Help! My kid is waking through the night again.

wake up mumAll parents say: once you have children you will never sleep again. And it pains me to say it but they are right. So. damn. right. Know it alls.

Once babies learn how to sleep through the night they apparently don’t stay sleeping through the night forever. Who knew?  I didn’t. I thought we did all that work teaching the little critter how to sleep so that this sort of crap wouldn’t happen but apparently it is a fool’s game. They do not stay sleeping through just because they could do it before the non compliant  little rascals. You can do all your fancy sleep training; do whatever damn technique you like because it won’t make any difference. Sometimes those damn kids just stop sleeping. Now I’m not talking about the odd night here and there where kiddo wakes up a few times because of teething or being too hot or cold or whatever. I’m talking about consistent waking up that goes on for nights on end that result in said child wanting to be in your bed.

Great.

Sorry if this sounds mean but I have no interest in having my kid in my bed. I just don’t. I have no idea why this is such an attractive option to the co-sleeping fans. I can only assume that their experience is far different to mine. On the occasions that my son does sleep in my bed he flails about and kicks me and whacks me in the head and almost always wakes before 6am. It doesn’t really seem to me that either of us is getting our best quality sleep when we share a bed.  So I would prefer he stays in his own. I have plenty of time available for cuddles during the 12 waking hours we spend together each day.

I willingly admit right here and now that I should never ever have done it. Letting him crash in my bed at any point was a big mistake. I have made a rod for my own back without a doubt but what’s done is done. Even though I have never had him in with me frequently it has happened often enough to create desire and the older he gets the more aware of that he is.

comfy bed

A real pillow and duvet so it’s just like mummy’s bed

Anyway we have tried a few things in an attempt to eliminate any issues. It is winter at the moment here so we have tried changing the bedding to be warmer in case he was cold and with a proper pillow and duvet so it’s more like mummy’s bed. That combined with the port-a-cot trick (putting the cot up in my room for him to sleep in instead when he wakes) worked for a few nights and I thought I”d nailed it. Big mistake. That’s Parenting 101 stuff right there. Never, ever, think you have nailed something when it comes to parenting as you are guaranteed to get the problem back but only bigger and better than it was to begin with.  So we’ve had wakings again the last 3 nights and NOW as soon as you walk into his room to resettle him he just puts his hands in the air and says “This way” and points out the bedroom door. That is code for: “Your bed please mummy”. This is new.

Last night I tried the port-a-cot trick again but he wasn’t having it. He did eventually settle in there but woke again after 2 hours and started saying “Stuck mummy”. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds. I checked and it turns out that all he meant is stuck in the cot. Yeah, well that was deliberate darling.

It is turning me into mummy zombie again. Mummy zombie was previously featured during the newborn phase except I’m now the evil version of her. I cannot cope at all. I mix up my words, can’t get simple sentences out of my mouth and feel tired and grumpy almost all of the time. I don’t have the resilience for it that I had when Monkey was a newborn. I expected to be woken back then. Now I just feel interrupted.

I asked his dad what we should do about it as I’m really at a loss now. His comment? “Oh these things just kind of have a way of sorting themselves out don’t they?”. Right. Yes I guess it feels that way to him. Mummying is a thankless task.

What tricks do you have for keeping your toddler in their bed at night? One of my friends tried everything and then ended up using bribery (you can have a new car tomorrow if you stay in your bed all night – it worked). I’m totally up for that approach when Monkey is old enough but right now he doesn’t really get it. If I said that to him he would just look at me and say “Car” in a very excited voice. Right on kiddo. You got the important part.

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20 thoughts on “Help! My kid is waking through the night again.

  1. Try this – worked for me but i have a CARS2 obsessed little boy.
    You buy him a tiny (HOT WHEELS size) CARS 2 car. To sleep with. In his bed. When he gets out of his bed, the car stays in his bed.
    Before you give him the car, before you strike the deal: EXPLAIN IT in baby language.
    So he understands that at night time the car stays in the Cot bed. It cannot come out. It does not want to come out. Etc Etc. Get him to repeat it, even if just in gagaggaga sounds or with Yes and no agreement. Put him in the bed with the car. Take him out of the bed and leave the car in the bed.
    Basically get the message across.
    IF he is like Thing 2 he should choose the car over you.
    Don’t take it personally if he does 😉
    Choose a beautiful shiny one, as that way, if he does choose to sleep with a car instead of you at least he’s being unfaithful over a hot one 😉

    Good luck XXXX

    • hehe LOVE IT! And we are already doing something similar in that he takes cars and books to bed with him each night (to get him to go to bed) but I hadn’t thought about making one a special bedtime car. That could work well and would be a good continuation of what we are already doing. Thanks SO MUCH for the tip. We will go out and buy one on the weekend and get it sorted!!!! Fingers crossed! xx

  2. Time for a toddler bed? Or a lock on his door, and earmuffs for mummy. Back to the basics and cry it out if you are really desperate. Looks like he’s old enough to know the rules! Sounds harsh, but if your really desperate…….Anyhow Good luck! Hard gig huh 😦

    • Ugh toughest ever! You could be onto something with the bed. I think I’m going to make that transition soon. I think he is ready. He uses one 2 days per week at daycare so he is used to it. At that point I’ll put a gate on the door to keep him in and take it from there. I was hoping to be over this waking up part before I did it though so he’d be less likely to get up. Cry it out hasn’t been too successful to us since he became a determined toddler (or i can’t bear it for long enough). Oh the joys! Thanks for the tips!!

  3. All the standard tricks: white noise, control stimulation, no before bed snacks or TV, make sure night lights aren’t too bright and windows are covered.

    Be firm with him staying in his bed/room. This will be more exhausting for you at first but as soon as they have the pattern of wake up-mom’s bed, they KNOW and keep doing it.

    Small books and toys are nice for the over 12 months crowd.

    We find sticker charts helpful as well. Sleep through the night, get a sticker. Earn 5 stickers, get a reward. Keep it up until you are sure it’s a habit again (maybe 20-25 stickers?) and have a big reward at the end (trip to the movies, ice cream, new Lego set, etc.)

    • Cool! He isn’t too yet so I wasn’t sure if he was old enough to understand the rwards chart thing What do you think? He is 2.5 months off 2. I guess it depends on each kid. I’m going to try the special car for bed that Fanny suggested and see how that goes. I’ll def keep these ideas in my bag of tricks though as it seems clear that these problems have a tendency to resurface!!!! I def think he is in that mode of wake up and go to mummy’s bed. Stupid stupid me. Thanks for the tips!!

  4. All my kids did this round about the same age and it took my husband and I a while (a long while) to work out what we ‘thought’ the problem was.
    Like you, I hate having wee ones in bed beside us. I want to sprawl instead of hanging onto the bed covers for dear life.
    We eventually put it down to them having dreams that they couldn’t verbalize. It was as if they had reached an age where they started to have ‘bad dreams’. Not nightmares. They didn’t wake up screaming or anything but they were fretful.
    And, worse, couldn’t explain what was wrong.
    I tried to talk calmly and blab away about the next day’s plans and the lovely things we would be doing and just chatted away incessantly until they fell back asleep.
    I basically bored them into submission! It did seem to work.
    I hope you find your answer because it is a pain when they go through this phase.
    On the flip side, once they’re teenagers, you can’t get them out of bed!x

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