Author Topic: 22 months... ew, bedtime tantrums, the works!  (Read 456 times)

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Offline Abbyw

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22 months... ew, bedtime tantrums, the works!
« on: November 13, 2018, 02:39:28 am »
Hi there,
Very tired and desperate mom here...
My 22 month old, who is usually a champion sleeper, has started acting up. I just had my second 4 weeks ago and although I'm trying to maintain as much stability for #1, obviously my attention has been divided.

#1 had started acting up with EW, at about 5 every morning. Ahe used to play in bed when waking early but now cries and cries until we take her out.
We resorted to bringing in our duvet and pillow and going to sleep on the floor in her room, which kept her quiet but didnt get her back to sleep.
She also started waking up in middle of the night, crying inconsolably.
And tonight cried in her bed for half an hour when I out her to bed. I did WI/WO which only made her cry more each time I left the room. Finally she went to sleep when I stayed in the room a little while, but she kept looking around to make sure I was still there.

I've tried w2s, maybe not for enough consistent days to help... but I'm at my wits end  :'(
I also tried capping her nap at playgroup from 2.5 to 2 hours, to no avail.
I know she's going through a difficult transition with the new baby but I only have so much energy. My husband and I are falling apart from lack of sleep.

Am I doing WI/WO incorrectly? Or should I do the gradual withdrawal method?
Her behavior during the day as also become so bratty, she yells "no" at me and everyone else, and learned how to hit from a kid at playgroup.
Wondering where my friendly darling little girl has gone and if I'll ever see her again!!
Any help would be appreciated

Offline Katet

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Re: 22 months... ew, bedtime tantrums, the works!
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2018, 05:28:40 am »
My eldest was almost 22months old when my youngest was born & it was a hard time. The older child sees that someone responds to the baby crying, so they know it works & as they don't have advanced thinking their immediate response to any stress is crying "no" or hitting ( a fight/flight response, which is actually more innate than learned).

You probably don't want to hear this but it's all pretty normal for them to be completely out of sorts, the 6 week point was the peak with us & then it slowly got a bit less of a challenge.

If you look at it from the perspective of the toddler, their life has been turned upside down, they were the centre of the universe & now they have to share it & so for example at the end of the day they grab at what they can... my DS1 was alway much much worse on the one day he went t daycare (we dropped the other days because I was on Maternity leave) as he'd already been deprived of my company & love & then he had to contend with a baby taking me away. He settled down when he decided that Daddy was his person of choice, but boy that made it hard when DH wasn't home at bedtime.

Just out of interest, what was the pattern of events when you had the NB, did you leave in the middle of the night & she woke with someone else there as that is a common reason for major issues with night sleep. Also if the baby is sleeping in your bedroom with you that can cause them to feel like "why am I on my own" feelings too.

  There is definitely lighter sleep cycles in the early hours of the morning so it's not uncommon for toddlers to be early risers, sometimes a later bedtime or later nap can help shift the wake up later. 

Given that she's struggling with you leaving gradual withdrawral is probably best... I will admit we ended up with setting up DS1's room with a bed so DH or I could sleep in there as needed as it simply was what worked we were both too tired to worry about it being a "bad habit" & over time we got improvement.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2018, 05:16:07 am by Katet »
dc1 July 03, dc2 May 05

Offline Abbyw

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Re: 22 months... ew, bedtime tantrums, the works!
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2018, 03:05:48 am »
Thank you so much for your response!

Last night my toddler woke up at 3:15 a.m., she had opened her bottle and gotten everything in her crib wet. After I changed her and put her back to bed she didn't let me leave the room. Finally I lay down with my pillow and blanket on the floor, but she lay in bed talking and singing. After a while I gave up and went back to my bed. She started crying again... this time DH went to sleep on the floor in her room. She was awake for almost an hour and a half until she finally fell asleep. She was up again at 6:15, but went back to sleep for another hour or so.

I would think she was exhausted, but tonight she gave me a hard time at bedtime again! I'm at my wits end, with the nb I'm not able to just hang out in her room for 45 minutes until she falls asleep! Especially since I used to give her a bottle and just walk out. She usually falls asleep within minutes!

Should I perhaps ask her playgroup teacher to cap her nap at 1.5 hours? Put her to bed earlier? Later?

Offline Katet

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Re: 22 months... ew, bedtime tantrums, the works!
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2018, 05:24:42 am »
At 22months old the total sleep in 24 hours would be about 12-13 hours.

I know wiith my DS1 his was about 13 hours  His routine was something like
Wake 6.30am
Nap 12.00- 2.30pm
Asleep by 8pm

With my DS2 who was LSN he slept about 11.5 hours at 2yo & his routine was more like
Wake 5.30am (about once a week we'd get a 6.30 morning)
Nap 12.30pm- 2pm
Sleep 7.30pm 

So it's hard to say if you should have a longer nap or a shorter one or change bedtime because they are all different.


Last night my toddler woke up at 3:15 a.m., she had opened her bottle and gotten everything in her crib wet. After I changed her and put her back to bed she didn't let me leave the room. Finally I lay down with my pillow and blanket on the floor, but she lay in bed talking and singing. After a while I gave up and went back to my bed. She started crying again... this time DH went to sleep on the floor in her room. She was awake for almost an hour and a half until she finally fell asleep.

