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Cosleeping conundrum: how do I get him asleep upstairs

(15 Posts)
ReshapeWhileDamp Tue 31-May-11 22:44:21

...on his own, I mean? confused I am a (mostly) happy cosleeper and we went into this with our eyes open. We knew there'd be a pay-off for the peaceful nights with a newborn and a decent amount of sleep for us. The benefits for us have been that unlike with DS1 (who was in a basket at the bedside until 7 months), we have never been woken in the middle of the night by DS2 crying because he wants milk, or cuddles, or to get back to sleep. I've been woken, sure, but gently, by him stiring, and it's usually a matter of popping a boob in his mouth, or turning over with him, and going back to sleep. smile The benefits for DS2 are that he gets to cuddle up to me all night, should he want to, and he's only a few inches away from his boobs. grin

BUT. Obviously there's a pay-off. DS2 sleeps on my lap for naps (or in a sling), as did DS1 (not so bothered about that at the moment, we manage) and also 'goes down' in the evenings on my lap, while DH is putting DS1 to bed upstairs. Since DS2's 'cot' is our bed (with a sidebar arrangement that we've never put him in...) he's not left in there on his own. And I've not ever been able to put him down without lying next to him anyway. He is pretty resistant to being put down while asleep as it is, probably because he's always slept on me or his dad.

So - what do we do? Have been re-reading NCSS which does have some ideas for this sort of situation, but at the moment, rather than move him out of our bed altogether, I want to try and get him to sleep on his own upstairs of an evening, enabling me to do something other than sit on the sofa and MN very quietly! grin So has anyone else managed this with a cosleeping baby? How did you go about it?

(Rod-for-yer-back-ers need not apply, thanks - I know we 'did' this to him and maybe what I want is just having my cake and eating it. But we enjoy cosleeping at the moment and I don't necessarily want to change that part of the way we do things.)

Sorry - DS2 is 5 months, btw. smile

littlenuttree Tue 31-May-11 22:57:02

I came on to this topic to start exactly the same thread!! So sorry, have no advice (but can compare back-rods with you! grin) but will be watching with interest as this is exactly our situation with DD2 who is 14wks. I love co-sleeping too, but would like free arms in the evening!

I co-slept with DD1 too, but at some point (I think at about 5mths) I did get her to go into her cot for the first half of the night, but I can't remember how it came about. Certainly no CC or anything anyway. She would then sleep until around 3am, when she'd wake for a feed and come in with us. At 16mths she started sleeping through and didn't come into our ved again.

I have definitely had more sleep this time around as have co-slept since birth. Took me a couple of sleep-deprived months to figure out to do this with DD1!

littlenuttree Tue 31-May-11 22:59:15

ved = bed obviously!

ReshapeWhileDamp Tue 31-May-11 23:10:24

grin It's the big thing most co-sleepers come up against first, I reckon - before they address the interesting problem of how to get them into their own bed...

DS2 has never had a night in a cot - he was in my bed from day one - born downstairs and straight upstairs into bed! grin It's amazing, the difference in sleep we get, but of course there are always going to be drawbacks.
I didn't really sleep with DS1 - he'd come into the bed with us at about 4am, sometimes. At 7 months he was in his big cot in his own room, and slept fine (I fed him to sleep - ahem until he was over 2). He's now a great sleeper at 3. I think we started putting him down in the evenings, upstairs in his basket in our room, from about 12 weeks, but then of course he was already used to sleeping in his basket alone at night.

My backrod smells lovely at night and likes to sleep with his little starfish of a hand splayed on my boob. smile

littlenuttree Tue 31-May-11 23:35:58

It's funny how similar our situations sound!

I think, after speaking to DH about it just now, that I just kept trying to put DD1 down in her cot in the evening until one day she did it, and just carried on from there. She's a great sleeper now and mostly always sleeps through, unless she's ill.

