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Co-sleeping – yes or no? – with toddler unsettled by house move

(7 Posts)
eggybreadandbeans Tue 23-May-06 21:45:23

Hi ladies

We moved house just over a fortnight ago. At the old house, our son, who’ll be two in June, would contentedly nod off around 8pm with ‘Tom Thumb’, in his cot in his room, and wake well-rested 11 or 12 hours later

But now we’ve moved, our son is understandably a bit unsettled, and we’ve been piling on extra cuddles and reassurance at bedtime - which of course he loves (and now insists on) right up until he goes to sleep, and again when he wakes any time between 1am and 4am. In the day he's fine - confident and happy and enjoying the new house; not clingy or insecure at all. It's just night times which have become a mess.

Knackered from the night wakings, I’ve taken to sleeping on a mattress in with our son, not that either of us seems to be sleeping better for it: he's yawning and eye-rubbing throughout the day (not like him, but he's down a couple of hours' sleep in every 24 at the moment) and I’ve slept through once since we moved in, and am becoming a grumpy mummy

So what to do? Well, I’m torn. Although we didn’t co-sleep before, part of me is finding it lovely; I love the cuddles and closeness, and it means no tears or insecurity in the night. But it's not really improving our sleep, and although our son is content and comforted, I’m exhausted and becoming a bit resentful. We have a boxed-up house to unpack. And it took over an hour to settle our son tonight, with me and Dad taking it in turns to comfort him while the other wolfed down their tea. While Dad was in with him, I could hear him balling for me, and when I got into him, he said: "Please lay down, Mummy. Cuddle me, please Mummy." I can't say no to that! We haven't even attempted an evening out since moving ...

I'm getting rambly - am knackered. I suppose what I'm interested to hear is firstly, how would co-sleepers out there handle this situation and still manage to get enough kip, sort the new house, say more than a passing hello to the other half, etc. And how would non-co-sleepers encourage a kind and compassionate return to previous sleep habits, without compromising our son's trust in us? Any ideas and insights much appreciated.

Thanks

EggyBreadAndBeans

lunavix Tue 23-May-06 21:48:30

I find it lovely too, however my son, who has just turned two, is also a perfect sleep - goes to bed at 7.30, if he's not tired will play and sing until he falls asleep (anything up to 11pm!) and wakes happily after 6, and sings and plays till at least 7.30/8 (and half the time won't get up then!)

The one or two nights he has ended up in bed with us? Fidgeting, whinging, tiring, and that's just dh!

Be strict with him,and reinforce his original bedtime.

A rested mummy is a happy mummy

FrannyandZooey Tue 23-May-06 21:55:19

I wish I had the answer but just wanted to acknowledge your post and say hello from another mostly happy but sometimes resentful co-sleeper. I would try to let him settle down a bit for now and make that your first priority, as you are doing - boxes can wait, your son needs you now

Sorry it is all so hard on you. Try not to expect too much from him for a while longer - a house move is a very big and scary thing for a nearly two year old. Hopefully his confidence will return soon, and I have found if you just mentally give in to the situation causing problems, then you end up resenting it a lot less (also your children sense your availability which helps them relax as well).

Best of luck with it.

eggybreadandbeans Tue 23-May-06 22:40:05

Thanks Franny and Lunavix. I agree, Lunavix, that I need to get rested somehow - where's the use in being an ever-present mum if I'm ratty and tired? But like Franny, I'm leaning towards the co-sleeping quite a bit, too.

In my naivity, I never knew co-sleeping was "done" - or of its merits - until our son was about 10 months old. By that point, he was sleeping beautifully on his own so we took advantage of this and enjoyed time as a couple and for ourselves.

Now we have an opportunity to give it a go. I suppose what would be useful, Franny, is knowing how you handle the logistics. For example, do you lay with your kids until they nod off and then sneak out for the remnants of the evening? And as for going out of an evening - we have a couple of weddings (overnights) lined up this summer, and usually go out once a week/fortnight for a meal or to friends - how do your kids get on with babysitters/grandparents being there in place of you? Any practical tips would be helpful.

Thank you both again for your support.

