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schedule versus go-with-the-flow co-sleeping?
Posted on here about this last week - thanks for messages. Still going slightly out of my mind.
Moved house three weeks ago with toddler (very nearly two). Sleep at old house involved him contentedly settling himself by about 8pm, in his own room, and sleeping through until 7am onwards.
Since move, sleep involves me laying with son until he nods off (not until 11pm tonight), me sleeping on a mattress next to him because hes waking in night and not settling himself anymore, and me/him becoming progressively more knackered and resentful. Tonight, even though ds was being adorable, I just couldnt appreciate him . Unusually, ds asked for Dad lots (who's out tonight). I felt awful, but just desperate for a break.
Ive fancied trying co-sleeping for a while seems natural, and is often lovely. But Im knackered, hes knackered, dp and I havent shared a bed for over a week, and tonight, my first bit of quiet time started at 11pm. Im going crazy! (Franny, is it often like this?!)
So, do we get tough and train ds back into his old sleeping habits (with inevitable tears, generally not being very nice , and me worrying about making him insecure), or go with the flow, let him kip when and where he feels like it, and accept that parentings a 24-hour job with no guaranteed evenings off? My instincts telling me the latter, but I dont think Im cut out for it.
I would go back into his old sleeping habits, we become more relaxed about the bedtime routine a few months ago and none in the family is doing much better, we all wake up so knackered that today, after DS has spent a couple of weeks sleeping with us... he demanded to be taken to his bed and pretended to fall asleep as soon as he placed his head on the pillow!!!
If it were me, I'd give a little at the moment until the shock of the move has subsided a bit and ds feels generally more secure. If that means co-sleeping I'd go for it, hey whatever works!!! Or bring ds's cot or bed into your room and put it next to you for a while so that even if he starts off in with you you can gently put him back when he's asleep but are there if he wakes and needs reassurance, then you and dh can still have your sleeping space to yourselves (more or less!). It won't be forever if you don't want it to be, and it might even make the "back to normal" process a bit faster if ds feels more secure.
He's already been able to settle himself before now, so he will still be able to do this when he's ready as he "gets" how to do it, so he won't have to relearn. It's just about the insecurity at the moment, and it will pass. Even if you're worried about getting into the habit of co-sleeping and it becoming hard to get out of again, just doing it for a short while to give yourselves a break and some sleep will help give you a fresh approach to gently getting back to the old routine again.
Oh good morning Or not so good morning.
Well to be totally honest it often was like that for me, yes. There were periods where I was ready to throw in the towel. However I believed so strongly that I was doing the right thing for me and my family that I stuck it out (I am a stubborn so and so )
I think the unfortunate thing here is that you are all overwrought and tired from the move. I think you said your partner is not too keen on co-sleeping, so I guess he would not be keen on taking turns with you to lie down. In retrospect we made the mistake of letting it be only me who could do the bedtime thing. Dr Sears, who is a big proponent of co-sleeping and attachment parenting, stresses that both parents must be involved to avoid the mother getting 'burnt out'.
This sort of hands on parenting IMO works well in communities where people live in groups and share the parenting of children. It is a struggle to do in modern Western society where we are very isolated little family units and oftrn don't see another adult all day.
If you still feel the same way in a few days, I would quickly get a copy of Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and see if you can make some fast but sensitive changes. I think she suggests a month to change things around. When we finally decided to change things with my son (used some of the ideas from Pantley's book and used our own instincts) it took about 2 days to change the way he went to sleep and about 4 days to change the number of times he woke up in the night, but he was ready and we knew he was.
I would hold off if you possibly can until the stresses of the move have dies down a little bit, as kitbit suggests. You are the only constant in your son's life at the moment and he is obviously a sensitive little person. I have found with parenting that just at the point where I think I can't cope any more, something changes and I can carry on. Finding people to let off steam to who will support you in your parenting style and not judge you in horror also helps. LLL are good for this (I seem to be recommending them a lot this week )
What would happen if you let him stay up and just lie down on the settee while you go about your business? We do this with our children and find they tire out anyway and can then be carried up to bed. It's easier all round. No tears, no getting worked up because they won't go to sleep, child feels safe.
Was he genuinely really insecure at bedtime then? when we changed dd's cot into a bed she started getting up at bedtime but i didn't feel bad about being strict about it because she was just testing my limits & finding it all a game, i guess excited by being able to get up! it is a good sign that he used to settle by himself happily, i'm sure that'll happen again soon once he's settled.
I would recommend co-sleeping for a bit - until the new house is more familiar, then maybe go and let him choose a new set of bedding to bring a bit of enthusiasm for his bed back. Oh, and by co-sleeping, I mean bring him into your bed. Good luck!
I think you could work gently and gradually towards getting ds to sleep in his own room, if that is what you want.
I think you have to start with getting him used to his room - so perhaps spend a bit more time than normal playing in his room with him so he feels secure and relaxed in there. Maybe go shopping with him for something special for his new bedroom. Perhaps a teddy or cuddly toy, a lamp or new bed cover? Let him choose.
Does you son have daytime naps? Perhaps you could start by getting him used to having naps in his room before you tackle nigt time sleeps.
When you are ready to tackle night time sleep, you could try changing from lying next to him, to sitting in a chair next to him, to sitting in a chair a few feet away, to sitting beside the door, to sitting outside the door...
It's weird, i remember when i moved dd was only 8 mo but she had absolutely no problems with going to sleep, i think the fact that it was her cot was enough, but i remember bath time being a struggle for the first couple of nights. Weird!
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