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Old 03-05-2010, 08:50 AM   #1
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Exclamation PLEASE help--toddler won't sleep

I would love and appreciate ANY advice anyone can give me here. I'll put the most important info in bold for those who don't have time to read the whole thing!

I am 23-weeks pregnant, work FT, and have a 16-month-old that is still not sleeping through the night. We bed shared with her until she easily transitioned to her own room and crib at 11 months. No matter the situation, the girl won't sleep through the night. She's only done it a handful of times, starting maybe 12 weeks ago. She's been getting worse the last few weeks and has ended up in our bed every night. That's fine, but I don't sleep and I really, really need sleep at this point.

I have "weaned" her from nursing at night, for maybe a month or more now. She still lets me know that she wants to nurse when she gets up, but she usually accepts my "in the morning" answer with only a little resistance.

We have a bed time routine including me rocking her to sleep (or close to) with a fan and baby moniter on in her room. She doesn't have black out curtains so there is a small amount of light coming into the room. I've tried getting her to take a "lovie" toy but she generally refuses.

If DH gets up with her or if we let her "cry it out", she will cry for an hour (that's the longest we've let it go on). If she has me, she's all okay as long as she can snuggle or just touch me somehow (after she gets over the nursing part). NOTE that we wait to see if she'll go back to sleep on her own before we go into her bedroom when she wakes up.

When she wakes up during the night, she drinks a TON of water from her sippy cup (over a cup throughout the night--and so we deal with soaked jammies and sheets on top of everything else). After she drinks, we snuggle or try to just put her right back down, but she won't stay asleep unless we are touching her (back, arm, holding her hand, etc.). This will literally go on for 2 hours.

I can't find much information online about sleep training and I'm not comfortable just letting her "cry it out" because it seems like she just needs to be near her mommy at night and since I'm not there during the day, I want to make sure she has the time with me that she needs...*sigh*

I'm getting barely any sleep and I'm a mess at this point. I need her to sleep through the night before this baby comes (17 weeks). Please, I am begging, if you have any advice, please let me know, or bump this thread so maybe someone else will see!


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Old 03-05-2010, 11:19 AM   #2
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Re: PLEASE help--toddler won't sleep

My daughter coslept until 18 mo. or 19. She woke alot. I got pregnant and transitioned her to her own bed. She still woke up alot. I was at that time sitting by her bed until she fell asleep. I read a book that said you have to teach them to fall asleep alone so that they will be able to fall back asleep on their own at night. I put her to bed the first night (a toddler bed) she got out of bed about 12 times in ten min. I just kept putting her back. Then she went to sleep. This pattern kept up for about 3 nights. Now she either sleeps through the night or wakes once or twice. When she wakes up I just tuck her back in. It's a little different in a crib I guess. I would probably try going in and tucking her in, giving her a pat on the back, etc. Sleep is important for you right now. I hope my experience helps some.
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:16 PM   #3
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Re: PLEASE help--toddler won't sleep

Thank you, it does help. I've been trying lately to tell her to go to sleep rather than to keep touching her--with you mentioning teaching her to fall asleep on her own gives me renewed strength to keep it up. :-)

Do you think changing her crib into a toddler bed would be better? Then I could actually reach her instead of trying to lean over a rail that I can't actually do. Maybe then she'd also feel more in control because she could leave if she wanted to? Or would this be a bad idea because then she could get out all of the time...?
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:54 PM   #4
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Re: PLEASE help--toddler won't sleep

I don't know if this will make it any easier or not, just throwing out a suggestion here.
Since she seems to want to touch you all night, perhaps side carring the crib might be a good idea? That way she can sleep in her own space but still reach out a hand and touch you.
We started transitioning both of our youngest this way. We found that it worked best for Daddy to go put them in their bed and help them fall asleep on their own. He would put them or tell them to go get in their bed (crib sidecarred) and then sit on our bed. After a while, it got so that he could put them on our bed, tell them to go to their bed and they would crawl over there and settle down on their own. There might have been some fussing, but no outright crying. When they woke up in the middle of the night, I could reach out and rub their back, hold their hand, etc.
DS2 is 20 months right now and the crib is away from our bed, and set up like a toddler bed. He goes to bed ok, but if he is there too long and doesn't fall asleep, he'll come looking for us. We just redo our routine (water, monkey/lovey, blanket, kisses, sing) and he settles down again. Sometimes we have to do it 2-3 times per night before he will settle, but he does settle and he does it on his own. Also, if he is upset and tells us "no" we don't push our comforting on him. (He's odd that he really needs an absence of physical stimulation in order to sleep.)
If he wakes up in the night, we let him know that we are there and that it is still time to sleep. Sometimes he seriously complains. One night he got out of bed, but we put him back in. We DO have a special snuggle time for him to come to our bed and nurse first thing in the morning. Since he can't tell time, we turn a little light on and tell him, "The light is on, you can come snuggle and nurse now."
By 2 my LOs could sleep through the night (i.e. from when their bed time was all the way to when up for the day was).

Here's another random thought-Could she be getting eyeteeth or something and it making it harder for her to sleep? Those teeth were the worst for my DS2. And presently he seems to be chewing on his fingers way back in the back of his mouth. IT seems early for 2yr molars, but it seems to be an issue right now.
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:09 PM   #5
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Re: PLEASE help--toddler won't sleep

there is a method out there that would work for you, but I completely forgot what it's called. I wish I could remember it! sorry It deals with kids who need to be in physical contact with a parent in order to sleep. I remember seeing a video where the father (in this case) had to sit by the child's bed with his hand on her chest in order for her to fall asleep. When she fell asleep, he'd remove it. If she woke, he'd have to do the routine over again. I don't remember what the method entailed... I think it had something to do with how long and how much "touch" (first full hand on chest, then hand on arm, then finger on finger, etc.) you used every night, so you ease them out of it. It sounded like it was time consuming at first, but worth it if it worked.

The other thing you can do is to check up on her when she cries but change the response time. First night, immediately, second night let her cry one minute before going in, 3rd night 2 minutes, etc. you can increase the times by 2 or 3 minutes instead.

I also like the idea of bringing the crib closer to your bed, so that you don't physically have to get up, but that she doesn't need to sleep in your bed either.

good luck!
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