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Phasing out co-sleeping

(11 Posts)
justlookatthatbooty Sat 20-Nov-10 15:54:08

DP and I are ready to have our bed back and get some sleep. And we need your tips.
We've coslept and I've BFed for almost 3 years with our 2 DC's. The oldest is 2.9 months and youngest is 16 months old and because they are fairly close in age and because of our lifestyle choices we've just gone with the flow and found ourselves four in a (very large) family bed. We have some ideas how to proceed but your experience and tips would be very useful.
Currently the bedtime ritual is:
All four of us lie down with DC's in a large double bed and read and tell stories, bottles etc. Lights go out and the youngest immediately starts to crawl around (she's an early mover/highly excitable and is by now quite adept at running, jumping and propelling herself on and off the bed, chest of drawers etc whilst whooping at the top of her voice). She absolutely does not know the meaning of quietening down, or lyeing down despite the same bedtime ritual since she was born. Except that til recently I breastfed her wherever and whenever. Now I reserve the boob for those moments deep in the night, as I am ready to BF on a minimal level. She drives herself into fits of tears and backarching and thrashing every bedtime, if I insist on her coming back to the bed by fetching her from wherever she's climbed to (usually dangerous). She gets utterly furious and has full on tantrums. If I leave her to her own devices, sooner or later she wants to come back to the bed, but wants attention not rest and is very noisy and disturbs the older child, and always manages to poke someone in the eye etc. I always put them to bed shielding my nose because she has almost broken it with her bombastic movements several times. Meanwhile older DC is trying to fall asleep but sometimes wants to start playing up too. He copies her a lot, which is interesting, despite being younger she is in many senses the 'dominant' child. If DP is out and I'm putting them both to bed, it can take every bit of patience and energy in my reserves and sometimes I lose it. So I'm starting to think we should get rid of the double matress for them and they should have their own children's beds. I am even fantasising about putting her in a cot with bars which she can't get out of and doing some form of very gentle technique of whatever it's called, coming back once a minute and stroking her and being gentle but insistent. Awful. But the whole sleep thing has driven us to beyond our limits for a while now.Any othersuggestions? I've become a horrible shouty mum in the night because I just can't take it anymore. The kids always stir at about 2300 and from then on it becomes a somewhat grudging ritual of bring them into our bed and have them restlessly kicking and turning all night. I usually start by just bringing the younger one, but sooner or later the older wakes and howls until one of us lie with him or he comes into our bed. There is a small child's bed next to our family bed at the same height with no gaps but he refuses to be there he wants to cuddle up. It is of course actually cute from time to time when we are well rested enough to enjoy it, but that time has long gone and it feels like two kids ruling the roost and we fall victim and have seriously rough nights.
In two weeks we are moving house and we are thinking kids beds for each of them, in separate rooms whilst we go through the process of getting them used to own bed as they will undoubtedly wake each other Hopefully they will learn to settle in their own beds? And DP and I can have our own bed back? And save for sick periods hopefully everyone will get some sleep? The co-sleeping was a brilliant thing at one point, but it's wrecking us now. We can't sleep if they are in our bed and we are up 10 times a night for one or the other of them if they don't co-sleep. I get out of bed every morning with a clenched jaw and terrible posture and it's hard to walk straight and I'm in a terribly foul mood. This is the start of every day, I'm not excited about anything ever because I am so knackered and burned out and it's got to end. Please help.
Please, your stories or tips, would be most interesting to hear at this point.

Many thanks

SuePurblybiltByElves Sun 21-Nov-10 12:31:51

Crikey, learn to love the paragraph grin. It's very difficult to read, have taken the liberty of c&ping with gaps, hope that's OK.

DP and I are ready to have our bed back and get some sleep. And we need your tips.

We've coslept and I've BFed for almost 3 years with our 2 DC's. The oldest is 2.9 months and youngest is 16 months old and because they are fairly close in age and because of our lifestyle choices we've just gone with the flow and found ourselves four in a (very large) family bed. We have some ideas how to proceed but your experience and tips would be very useful.

Currently the bedtime ritual is:
All four of us lie down with DC's in a large double bed and read and tell stories, bottles etc. Lights go out and the youngest immediately starts to crawl around (she's an early mover/highly excitable and is by now quite adept at running, jumping and propelling herself on and off the bed, chest of drawers etc whilst whooping at the top of her voice). She absolutely does not know the meaning of quietening down, or lying down despite the same bedtime ritual since she was born. Except that til recently I breastfed her wherever and whenever. Now I reserve the boob for those moments deep in the night, as I am ready to BF on a minimal level. She drives herself into fits of tears and backarching and thrashing every bedtime, if I insist on her coming back to the bed by fetching her from wherever she's climbed to (usually dangerous). She gets utterly furious and has full on tantrums. If I leave her to her own devices, sooner or later she wants to come back to the bed, but wants attention not rest and is very noisy and disturbs the older child, and always manages to poke someone in the eye etc. I always put them to bed shielding my nose because she has almost broken it with her bombastic movements several times.

Meanwhile older DC is trying to fall asleep but sometimes wants to start playing up too. He copies her a lot, which is interesting, despite being younger she is in many senses the 'dominant' child. If DP is out and I'm putting them both to bed, it can take every bit of patience and energy in my reserves and sometimes I lose it.

So I'm starting to think we should get rid of the double matress for them and they should have their own children's beds. I am even fantasising about putting her in a cot with bars which she can't get out of and doing some form of very gentle technique of whatever it's called, coming back once a minute and stroking her and being gentle but insistent. Awful. But the whole sleep thing has driven us to beyond our limits for a while now.Any othersuggestions? I've become a horrible shouty mum in the night because I just can't take it anymore. The kids always stir at about 2300 and from then on it becomes a somewhat grudging ritual of bring them into our bed and have them restlessly kicking and turning all night.

