Has anyone dealt with this before? Our 22 month old daughter is put to bed at 10:30 pm everynight. She sleeps for about an hour and wakes up, crying. Our best efforts to ignore her have not succeeded. We usually succumb and take her out to the living room with us where we put her on the high chair, where within 15 minutes she falls asleep and we put her back to bed, this time until the morning. Why is she waking up an hour later? She has a full bottle before going to bed and doesn't need to go to the washroom when she wakes up (she's partially potty trained).
Not knowing your daughter's schedule it's difficult to say if this is the answer, but 10:30 p.m. seems a little late for a not quite 2-year-old bedtime. I don't know, maybe that works for your family, but sometimes children who are overly tired will suffer from less-restful sleep than their more well-rested counterparts and have more night-wakings. It seems counter-intuitive: a child who is exhausted should, hypothetically, go to bed and sleep like the dead, but this doesn't seem to always be the case. Or it could be that her nap(s) during the day are not sufficient to accommodate the late bedtime.
Other factors that might contribute to her waking when she does:
- Is there something that happens environmentally every night around the time she wakes up? Does the neighbor come home from work, for example? Or let the dog out to use the bathroom? Some quiet white noise might help cover these noises up and allow her to sleep through whatever the disturbance is.
- Are you following a consistent pre-bedtime routine, or is she just so tired by the time you put her to bed that she just passes out?
- Is she sleeping too long in the daytime? It doesn't sound like it since she falls right back to sleep after she wakes up, but I'm just throwing it out there.
- Is there something in the room that might be waking her? A TV? Music?
You could just have a habitual waking habit. I thought it sounded strange, too, but my sister-in-law mentioned that her pediatrician suggested it to her once for her daughter who was doing something similar. The link above mentions several methods to try to break your child of the habit, but it seems like you've all ready tried several of them to no avail. You could try the Wake to Sleep approach. My sister-in-law tried it with her daughter and it worked once or twice (there were other issues which were really what was causing my niece's wakings, it wasn't habitual like my SIL initially thought). Anyway, basically the approach involves knowing approximately when your child is going to wake up and going in to his/her room and partially waking your child before they come fully out of their sleep cycle. There is a lot of trial and error involved in this (some kids are just easier to rouse than others), but it might be worth a shot if nothing else is working.
How long have you tried ignoring her for? It does take a while and it is stressful, but worth keeping at.
As long as they're warm, fed and haven't done anything in their nappy/diaper then there isn't much more you can do for them. Love and attention is what they're after, but it isn't time for that.
Another thing we did, was to go up to the room whenever the crying got unbearable, lay her down, put covers on and left the room, all without speaking or acknowledging anything. They soon get bored and realise that "all of this crying isn't going to get me to where Mum & Dad are". You have to be persistent and almost switch-off, as it can be distressing to see your child sob so much. At least she'll know that she isn't the one in charge, as this can lead to other mischief!!!
Good luck and we've all been there :-)
When you put your child to bed the first time, do you leave the room when they are still partially awake, or only after they are dead asleep?
We learned with our boys that if we only left after they were dead asleep, then they sort of panicked when they woke up and we were gone. So we began to leave the room earlier and earlier. We have now reached the point with our second child that he is fully awake when we lay him in his crib and leave the room. He accepts it because this is the routine and he very rarely (twice a month?) will wake up and scream in the middle of the night, and even then it's usually just a dropped pacifier that needs replacing.
Of course this also relies on a consistent bedtime routine. Read books, say goodnights, lay in the crib, turn out lights, turn on music and close the door. Sounds simple, but the routine has now become his thing, and he corrects us if we don't follow it.
We didn't make this change over night, but it took maybe four weeks, and he put up a fight several times. Though the struggles were fierce they were blessedly brief and the payoff is well worth it.