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Practical tips please - how to cope when DS3 is born, given that DSs 1&2 aren't sleeping

(7 Posts)
CinnabarRed Sun 31-Jul-11 14:48:07

DS3 is due in September.

DS1 is 3.8 years. He was an excellent sleeper, until 6 months ago. He then started suffering from nightmares, which mean he wakes up 2 or 3 times each night needing comfort (he has also suffered from night terrors in the past, but these are completely different - no sweating, throughout the night rather than just in the early part, is coherent when I go in to his room - so I suspect they're genuine nightmares). It breaks my heart. He told me that his friends all like their dreams but he doesn't like his at all. Poor kid.

DS2 has only slept through a handful of times. He is 15 months. He wakes for a bottle at about 5, and TBH I'm OK with that - or rather, I used to be until DS1's sleep became so erratic. Plus, for the past two months or so DS2 has been waking a couple of times during the night because either he's lost his stuffed toy down the cot or has wedged himself sideways.

6 wakes a night between the two of them is nit uncommon.

I'm getting anxious about how to cope when DS3 come along. He'll have to take priority but I hate the thought if leaving the older boys distressed while I'm feeding DS3.

So I'm after any practical tips - no matter how unusual - on ANY aspect of my post. Any ideas about how to help the older boys? Tips for breastfeeding a newborn while cuddling a toddler? Ways to stop DS2 wedging sideways? How to stop nightmares? Anything at all...

Thanks in advance.

icd Sun 31-Jul-11 21:46:29

If you have a partner I would suggest that at night they do all the settling DS1 and DS2 and you only focus on the little DS3.... is that an option? Re. the wedging: does he have a sleeping bag?

CinnabarRed Mon 01-Aug-11 09:41:30

Thanks for answering. Yes, DH can do the night settling when he's here. He's often away on business, but he'll gladly help out when he can.

Yes, DS2 has a sleeping bag. I actually moved him up into a bigger bag last night to see if he was feeling constrained in his one. He still had a bad night, but I think he's poorly at the mo. At least he didn't wedge.

Poor DS1 has a horrible nightmare last night, he was yelling "I didn't, I didn't". I wish I could climb into his head and clean out all the fright.

CinnabarRed Fri 05-Aug-11 12:19:18


LionsnTigersnBears Fri 05-Aug-11 19:35:46

Hi Cinnabar,

Wow, you have got a plateful! It sounds to me like DS2 is going to grow out of it in his own good time, which is no help, but maybe if you can get DS1 sleeping better then things will be a bit more manageable. I have a friend whose DD was similar to your DS1 and she sent in the troops. She bought a cuddly bear dressed as a policeman and said that this was a specially trained bear to get rid of bad dreams. I think in her DD's case she was having nightmares because it had been going on so long that she was so afraid of having nightmares so it helped to break the cycle. Apparently another tip is to get the child to draw a picture of the nightmare and then screw it up and throw it away during the day. My friend didn't use that in the end so I don't know if it would help. Is there any event that started the nightmares off?

CinnabarRed Sat 06-Aug-11 16:04:56

No event that we're aware of. He had his first nightmare at around 2.6, which was specific - he got stuck in a rubber ring thing at soft play and dreamed about it afterwards. Then nothing until he was 3, when proper full-on night-terrors started. Those have gradually eased, but are being replaced by nightmares.

DS2, little toad that he is, discovered this week how to take his sleeping bag off - we fixed him for 2 nights by putting it on backwards, but he's now worked that out too. <sigh>

Indith Sat 06-Aug-11 16:23:53

I don't have much in the way of advice but I feel your pain. Baby due in Feb, ds will be 5 and dd 3. Ds used to be a night terror sufferer, they started a few months before dd was born and carried on for a long itme afterwards. He could easily have a terror every bloody sleep cycle through the night. He now has nightmares and also suffers a lot from growing pains so it is pretty usual to have to sort him out with either cuddles or calpol at night. Dd has never slept well, she has improved but still needs a cuddle several times a night. I have no idea what I'm going to do!

I'm sure you looked into night terrors a lot when he was having them so you know that they do usually (but not always) have triggers which will start off a phase of terrors so if not being too tired helps him then get anal with naps and routine for example. Be prepared for them to come back when the baby arrives to topple the order in the house (sorry). When we put dd into a big bed she slept better, she thrashed around too much in a cot and kept getting stuck. She also would strip. A big bed and a proper duvet put a stop to it, we still find her in random places around the bed but at least she doesn't bash herself against the bars! We pushed 2 single beds together so she and ds were sleeping side by side, perhaps worth a try? Like your ds, mine now gets nightmares (we have not had a terror in a long time thankfully) and they reduced with them sleeping together. They have been separated again as ds wanted to try to go without a nappy at night and I think nightmares have increased again.

It is definitely about making sure you get as much sleep as you can when your dh is there. Mine works away inthe week and when he is here I just don't get up at night (obviously when new baby is here I'll have to feed). Even if I wake up and he doesn't I kick him and drift back off to sleep. I spend my weekend getting as much rest as I can so I can make it through the week. Good luck!

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