Sunday, October 9, 2011

Toddler girl stubborn and won't sleep at night

Our first born, has only slept through the night a dozen times in 2 and 1/2 years. Our second baby is now 9 months old and he sleeps. Our first born (daughter) still gets up to nurse and we can break the habit. A log has gone in the last year an addition to our house a new baby and I had to return to work.

She has always bee exceptionally clingy to mom. I understand because of work. She is with Grandma and Grandpa and very loved. She is an angel with them, naps, plays etc., until she comes home...it is like Jekyll and Tasmanian!

We have tried it all. Made the mistake of bringing her to bed in the middle of the night.  I know it is one mistake after another, but how do we fix her?  I have been firm for the past 2-nights and she is like a Tasmanian maniac. She gets up and I sit with her in bed. She wants to go down stairs and have a bottle and watch Curious George. When I say no her response could wake the dead. I am so worried she acts possessed. My husband and I are a very passive and quiet couple. Does she need a doctor? She can go days on little or no sleep. When I am home with her and her brother all she wants to do is nurse.

Help!
Debby
 Dear Debby:

First of all it sounds like your daughter is angry. She probably is hurting because she is no longer the center of your life. She now is the oldest child instead of the only child. There is a new baby boy and he sleeps all night long which means he gets your approval.

I don't have an issue with children sleeping with their parents or continuing to nurse. Some children nurse up until they are 3 or 4 years of age. It doesn't sound like this is a problem for her it is a problem for you.

If you are serious about not letting her sleep with you (sounds like more work than it is worth) you will need to realize this could take weeks of training her. You cannot give in even so much as one time or you will be back to square one. Furthermore, she will act out more not less when you try and change her behavior. Personally I don't think these type of power struggles are worth either the time or the energy. Most likely she will outgrow her desire to sleep with you and to nurse. Trust me when I say you will look back and miss both of these behaviors much more than you think you will.

What is really going on here. Sounds like you are tired and worn out and need of some rest. How about asking grandma and grandpa if they can take the two little ones sometimes when you are not working and just get some much needed rest. You will all probably benefit!

Sincerely,

M Kay Keller