Edith’s sleep situation :: coping with sleep refusal

Edith's sleep situation :: coping with sleep refusal via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Edith’s sleep situation has become somewhat traumatic for everyone, and Christmas has been difficult to say the least, though I can honestly say that we haven’t allowed it to diminish our fun. I’m not too bothered about the nap time refusal, or the fact that she wants to fall asleep on me or in my bed (remember this post I wrote about having a Velcro baby?) but I draw a line at a full blown refusal to sleep at all, coping with sleep refusal is a whole different ball game to nap refusal and I have felt like I HAVE to do something. I do have a velcro baby, but lately that baby has become a Velcro-no-one-else-can-have-my-mummy kind of baby. She’s also started waking up at 2am and playing until 4am, purely because she wants to make sure that I am there and she can still see me and feel me.

It got to the point where I couldn’t even put the boys to bed because she wouldn’t sleep until at least 10pm and was constantly crying from 6pm due to excessive over tiredness. It was horrible. The boys were upset, I was a mess and she was making herself ill with constant repetitive sleep refusal. So, we got ‘strict’. At 6-6.30pm, her normal bedtime, I took her upstairs, fed her to sleep as usual in her rocking chair and then put her in bed. Obviously as soon as my arms left her, she was up, but if she wouldn’t sooth with me stroking her or re-feeding her, I put her in bed and walked away.

Yep, you read that right. I walked away.

When she was crying.


And I didn’t go back for 15 minutes.

She was in a fit of rage, shrieking at the top of her lungs, but I refused to go and bring her downstairs. I did go and reassure her that I was still there, though to be honest it only made her more furious with me, and made my tears fall harder. I did the same the next night, and the night after that.

Edith's sleep situation :: coping with sleep refusal via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I have hated every second of it. I don’t believe in crying it out, or controlled crying for that matter – no issue with those that do it, but I feel the overwhelming evidence against it is enough to make me doubt it as a ‘technique’. My issue is that Edith has been making herself (and me) unwell to stay awake. I’m ending up having to ignore the boys and eventually give in to her and let her sit with me until 9.30/10pm. I can’t cope with it. I can’t and neither can she. As of yet when the 15 mins have been up, if she is still awake, she has allowed me to re-feed her to sleep and then she’s gone to bed with no fuss. She has only last 15 mins twice.

I’m still co-sleeping with Edie when she wakes up for her night feed, she comes into our bed and we snuggle. That is usually at around 10.30/11pm so she really is only on her own for a short period of time. I am just trying to create a firm foundation for bedtime, and this is the only method I haven’t used yet!

The feelings of guilt are overwhelming and I can honestly say I feel like I’m doing the wrong thing, while simultaneously knowing in my heart that this is the only thing I can do to help the situation we’re in. I don’t believe in autonomous bedtimes (where you allow your child to choose their own bedtime) and I was very firm with the boys that they would have their own bed times, and that they would start the night in their own bed.

So, in short, we’re getting tough on sleeping, we’re being strict at bedtime and hoping that snuggles make up for it the rest of the time.

H x


  1. January 7, 2016 / 8:05 am

    Oh it is so tough and I do feel for you! O was never a good sleeper (waking every hour for the first 3 months and wide awake between 11pm and 4am!) and even though he got better, he was still 2 before he went a decent stretch (6 hrs ish) and gone 3 before he slept 10 hrs straight. Even now at 4 he still wakes in the night sometimes and despite having a bedtime routine to go to bed at 7:30 he can still be awake in his bed at 10 when we go up. I gave up hoping he would start sleeping like I expected and just came to accept that he simply sleeps like this. I think it helps that both my sister and a child my mum looked after when we were young had similar sleep “issues” and grew up totally fine and dandy (in fact both sleep loads as adults ha!) I don’t mean it helped to cope with it – sleep deprivation is a killer and being that tied to your child is hard work (sometimes getting tough so daddy or even grandparents can settle and have baby overnight to give you a break is so important!) But what I mean is that sometimes kids naturally don’t sleep as well as others, no matter what you do, and it’s about figuring out what works for you, regardless of what any of the books or your peers say, you know? As I say, I really do feel for you. It was hard enough going through it with only the one child, doing it with two older kids to care for too is an exhaustion I cannot even begin to imagine. I do hope you find a pattern that works for you soon… And remember, no matter what you do, even if it makes you feel guilty, you are doing it because you feel it is the best for everyone and it isn’t a decision you have taken lightly. We spend so much of our lives as parents second guessing ourselves and feeling guilty… Take care of yourself xx

    • Harriet January 8, 2016 / 10:09 am

      Oh Amanda what a genuinely lovely comment to come to this morning! Thank you so much. You are absolutely right, I keep trying to remind myself that I am doing what I feel is right and what I think works best for as all as a family. I can’t have her up until 10pm every night because it simply isn’t enough sleep for her. She has started to really pack on the weight again, has kicked her cough and cold and is feeling much happier in general now that she is sleeping those extra few hours. Thats not to say that she doesn’t ‘summon’ me to pick her up at 10pm and take her to bed with me, she does, and I’m fine with that… mostly, although I’ve had to concede a fair few games of scrabble to Adam because she’s interrupted haha! In all seriousness, I feel like this has been the ‘right thing’ for our family as a whole. Thanks for the lovely comment, it’s really made me feel better 🙂 xx

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