Suggestions on how to help a toddler sleep independent... - NCT

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Suggestions on how to help a toddler sleep independently?

Kata89 profile image

We are struggling with our daughters sleep habits. She’s 21 months and has some ingrained sleep habits that I believe stem back to when she was a new born. This is quite long as added some background, skip to the last two paragraphs for the crux of the problem.

She suffered quite badly with reflux as a new born. She was diagnosed and prescribed ranitidine at about 10 weeks old, as well as that she’d comfort feed all night so ended up co-sleeping for most of her first 7/8 months of life.

At around 8 months I stared to be able to get her into her cot. She’d feed to fall asleep then I’d manage to get her into her cot in her own room. She’d then wake up once or twice feed back to sleep and then back in her own cot, sometimes into our bed depending on how much she’d been awake during the night. She wouldn’t go to sleep by herself, she’d be hysterical and trying to get out of the cot if put down alone.

She weaned herself at 17 months following our concerting the cot as a result of her not going down and my being up for four hours a night trying to get her back to sleep then down.

We’re not at the point that she will cuddle up in bed with me, or I’m not home her dad, and a 10oz bottle. If I’m home and her dad takes her to bed or if I put her down alone she will break down and we have uncontrollable crying.

Her routine always consists of bath, books then bed. Usually starting at 6:45/7. We struggle to start earlier as we both work and have our dinner before starting this routine. I’m regularly with her until 9pm.

I have no idea how to break this, any suggestions would be amazing!

9 Replies

When we stopped dummy at 18 months my LG would not settle by herself so we would sit with her until she went to sleep otherwise she would scream the place down. Sometimes up to an hour which drove me mad as had tea on the go etc.

One night (around 22 months) I just decided we need to nip it in the bud and literally told her we were going to have dinner and went into the living room. She was in and out of bed like a yo yo and crying but just kept putting her back to bed and telling her she needed to stay in bed and that we would check on her in 2 mins. After about 2 hours she went to sleep and that literally only happened that night.

I think the key was just reassuring her that we would be coming back to check on her and praised her every time we went in because she had stayed in bed.

Was such a relief when we did it I wish we had done it earlier. She does still have a bottle before bed as well so we just say good night again when she finishes it and she goes off by herself xx

Kata89 profile image
Kata89 in reply to

I think that’s the key in all honesty. It’s hard, I’m literally lying in her bed with her at the moment. I tried to sit next to her bed last night and she started getting increasingly worked up and was patting the bed for me to get in. She was also in and out of bed for cuddles, me putting her back in, honestly gets silly but she’s in such a rut it’s hard to move on from it.

We’re in a much better position than 6 months ago but still not where I want us to be.

Thank you for your response, basically telling me what I already know just haven’t got the heart to push through yet: going to have to soon though

in reply to Kata89

It is frustrating and I was dreading doing it but I just got so fed up one night I just decided to. Best thing we did but obviously i get every child is different and might not be so easy. She’s very good at adapting.

They just need a lot of reassuring that we aren’t just going to desert them. Also when we stated doing it she was asleep within 1/2 hour rather than the 1-2 hours later.

There is no rush to do it at the end of the day and totally down to you and your sanity just be prepared for potentially a few hard evenings before she gets that you aren’t going to be sitting with her.

We have just started bedtime at 6.30 as she isn’t having a day time nap and we don’t know what to do with ourselves in the evening 😂 can’t win.

Good luck when you decide to do it xx

We had this with our toddler he never slept well from being a newborn he had reflux as well. It got to when he was around 18 months and we were exhausted had to keep sitting with him until asleep then creeping out the room. If he wasn’t asleep would cry and then process would start again. He then use to wake up an hour later was a nightmare. In the end we just use to get him settled with bed time routine. Say goodnight and leave him to settle he would cry and we just kept going to check on him every 5 minutes until he went to sleep. It took few nights then he just went to sleep on his own without crying.

Kata89 profile image
Kata89 in reply to Lbel00

Thank you. I think I’ll just have to bite the bullet and give it a go. Probably give me a few days to non working ones and give myself and my partner time to get ready for it.

Hi, my baby is only 8 months old, so it might be different, but since I went to a sleep consultant, I found out that the wake times were too short for our age. If you look up the norms, you would find that at almost 2 years old that norms are: 1 day nap, 4,5-6 hours awake in-between naps and this means, going to sleep at 7 pm is waaaay to early for your baby. That is my guess, she has not been awake enough and she doesn't want to sleep just yet. At your age the baby can sleep 9 hours at night and that could be ok. Otherwise she might go to sleep, but either wake up at 5 am, or stay awake for 2-3 hours in the middle of the night to compensate for that. Try reading the tiredness cues and gently stretching wake times and fitting in one nap.

And about the routine: bathing can oftentimes stress the baby or make them too active, so the consultant advised to bathe outside the nighttime routine. Instead try relaxing activities in the quiet portion of wake time: watching the washing machine, painting, sort some beans or cereal, some sensory toys, looking at the rain, a sleepy book, projector with stars on the ceiling etc.

Kata89 profile image
Kata89 in reply to Katja123

Thanks that’s actually really useful. Tired queues aren’t an issue, we have them down, but unfortunately even when she’s tired I struggle to leave her. I’ll look up more about this though. Thank you.

Kata89 profile image
Kata89 in reply to Katja123

thank you! Honestly had something to think about and I’ve realised that my wanting my baby to sleep from 7pm when she’s woke up at 8am then had a decent nap wasn’t going to work. Keep thinking young children need to be asleep by 7 but most wake at ungodly hours, mine doesn’t. That’s where I’m going wrong!!!

I decided to try and avoid getting into bed with her last night. It was far smoother than I anticipated. Let her stay up longer as she wasn’t tired (I’ve realised I’ve aimed to get a routine as we’re constantly told that’s important and forcing her to sleep too early). She wriggled out of bed into my lap/cried and wasn’t happy about it but did not cry as if I’d wronged her in a huge way. She woke in the night and was back asleep within half an hour, I just sat next to her. She woke at 8 this morning (completely normal for her). This evening not quite as the night before, we played quietly in her room, bath about 8 then read books. When she gave her tired queues we turned the white noise on and lights off. She got into bed and lay down no fuss!!!! Took a while to get to sleep but she did it by herself.

Going to try and make sure we stick to this and also bring her waking time earlier (I’m probably one a few parents saying this) so she’s then going to bed and sleep earlier. Going to get a gro clock to help her, I think.

Thank you for the it’s hard just do it messages- they are valuable. And Katja thank you for making me realise that actually I probably aught change her routine to suit her then adjust it from waking up in the morning.

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