Okay, I’ll admit, I’m one of those annoying mother’s who’s always boasted about how well my kids sleep. How they sleep all night through, until 8am, taking naps everyday etc. etc. That is until recently…
The 2-year-old sleep regression- it’s not really a thing right? Well to me it’s never been something I was worried about because my daughter has always been an amazing sleeper. I really do mean sleeping through from a few weeks old, from 8pm until 8am as well as taking 2-3 hour naps per day- only rarely having bad nights when she was unwell or struggling with teething. But now? Well now I know exactly how annoying I must have sounded to other parents! Those evil dagger looks were well deserved fellow parentals!
So my darling toddler (born January 2014) decided that around four months ago she was going to give up her daily naps. No heads up from her, she just stopped and refused to sleep during the day at all. My reaction? Gahhhhhh, noooooooo! Those two hours on an afternoon were my time to get some chores done, prep the dinner and occasionally write, although since having our baby boy in February it was pretty much guaranteed he would wake up for a feed and those two hours of attention as soon as his sister went down.
With the naps stopped completely it seemed like the perfect opportunity to start the bedtime routine earlier because some nights she wasn’t going to bed until 8.30/9pm. She took to it pretty well and the new routine was in full force; Bath at 6pm, in bed and story at 7pm and she’d be asleep within minutes. However- you knew that was coming right?!- after a couple of days, maybe a week, she started waking at 2.30am EVERY night. Guaranteed at 2.30am she would be up and we would hear the pitter patter of her feet running across her floor and after a few attempts she figured out how to open the baby gate on her bedroom door. The first few nights she would make a bit of a fuss, ask for some milk, make any excuse to get you out of bed and refuse to go back to sleep for a few hours, often waking her baby brother in the process. She just wouldn’t go back to sleep until she literally passed out with exhaustion and would still be up again around 6am in a bad mood and you just knew that the day was going to be filled with hellish toddler tantrums.
After a few more days she appeared to be getting better at sleeping longer but became very sneaky- our very own night ninja! She would wake up around 4am (I didn’t realise this for the first few nights) and sneak out of her bedroom, head downstairs for her tablet or a toy, bring it back upstairs and lie on the end of our bed. She wouldn’t wake us and would happily lie there but we’d wake up at 6am and she’d be sat glued to Netflix looking like a teenager who’d pulled an all-nighter! That phase didn’t last long as we started hiding her tablet on a night time when we headed to bed but that still didn’t stop her waking up.
She continued with the 4am wake ups but every morning we could hear her putting herself on the toilet then grab a book and just chill in our bed. Super proud of her using the toilet by herself as it’s not something she’d even attempted to do during the day! However, coming into our bed at that time in the morning, reading a story to me to wake me up, prodding me to get up and get her some milk, anything she could possibly think of as an excuse to wake us up really, just didn’t help the sleep matters at all and we’d all be in a bad mood the next day due to the lack of sleep. Apart from baby boy that is, he’s in his own room in his cot, although his sister would sometimes wake him by sitting on the floor in his room and reading a story to him!
This all lasted for around four months- guaranteed to happen every single night with no explanation and no reason whatsoever for her waking. Once she was awake that was it. I’m pleased to say that this appears to have now come to an end altogether and she’s still going to sleep between 7-7.30pm and sleeping through once again until around 6.30/7am. She’ll be coming up 3 in January and it appears she’s now beginning to realise how amazing sleep is! If she’s tired she’ll let you know and will have a quiet hour rather than throwing a storm of a tantrum. Fingers crossed she’ll stick to this!
So yeah, the 2-year-old sleep regression really does exist, and it’s total hell.
Good luck fellow parentals!
Mother Hermit xx
This post was first featured on MeetOtherMums.com