I usually start by just bringing the younger one, but sooner or later the older wakes and howls until one of us lie with him or he comes into our bed. There is a small child's bed next to our family bed at the same height with no gaps but he refuses to be there he wants to cuddle up. It is of course actually cute from time to time when we are well rested enough to enjoy it, but that time has long gone and it feels like two kids ruling the roost and we fall victim and have seriously rough nights.

In two weeks we are moving house and we are thinking kids beds for each of them, in separate rooms whilst we go through the process of getting them used to own bed as they will undoubtedly wake each other Hopefully they will learn to settle in their own beds? And DP and I can have our own bed back? And save for sick periods hopefully everyone will get some sleep?

The co-sleeping was a brilliant thing at one point, but it's wrecking us now. We can't sleep if they are in our bed and we are up 10 times a night for one or the other of them if they don't co-sleep. I get out of bed every morning with a clenched jaw and terrible posture and it's hard to walk straight and I'm in a terribly foul mood. This is the start of every day, I'm not excited about anything ever because I am so knackered and burned out and it's got to end.

Please help.
Please, your stories or tips, would be most interesting to hear at this point.

Many thanks

SuePurblybiltByElves Sun 21-Nov-10 12:34:52

Hope that doesn't offend smile

Moving house and just before Christmas is a brilliant time to do this i think. I coaxed DD into her own bed by explaining that Father Christmas wanted to see children in their own beds and asleep before he could deliver <evil mother>. I also found that moving, letting her choose a bed and making a big fuss about her own room worked well.

Plus a star chart and a present after a week. Anything that worked in fact, I tried it. It worked fine for me, small setback when her father and I split and I let it slide but she's back in her room now.

Rockbird Sun 21-Nov-10 12:37:30

DD also co-sleeps and DH is in her room. Was putting off moving her because I needed a stair gate for her door (to come to our room she'd need to cross the top of the stairs in a half asleep state so would rather she stood at her gate and cried). Have sorted that so the only thing stopping me is that I'll miss her. So will lurk on here for inspiration.

runmeragged Sun 21-Nov-10 12:41:57

I don't have the answers. My kids are 4.8 and 2.8 and are both in our room still.

It sounds like your 16 month old has had too much sleep in the day and/or is being put to bed too early. You are fighting a losing battle if she has the energy to run around like that. Neither of my kids need much sleep, so I am very careful not to let them fall asleep in the car/always make sure something has been done in the day to knacker them. Not too hard for my 4.8yo as he is in school and does after school stuff as well.

I personally take one up at a time - usually my eldest as he has been to school/is more reasonable. Then, I take my youngest up, tell her that DS is asleep and she must go to sleep as well. I would not dare to take her up if she was not tired btw.

We have a full size single right up against our bed with a nice duvet cover on - a character to appeal to the child. Thomas, Tinkerbell, anything that interests them will do. So, DS sleeps in that single bed because he is so close to us and it might as well be the same bed as he can reach out to me.

It's hard. One of the things you need is time!

DaydreamDolly Sun 21-Nov-10 12:42:18

Goodness that sounds like my worst nightmare, no wonder you're desperate to change things.

I read a book called Sleep Sense when my DD was almost 15 months old, before I read it she would fall asleep with me on our double bed, I would transfer her to her cot asleep, then she'd wake up to 6 times in the night and always end up in our bed by about 2am.
Now she goes in her cot awake and falls asleep by herself and I don't hear from her until 7am the next morning.

I did the stay in the room technique, sat next to the cot and shushed her but didn't pick her up at all. 3 nights next to the cot, 3 nights in middle of room, 3 nights in doorway, then on 10th night put her in and left the room. By 3rd night she slept through in her own cot and hasn't stopped since.

Just remember consistency is the key, once you start something, you must continue no matter how hard the first few nights are.
If you want a copy of the book, message me your email address and I'll email it to you.

runmeragged Sun 21-Nov-10 12:44:00

just to add that when we put the kids in their own rooms, it will be at the same time.

DaydreamDolly Sun 21-Nov-10 12:45:26

PS I constantly tell DD (16 months) from when we go upstairs for her bath, that she is having her bath, then her milk, then she's going to bed. I repeat this a lot while she's in the bath, then when I'm drying her and putting her in her PJ's I am telling her that we're going to have milk, then go to bed, and she goes from hyper child when she gets in the bath, to yawning and eye rubbing when we're dressing, and I'm convinced it's because I'm telling her it's time to wind down and get ready for bed. I do the same at nap times and after 10 mins of constantly reminding her it's nearly bedtime, she is tired and goes willingly. I put her in her cot awake and she just goes off. So maybe try some of that with your DD?

runmeragged Sun 21-Nov-10 12:53:26

I will add something a bit unmumsnettish! Feel free to ignore if it offends you.

I had more success with them not waking up in the night when I had totally stopped breastfeeding. I stopped for both at around 12-13 months. Both of them woke frequently for a few comfort sucks, they didn't need feeding and I couldn't go on with it like that.

SuePurblybiltByElves Sun 21-Nov-10 12:55:00

Oh and making a fuss with every bit of it helps. New duvet covers, new jammies, take a photo. New nightlight.There are lots of books- try googling for "its time to sleep in your own bed" or similar. Some people even make their own book.

justlookatthatbooty Sat 27-Nov-10 10:41:16

Wow, just checked in and seen these responses!

I'm going to have a good read through and come back!

Thanks everyone, and thanks for help with paragraphing...hardly have a moment to write without the kids climbing over me and it becomes a big fast not coming up for air splurge!

Thanks again, off to read the posts.

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