Sleep Issues of a Toddler

So, my wee one is fast approaching 2 years of age.  For quite some time now, she’s been in the toddler stage of her crib.  She’s done quite well with it, and took to it so quick.  She has been very good about going to bed at a relatively set time since she has an internal schedule.  She has been very good about bedtime routines, and very willingly goes to bed nearly all of the time.

The past few evenings have been interesting, however.  She and I both have a cough, and only a cough, which has been a bit of  a nuisance, but it hasn’t really interfered too much with either of our sleep.  She has been teething, which I know sometimes makes her very uncomfortable, and has woken her up at night from time to time.  She has 4 teeth coming in almost at the same time.  She has also hit a couple of small growth spurts, which also makes her a little uncomfortable at times.  Poor, thing, when it rains, it pours.

I am not sure if it’s necessarily related to anything going on in her life, or if it has to do with other outside sources, or just a stage she’s hitting.  I’ve not found too much discussing toddler sleep problems, other than people not implementing bedtime routines, which we’ve had very well established for months.

I did make the short term mistake of bringing her down to co-sleep with me for a couple nights.  That has almost turned into a crutch for her again.  (She used to co-sleep with us when she was just home.)  I realized that that was going to quickly turn into a rather large issue, since when we’ve occasionally brought her downstairs to soothe her, she falls lightly asleep and moves a lot, or doesn’t sleep at all.  At least most of the time we’ve been able to cuddle for a while and put her back to bed with little to no issue.

It was not so easy the other night.  She refused to go back to her own bed.

Last night however, I tried a different tactic.  I was quite tired myself, and toward her bedtime, we went through the usual bedtime steps, then cuddled for a little bit.  I told her that “Mommy is tired.  Mommy wants to go ni ni.”  I said this quietly for a while, and eventually she agreed to take her vitamins and brush her teeth and go to bed.

Oh, I should probably mention that she has finally hit the height where she can open her own door.  That is a possible issue in and of itself.

She’d get in bed, all tucked in, with her little bedtime buddies and her blanket, and I’d leave and close her door like I always do.  Then she’d get upset and get out of bed and open her door and run to the living room.  We went through this a few times, and she even dragged her little blanket and her buddies out.  I’d get her to go back in, I’d tuck her in and set her little buddies down with her.  Same thing.

I finally just sat on the edge of the coffee table and let her have her tantrum until she got quiet, then I’d tell her that she was going to sleep in her own bed tonight.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

Eventually she did go back to bed and this time I didn’t follow her.  I didn’t bring her things into her room, and I didn’t go close her door.  This seemed to be working.  I stayed up for a few minutes longer, typing up an email before heading as quietly as I could down the stairs to our bedroom.  I made sure the gate at the top of the stairs was locked, and went through my routine and got into bed.  I stayed up for a little bit, baby monitor in one hand, playing games on my cell phone in the other.

There was one time not too long after I went downstairs that she coughed, started crying and got up out of bed.  I heard her run out to the living room, and she quickly stopped crying, ran around looking for me, and when she didn’t find me, she went back to her bed.

She was good for about an hour when she coughed and started crying, which startled me out of half-sleep.  I watched the monitor and listed for her again, and she did the same thing, and went back to bed again.  I do not believe she got out of bed again for the rest of the night, but I did register a few times where she coughed and got upset for a few seconds before falling back asleep.

So, at least she stayed in her own bed and didn’t end up in mine last night.  I do believe that this is going to be another stage of sleep training that we went through when she was a baby, then when she started standing up.  It never seemed to take all that long for her to shift into a new comfort, so I’m hoping that this will too, soon pass.

We will definitely be going through the same routine tonight, and a very firm resolve on my part.


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Wife, student, new first time mother. Crafter and creator. Animal enthusiast. I had a miscarriage in March 2011. But we tried again. March, 2012 was the birth of my first child. Off and on I have been dabbling with small business, trying to get it off the ground since, every so often changing direction.

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