Frequent Night Waking — The Bump
Toddlers: 24 Months+

Frequent Night Waking

My two year old has been a champion sleeper basically her entire life, so I'm incredibly spoilt and kind of not sure how to handle this regression. For reference, she is not yet potty trained but we are starting soft and "going potty" is part of the bedtime ritual even though she wears a diaper to sleep. She has all of her molars and beside the occasional runny nose, in good health. We transitioned from a crib to a twin bed (mattress and box spring on the floor) a couple of months ago with no problems - even though she can get in and out of bed on her own, she never does at night. She naps at DC 1-2 hours, but at home on weekends, naps are usually 2-3 hours. 

Bedtime every night is 7:30, we have a tight ritual and yeah, she's started the bedtime fights that are standard (refusing to brush her teeth, not wanting to put on pjs, asking for one more story, etc) and will sometimes cry after we leave the room and close the door, but generally self-soothes and goes to sleep pretty quickly - she is just about never still awake after 8pm. We do let her have books in bed with her she can "read" to her bear (her lovey) which has helped bedtime a lot. Until the past couple of weeks, she's slept through the night waking between 7 and 7:30 in the morning. 

The past couple of weeks she has started waking up in the middle of the night once or twice - last night she woke up three times. She doesn't cry, she just calls "Mommy! Daddy!" over and over again, sometimes adding in a "Come here!" We wait a few minutes, usually going to the bathroom prior to going in to see what's going on, then one of us will go into her room where she will want to be tucked back in or ask to have her diaper changed (she'll ask for a new diaper regardless of the state of the diaper, last night she asked me to change a dry diaper). She has also asked for one of us to lie down with her a couple of times. 

I'm 6 months pregnant and it takes me forever to fall back asleep even when DH is the one who goes to see what's up, and if this keeps up, I will go crazy. 

I have some theories as to why this is going on - DH has been incredibly busy with work and has been out of town a lot this month for business trips. He is self-employed and him being busy is a good thing and not really optional right now. She also just transitioned into the 2-3 yr old room at DC from the baby/toddler room which might be a factor. 

We have told her that it is night time and that she doesn't need to sleep but she does need to be quiet and stay in her room when she wakes up. We have tried waiting longer and longer to go in to check on her (the longest we held out to far has been ~30 minutes when we finally caved). She's not crying, so it's not really a question of self-soothing and it feels weird to let her keep calling for us and to not answer those calls. When we go in to see her, she's never upset even so I don't think it's bad dreams. I just don't know what to do - I get that we have set a pattern but my only idea is to tell her at bedtime that we will not be coming in to see her gain until morning and then sticking to that... I'm just not sure that it will work and it just seems... cold. :( 

Any ideas or advice? 

Re: Frequent Night Waking

  • So, last night right before we turned out the lights (she turns off the light, then we tuck her in) I told her that if she woke up in the middle of the night that it was OK and she should tuck her bear back in and maybe read the bear a story but that Mommy would not see her again until the morning and.... it WORKED! She didn't call out once last night (even though I woke up at the two times she had been waking, just out of habit to listen and see if she was quiet, at least it was easier to fall back asleep!). This morning she was extra cuddly but seemed much less tired/cranky than she has been the past few mornings. 

    Hopefully it will keep working!
    [Deleted User]
  • I am so happy to see this post. I sympathize with you completely. My DS #1 is 2yrs old and has just recently started doing this. But, we also have DS #2 who is only 12 weeks old... We just got back from vacation (he slept perfect while we were away) but the second night after coming home he started this. And the same thing, "mommy, mommy, mommy..." It feels so strange not to go in to see what is wrong. But, I am often bf the baby so I can't go right in. I feel like I am neglecting him in some way, even though I know that isn't true. It is so hard. He doesn't usually cry either so I don't know what to do. I am saying almost the same things as you gals are. The last two nights he has done the mommy, mommy bit for about an hour and then gone to sleep for the night. I just want my great sleeper back! Before this happened, we used to be able to make tons of noise and go on life as normal after he went to bed, but now I find myself tiptoeing around because I don't want the mommy, mommy to start again... I just gave him his stuffed puppy in bed to be his "sleep friend" and that seems to have helped. He is still in his crib. I know one of his 2 year molars is starting to come in so I did give him some Advil and that also seemed to help. I am also wondering if it is a bit of jealousy because his younger brother needs me so much. Not sure. All I know is that I hope it is just a phase and that all of our children snap out of it quickly!!! All the best with your upcoming births! :)
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  •  I am also wondering if it is a bit of jealousy because his younger brother needs me so much. Not sure. All I know is that I hope it is just a phase and that all of our children snap out of it quickly!!! 
    I have heard from a lot of folks that a new sibling can lead to a sleep regression. I like to plan for the worst, so I'm already decided that we'll have to deal with more of this once the new baby comes. Hopefully it will be as easy as this time (she's still not calling out at night and was a champ through last night's 11 pm tornado warning induced trip to the basement). 

    How verbal is he? I think my trick only worked because DD is very verbal and I think she really understood me when I said that I would not be coming back until morning time. If he's more visual, maybe you could get one of those toddler alarm clocks that shows a night time scene until it's time to get up and then switches to day time and use that as a cue (like this:
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