EBAB

FrannyandZooey Wed 24-May-06 08:03:26

EggyBread (great name btw), we have just got to the stage where ds can drop off by himself with us just popping up and down occasionally as required. He is 3 so not very encouraging for your situation really. When I used to cuddle / feed him to sleep I used to creep down afterwards, yes. Some parents use this time for a short nap for themselves and then stay up a bit later to make up for not having so much time to themselves. Or you could even go to bed at the same time as ds, and get up early and have some time with your partner then. It is possible if you juggle things around a bit.

As for evenings out, they have not featured highly in my life since having children . I think had we persisted, someone else who ds loves, to lie down with him and cuddle him would have been fine. But it is more to ask from your stand-in than the usual babysitting job I guess.

There are many advantages and some drawbacks IMO to co-sleeping. If you are leaning that way you might enjoy books by Dr Sears who has practical advice about co-sleeping, or 'Three in a Bed' by Deborah Jackson which has a lot of historical and sociological stuff about bed-sharing - useful information to have at your fingertips for the inevitable questions and criticism from friends and family.

eggybreadandbeans Wed 24-May-06 13:20:04

Thanks, Franny. Useful info. Our son has sent himself to sleep since he was six months old, by sucking his thumb. We don't need to stroke/pat him, just be there really - although we do cuddle him a bit because you just can't help it, can you?! But as he gets dozy, we inch away a bit, to make our getaway easier!

So maybe I'll stick with this for a bit - it's still very early days with the move, with the last lot of contractors (yes, building work too!) only finishing yesterday. A pretty unsettling time. I'm being firm about it being time to sleep - our son has taken to diving on to us for cuddles, and even suggested rough and tumble at 3am the other night! I know he's tired - I can read the signs - and although we're with him, I think I need to be firm about us being there for sleeping.

Luckily, all our son's grandparents are local, and they do the lion's share of the babysitting. My MIL's partner will have much (criticism) to say about our new arrangements, I'm sure. But I think my mum and dad will go with it, if that's what we wish. My dad, who says we mustn't let him get too dependent on us, will I know secretly love the cuddles

So we'll give it a go. It's just the time-for-us thing that's a bit of a shock. And time to get things done. We had quite a bit before, and have not a lot now. We're night owls, so I don't think an early bedtime will work for us. But as you say, we'll jiggle things around and see how we get on.

One question: Last night, my partner and I went to bed on the double mattress next to our son's bed. This morning when I woke up, I found my partner back in our bed. Do you find you and your partner/husband don't always get to sleep together with co-sleeping? This seems like a bit of a bummer to me

My partner understands where I'm coming from, can see all the benefits, etc. I think he's just more reluctant to go along with this. He wants to get the house straight, likes time for him/us in the evening, and likes going out together. And in January we treated ourselves to a lovely big new bed, which we're hardly sleeping in now! Not happy Daddy. Are you and your other half agreed on your co-sleeping arrangements?

Anyway, with little one napping, this is unpacking time! Must go. Thanks again for all your advice and support.

EBAB

FrannyandZooey Wed 24-May-06 22:09:37

Well, my advice would be that you have the rest of your lives to do all the going out stuff and get the house how you want it. Your son is only going to be this small and need you this intensely for a short period. However that is just how I see it. If it is making the two of you unhappy or causing problems between you then maybe you need to make some changes.

I personally don't really mind who is in bed with me as long as they let me get some sleep. To be honest, after 3 years of co-sleeping, my ultimate dream night would be a big big bed, freshly washed cream sheets, and no-one else in sight. One night dp and I had a row so bad he slept on the sofa. I was quite upset at the time but I had a bloody good night's sleep

I have been lucky in that dp is totally supportive about the whole arrangement. I found getting him to read 3 in a Bed was useful. It was also him who had the bright idea in the first place (ds slept on his chest the night after he was born, with me flapping around going "I don't think we're meant to do this, he's meant to be in his basket" ) so he can hardly complain now.

We have also, as I keep mentioning, got 10 and a half foot of futon in our bedroom, but it seems to be some sort of law of physics that a toddler expands to fill the entire available space in the bed.

Have a good night

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