, but it will pass.
If you want the tantrums to stop, then you have to stop giving in to them. It really is that easy. When he has a tantrum, put him in a space of his own and leave him there. Once he is calm again (time on this can vary from child to child, I had one that could maintain a tantrum for hours if she chose to) you can talk to him, let him know what is okay and what is not, etc... If you give him what he wants during a tantrum you are reinforcing his negative behavior.
As parents we hate to hear our children cry and our first instinct is to move mountains to make the tears stop, but that isn't what is always best for our child. Good luck.
C.D. answers from Jacksonville on July 02, 2009
hi there my daughter is also 15 months. and bvusting out of 3t.
im still bf her.. was this hard to wean your son?
sounds like hes going thru terr. 2 sydrome.
zoe did wake everytime i lied her down at 8 30 even if she was asleep... so during nap time.. i let her cry it out twice for 15 minutes.. and then at night she would stay laid down and sleep.(naps too)
but my rule or thought was okay if she wakes at 830 when i lie he down then "she is not tired and we are getting up..!!! At 10 30 pm- she was ready to sllep and slept until 5 or 4 am.. which was great.. so now some nights she is out by 830 or 9 and other nights she goes until 1030. but the trick is to not let her sleep at 5 when she needs a snoozer.
also a nice cold banana helps in the evenings to keep her belly full.. and we turn off the tv for ahwile before bedtime to let her unwind..and relax with out that stimulant blaring. getting on the floor with her helps.. and lately she has acted out.. with screeems when she doesnt get what she wnats.. and we dont know.. I have read that you dont chastize them for this.. but reassure them all is okay.. and give them a hug. so they feel comforted..with all the new things going on with them. walking talking.. exploring..etc.. its tough I know.. i still need to wean.. and she realize heavily on my breast to fall asleep. but I have read where babies need to suck alot at this age..so its natural. but its wearing on me!
I think that if you try this night time of if he not tired at 830 let him play until 1030 and at that point you let him cry it out as this is 2nd chance.. for bedtime.
hope some of these ideas help.. i know it is tough.
she doesnt lie to be changed either.. so i always give her something interesting to take her mind off of it.. while i change her..( diaper, toy etc..)I tuck anther diaper under her while changing to help make it quick.
have you tried probiotics for him.. and his tummy>? google and read about the benefits..good luck.. remember.. this timeis short.. so make it sweet but be firm when you need to be.. my daughter is sensitivwe so i dont have to be too firm.. and usually ignoring works best.. and dont react to these out burst.. if it persisit. I say... mommy is drinving please be quiet let mommy drive.. and she shuts..
they know quickly when its not nice behavior.. and then ignore them. this seems to work for me.. key is dont react..
comfort.. and then be firm .. and then ignore..hope thesse ideas help!!
V.W. answers from Jacksonville on July 01, 2009
I am not well versed in autism spectrum disorders.. but I am hoping that if that seems possible with your child, some of the other moms on here will respond. It just sort of grabbed my attention that you said he "has his own language" but refuses to communicate with you through sign language, etc. What is his mood/personality/behavior like when he is NOT upset? Does he play happily with you and interact with you with toys? Will he sit in your lap and enjoy you reading him stories? Does he maintain eye contact with you and understand your facial cues (happy, sad, mad)? I do know that it is not uncommon for kids with one of the ASDs to have sleep disturbances, both in falling asleep and night-time waking. Also, many can be hyper-sensitive to sounds, textures, and light. I certainly do not want to worry you needlessly. You only gave us his "abnormal" behaviors, so I may be WAY off base here, and if I am, I apologize profusely in advance.
That said, it may be that he needs a better schedule. Better probably is a poor word choice, maybe, "consistent" is more appropriate. Some kids NEED the structure more than others. As the parents, you can't "push" this or that, you have to DO it. Decide what the rules/routines will be and stick to them. If you want him to go to bed without giving him milk, then don't give it to him. Just don't tell him he can't have it, then after he throws a tantrum you decide to give it to him THEN. Either give it or don't, but decide beforehand what the routine will be and stick to it. One or two days does not a routine make. Taking charge usually is hardest for the first 2 or 3 days, but consistency works wonders in the long run. What exactly is he throwing out of the crib at night when he has the tantrum? All he really needs in there is a special "lovey" (transition object) and a blanket. That's it. No milk/water. No pillow. Nothing else.
One other question: After he cries 5-10 minutes and you go in rub his back and leave (responded to by a full blown scream).. THEN what happens? Do you go back in? Leave him for another 5-10 minutes? Ignore it altogether? How do you respond? Just curious.
S.S. answers from Port St. Lucie on July 02, 2009
I have 4 boys. I know how frustrating it is when your child is in pain, you are lacking sleep and don't know how to help him. Something that really stood out in your story is that every 5 days or so he wakes up screaming. I have a friend whose 2 year old,, every couple of days would throw tantrums on the kitchen floor. She could not figure what was going on. She turned out it was the cleaning solution she was using on the floor. Switched to a non-toxic cleaner and Voila no more tantrums. I have seen that is one of my son's and so many others. This sounds simple, but has a huge affect on kids. I did alot of research as did my friend and found something inexpensive that works and is not poisonous. Also, my kids had food allergies. Milk is a big one. Your son may have stomach aches from the milk he gets before he sleeps. Another allergy my youngest son had that made him throw up and get fevers was red food dye. Not only was that in foods but baby tylenol.
Hope this helps.
S.W. answers from Miami on July 02, 2009
pyloric stenosis : this is not uncommon in infants and adults, as well. Is your pediatrician following this?
Your little guy is brilliant, so read to him, do puzzles and other brain increasing games; but no tv...and have his digestive trac monitored. He's hurting...
M.H. answers from Fort Walton Beach on July 01, 2009
Kids this age are usually, and I stress usually, not prone to tantrums yet...and I don't think super nanny is necessary....as I deal with this professionally I want to suggest that you get all the outside interference out before you try to determine the problem. Synthetic chemicals all by themselves can cause behavior like this. Unless you have already detoxed your house and his little body completely, he may just be having a reaction to the chemicals around him. With the problems he's had in the past he is probably even more sensitive to chemicals.
I'm not just talking about cleaning products. We use chemicals everywhere, from our laundry detergent that we wrap ourselves in everyday, to our shampoo,to the pesticides and preservatives that are still on our food when we consume it. The medications that he probably had at 4 weeks are probably still in his system as well. (I realize meds are necessary at critical times but that doesn't make them safe long term. Besides the med, there are carrier solutions that are chemically based as well.) Synthetic chemicals just don't go away by themselves and they will ontinue to contraindicate. They have to be removed and only a strong immune system can do that. It sounds like he may just be on overload.
He's old enough for a chewable multivitamin to build his immune system to fight off these reactions. (I always recommend that you take one that is proven to be absorbable and doesn't cause more damage than good like the Flintstones and the Walmart generics...)Your home also should be detoxed completely. He also needs a lot of water and a lot of fresh air. T., if this is not the "problem" it can certainly exacerbate the problem.
Detoxing is quite simple and surprisingly inexpensive, in the long run it will save you money. And you will be able to really see what is going on with Nathan. I have personally experienced major transformations in family members that were "diagnosed" with neurological disorders come to find out they didn't have....