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4 year old in my bed

(6 Posts)
MrsJellybye Wed 07-Nov-12 15:21:00

I'd really appreciate the insights of some wise Mumsnetters on my situation. Sorry the post is a bit long, but the background is relevant.

DD1 has just turned 4. When she was about 9 months old, I left her father (my then-husband) on the basis that he was emotionally abusive and narcissistic. It took DD1's arrival for me to really grip that reality and to do something about it before it damaged her.

For the last 3 years, XH has aggressively pursued various legal actions against me: he defended divorce proceedings, made very aggressive financial claims and, most importantly, sought full residence of DD through various applications. In the end, what was ordered (after two dismissed applications and then a full hearing) was a fairly typical "every other weekend and one mid-week stay".

Fortunately, through the powers of some wonderful mediators, the overnight stays were able to be introduced in a relatively gradual way and have now been fully implemented.

However, since DD1 has started the overnight stays her sleeping at home has gone completely out the window. Essentially, she wants to sleep with me every night (having been a very good independent sleeper for the last few years). I am 31 weeks pregnant (with DD2) and am finding the nightly battle very wearing.

Where I have settled at the moment is that DD1 must go to sleep in her own bed, but if she wakes in the night then she is allowed to creep into my bed. We call this "the deal" and it is the only way I can get her to go to sleep in her own bed. So the nightly routine is that she does go to sleep in her own bed (after a very consistent bedtime routine, and with a light left on). The creeping into my bed then happens every night, at some point between midnight and 3 am (with her having gone to sleep in her own room at around 7.30pm).

I have no issue at all with her sleeping in my bed- the cuddles are lovely and at least I know she has then had a good night's sleep (important, as she has just started school). But I worry that I'm not helping her to become independent, that it could make it even harder for her to cope with her stays with her father, and that she will have a rude shock when DD2 makes her appearance.

Do I just go with the flow and accept that at the moment DD1 needs this extra support and there's really no harm in it? And at some point she will not need this comfort and so will start to stay in her own bed of her own accord. [There is no DP living with us, so I don't have to worry about that angle.]

Or do I attempt to be more hardline and some how muster the energy to return her to her own bed throughout the night?

If you've digested all of this, then thank you!

nethunsreject Wed 07-Nov-12 15:24:10

Wow, you've coped really well with a tough time.

Some kids need a bit of reassurance when life's been tricky and sleeping with mummy can provide it. If you want your own space, you could make a little 'camp' bed beside yours that she is allowed to use if she wants to be near you at night, as a transitional thing?

Floralnomad Wed 07-Nov-12 15:29:31

Unless you are planning on co sleeping with your new baby I would just leave her to it , she'll grow out of it eventually .

mummysmellsofsick Wed 07-Nov-12 15:34:08

I'd let her sleep with you. Sounds like she needs to feel the security of being near you, I'd say that's more likely to make her confident and independent in the future than making her sleep alone. Hope things improve for you all these situations are are hard sad

MousyMouse Wed 07-Nov-12 15:35:48

some kids just like this kind of closeness, gives them reassurance.
there is no harm in it for her whatsoever.

what helps is getting a huge bed. and the mantra 'it's only a phase'...

MrsJellybye Wed 07-Nov-12 15:46:53

Thanks everyone, that's really reassuring (and I appreciate you wading through the detail).

My gut instinct is that I should just go with this flow for now. I'm not planning on co-sleeping with DD2; she'll obviously be in my room for a while- but in a moses basket. Part of me is thinking that DD1 may well become quite fed up with being woken in the night by her baby sister, so may well retreat to her own room.

I just want to help her find her own feet as best as possible, as she's got lots of challenges to cope with in her own world (the stays with her father, school, new arrival etc etc).

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