At around the age of 12 months, a year down the track, quite a lot of parents who are dealing with a toddler who doesn’t sleep through the night become quite exhausted. Up until now they hoped that their toddler would ‘grow out of it’. Well this is what others had told them! Unfortunately in the majority of families this doesn’t happen.
Parents are exhausted, tired after a long day of work and just want to go to sleep. You tend to give in by picking her up and giving her a bottle, breast feed or even popping them into your bed just so they will go to sleep and you can go back to bed. Whenever they wake during the night you find that they are calling on you to come and settle them.
It’s most likely that your toddler is reliant on either of you when she wakes during the night. The regular waking every couple of hours happens when she enters a lighter sleep mode and this is when she is half asleep and her brain does a kind of sleepy cue check. If she is use to you helping her get back to sleep or having a bottle to suck these are her sleeping cues and when they are missing her brain tells her that she can’t get to sleep without them.
Therefore, as you are well aware she calls for you to provide the sleeping cues. Most parent’s hope that their child will eventually out grow this however, rarely they do grow out of these. She will continue to call for you to resettle her for as long as you do so. I certainly understand the fatigue and the ‘ I’ll just do whatever’, as I need some sleep and ‘we’ll try again tomorrow’ thoughts. After all sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture!
So what can you do to solve this problem for you all? What you will need to do is re-teach her sleeping cues that involve self-settling and when I do this with parents the night waking stops within a week or two at the most. I can teach you techniques to make this transition easier for you and have you all sleeping at night. The key is once you are taught these techniques and stick to them you should have a lovely, sleeping self-settling child.