Have you tried lying with your DS on the bed until he falls asleep and then moving further and further away from him until you can leave him completely? That's one thing I'd thought of trying with DD2.

My backrod is very snuggly, cosy and very very cute! grin

HappyAsASandboy Wed 01-Jun-11 02:02:07

I cosleep with my twins.

If I were in your position (which I am not!), I'd go slowly.

I would start by moving your evenings upstairs, so you feed him in your normal position, then lay him down to sleep in your bed and then stay with him. If you need to, let him aleepnon you, or even go to bed with him.

After a few evenings of this, he will probably forget all about falling asleep downstairs - upstairs will become the norm.

Gradually start to distance yourself. perhaps by not getting changed - lie next to him in your clothes, so he has fed but isn't actually holding your boob while asleep. then move on to putting him down and then sitting on the other aide of the bed. eventually I would hope you could then leave him, though I'd respond to any cries over the monitor as fast as you can, in the hope that he doesn't really realise you're not in the room!

I used to feed my twins downstairs and then put them down on the spare sofa. At three months ish, I didn't feel safe with that, so I gradually moved everything upstairs as I described. I can now leave them awake but sleepy in bed and go downstairs -sometimes takes them 10 mins or so to stop burbling to themselves and go to sleep. though I have to admit, I probably wouldn't leave a single cosleeping baby to self settle as I am too soft wouldn't like them to feel lonely as they drop off to sleep blush

I hope you can reclaim some of your evenings smile

ChunkyPickle Wed 01-Jun-11 04:05:00

My back rod is similarly snuggly at 9 months (he's taken to snuggling right up to me on my pillow recently, with his hand draped over my cheek/neck), and the route I'm taking is that I transfer him into a cot once he's asleep for naps, and last thing at night, then when he yelps for his first night feed sometime between 2 and 4am I bring him into bed with us.

My cunning plan is that as he starts going longer over night, it'll be longer before he comes into bed with us, until eventually he sleeps alone. It remains to be seen if that works (MIL has already had words about his bed time.... but he comes to bed with us and sleeps in, rather than going to bed at 7:30 and getting up at 5)

I know that the cot transfer took a while, just persistently putting him in there when he was asleep, picking him up and trying again when he cried (and giving up if it didn't seem to be working that time) for a week or so until now we can pick him up and put him in the cot with no difficulties almost every time, with the added bonus that if he wakes up I know he's save until I come and get him (at least until he figures out how to lever himself over the bars)

littlenuttree Wed 01-Jun-11 21:38:50

Are you still around ReshapeWhileDamp? Just wanted to say that I have free arms tonight!! grin DD2 is asleep on a pillow on the sofa next to me and I wondered if the idea might work for you? I might try this for a couple of nights, so that she gets used to not sleeping on me before I try putting her upstairs and seeing how that goes. I've used my pillow as it obviously smells of me, so might let her think she's lying on or next to me IYKWIM.

Hope this makes sense! Have you tried anything different tonight?

ReshapeWhileDamp Wed 01-Jun-11 22:56:28

Hey LittleNutTree, so have I! grin NOt for a great reason though - DS2 went to sleep on my lap a bit earlier than normal, then woke up at about 7 and decided to be social. hmm Social deteriorated into cranky and so tired that he just would NOT go back to sleep. In the end, DH took him out in the car for a wee drive (and missed the end of the Apprentice sad). So he's snoozing in the car seat and I'm enjoying a rare hour with hands free!

Thanks for all the advice on this thread! HappyasaSandboy, I think that's how we'll have to start - upstairs for bedtimes and be prepared to stay there most of the evening. It won't last long, surely? <gulp>

I haven't changed anything yet. Tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the day. Though, interestingly enough, last night DS1 woke at about 1.30 with a high temp and sore throat sad, and DH and I both got up to administer calpol, cuddles etc. DS2 stayed asleep in the bed where I'd left him without a twitch! He must have been in the middle of the deepest sleep phase in the cycle. He only stirred when I got back into bed about half an hour later. So it can be done...

