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Self Induced Vomiting

My usually content, great sleeping little girl (just turned 18 months) has turned into a monster.
I have always had a bedtime routine of wind down, bath, music, cuddles, book etc given a kiss goodnight then left in her cot with a bottle to get herself off to sleep, which was working perfectly up until a week ago. Now she is absolutely distraught when I put her in her room or even the mention of bed or cot and she goes berserk screaming, throwing herself at things and making herself vomit. Once she is asleep she seems fine but she has now been waking at 4.30 every morning and the same thing is repeated. The only way I can currently get her to sleep is to give her a milk bottle while cuddling her till she falls asleep, which obviously is leaving me exhausted.
I have read lots of chapters in baby books about sleep issues, but none really address what to do if you have a vomiter. They all say to check on the child after 10 minutes or so to see if they've vomited, but the books don't say what to do if they have vomited and especially if they do it nightly (and seemingly on purpose). Obviously I clean it up, change sheets and pyjamas as quickly as possible, and this often means taking her out to re-bath her and try and calm her down which I know is probably reinforcing the fact if she vomits she will get taken out of her cot. So what can I do? Do I just let her continue to throw up and hope that eventually she tires of it? Do we not clean it up one night, so she knows it really doesn't get any reaction from me?
I have tried both leaving the room and letting her cry for a period of time which induces the self vomiting very quickly and sitting on the floor of her room to reassure her that I am there with her but both techniques leave her inconsolable and usually covered in vomit.
Any and all suggestions welcome!!


  • i wrote out a reply to your messeage and it just

    i was just saying that i dont think i could be much help but didnt want to go without replying. chloe is doing this at the mo (not the vomitting). but she is cutting a back tooth and has a cold so i think she is all blocked up when i put her down. could there be something like that wrong. hope you get it sorted soon hun and so sorry cant be of more help. big
  • Hi Angielisa, unfortunately I can't put this down to any illness or teething.
    She has had her back teeth coming through for a while now so don't think it can be that. Just hoping it's a phase as she seems really clingy at the moment in general but just can't think what could have triggered this as she was so good before.
    Anyway have now booked a GP appointment for my own peace of mind just to make sure there is nothing physically wrong with her and will keep perservering with the old bedtime routine.
  • It could be any number of things, to her pushing the boundaries to separation anxiety.

    But just a thought, it almost sounds as if she's 'scared' of going to bed. Do you think perhaps she's had a nightmare and now associates her cot with it? Kids are so sensitive to things like this. The good news is, that she will eventually forget about it, but the danger is that she will get into the routine of crying and screaming at bedtime - even if she doesn't even know why she is doing it, she could end up doing it out of habit.

    I don't think it would hurt to get her checked over, just to rule a bug or anything out. Other than that, I really don't know what more you can do. It sounds as though you've exhausted the possibilites. Hopefully she'll get past this stage quickly for you. But until then, I would suggest not breaking the routine, if she does vomit, go in clean her and the cot up and put her back down - during the clean up, don't interact with her too much, don't talk to her or play. Hopefully she will see (if she's doing it for attention) that it's pointless. Just ensure she gets lots of cuddles and reassurance before bed, that way if she is frightened, you can hopefully 'teach' her that it is good to go to bed again.
  • when my little boy got to about 18 month he wouldt settle in his cot but got better when moved to a bed bought a thomas the tank one with matching beding which he picked out

    [Modified by: hollypolly on July 22, 2008 08:14 PM]

  • hi
    my son used 2 do this also i put a single bed in his room aswell as the cot then layed with him with his bottle til he fell asleep to see how he went he was fine that night (keeping to the routine at the same time)
    the next night i put him into his cot wi th his bottle and he went straight to sleep i kept the bedroom door open and the hallway light onhe now finishes his bottle and goes straight to sleep
    i also suggest that is that doesnt work put her in her cot with a bottle and her favourite book with the hall way light on and door open and leave her until she dirfts off on her own
    other than that i have know idea what u could do
    i was told that my son had reflux but im sure its not i hope i have been of help
  • My son used to do this. It started at less than 2 years of age. I was told to ignore it, and I did. 

    But in hindsight, what may have started accidentally , was a reaction to stress. I still stand behind the advice to ignore the vomiting itself, but do take some extra care with the child. The term heightened awareness period refers to those times in development when the child suddenly realizes the world is larger than he previously perceived it to be. This can be very scary and cause a child to want to regress. Allowing him to regress will make him feel safe and in no time at all he will be back to the previous level of independence.

    That being said, I later found out that my child was on the autism spectrum, and was physically and sexually abused by his father. I don't want to scare anyone, but there are worse things than a child not wanting to sleep in their own bed. If they are showing signs of stress and want to sleep closer to you, reach out, and be there for him.

    My sons vomiting was not part of the bed time routine interruption , but in reading about this issue I've heard mention of it several times.

    Just short of 3 years old, hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and we got as far away as we could. He was an abusive man, but I had no idea what he was doing to our son. We stayed gone for 9 months and the vommiting stopped.  

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