42 answers

PLEASE HELP! Hubby and I Are Desperate!!!!

Hi Moms,

This is my 2nd request of this nature....and am hoping for some new strategies as I have tried EVERYTHING with no success :( I am on the verge of tears due to complete exhaustion as I sit here and type this....

My 2 and a half year old son has not slept through the night in over a month, and refuses to even go to sleep on a nightly basis. This involves major tantrums for hours, getting out of his bed AND crib, and is absolutley exhausting. He is also waking at night now as well. He has always been an excellent sleeper and all of a sudden, there is nothing we can do to get him to sleep. He eventually cries himself to sleep after hours of hubby and I going in and putting him back to bed. We have tried the supernanny technique, leaving his door open, using a gate, a night light, moving back his bedtime, staying with him until he falls asleep which can take hours, putting him back in his crib (still screamed so we stopped this and are sticking to the toddler bed). We have always had a very structured bedtime routine with no problems from when he was born up until 2 months ago. There is nothing I can think of that has changed, unless he is "sensing" the new babies arrival?? We both work full time, I am 8 months pregnant...and physically and mentally I am exhausted! And I know its only going to get worse when the baby comes.

Please help!!!

1 mom found this helpful

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Featured Answers

Sounds like you are doing everything right. If he still naps is it also a struggle? Maybe time for the Doctors? Could his ears be bothering him? When he lays down it would make an ear issue feel worst.


My son is the same age and also won't sleep thru the night. We go in to his room rock him for a minute or two and then put him back in bed. We also put on classical music which seems to help him relax. We use this same technique for putting him to bed. It isn't a total fix since my son still wakes up every night but at least it is only once a night. I hope something can help for you.

More Answers

PAIN can be a culprit in sleep issues -- check for acid reflux and heartburn, teething pain, ear pain and throat pain. Lying down and falling asleep and staying asleep is impossible when there is pain.

An underdeveloped nervous system can be a factor. Knowing where your body is in space is called proprioception. Individuals who have an underdeveloped sense of proprioception use their vision to tell them where they are as a compensation. When they shut their eyes, they may feel as if they are falling. Children with a poor sense of proprioception tend to sleep soundly when they're NEXT to someone, because they know where they are -- they use the other person as a reference point for where they are in the bed w/ their eyes closed. For an older child, a body pillow sometimes works. He's young to have soft pillows in the bed with him -- I'm not sure if I'd try a big stuffed animal, either, at that age, but there might be a "lovie" that you can find that is safe for that age for him to hug, throw a leg over, back up to, in bed, to help him know where he is. Do your homework in terms of safety.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi H.,
I'm sorry you and your husband are so exhausted. From reading your post you said you have tried everything and he's been doing this for 2 months. Maybe you haven't tried something long enough. Maybe pick something and be consistant with it. How long did you do the Supernanny approach? We did a version of it and it worked with both of my boys. Although it took my younger son a lot longer. It was an exhausting 2 weeks. There were a few times that if my husband wouldn't have convinced to me keep trying I would have given up. Another suggestion is the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". I used this book a lot when the boys were little. It's a really good book. I hope you can figure out something that works for you guys. good luck.


My son is the same age and also won't sleep thru the night. We go in to his room rock him for a minute or two and then put him back in bed. We also put on classical music which seems to help him relax. We use this same technique for putting him to bed. It isn't a total fix since my son still wakes up every night but at least it is only once a night. I hope something can help for you.

My daughter did not sleep consistently through the night until she was about 4. Originally it stemmed from the flap between her esophagus and her stomach not fully developed until she was 6 months old. Then I thought it was out of habit that she would wake us up during the night. However what I realized is that she snored and her snoring was waking her up.

Once I gave her a supplement to help with her immune system, one week later she was sleeping through the night 99% of the time. I know this may seem unrealistic, but it really did happen that way and in that amount of time. I remember as I was sleep deprived.

So your 2 year old may be apprehensive about the new baby coming, but how his immune system? How often does he get sick? And with both of you working maybe he just needs to feel more secure? There is a sound machine that plays different soothing sounds and music. Have you heard of it? That may help too. Also, in his daycare maybe the naptime could be reduced.

Hope this information helps. It is not good for anyone to be sleep deprived.

I feel tired just reading your post, you must be sleep walking all day! I know there is a sleep organisation here in Australia where you can pay for someone to come to your house for 3 nights. Night 1: they observe your routine Night 2: They take charge and get your child to bed according to their methods and Night 3: They watch and guide as you get your own child to sleep. I would be calling these people ASAP. Google baby sleep consultants maybe? Good luck!

I so feel for you. I had similar sleep issues but my son would vomit if we let him cry. I was told to for the first two nights sit at his bed and put my hand on his back. Then slowly move out of the room each night. So the next night be 2 feet away from the bed until he goes to sleep and eventually work your way out of the room. Another suggestion is to give him something with your scent on it. Sleep with a blanket and give it to him. There is a program through Oakland Family Services called Fussy baby. They work with you on this type of stuff. It's free too. This is where I got these strategies. Good luck :)

Hi H.

I am still amazed at myself when my 2 yr old (on 12/4) goes through a "bad-sleep" period . It has happened a small handfull of times in her otherwise great-sleeper little life...but every time it does, I seem to forget what should be obvious to ME (because it has already happened before ;)....and that it ALWAYS ends up being related to pain/discomfort.
In the handful of times we have struggled from days/weeks with getting up several times a night, she has had canker sores (she happens to get bad mouth sores sometimes when she cuts a tooth, and that often is worse for her than the tooth), and other times she has ended up having an ear infection.
I would take your son to the doctor and get his ears checked. I can't tell you how many times (with all three of my kids when they were little) I would take them into the dr. and find that their ears were clear...only to find days/week(s) later it finally showed up. Has he cut all of his 2 yr molars? Those could be causing pain. Does he sleep longer (before waking) with motrin? If so, that could be an indicator of ear/mouth pain. If not, he may have tummy pain from something he is eating and not tolerating well (my 8 yr old daughter found out last year her tummy aches were from a high sensitivity to wheat, dairy and eggs!!)
If you check him out for ears, mouth and (if you have a doctor who will do it with blood test) food sensitivities an d it all checks out as normal---and he is still not sleeping---it may be a strong-willed-normal-2/half yr old habit that you need to brerak for him. We had to let our little girl cry it out 2 nights ago because there was no good reason for her to be getting up several times (just had her ears re-checked from old ear infection, no mouth sores, no tummy ache---she actually talks to us now which is great---and no other discomforts...). She is now sleeping throught the night again. And if you do determine he is in no pain/discomfort, you are going to want to let him cry it out before the baby arrives.
One last thought, you may try to figure out if his pj's are bothering him or something about his bed?
I hope you can figure it out soon!

could he be teething? Acid Reflux?

Can he tell you if something hurts?

I see you are a teacher, is he in daycare? Could you talk about his daycare schedule perhaps he's taking a late nap that needs to be nipped in the bud.

I have children who are difficult to get to sleep...they have weird brain chemistry (ADHD, AUTISM, ASPERGER) we use a natural sleep supplement that is safe to use in small children because it is a compound that our bodies make naturally. It's called Melatonin it comes in both tablet and liquid form. Of course talk to your Dr. before using it, but it is generally considered a better alternative to hours and hours of crying. You start them out on .5-1mg 30 minutes before bed and bump it up each night until they are falling asleep easily keep it at that dosage for about a week then start weaning it down until you are at the lowest dose that will conk them out at a reasonable time. The theory with this method is that it will trigger the brain to make more melatonin as you wean them down.

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