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to think we can parent differently to SIL and avoid sleep problems?

(218 Posts)
GoingToRegretThis Tue 01-Jan-13 14:17:08

I have actually NC for this as not sure this thread is a wise idea, but want honest opinions.

We are just starting ttc number 1 after ages debating about it. One of DH big concerns is that the baby simply will not sleep, as this is what happens with SIL's children. They go to bed okay but are up and down all night, for example, waking up at 2 or 3am, getting into bed with their parents, refusing to sleep and wanting to play. SIL's children are 2 and 5.

DH is terrified of this as for financial reasons we will both have to WOH. He is prepared for a rough few months with a new baby but feels it will be a nightmare if we hit 2 years and are still surviving on < 4 hours/ night.

I think that SIL has naturally wakeful DC, but I also keep telling DH you can parent to minimise that. For ex, SIL will take the children into bed and not insist on them staying in their own beds. That is NOT a criticism, as she is a lovely mum and very child-centred. But I think we can be stricter, parent differently, and not encounter the same problems years down the line as she does.

Am I just a crazy optimist? Are there just some children who never sleep no matter what, and getting up with them is what you do? Or is it actually possible if you are a working parent to work out an okay routine with wakeful children?

BoundandRebound Tue 01-Jan-13 14:22:32

Yes by the age of 2 children should be capable of sleeping through and the reason they don't is because it is not a parental issue for their parents whi believe, quite rightly, that it won't be for ever.

But just because that's their take on it it doesn't mean it has to happen. If your priority is a child who sleeps through then you will investigate and use one of the techniques that's right for you,

There are many techniques from controlled crying to pat to sleep to sharing beds that can help a child sleep through but they take commitment and generally a week of hell.

ledkr Tue 01-Jan-13 14:24:54

Well you are right about being able to parent as best as you can to minimise sleep problems however I am on number 5 and have parented them all in the same way but no 5 had severe reflux so didn't sleep well for ages and I couldn't do the same things I'd done with the other ones eg put them straight down after feeds.
I'm concerned though that if your dh is pre empting sleep issues rather than long for a child if his own that he may not be ready as sleep is just one major life change that comes with babies. There are many more.

MrsMcEnroe Tue 01-Jan-13 14:26:18

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Aha ha ha ha ha ha h aha hhaha hahahaha

It is SO easy to be a good parent - until you actually have children.

Yes, in an ideal world, children would sleep all night in their own beds. But you wait - try insisting that the little one returns to their bed at 3 a.m. when you've spent the last 3 nights cleaning up sick in the small hours, you've got an important work meeting tomorrow morning that you can't miss, your partner is away on a work trip, you've used up all your annual leave due to children's illness, and you are desperate for a couple of hours' sleep .....

I guarantee that you'll let that child get into bed with you quicker than you can say knife.

KenLeeeeeeeInnaSantaHat Tue 01-Jan-13 14:28:25

I do think there's an element of crazy optimist in you thinking that you could definitely parent your children in such a manner to guarantee peaceful sleep. Some children just Do Not sleep. There are various theories as to why and what to do about it, but until you meet your child you won't know what type of sleeper he or she is, or what kind of parent you are.

I wholly believed I was going to be firm and no-nonsense when pregnant. Read all the books, smugly planned out tactics for dealing with x,y and z. DS practically laughed in my face when he arrived and I morphed into a true lentil weaver by way of coping. I would never have predicted that pre-children!

wannabedreams Tue 01-Jan-13 14:30:18

I have three and they all sleep, I put it down to routine and sticking to your guns.
Don't get me wrong they have all had their moments over the years but mostly by establishing good strict bedtime routines and just telling them to stay in bed and go to sleep at silly o clock has meant we rarely have a problem.

MsVestibule Tue 01-Jan-13 14:31:46

You're at the TTC stage, and you're worrying about this already shock.

