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Controlled crying for a stubborn two year old, who has got away with bad habits.

(20 Posts)
Twelvelegs Mon 22-Sep-08 19:50:16

Excuses first, she is my third DC and only 'bad' sleeper. After eight months if continuous crying and co sleeping we eventually got her into her own room and cot. When she would wake I would feed her in my bed. At 12 months this changed and she would have a bottle at night... and then come into our room. The whole time having too much milk and too much time in Mummy and Daddy's bed, whenever she woke really.
Baby number 4 due in six weeks and we need to 'crack' this problem now.
It is our fault she is so traumatised by it all.
Any good methods or success stories of a child with such long term habits?
We are trying the leaving her unless she 'revs' up and then gentle quick soothing, we love you very much but it's time for bed and leaving.... I am so emotional anout it all and feel really guilty.

Elibean Mon 22-Sep-08 20:02:45

Poor you, hard time to crack down when you're very pg, its bad enough managing guilt without hormones flying around.

dd2 had too much rocking/soothing to sleep for the first 18 months of her life, because she had some serious health issues as a baby which a) meant she had trouble sleeping at times and b) meant I found it harder to let go. And she also had milk at night till well over a year. So I can relate! Anyway: I did exactly what you are doing now...wait till she revved up, then go in, soothe, leave, do it all over again until she goes to sleep. I have never left her for more than a minute when she's really crying, but do leave her if she's doing cross/pretend crying until it starts to sound more upset than angry - iyswim.

I also figured out recently she was getting to the scared of the dark stage, so she now has a very small nightlight. She goes to sleep on her own most nights, and when she takes a step back, I take a step back with her - but its much, much easier.

Good luck, and keep reminding yourself you're doing her a big big favour in the long (and even medium) term, because you are! Repeat ten times after bedtime: I am being a very good, loving mother...smile

juuule Mon 22-Sep-08 20:33:52

I wouldn't feel guilty about leaving her as long as she isn't getting too upset.

However if she is, my suggestions would be:-

Can she get in with one of her older siblings so that she's not on her own?

Could you or her dad get into her bed until she goes back off to sleep?

Have you a camp-bed or similar that she could get into at the side of your bed?

Something along those lines?
I'm not sure why you think your dd has 'got away with bad habits'. Surely it's what you thought was best for her at the time.
I really don't think now is the best time to change everything. It just looks like you've got fed up with her because now there's a nice, brand new baby. I'm not saying that's what's happening just how it might look to a 2yo who's used to having the comforting presence of mummy or daddy when she needs it.

Elibean I don't understand your logic with this
"keep reminding yourself you're doing her a big big favour in the long (and even medium) term".
I don't do this and I don't feel that I've let my children down at all.

IAteDavinaForDinner Mon 22-Sep-08 20:38:33

I agree with juuule - no experience myself but surely making such a big tough change is a lot to ask of her when she's going to have a new baby to contend with in a few weeks?

I would imagine that in itself might be enough to unsettle her back to old habits anyway.

In your shoes I guess I would ride things out as much as possible until the new baby was there and try to push the "big girl bed" side of things in a really positive way. As I say, no experience to offer but would be cautious about getting tough with her at this stage.

Twelvelegs Mon 22-Sep-08 20:51:45

The new baby has not arrived yet! And I will be having my fourth section and so no room for DD in our room to be rejected by me as I can't lift or cuddle (or really have her anywhere near).
If I leave it she will associate the rejection with the new baby, I'm hoping by doing it now she'll think it's for her.
Her older siblings sleep in bunk beds and if she were to climb on these she would break her neck.
When the new baby comes sleeping with her in her room will mean Daddy can't help me!

juuule Mon 22-Sep-08 21:04:22

Can't she sleep on the bottom bunk with sibling?
Could one of her siblings sleep in with her in her bed?
Could she come in your bedroom but get cuddled by her dad if she wakes in the night?

By the sound of it she is going to feel somewhat shut out anyway when the baby arrives but with explanations she might understand some of it until you start to feel more able.

I can't see the point of putting her through it now for the next 6 weeks. I think that I would be trying to keep things more or less normal for the time being.

Also, are you unable to care for a baby by yourself during the night after your cs?
I'm only asking because my sil was okay looking after their baby once she had come out of hospital (after 3 days). She said she was a bit sore but managed to look after the baby.
Obviously you know how you deal with the effects of a cs.
Your dh could possibly get in with your dd until she fell asleep maybe and then come and see if you needed anything?

I think maybe the sibling getting into bed with her might be the best option.

Elibean Mon 22-Sep-08 22:24:50

juuule, all I meant was 'don't feel guilty, you're helping your dd towards independence and maybe the ability to cope better once her new sibling arrives'. Nothing more sinister smile

I get so little time to post atm, it does come out rather rushed or garbled at times hmm

Elibean Mon 22-Sep-08 22:26:30

Um, also no idea why that would imply anyone was letting their child down?? Certainly wasn't thinking that.

Twelvelegs Tue 23-Sep-08 07:46:46

Juule, Have you got more than one child? If so how old are your dcs? Just curious.
My children are 6,5 and 2.
Having had 3 c-sections I can assure you that getting in and out of bed after three days is not possible alone and positioning the baby in a chair to feed with me is a little dangerous.
The idea of disrupting a siblings sleep is just not practical.
I wasn't looking for alternatives to CC, just good supportive stories. I do find your responses a little bizarre.
Elibean, thanks very much.

