Two year old waking up all night.
My 2 year old daughter started sleeping through the night at 9 weeks & everybody told me how lucky I was. This however was not to last, as at 6 months she started waking through the night. I just assumed it was her teeth, so I would go through & put something on her gums & give her a bottle. Unfortunately this turned into a habit & I had just started back to work a couple of nights a week, so it was quicker & easier if I just went through & gave her a bottle. This continued when she went from her cot to her bed. Then I decided not to go to her when she called. This worked for 2 nights, but then she decided that if I wouldn’t go to her, she was going to come to me. At this point it got worse because she would wake & come through to my room saying Morning Mummy & I would put her back to bed, but this could go on for up to 2 & a half hours a night. She may only come through 4 times in that night but there could be half an hour between each visit. Samantha also has always had a night light.
At this point I was completely knackered & at the end of my tether. I have tried to do various things to get her to sleep through, such as reward charts & even offering a treat if she would sleep, but this did not work. Then my friend saw a leaflet for The Sleep Lady. I thought, “well what I’m trying isn’t working, so what do I have to lose if I get in touch with her”.
I contacted Linda on Monday after a particuarly horrendous night. Samantha & I went to see her at one of her sleep clinics that day & she saw just how tired both of us were. We spoke for around an hour & she asked what our normal day & night time routine was. We then spoke about what steps to take to get Samantha to sleep through. Linda was happy that going to bed wasn’t the problem as she would go down absolutely fine with her dummy & pingu. It was the waking through the night & coming through that needed to be addressed. Linda was very confident that we would be able to sort this problem & have her sleeping through within 2 weeks (I was very sceptical, but willing to give anything a try). So this is the approach we adopted:
I put a stairgate accross her door & we changed her bed time routine so that an hour before bed time either my husband or I & Samantha would go upstairs to her bedroom & put on her PJ’s, then play with her new BEDTIME BOX (which contained puzzles & books) for around 20 minutes, then it was time for brushing teeth & toilet. Then into bed & a story lasting no longer than 10 minutes. I was also to lift her to the toilet at around 11pm, incase this was what was waking her. She was also told that she was to stay on her bed until her magic light comes on (at 6.30 to begin with).
When she woke in the night it was very much about reassuring her that we were still there, so when she would get up & come to the stairgate I was to go to the stairgate also & tell her to go back onto her bed by herself (as she came of herself). Once back on her bed I was to tell her that once she is back asleep, I would come in & give her a big kiss & cuddle. If she refused to go back to her bed, I was to give her to the count of 3. Let her know on 2 that if she didn’t go back onto her bed, then mummy was going back to her bed on the count of 3.
If she still refuses then I am to go back to my room & let her cry/shout for 10 minutes before returning & following the procedure again. If this still wasn’t to work then I would again return to my room & repeat the procedure 1 more time. If this still wasn’t working, then I was to let her know that mummy is not coming back again & leave her 10 minutes before reassuring her from my room this time.
This was the result:
Night 1: I explained what was going to happen & Samantha was a bit unsettled when I left the room & closed the stairgate. I think it was more because there was a change happening & she didn’t like it. She took around 15 minutes to go down. After asking her to go back onto her bed (which she did) & then telling her that I would come in & give her a kiss when she was asleep, she cried for 10 minutes (which just about broke my heart, but I had to stay strong if I was to get a proper sleep again). After the 10 minutes, I went back to her & did the same again. She fell asleep after another 5 minutes. I lifted her at 10.30 for the toilet which she did & she then slept through until 6.20am. I explained that she had to stay in her room until the magic light came on & I sat on the other side of the stairgate until this happened (only as it was the first night). Over all a success, but a fluke I think.
Night 2: She went down no problem. I lifted her at 10.30 for the toilet which she did. She then woke at 12.30 & came to the stairgate. I also came to the gate & told her to go back onto her bed, which she did. I told her that when she was asleep I would come in & give her a kiss & cuddle. She continued to cry for the next 10 minutes but remained on her bed. I spoke to her again & reassured her. She cried for another 7 or 8 minutes then fell asleep & slept until 7am.