We followed the Gina Ford sleeping/feeding routines <outs self as detached parent>, and apart from the odd phase, both of my DCs have slept through the night since they were 5 or 6 months old. A lot of people aren't comfortable with strict routines for babies, but I believe it is still perfectly possible to stop a 2 year old from waking up through the night, although I would imagine it takes a bit of self discipline by the parents.

Booyhoo Tue 01-Jan-13 14:32:02

you will learn. you. will. learn.

also, it doesn't sound like you have considered the possibility of having a child with SN if your DH is terrified of a midnight waker. you do know children aren't programmeable robots right? they come in all forms with all sorts of different personalities and sleeping tendancies. never mind the fact that after a few months of broken nights you will be so desperate for a bit of sleep you'd climb into the cot and sleep with the baby.

sincitylover Tue 01-Jan-13 14:32:21

there are no certainties when you have dcs, part of their personality is nature and this is something that some people find hard to accept.

If you are a go with the flow type person then it can be easier to handle the various stages they will go through rather than trying to exert firm control when things happen.

Does your dh really want children? They are a great joy but they do wear you out and at times you can feel really ragged!

I also know someone who went for a very strict routine with their dts and at 4 one sleeps through but the other sometimes still wakes!

muriel76 Tue 01-Jan-13 14:32:27

You're not a crazy optimist but you are very obviously someone that does not have children grin

That's not a criticism, I was the same before I had kids, I was sure I would be one of the stricter parent who did this and did that differently to all the parents I knew at the time. Then I had my first son and came into the real world.

Of course you can do things to help/encourage your child to sleep but some children just don't sleep. I have one of each and they have been bought up pretty much the same, so I have learnt my lesson in spades smile

Also I would add that you would be surprised how little sleep you can get by on. I did the eulogy at my dad's funeral on two hours sleep thanks to my toddler and newborn but it was fine.

Good luck TTC.

NeedlesCuties Tue 01-Jan-13 14:32:56

I am offering you and your DH a biscuit, OP I know you're just trying to think ahead, but I find your naivety to be bordering on ignorance.

I might be flamed for saying that though.

My DS slept like a dream until he was 2.7 years and we had a 2nd DC. That came alongside a few big milestones in his life such as becoming toilet trained and starting playgroup... since his sibling was born there are many nights that I'm up feeding the baby while DH lies on DS's floor trying to settle him.

Also, what about if your child is ill, disabled, etc?

Just because you WOH and so does your DH, doesn't mean that everything needs to revolve around your sleep patterns, either imagined or desired.

Booyhoo Tue 01-Jan-13 14:32:57

my best advice for you and your DH would be to set no expectations and just deal with whatever probelms come along when they happen.

hermioneweasley Tue 01-Jan-13 14:33:00

Agree with Mrs McEnroe

RobotLover68 Tue 01-Jan-13 14:33:22

agree with wannabedreams

I've got 4 and boy at times was it hard to be strict - keep putting them back in bed etc. but it's worth it in the long run

the thing that helped me was imagining that this was the most difficult thing I'd ever have to do eg. I'll never be able to soothe him, know what's wrong with him, get him to sleep, know if he's had enough to eat etc etc

I was so well prepared mentally for how awful it was going to be that the reality wasn't actually half as bad

HopAndSkip Tue 01-Jan-13 14:33:42

You might have a child who sleeps through without much hassle, you might have a child who you have to use "parenting techniques" with before they sleep through, or you might just get a child that wont sleep for long no matter what you do.
While it could be due to SIL's parenting, it could also just be due to her childrens personalities, or her not having the heart to leave them crying, which you may find you can't do either when it's you in the situation.
But at the end of the day once your child is here they will be worth it.

SirBoobAlot Tue 01-Jan-13 14:33:52

Good luck.

And actually - if you have children that do not sleep, what do you think is going to get you more rest: getting up and down constantly, or taking them in to your bed, so you can at least doze off?

Both you and your DH are deluded in a "I have no idea what I am talking about" way. Which is normal, because you are not parents. If you honestly think that children will sleep because you need them to, and are only prepared for a few rough months... Maybe get a cat instead.

You can have a wonderful routine planned out in your head. Children, however, haven't read the books, and have entirely different plans.

