Attachment Parenting

Trying not to CIO

I'm going to try to keep this short; DD is 14 mos now. We had a co-sleeper when DD was under 6 mos, then moved to co-sleeping with her in our bed. We then downsized to a queen bed and needed to move her to her own crib/mattress about 8 months ago. It seemed to go OK at first, but for the last 5 months, it's been pretty bad, no matter where she sleeps (our bed, her crib, a separate mattress).

We're trying to avoid CIO at all costs. We have a bed time routine (playtime, bath, little massage/get PJs on, read a book, then bottle and bed) but it doesn't seem to be working anymore. Instead of getting sleepy, she just seems to get more amped up before bedtime. It is now taking 45min - 1hr of parenting her to sleep to get her to actually go to sleep; during that time, she isn't crying (unless we physically make her lay down) but she's waving her paci around, kicking her legs, wanting to walk around her bed, and generally acting not tired. We've tried moving her bed time earlier and later, neither of which seems to help (we're currently trying to get her down between 7:00-7:30pm). She doesn't like to be covered, she doesn't want a lovie (throws them out of her bed), and we already keep the room dark with a sound machine on. We've tried putting her to sleep in her crib in her room, in our bed with us, and with her crib mattress on the floor of our room, next to our bed - she is still up 5-7x/night. She tosses and turns constantly (often ends up sleeping perpendicular to DH and I when she sleeps in the bed with us) and can't put herself back to sleep when she wakes up. I can usually get her to go back to sleep on her mattress the first 2-3 wakings, but after that, she cries until I bring her into the bed with us. If bringing her to bed would get us all a good night of sleep, we'd happily do that, but even after she comes to bed, she wakes up crying because of the tossing/turning, she has lost her paci, she just wants to be awake and crawl around, etc.

It is getting to the point now that she wakes up at 6am, has breakfast and is only awake for another hour before she crashes for a 2-3 hour nap in the morning because she is so tired from lack of sleep at night. Clearly this isn't working for her and I'm going to be starting work again soon. She looks exhausted every morning (not to mention that DH and I are both feeling the effects of constantly interrupted sleep for the last 5 months) but I don't know what else to do. I do know that some nights have been interrupted by teething, but we can generally tell the difference (crying on a regular night vs waking up screaming, refusing paci, holding her mouth when she's teething) when it's a physical issue.

Suggestions please??? 

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Re: Trying not to CIO

  • I should add that we desperately, desperately do not want to CIO, but I'm beginning to worry that this type of interrupted sleep is starting to/going to affect her health, given that she is now taking such an early morning nap to catch up on sleep... 
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  • I'll try to respond in more detail later, but you might try not doing a bath before bed.  It just amps some kids up.
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  • What is working for us is the opposite of all of the "bedtime routine" stuff.  Rather than calming activities, the time after dinner is now a free-for-all of toddler insanity.  He runs in circles, we do jumping jacks and leapfrog, wrestling, tickling, we yell loud and get about as raucus as we can.  When he stops, I rev him up some more, until he's exhausted and *asks* for ny-night.  Then (yeah, I know), we watch one 8 minute episode of Thomas and Friends on the couch, he snuggles up, and we move to his bed.  He passes out in about 3 minutes flat.

    It's hard, because honestly at night both DH and I just want to relax, but it was turning into exactly what you describe.  I think what he was craving in the long bedtime struggle was PLAY with mommy - kicking, wiggling, etc.  So, we give him play, and then, he sleeps. 

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  • Oh - re: nightwakings, have you checked out Dr Jay Gordon?  Sounds like she has some sort of sleep association.  His article http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html directly addresses nursing as that association, but it works for anything.  If you're not nursing you can skip to the "second 3 nights."
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  • I second the bath thing. DS can't have a bath within a few hours of bed or it is all over. Oddly enough, he can have one before naptime with no problems.

    We were in the same boat at your LO's age. It gets better with time, but we still spend 45 min to an hour in his room putting him to sleep most nights, and he still wakes 1-3 times a night. He seems to be doing fine with that sleep schedule...we aren't. 

    We just bought the No Cry Toddler Sleep Solution. Hoping it helps some. Also, pp, I'm going to try the rev up thing tomorrow and see if that works for our little madman!

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  • have you ruled out any medical issues, such as acid reflux, etc?
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