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Does your toddler sleep?

Friday, 22 February 2019  |  Admin

The honest confessions of a mum whose toddler doesn't sleep...

Looking like a zombie and downing cups of coffee at an alarming rate, someone asked if I had a rough night recently at work.

"Yep, my baby doesn't sleep".

They asked how old they were fully expecting me to say a few weeks and looked slightly confused when I said 18m old.

The thing is having a newborn and not sleeping is expected, the 4 month regression we got the memo, but at 18m you do kind of expect them to sleep right?!

My eldest son slept through the night from 6 weeks old. He woke now and again for his dummy and I vividly remember laying on his nursery floor with my hand and arm stuck through the bars of the cot at an arm breaking angle once or twice.

We did sleep train him to stay in his own bed with the Supernanny technique and by night 3 he had got it and stayed in his own bed until morning, and still does 3 years on.

Harlow on the other hand has never slept well, okay if I am being honest IF AT ALL.

You name it I’ve tried it.
Co sleeping.


Cot in our room.
Cot in other bedroom.
Converting cot into a bed.
Staying in same room as his brother.
Bedtime routine.
White noise.
No naps.
Fresh air.
No sugar before bed.
Snack before bed.
Fibre filled tea.
Ewan the useless sheep.
Comforter, (Trevor the dog shoved down my bra for days on end).
Socks on.
Every type of PJ.
Cry it out.
Camille oil in a diffuser.

I feel maybe it was something we did wrong. I feel as though I am a failure as a mother as surely I should be able to make my nearly 2 year old sleep through the night!

I found myself feeling worse about the situation when I saw how well everyone looked on Instagram/social media and how much everyone seemed to be coping; when I was in my PJs with unwashed hair declaring yet another PJ day as I didn't have the energy to take the kids out.

No one really talks about how rubbish it really is when your baby STILL does not sleep through the night do they? You just presume they would have been by now. It feels like the blame is turned on you, that you've done something wrong to cause it.

He has never ever slept through the night, and has only recently slept in his bedroom until 630/7am a handful of times coupled with the 4 nights where he was up 2-3 hours in the middle of the night.

It has got to a point where I am so desperate I get full blown anxiety at bedtimes now, wondering if he will sleep or not.

It’s tested mine and Greg’s relationship to breaking point as we are both constantly tired and irritable.

Now, as he isn’t getting enough sleep at night it is effecting him during the day. He is acting out, throwing tantrums at the drop of a hat. We are in the terrible twos for sure.

It is draining and it is all we can think about. I have cancelled so many plans choosing to stay at home in hope of a nap to just get through the day until bedtime. My eyes are black, I have acne and my ability to concentrate or be motivated is near on non existent.

We now fall asleep at 9pm as we are both so tired from waking constantly. Getting up every hour as well gives me headaches as it feels every time I fall asleep he wakes up again!

I know mums of kids who have said even at age 2,3 or 4 they still don't  sleep through the night and honestly that thought terrifies me.

We have looked into sleep consultants but just do not have the money to fully commit to a package as they can run into hundreds of pounds. We have kept a sleep diary. I have read every blog, article ever published with the word sleep in it.

It is consuming every part of our lives atm. It feels as though we are constantly hitting a dead end. When we think we have had a breakthrough we are up 7 times a night again.

Harlow's lack of sleep is likely 95% of the reason we have chosen not to have any more babies.

I cannot remember a time I didn’t wake up feeling tired. I know it is one of those things where eventually we will move on and we will look back and laugh at it (or most likely cry!)

Having a baby that doesn't sleep is so hard, and it is  an even harder pill to swallow when they are older and probably not even considered a baby anymore.

If you are reading this and you're  a parent of a toddler who doesn’t sleep feeling desperate and knackered, I am there with you. You are not alone and it is likely you did nothing wrong either, so do not blame yourself. I think we just need to accept sometimes are kids are just tools.

I know people mean well when they offer suggestions (I've  had some weird ones too that at 3am I have been half tempted to try). I have also spent a stupid amount on Amazon Prime deliveries on some new fangled device that is promising me my child will sleep.

But its gives us too much false hope! I have had my hope crushed again and again when these things do not work out and I kind of think perhaps they will just sleep when they are ready? Just hopefully not when they are 20  and moving out.

In the trenches it is hard, so hard and it is easy to let it get you down, I am in that place right now but I just hope, pray and cross everything that soon we will all get some sleep.

Sometimes you just have to accept it, be kind to yourself and do what you can to survive.


Figure a way to move out into the garage.



Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog, founded and runs The NICU Parent Partnership Organisation and co-hosts @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club.. You can contact her via her blog or social media;

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