OUR daughter's little lad of 16 months is unbelievably busy. I wonder is he hyperactive?
He throws everything on the floor, climbs over everything and such like. He always wants you to play with him but puts everything flying in the middle of the fun.
He is still being breastfed and wakes up every night, three to four times and has to be nursed back to sleep.
Even getting him to sleep can take anything up to two hours or more of nursing him every night.
During the day he sleeps for only about an hour or an hour-and-a-half.
If there is any sound or noise, he wakes up, so you can't do anything while he sleeps bar sound-proofing the entire house.
Our daughter is exhausted and is expecting another baby in May.
Any advice you can give would be really appreciated.
David says: IT SOUNDS like there may be a number of things concerning you. Firstly you seem worried about your grandson's activity levels. You also, however, seem worried about his sleep habits too and the impact this is having on your daughter. I wonder does your daughter share your concerns?
Your grandson sounds quite normal in as much as all 16-month-olds are very busy. They will, typically, all have found their feet by this age and so use their new-found mobility to great effect.
All toddlers of this age will explore their world in a very physical way. Pushing, prodding, climbing, squeezing, chewing and so on are the methods they use to find out what the world is composed of and what happens in response to their actions.
Very little of it may be planned, or even intentional. They are very much experiencing the world "in the moment". Whatever is happening right now fills the entirety of their reality. They are not overly concerned by what has passed and are regularly surprised and excited by new things that come their way.
This is why it is so easy to distract them for short periods. It is also why their attention may not be held on any one task or activity for long. They are constantly ready to try the next thing in their bid to explore and learn.
So, chasing after a busy 16-month-old is pretty much par for the course in parenting. They require lots of our attention and physical guidance as we strive to keep them engaged and safe in their exploration.
This is why so many parents want, and need, the busyness of the day to be balanced by periods of deep and refreshing sleep -- both for their toddler and themselves. It is hard to keep going with the energy required to mind a toddler, unless you are getting enough rest yourself.
I can imagine that this is especially important for your daughter if she is pregnant.
It is fantastic that your daughter is still breastfeeding your grandson. Ireland has very low rates of breastfeeding, despite all of the international research evidence that shows that breastmilk is the best food for infants and babies.
Only about five of every 10 Irish babies are breastfed in the days after their birth compared with a European average of about nine out of 10 babies being breastfed. So it is really heartening to hear about toddlers that are still nursing.
It is very common for babies and toddlers that are breastfed to feed through the night. Indeed toddlers who may not feed much during the day because they are eating solid food and are very busy, may feed more in the night time to build up their reserves.
It is also probably the case that your grandson uses the sucking during feeding as a comfort and soothing process to help him drift off to sleep.
Understandably, if he wakes in the night (even if he isn't hungry per se) he will still rely on nursing to help him soothe and settle back to sleep.
The impending arrival of the new baby in a few months may be a very natural motivation for your daughter and her partner to rethink how they are approaching the night-times with your grandson. But it must be a decision they make.
Don't forget that many parents will look at, and experience, issues such as interrupted sleep and busy lives as simply the natural hazards of having children. It is important that you are sensitive to the fact that any suggestion of change needs to come from them.