SLEEP => Sleeping For Toddlers => Topic started by: Florencia on July 03, 2006, 20:22:06 pm

Title: Most common toddler sleep busters
Post by: Florencia on July 03, 2006, 20:22:06 pm
Once your toddler is sleep training and sleeping through on a regular basis and having normal naps, some events may occur that can disrupt his/her sleep and cause troubles like night wakings, early mornings, nap shortening (or all of them).

1. Teething: Around 13-15 months old, the 4 first year molars start to pop in. It might take some time (even a couple of months) for them to break out the gums or even see a white bump, but the gum is harder than usual (if your child ever lets you sneak your finger in ::)), it's red and the skin is tight. Some toddlers are perfectly happy and fine during the day (perhaps they droll a bit but not as noticeably as when teething their first 4 teeth) but it's at nightime or nap time when they wake hysterically crying, and the waking can last for hours. Most moms report this events as "Nothing settles him/her". It is very importat to be aware of this kind of pain because given the lack of cues and the lenght of the process, accidental parenting can occur. Many parents who see this wild crying raising out of the blue, restort to breast/bottle feeding in the middle of the night, taking the child to their bed, rocking them for hours... which might work for a couple of nights but then it backfires and everything stops working. Some of this discomfort might be eased with the correct prescription for pain aids (always checking with the pediatrician fist) . Homeopatical remedies are also a good alternative or complement to this.

2. Illness: Be it a cold, an ear infection, a virus, or a gastrointestinal bacteria, illnesses and pain/discomfort associated with them can prevent toddlers from deep sleep. During the illness, the advice is not trying any sleep training techinque and wait for at least a couple of weeks after the illness is clear to start. This doesn't mean the only way to deal with sleep disturbances while the child is ill is accidental parenting. There are a lot of options like pain meds, elevating the mattress, using an humidifier (when it is a cold or an ear infection), the use of probiotics (to prevent diahrrea), a soft diet, low key activities during awake time (suspending classes like swimming or gymboree or even family events with many people around), and Gradual Withdrawal appears to be the right choice when Separation Anxiety comes to top the rest of discomforts. Even after the illness is cleared, toddler might find hard to get back on track for the following 2 weeks. Consistancy and the right pain medication is almost always the best way out of a bumpy road.

3. Separation Anxiety: even when it has been beated in the past, there are random events during toddlerhood (a particulary crowded or stressing family meet up, a fight/argument of mom and dad, the arrival of a new sibling, etc) and this can cause night wakings, extra clingyness at bedtime and short naps, mostly. It is adviced to listen and observe before "rescuing" the crying todder, talk to him /her during day time and for older toddlers, the reward method is a succesful one.

4. Developmental /reaching milestones: Walking, Standing, Running, Talking, Understanding are all challenging milestones that are reached during toddlerhood and overwhelm the toddler with excitement, anguish and energy all at once. Of course, this might result in some earlier than usual mornings and night wakings. Toddler wants to be awake so s/he won't miss any of the excitement around!!. It is recommendable to try longer than usual winddowns when this happens, and deal with toddler pd or wi/wo for night wakings. Also, as in every other challenge, consistancy is the key to success. Try to stick to your regular routine and schedule as much as possible.

5. Switching from 2 to 1 nap: As young as 11 months, some toddlers start showing signs of the need to switch to one nap a day. This signs include early wakings during mornings, refusal to go down for either of the 2 naps (most commonly the afternoon one), shorter naps, night wakings and on the odd days they do take both naps, reluctancy to go down for bedtime. Depending on toddler's temperament and moms needs, the most usual advice is to switch to one nap by extending the awake time in the morning through some snacks and very low key activities (to prevent from overtiredness) and try to place the nap around noon. On days this nap is short and ends up before 3 PM bedtime should be earlier than 730 PM. During the whole process (which can be slow and have setbacks) early bedtime is adviced and also a catnap during early morning (no longer than 30 min) might help as well.

It is important to remember that all the above is written taking on account that the toddler was already sleep trained by toddlerhood and sleeping through on a consistant basis. It is also important to remember that there is no "receipe" to deal with each challenge and these are only guidelines that most parents have faced but it is very useful for the troubled dad/mom to post on their particular case to find personalized advice and to keep track on their progress. Sometimes sleep deprivation makes us appreciate things worse than they really are so keeping a cyber log helps us get back on track quicker.