I'm AWAKE!!! Sleep Struggles with Our Slumberless Sprog

You know how when your child isn’t sleeping well, nobody sleeps well?!?! Well, that has been the case for us for basically the last two years. I feel like someone straight out of those Zombie Apocolypse movies… Only, Zombie-Me would be toting around a violin, some used play dough, and a bag full of toddler books! Anyways, one of the things that has made these sleep issues is that David doesn’t really have meltdowns hardly ever, he is hitting his developmental milestones, and he has a happy disposition. You would never think he has such poor sleep. We had been trying to figure out what was going on for, well, for a literal little lifetime… and while we did finally get a sleep apnea* diagnosis, we have still been experiencing sleep challenges. For example, it takes us between 45 minutes to an hour and a half to get this two year old (not even 2 ½ yet…) to nap and to sleep… IT IS EXHAUSTING!



While we are putting him down, he will frequently say “I’m awake!” Or when we start singing his lullabies, he will say “No singing! No singing!” because he knows that means it is time to sleep. Then, once he was asleep, he often would wake up within an hour. We would get him down again (another 45 minutes or more), and then he would be awake again and in our bed. About a year ago, I remember our pediatrician saying, “He might just not need as much sleep as a normal child his age.” Enter massive face-palm and an even greater desperation for just a few minutes to get things done …


So, we FINALLY hired a sleep consultant. We had our first conversation with our sleep consultant on Friday and wouldn’t you know… She said something very similar to our pediatrician, that this child just may not need as much sleep as most 2 year olds. Now that I have heard this from two different experts, I finally have given in… Since then, we have done some really interesting things:


  • We have removed his nap (although he has been falling asleep randomly during the day if he is in the car seat)

  • We have encouraged him to practice putting his stuffed animals to bed as a way to reinforce these habits!

  • Check out the adorable video below to watch him singing a little bit to his Lambchop!

  • We have moved his bath to before dinner

  • Our sleep consultant suspected that baths were revving him up instead of relaxing him.

  • I think she was 100% right about this!

  • We have moved his bedtime about an hour later

  • We have also structured David’s bedtime routine so that there is an actual end to it where we say “Goodnight, David. I love you.” And then move out of his bed and eventually, out of his room.

  • This is to allow him to gain confidence and experience in getting himself to sleep.



Along with the sleep consultant work, we also purchased a bunch of “big kid bed” books! I will do a review of all of these for my next post! We have found a few great ones that have really helped!


See below for his approximate sleeping and waking periods since starting our Sleep Coaching:



FRIDAY:


◦ No nap - Some behavior issues (pulling dog tails and hitting). No potty issues.

◦ 8:17 pm - bedtime start (seemed wired and was slapping himself in the face for about ten minutes but finally started to drift off

◦ 8:49 pm - Asleep

◦ 10:15- woke up, ran in our bedroom, mini leak

◦ 10:30 pm - fell back asleep (took 5-10 min to get him back to sleep)

◦ 1:30 am - came into our room

◦ 6:45 am - woke when I woke, crying for me to come back


SATURDAY:

◦ 7:30 am - Awake

◦ 2:15 pm - Fell asleep in car after zoo until 3:30 pm

◦ 8:30 pm – Bedtime Routine (saying “I’m tired” and “I love my mommy” on repeat)

◦ 10:00 pm - Asleep

◦ 10:11 pm - Awake

◦ 10:17 pm - Allen to put DM back to sleep

◦ 10:45 pm - Asleep

◦ 11:15 pm - awake again and in our bed (snoring once asleep)



SUNDAY:

◦ 7:30 am - woke happy

◦ 6:07 pm - fell asleep in car seat

◦ 6:45 pm - woke up

◦ 8:15 pm - bedtime routine (snoring)

◦ 9:05 pm - asleep

◦ 10:00 pm - Woke to potty

◦ 10:15 pm - Back asleep

◦ 11:20 pm - woke up

◦ 11:30 pm - back asleep



MONDAY:

◦ Nap – 2:50 pm in car (Accident…)

◦ Awake – 4:00 pm

***First night trying a strict end to his bedtime routine where we get out of his bed before he is actually asleep***

◦ Bedtime – 8:40 pm

◦ Asleep – 9:26 pm

◦ Night waking - 12:15

◦ Back to sleep – 12:25

◦ Night waking – 2 ish am

◦ Back to sleep – 2:20 am ish

◦ Night waking – 5 ish am

◦ Back to sleep – 5:30 am

Final Waking (IN HIS OWN BED!!!!) – 7:30 am



Today was a HUGE success for us. Although (as you can see) he woke up at least three times last night, we were successful in getting him back to sleep in 30 minutes or less WITHOUT scrunching into his toddler bed with him, which is a huge improvement for us. He also WOKE UP IN HIS OWN BED!!!! This is only the second time in his life that this has happened and my husband could not be happier. When I came into David’s bedroom this morning, I made a HUGE deal out of his success. We sang songs, we made French toast!!!!, and we congratulated David and all of his stuffed animals on growing up so much.


Both my husband and myself have also noticed a very clear improvement in some serious mommy separation anxiety in the past few days. We believe strongly that there is a connection between his growing confidence in his sleep abilities, his sense of responsibility to stay with his little stuffed animals, and his ability to play for a few minutes without Mommy.


I know it is still early with our sleep consultant, and I am REALLY missing those naps (even if they were only for 30 minutes), but we are so pleased so far and are looking forward to continuing with the plan to see how it all works out! If we can get this child down in 30 minutes instead of 90 consistently, we can save SO MUCH TIME and energy!


Sleep Apnea Side Note: We are not sure what is going on with the sleep apnea because he is still snoring. Our ENT has recommended one more round of Flonase to see if that makes a difference. Fingers crossed! Also, this amazing sleep apnea site emailed me about some of the items on my last blog post and you should definitely check them out! I have found their resources to be invaluable as we continue to learn more about David’s sleep habits and about what is happening with his little body.

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