K.T. asks from Lookout Mountain, GA on October 25, 2009
Sleep Issues with 2.5 Year Old
I'm feeling desperate. My two-and-a-half year old is waking many times at night and I don't know how to help her...or me! I am having a really hard time because I'm so tired, frustrated...just don't know what to do. When my kids were babies, I had them on a good routine and they slept through the night at 5.5 weeks (DD) and 12 weeks (DS). Now they're 2.5 and 14 months. Overall, they have been good sleepers, and my son still sleeps just fine at night and through his naps. But my DD wakes multiple times and cries, whines, and sometimes yells until I come in. I am not opposed to letting her cry it out, especially since she no longer seems to have wet diapers at night and I can tell the difference between complaining cries and serious, Mommy-I-need-you cries. She tends to have bad dreams sometimes, and of course I want to go in and comfort her. But I feel like she's lost the ability to put herself back to sleep, which she had when she was a baby! I even got her a nightlight of a moon that turns into a sun when it's time to get up, but it hasn't helped.
Please let me know what, if anything, has worked for you in this situation. I tried giving her a couple of "call mommy" cards and rewarded her with a sticker for any leftover cards in the morning. (It worked one night.) I feel like I'm at my wits' end and would really appreciate advice.
So What Happened?™
My daughter is now three and this has been a long battle, but we are finally seeing improvement. In the months after October the issue escalated until I was dealing with 2-3 screaming tantrums each night, in addition to the normal waking problem. It was hard. We had about two months of that several times each week. But recently, it's gotten a lot better. For one thing, it seemed that I was dealing with a combination of night terrors (when going in or waking her just made it worse) and tantrums (when going in just fed the need for attention). I pray for her a lot, especially before I go in if she has called me for a while. I remind myself that she belongs to the Lord and he will help both of us get through this--that has helped a lot with my anger in the face of feeling helpless and exhausted. Mostly I am just letting it go, and it seems to work pretty well. I was up once last night for what seemed like a bad dream, and it took maybe ten minutes to settle her in, not give in to her request for middle-of-the-night stories, hold her, tuck her back in, and say goodnight. I am very grateful that our situation has improved, and think I should have made it a policy not to go in no matter what about 10 months ago. Still not sure. I hope my struggle with this helps someone, or at least lets them know they are not alone.
I did try Melatonin and it seemed to make DD's nightmares worse, so I discontinued it. I know others who have had wonderful success with it.
Thanks for the responses; I love this forum.
T.S. answers from Memphis on October 26, 2009
Is there any chance that your daughter is teething? Maybe getting some molars? I have a 14 month old working on her top front teeth (she is a late/slow teether) and she has always had a horrible time with teething pain. It's been keeping her up more than usual for the past few nights.
However, on nights when teething is not an issue, we have been using Dr. Jay Gordon's sleep solution with great success. It is a gentle, no-cry solution for helping toddlers sleep through the night, or at least wake up significantly less overnight. It is designed to work over a period of 9 consecutive nights (divided into 3 sections), but may take longer depending on the child. Here's a link to the article: http://www.drjaygordon.com/development/ap/sleep.asp
I hope you find this as helpful as I have!!
1 mom found this helpful
E.E. answers from Raleigh on October 26, 2009
I've been having the same issue with my 2.75 year old little girl.
I am not sure but I believe that it is her toddler bed. It is small and since it's not encased in fabric, it's plastic which seems 'crunchy' and cold, even with a very thick mattress pad and 2 crib sheets.
I am in need of a new twin mattress (already have the twin box springs), and I hope that will help keep our little girl in her own bed. (Although I may try the Meletonin too.)
We also have trouble getting her to sleep at night too, and she has allergies, so I don't feel guilty giving her a little Benedryl at night, which seems to shave about an hour off her "settle down" time.
I would try to let her cry it out (in some instances) but she shares a room with her 5 year old sister.
D.L. answers from Greensboro on October 26, 2009
I really understand. I've been dealing the same thing w/my 8 yr old girl. She also had a difficult time settleing down to sleep.
I have found a wonderful natural "cure". Melatonin. They sell it at the drug store in the vitamin section. I get the 3mg and cut it in half, grind it up with a pill grinder or the back of a spoon. I mix it in some yogurt, and give it to her about 1 hour to 30 min before her bed time. she goes to sleep and doesn't wake up until morning. There are no side effects since it is a natural thing your body makes any way. I also don't have a cranky child anymore.
Try it and see if it helps.
K.B. answers from Asheville on October 26, 2009
I am actually having the same problem with my 2.2 yo daughter. we did just move into a new house so I attributed it to that at first but it keeps happening. This may sound crazy but is it cool in the house at night? My husband keeps it pretty cool at night so I bought her fleece pjs zipped over her regular pjs and it seems to have helped. Wishing (and me) full night of sleep! Today I was awakened by the alarm instead of her!
R.F. answers from Raleigh on October 26, 2009
I have this issue from time to time with my almost 3 year old daughter. I start to notice a pattern after she has awakened for the 3rd night in a row. I go into her room and comfort her the first night. After that I stand at her door and talk to her instead of actually stepping into the room. I try to comfort without having direct contact with her. I may need to make a few trips, but I can usually break the pattern on that 3rd night. Good luck.