This sounds to me a bit like there is more at play than just her sleep routine, as a lot can depend on the events that occur when the baby eg a Separation Anxiety issue or a trauma issue (waking up to find no parent at home because the baby is being born can be a cause of trauma) & they can't easily be fixed by changing a sleep routine. Things that worry us almost always come to a head in the middle of the night & that's the same for toddlers and people of all ages. So the fact she was a good sleeper & now isn't with the baby makes me think it's less a routine, but more about something associated with the changes from having a sibling born.

dc1 July 03, dc2 May 05

Offline Abbyw

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Re: 22 months... ew, bedtime tantrums, the works!
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2018, 12:47:08 pm »
I agree! Its definitely related to the new sibling!
so next steps:
Do I need to sleep in her room all night? Or just until she falls asleep?
What about the nw?
Where can I find the exact step by step for gradual withdrawal?
Thank you so so much for your help!
« Last Edit: November 16, 2018, 12:50:31 pm by Abbyw »

Offline Katet

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Re: 22 months... ew, bedtime tantrums, the works!
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2018, 09:55:31 am »
Where can I find the exact step by step for gradual withdrawal?

There really aren't exact steps to GW, it's very child dependent, the idea is that you follow your child's responses to each step to remove yourself. You might sit patting them on their body for 3 days or 10 days & then they get to the point that it doesn't take long, so you just leave your hand on them for 2 seconds & then take it off for 10 seconds & repeat etc or it might be just your voice that is needed to comfort them. The idea is that as you take a step closer to removing yourself they don't get upset. 


Do I need to sleep in her room all night? Or just until she falls asleep?
What about the nw?

To be honest, a lot would depend on the "reason",
 if it's just because she's got a bit of sibling jealousy then some of it won't even be about what happens at bedtime, but about how you "fill her cup" in the day. Often the attention we give them can be "non filling" & so they get our time, but it doesn't make them feel their "cup is full" eg my boys, one liked you to play with him eg build a tower, the other liked to cuddle & have stories, I'd do both with both BUT they needed the time on what was special to them or they were more demanding of my time at another time (like bedtime)
If the reason is SA related & say you put her to bed at night, but when she woke in the morning it was Grandparents because you were at the hospital having a baby, then it's about building up trust that you will be there for her when she wakes & you won't just "disappear" again.
Or if the reason is she is aware the baby sleeps in your room & she is all alone then it's a different challenge.

In terms of do you need to sleep all night or just until falling asleep, really it's about how much sleep you get/want & balancing her needs... unfortunately it's always a mix as to what will work for each child.  As a very real example. I was almost 5yo (& I remember this still) and I woke up in a storm, I shared a bedroom with my 2yo sister, but she wasn't in the room with me when I woke, I couldn't find my parents in their bedroom (next door). but my brother was in his room (fast asleep) & I went to the living room & my parents weren't there, I started to get really upset. A few minutes later my Dad walked back into the house, he'd been helping my Mum put my sister in the car as she was taking her to Hospital as my sister had really bad Croup... those 5-10 mins of not being able to find any adult in the house really upset me... I spent  A LOT of nights sleeping on the floor of my parents room until I felt safe again... I was 5yo & it could be explained to me, so Mum being missing because of a baby being born are much harder to explain to a 22mo.

dc1 July 03, dc2 May 05

Offline Abbyw

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Re: 22 months... ew, bedtime tantrums, the works!
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2018, 00:09:44 am »
So for now she's happy if someone is in the room with her. She'll lie in her crib and sing to herself until she falls asleep but she'll pop up to check every now and then to make sure I'm still there.
Where it used to take her a few minutes to fall asleep, it's taking much longer now :( and if she notices that I've stepped out, she'll pop up and call for me.
For now I'm working on moving the chair closer to the door every few days.

I also tried w2s... for her EW (5:15ish) but when I go in to her room as about 4, she wakes up completely and will lie awake for over an hour. On some nights I suspect she doesnt fall back asleep at all (I cant be sure because I fall asleep) Last night I snuck out after an hour of sitting in her room and when she realized i was gone she called me back. DH took the shift and went to sleep on the floor in her room. She fell back asleep for a little bit but was up again regular time, a little after 7.

What am I doing wrong with the w2s that's causing her to wake up completely and stay awake for so long? I just cover her and give her a dummy.

Offline Abbyw

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Re: 22 months... ew, bedtime tantrums, the works!
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2018, 12:06:32 pm »
And last night she woke up (without w2s) at 315 am. I went in to her room and lay her down and she lay in her cot quietly for a while then cried again. This happened a few times till I went to sleep on the floor in her room. I dont think she fell back asleep all night. I need to get her to sleep... I cant take this much longer :'(

Offline Katet

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Re: 22 months... ew, bedtime tantrums, the works!
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2018, 21:04:44 pm »
and if she notices that I've stepped out, she'll pop up and call for me.

Do you tell her you are leaving? It really sounds like she needs reassurance that someone is there for her & to build trust that her needs are met - pretty normal with the introduction of a sibling. It's really important to not try & sneak out of any situation - even if it makes it easier for you in the short term it will make it much harder with situations like at night.

I don't think this is a routine problem, more about SA, but if she isn't getting enough activity in the day it could impact her need for night sleep.
 What is her daily routine like, is she at home with you? How much physical activity does she get?  Can you describe a typical day (weekday/weekend if they are a lot different)
dc1 July 03, dc2 May 05

Offline Abbyw

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Re: 22 months... ew, bedtime tantrums, the works!
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2018, 11:42:35 am »
Thank you again for your help!
Things are much better now. Started doing WI/WO and now she whines a little at bedtime and sometimes not at all! We even had a couple of nights that she slept through.
Since this all began we started leaving a night light on and her bedroom door open and she seems ok with that.
Now, however, she started with NW again. Last night she went to sleep so nicely, but from 1 am, woke up more times than I can count. We go in to her, lay her down, give her a dummy and she cooperates without crying... but she's still waking up so much!
Do we simply need to ride this out as well, or are there steps we can take to get her to sleep through again?