NeedlesCuties Tue 01-Jan-13 14:35:45

Also, I remember when my PFB was a week old and I was talking to a sage elderly lady who had 5 children and dozens of grandkids.

She gave me a piece of advice that has stuck with me, and I tell it to other new parents:

"It's a baby, it's not a doll, you can't make it do what you want all the time."

amck5700 Tue 01-Jan-13 14:36:01

I think it depends - apart from a few occasions mostly when the kids were not well, we never had any sleep issues. I think a lot of that is just down to the fact that they liked their sleep and were generally laid back babies but we were also quite strict about bed and sleep and they just accepted that. Maybe it was more luck than good management, but certainly it is not the case that all children are up all night and in and out their parents bed. I could count on one hand the number of occasions they have slept in our bed (just when unwell) and now that they are 12 and 11, I think we are quite safe!!

sincitylover Tue 01-Jan-13 14:36:47

also some parents put their dcs to bed really early and say they sleep through when they get up at stupid o clock (5am) - as a non morning person I would have hated this (and preferred my dcs to go to bed later and get up later).

So you are unlikely to have both ends of the day.

MurderOfGoths Tue 01-Jan-13 14:37:27

"He is prepared for a rough few months with a new baby"

Few months? I'd be prepared for no full night's sleep until they've finished teething if I were you <downs energy drinks>

And I say this while looking at 9mo DS whose first tooth hasn't actually appeared yet, but is already causing problems.

MrsMcEnroe Tue 01-Jan-13 14:37:33

Yes we did Gina Ford too < outs self as fellow detached parent> <hello MsVestibule> and yes, my DCs are very good sleepers BUT I have seen first-hand that some kids just aren't. My nephew has never slept properly and he has been parented just the same as his siblings - he just doesn't need as much sleep as they do, and his sleep patterns get disturbed much more easily if he is ill or upset.

Also, leaving children to cry in their own beds is extremely distressing and the OP may not have the stomach for it when she's faced with inflicting it on her own child I think ...wink.... I guess I'm just saying that some kids just won't sleep! I was one of them apparently!

NumericalMum Tue 01-Jan-13 14:37:38

Yabu. My dd still wakes up in the night and is nearly 5. Initially it was a severe allergy that kept her up but she is just not a fan of sleep. I woh from 9 months and easily survived on <4 hours sleep at least 3 or 4 nights a week.

I tried EVERYTHING including a sleep clinic at £300 which helped improve things but to think different parenting would have helped is a bit hmm My dd always had a set bedtime routine and was never allowed in our bed except when I couldn't cope with standing upright in her room anymore. I tried controlled crying and shhh pat etc. essentially sleeping is down to luck. Some kids sleep well and some don't. Some sleep well as newborns and then grow up to sleep badly and vice versa!

Good luck with it all and I look forward to hearing about your superior parenting one day... grin

TeWisBeenNargledByTheMistletoe Tue 01-Jan-13 14:37:55

You're not being crazy, actually.

I mean, it's not going to be the same kind of sleep you would get as a childfree person, not at all, but 99% of difficult sleeping dc can be coaxed into one block of decent sleep if you are prepared to find the right technique for them and you, and to spend time on it.

My DD was a very easy sleeper, slept well from about 4mths, DS required more effort, but once we started tackling it at 10mths he was sleeping well by 11mths.

There are lots of gentle approaches as well, it's not controlled crying or nothing.

Some dc do have medical reasons for not sleeping well, but the child might have a disability/sn/health issues is the gamble everyone takes.

FannyFifer Tue 01-Jan-13 14:38:09

Good luck with that, sometimes you just get a child that doesn't sleep.

Maybe you will have a child with health issues, in my case a child with severe asthma who stops breathing, chokes and vomits in his sleep.

Me getting a goodnights sleep really isn't important.

DorsetKnobwithJingleBellsOn Tue 01-Jan-13 14:38:12

Sometimes it is just easier to let them sleep in your bed rather than keep getting up and down all night.

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