Pushpinia Tue 23-Sep-08 07:49:26

I think Juule has got about 9! grin

IAteDavinaForDinner Tue 23-Sep-08 08:14:31

With all due respect, 12legs, you did ask us! No MN guarantee of getting responses which are what you want to hear ...

juuule Tue 23-Sep-08 08:27:01

Twelvelegs - I'm truly sorry if my posts didn't say what you wanted to hear. I was genuinely giving suggestions that might have worked for you as they have worked for us in the past.

Pushpinia is right - I have 9 children. They are aged from 5y to 21y. We have had years of juggling babies/toddlers sleep/not sleeping and introducing new babies into the family.

We found that the toddlers quite liked getting into bed and snuggling up to their older siblings sometimes. The older ones were usually asking them if they wanted to double up anyway. If an older child didn't want a younger one in with them then we stepped in so that they weren't disturbed. They only had to let us know that it wasn't what they wanted.
Far from disturbing the older child's sleep, we found that they slept more soundly. We also found that they developed a closer relationship.

I hold my hands up in that the only experience I have of cs is the experience of my sil. As I said she said that she managed ok with the babies, just needed the boisterous toddlers kept at a distance for a while. She also had 3 cs. I accept that it's not the same for everyone.

I really am not sure why you find my suggestions bizzarehmm

I wish you good luck whichever way you decide to go with this and best wishes for a straightforward birth.

Elibean As you've probably gathered, I don't leave mine to cry. So, I interpreted your 'big favour' line as implying that by not leaving them someone would be doing their child a diservice. My mistake.

nomorelostweekends Tue 23-Sep-08 08:41:06

What about a rapid return approach? Going in to her and settling and then leaving immediately. Doing this over and over again until she gets the idea that there are some new rules about sleeping. First couple of nights would be hard work indeed,may take 50+ returns, but easier i think than cc. Its worth keeping any verbal communication to a minimum, something like on the first return 'its still night time, go back to sleep please', simplified to 'sleep time now' on any further visits. If you do a search there are loads of posts on here about the general approach.

Does that seem possible?

seeker Tue 23-Sep-08 08:49:05

I have suggestions too, but am hesitating to post because I get the feeling that you only want replies that validate your decision to do controlled crying with a 2 year old who is used to the comfort of her parents bed and who is shortly to have the disruption of a new sibling. There are other ways - but you need to be open to them.

Claire236 Tue 23-Sep-08 09:32:54

Twelvelegs We let our ds get into bad sleep habits too. Having moved house we let him start coming in bed with us stupidly thinking once he got used to the new house he'd stay in his own bed. Obviously he got used to coming in bed with mummy & daddy. He was 2.5 when we moved & have finally decided enough is enough. We're fortunate enough that at 3.5 ds is old enough to explain to him that from now on he needed to sleep in his own bed. He still gets up in the night (although stayed in his own bed all night last night which I made a big deal over) but I take him back to his own bed, tell him it's bedtime & that I love him & go back to my bed. He sometimes has a little cry but not much. I've also started letting him have the light on in his room if he wants to. btw not only are me & dh getting more sleep now but ds is noticeably happier as he's better rested. Good luck & don't let anyone make you feel bad.

cazboldy Tue 23-Sep-08 09:42:14

Juule you are so right!

I (only [grin)) have 5 dc, but would also recommend sharing with a sibling.

I don't leave mine to cry either (just can't bear it) although each to their own as far as I am concerned.

twelvelegs you have rightly said that it is your fault your lo is in this pattern of sleeping/being with you.

Is she in a cot or a bed?

Can you or dh go to bed with her to get her to settle, and then leave her when she is asleep? I still have to hold my 2 year olds hand while he drifts off, and my 18 month old very rarely goes to sleep in her cot. She usually falls asleep on me or dh and then we lift her in ( and she usually stays there wink!)

Twelvelegs Tue 23-Sep-08 11:25:15

juule sorry for being obtuse, different schools of parenting I suppose.
Thanks for your help, breathless and full of baby I amnot quite myself.

cory Tue 23-Sep-08 12:15:44

Not bizarre suggestions IMO. I have also done the snuggling-up-to-sibling bit on different occasions and I even think I had the 3yo in bed after my caesarian- though Daddy was employed to act as a shield. Also, sent Daddy in to sleep with 3yo in another bed. Have also tried a mattress on the floor at times. And Daddy with toddler/child on mattress on floor. Variations are endless really.

Tbh it is up to you if you see your dd's sleeping as 'bad habits' or not. I wouldn't. But then I have always let dc's know that they are allowed to come into our bed if they wake up and feel scared, and it's not a major problem.

If you want to try CC, that again is up to you. I probably wouldn't do a major change so close to the birth, remembering how upset and jealous my dd was when ds was born- but that's up to you. We are just trying to be supportive by telling what's worked for us.

Elibean Tue 23-Sep-08 13:26:16

juuule no problem, I have never left mine to cry either (unless you count a cross yelp or two) and am not an advocate of cc per se.

Elibean Tue 23-Sep-08 13:34:24

Re 'bad habits' I think, very generally speaking, that they are 'bad' only if, or when, they start to get in the way of a child's, or a parent's, health and happiness.

Of course, both of those are open to vast interpretation smile

It does sound as though the OP's dd's sleeping habits are no longer ok for the OP, and may not help her dd either in the context of future events - so if she wants help in changing them, fair enough, and what I heard was a request for support in doing so with minimum trauma to mother or child.

Twelvelegs, have you given your dd something of yours to snuggle with in her own bed? dd1 (who admittedly has never wanted to sleep in our bed, though likes us snuggling into hers on occasion) really liked having something of mine close to her when dd2 was imminent/born...just wondered if it would help a bit.

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