In his now 26 months of life, he has probably slept all the way through the night 15, maybe 20 times. They seemed to be an irregularity, never happened two nights in a row.
He is a easy as pie to put to bed. We eat dinner, then brush teeth, read some books, and then to bed. He almost always goes straight to sleep. Or, if not, talks to himself for a bit and then goes to sleep. Either way, parent intervention at this point is very unusual.
At his best, he was waking up maybe once a night. It usually followed a pattern. Say, 12:30 am every night. Then after 3 weeks his patterns might change, maybe wakes up at 2:30 every night.
Lately, it's 3 times a night. It happens 1:30-2 hours, almost like at the end of a sleep cycle.
He will sometimes get himself back to sleep. I feel like I've gotten a pretty good feel for when this is going to happen, and when it won't. Unfortunately, this is very much the exception, and not the rule.
When we go into his bedroom, it is very minimal interaction. I usually won't even talk to him. I re-position him in his crib, give him his pacifier back (it is usually lost at this point), and then re-cover him with a blanket. I can be in there for maybe 5 seconds, and that's all it takes, and he's good. Until 2 hours later when he wakes back up again.
It almost seems like he is waking up at the end of every sleep cycle. And, instead of sleeping through that, or rolling over and going back to sleep, he starts crying/fussing, and won't stop until the 5 secs I spend to do the blanket/pacifier.
After 2 years, we are at our wits end. I just don't know what to do. Some things we have tried:
- No blanket (we live in a hot/humid area, air conditioner is set to 74 at night)
- With blanket (a super-soft fleece, or sometimes a very-light single-layer sheet type blanket (think those thin swaddling blankets).
- When he was younger, tried leaving a sippy cup of water (never once used it)
- With stuffed animals, with none
- With pacifier. This has always been a must for him. Per the suggestion of his pediatrician at his 1 year (or was it 15 month?) checkup, he said just put some extras in his crib. If he loses it, he'll have a better chance of finding one on his own. This completely backfired, as he now expects to have one in his mouth and at least one in his hands. I'm not sure if this is related to his sleeping problem or not, as he had a problem even before this.
- With a slightly cooler AC setting. Though, in the winter we keep the house at 67 or so, and the problem persisted over last winter.
- I've tried just poking my head in the door and telling him to go back to sleep, instead of doing the blanket/pacifier routine. The idea being to break him of the need of that help from us. This usually doesn't work. Sometimes he'll calm down for 15 mins, then just start fussing again.
- We run a small box-fan in the room. It is slightly pointed at him. It's been a while since we've tried without. maybe I'll try that again tonight.
- I've tried letting him cry it out a bit. He just works himself into a state that takes him even longer to get to sleep once we are trying to help. Once or twice even vomited he was so worked up (he seems to be a very... mucousy cryer. Ends up coughing on it, then vomitting)
We just don't know what to do. It's important for everyone involved to get a good night sleep. This recent bought of waking 3 times a night is incredibly difficult to deal with. Any suggestions would be welcome. Help us, please!!