Will update with successes or disasters. smile

owainsmum Thu 02-Jun-11 16:30:18

Can I join the club too please smile
My ds is 18 weeks and was sleeping in his cot until about a month ago, but gradually he has been coming into bed with me for more and more of the night, so now he's with me all or most of the night. I started a bedtime routine at about 3 months, ending with feeding him to sleep and then putting him in the cot, and that was fine, but some nights he just won't stay asleep in there, either waking immediately or after 10-30 minutes. When he's like that I give in and take him into bed. Like you ReshapeWhileDamp I do ds's daytime naps on my lap or in the pram although I keep saying to myself I must try to put him in the cot during the day so I can get things done around the house. I think i t would help if he could self settle too, I did start trying to encourage this but it wasn't working, maybe he's too young. However, he is starting to self settle a bit when in bed with me after he feeds. I turn away when he's finished and he'll often fall asleep on his own now, so even though he's got me coddling him all night now, at least I can still do something useful towards helping him learn to fall asleep without a mouthfull of boob grin

ReshapeWhileDamp Thu 02-Jun-11 21:52:37

Ok, well it looks as if missing Springwatch this evening may have paid off...so far. I went up with a very sleepy (i.e. crying and tetchy) baby at 7 or so, drew the curtains and fed him on my lap, as I might do (unless he was already out cold) at about 11pm, my bedtime. As soon as I reckoned he was floppy and very asleep, I transfered him to the sidebar cot (actually not a real sidebar cot, this is a doctored Ikea bargain with two firm foam mattresses that bring it exactly level with our mattress). He has never slept on this arrangement before! He was there about 40 minutes before stirring in his characteristic way (not yet crying, just flailing about with his arms for the breast that he left here somewhere...) so I scooted in quickly, fed him and then withdrew when he'd gone back to sleep. That was about an hour ago and he's still asleep, still on the cot mattress! On his back too, which is nice. grin

I sort of don't know what to do with myself, and I'm also expecting a summons from upstairs any moment. Still. grin

HappyAsASandboy Thu 02-Jun-11 22:11:22

Sounds good to me grin It didn't take too many evenings upstairs for us, and we watched telly in there as it hadn't been disturbing them downstairs, so why would it upstairs?! For a while, I left the telly/radio on very low when left them, as I think they were almost woken by the quiet otherwise.

I find the trick now is to respond so so quickly to the monitor. If I can catch them in the 'flailing for the boob' moment, a dummy or quick feed fixes things, but if they actually start crying, it takes a while to resettle them.

Hope things keep improving for you grin

ReshapeWhileDamp Thu 02-Jun-11 22:54:22

I need to locate the monitor! Not sure where it is. I flew upstairs an hour ago though (just after posting the last comment) so he hadn't been crying more than 5 seconds. But I did feel sad - that's the first time he's woken up at night (his night) and not found me there, and cried. sad So yes, must locate the monitor. What does a 'flail' sound like relayed on a monitor, anyway? grin

BertieBotts Thu 02-Jun-11 22:57:09

Time, I think! smile I think DS was 7 or 8 months the first time I tried it. It worked on and off for a while, slowly progressing to falling asleep upstairs 99% of the time and falling asleep downstairs only occasionally and usually accidentally, or when ill or something. No harm in trying now of course. We had a very rustly waterproof mattress protector, so a "flail" was easily picked up grin

HappyAsASandboy Sat 04-Jun-11 02:19:01

I'm not sure I can describe what a flail sounds like, but you can hear them on our monitor grin You can hear when they wriggle about, then if they start to make sounds I can tell if it'll escalate or settle back down.

I sympathise with you feeling sad about him waking on his own. I feel fortunate that my twins can see each other when they wake and I'm not there, but then having two means I often have to leave one while I move rooms with the other, then go back for the second one. It is always sad to look in and they're sat on their own sad

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