Night 3: She slept until 6.45. Linda has now asked that I now just speak to her from my room rather than going to the stair gate.
Night 4: She slept until 6.30am & when she woke, she said “it’s morning time mummy. Magic light is on”.
Night 5: She slept until 5.45am & I said that it wasn’t morning time yet as magic light is not on. She went back onto her bed & went quiet. After 20 minutes she shouted for mummy to come & give her a kiss & cuddle (think she was pretending to be asleep). I told her that she had to go back to sleep until the magic light came on, but she just blethered to her teddies until the light came on & then shouted through that it was morning time.
Night 6: She slept until 6am when daddy got up for work. I said that she had to stay on her bed until the magic light comes on & she did.
Night 7: She slept until 6am, but didn’t come out of her bed until the magic light came on.
I spoke to linda & she had asked about sams sleeps through the day. I explained that I only let her have 15/20 mins & that she had asked for a sleep the day before & I said that she could pop up on the couch for a small sleep. She asked for her dummy & pingu (which she only got when she was going to sleep), but I explained that she only gets that now when she goes to bed. When I told Linda this she said that as Samantha was so accepting of this then she thought it was time to take the Dummy away all together.
I was very aprehensive about this, but when Linda explained that it may be that when she is waking at 5.30 in the morning she will look for her dummy & by the time she finds it, she has woken herself up, whereas if she didn’t have it then she would be more likely to see that the light is not on & therefore will just turnover & go back to sleep. When she explained this it made sense.
It was to be done over 2 days. I was to tell her twice what we were going to do on the first day & not mention it again until the next day, then tell her once on the next day & then just do it. So I went & bought a little fairy princess doll & explained that there was a little girl down the road who was really upset as she didn’t have a dummy & that the dummy fairy had asked that as Samantha is such a big girl now, could she give her dummy’s to the little girl to make her happy again? She agreed….
On the big day (I was secretly very aprehensive, but knew it would be for the best), when the time came we went round the house & found all the dummy’s, then I said that we were going to put them in a bag & hang them on the tree outside for the dummy fairy. She brought one up to her mouth & when I asked what she was going to do, she said that she just wanted to kiss them goodbye. So she kissed everyone until the last on & then she said but mummy I just want a little sook. I said that she could have one last sook so long as she put it into the bag after, so she sooked it twice & kissed it goodbye ( I was nearly in tears..). We took them outside to the tree & hung them on it. Shortly after I had closed the curtains, I sneaked outside & removed the bag & replaced it with the bag with the princess in it. When she looked outside she shouted, “that’s not my dummy’s”. We went outside & she she was delighted with her new “Dummy princess” as she calls it.
Night 8 (without Dummy for 1st time): She was a bit upset when she went down, but it was more like the 1st night when she knew there was something different & didn’t like it. She cried for 10 minutes & I reassured her. She then cried for a further 7 or 8 minutes before falling asleep. I couldn’t believe it, but I thought she would get upset when I lifted her to the toilet later, but she was absolutely fine & slept until 6.30am.
Night 9: She went down absolutely fine (I couldn’t believe that she wasn’t bothered about the dummy). she woke at 5.45 asking for the toilet. I took her, but she didn’t do anything, so I put her back to her room. She then continually asked for the toilet for the next 5 minutes, so I took her again, but she didn’t do anything, so I explained that I was not going to take her again. She fell back asleep 1 minute before the magic light came on & slept until 8am.
Night 10: She went down fine & woke during the night & slept until 6.30.
As far as I am concerned, Linda has been an absolute God Send to me & I have recommended her to so many people. It took me a few nights to get used to not having to wake up through the night, but now I feel like a different person. Thank you so much Linda, I will never forget how you have helped us. Lorraine Kelly