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Desperate! Getting baby to sleep with toddler around

(32 Posts)
blushingmare Tue 25-Nov-14 19:40:39

Oh goodness I'm hoping some of you knowledgable people can help, either with some ideas on helping the baby to settle or just some ideas on things to make me able to cope with this!

DS is 6mo and up until quite recently has really been a dream with his sleeps. For naps, I would put him in his cot, walk out and he'd grizzle a bit, go back in and rub his chest for no more than 30 secs or so til he was quiet, walk out again and he'd go off to sleep! At bedtime I'd just feed til sleepy, put him down and he'd settle off to sleep quite happily - not even any crying! Amazing.

But it's all gone really pear shaped and he just can't settle anymore. I just don't know how to deal with it as I have a 2.5yo DD, so when I am in with DS trying to settle him down, she is constantly coming in and talking and stuff so of course he'll never settle like that. During the day I quite often plonk her in her highchair with some colouring, or even food and go and deal with him, which sometimes works and sometimes results in her getting bored and calling for me or chucking her breakfast all over the place!

But bedtime is a total nightmare. DS is clearly tired and can't cope with staying up whilst I put DD to bed so he needs to go down first, but I can't leave him to settle anymore so what do I do with DD? She's already been looking at videos on my phone while I feed him so her patience with that is wearing thin. I try leaving her with some books and toys, but she just comes into my room, usually just at the point when DS is dropping off, thereby waking him up and we start again from scratch! I can't put her to bed any earlier as she goes at 7 now and often is a bit of a pickle with bedtime as we're in the process of nap dropping, so when she's had a nap she is often not tired enough even at 7.

I'm also aware that in order to get him quiet as quickly as possible so I can deal with DD, I've started rocking him and rubbing him right to sleep, whereas I used to do it til he was sleepy and then let him settle off on his own. So I'm probably making the situation even worse by giving him a nice big prop to rely on to get to sleep!

I just really don't know what to do, but am sure that plenty of people have the same situation, so how do you cope?!

Coconutjoe Tue 25-Nov-14 21:59:42

Could you put her down first? iPad or videos?

Two so close together is hard but I'm two years on from you and they are so close. Worth it.. Though doesn't help now!

Hope you crack it soon x

Iggly Tue 25-Nov-14 22:01:01

Rock him to sleep. He's not settling so needs it. You can wind him back to preferred habits when he's a bit older.

blushingmare Tue 25-Nov-14 22:07:09

I think I've had an easy ride so far so now paying!! I can't really put her down first as it would be so early and she'd kick up a right fuss. She already quite protests a lot at going down at 7 - especially on days when she's still had a nap!

DS is also waking up about an hour after going down for the night and I can't get him down again for love nor money, so have the whole evening with him too, which as much as I love him is somewhat trying!! DH just got in just now and took him and rocked him to sleep in the pram, which in my tearing hair out state I hadn't even considered. Maybe he's just going to have to sleep in the pram?!

Tigercake Tue 25-Nov-14 22:07:13

I used to breastfeed the baby sitting cross legged on the floor whilst reading the toddler stories. Once baby was zonked put them down. Either that or I dealt with baby and DH handled toddler. It is hard and it will get better.

blushingmare Tue 25-Nov-14 22:10:43

Iggly the thing is he naps during the day in a rocking crib, which I use to rock him to sleep for his naps, but at night I have him in an adapted cot that I've taken the side off to cosleep and that doesn't rock, so rocking isn't an option at bedtime. Even with the rocking though it still takes a long time to get him off and DD is in as out of the room "helping" me rock him and talking at the top of her voice, which doesn't help the settling process!

Artandco Tue 25-Nov-14 22:12:21

15 months between ours. I would get both ready for bed then tuck eldest in bed and then feed baby whilst I read story to eldest in their bed. As youngest grew story time became for both but in same place.

Then eldest is settled in bed, youngest either asleep in arms from feed/ story or can settle after

blushingmare Tue 25-Nov-14 22:13:57

See that's the other thing, he doesn't feed to sleep. I used to be able to feed DD into a coma, but he just takes enough til he's full and then looks up at me and grins! He'll occasionally fall asleep on the boob when he's absolutely exhausted or got himself really worked up, but recently as soon as I put him down he wakes up.

Coconutjoe Tue 25-Nov-14 22:15:49

Artandco, sounds like a plan smile where were you two years ago, lol x

Artandco Tue 25-Nov-14 22:19:31

Blushing - he doesn't need to fall asleep feeding, but he could feed whilst you read/ settle eldest in, and then you have as much time as needed after to settle him.

blushingmare Tue 25-Nov-14 22:51:21

I know but he's so distracted when feeding that it's really hard to do anything else. I used to read her stories whilst feeding, but had to give that up a while ago because as soon as I start talking he whips his head round and joins in!

Sorry - it sounds like I'm dismissing all your helpful advice, but it just feels like I've tried lots of things and am looking for the miracle cure, which of course babies don't have. I know "this too will pass", but god it's hard work isn't it until it does!

blushingmare Wed 26-Nov-14 08:00:40

Actually what I need is an electric rocking crib! Has no one invented this yet?!

Artandco Wed 26-Nov-14 08:11:23

Does he want to join in stories? If so I would feed downstairs then before bed,then both ready for bed, and read stories to both in eldest bed. Then sort youngest after.

Try giving him a later 30 min afternoon nap if that makes him not so tired at bedtime so you can take time and don't feel so rushed. At 6 months mine both had a 30 ish min nap starting about 3hrs before bed. So if you want 7ish bed maybe try a 4pm nap ( also gives you time to prep dinner etc easier).

LittleMilla Wed 26-Nov-14 12:32:55

why don't you put your dd to bed later? I did that with ds1 when in that crappy phase of getting ds2 to go to bed.

also (and you may not like this) it will force you to leave ds for a short period of time to help dd. and I bet one day he'll be whinging but by the time you reach him he'll be sparko!

my two now share a room and go to bed between 7-7.30. they are 3.5 and 16mo

Fairywhitebear Wed 26-Nov-14 12:38:41

My DS (7months) takes his last nap about 5ish so is asleep until 6.15 which means I have already got DD (23 months) bathed and sorted. She is then in her room when he wakes up. I am normally able to get her down before I need to start his wind down routine.

Does mean DS goes down late (8ish) but it's worth it!!

mewkins Wed 26-Nov-14 13:44:41

I wonder if his nap schedule just needs adjusting so that he is more tired by bedtime. My ds is a month uounger than yours and have noticed that he is much more alert and able to handle more awake time these last few weeks. Every day he sems to need less naptime! Agh! As your ds was settling himslef I wonder if you could just tweak his last nap and make it shorter so that he settles quicker at bedtime?

CiderRules Wed 26-Nov-14 13:49:54

I don't suppose you have a sling that DS likes? When my DS2 is whingy at DS1's bedtime I have him in the sling while I do DS1, which either sends him to sleep or at least keeps him happy until I have both hands free to deal with him!

Popalina Wed 26-Nov-14 13:52:35

No major words of wisdom but I have exactly the same age gap and am doing the same as
You. DC2 has to be in bed by half six latest or loses it, DC1 is 7 pm so I just sit eldest in front of TV while settling youngest child. I find that late nap really hard to get hence DC2 needs an early bed. I am just going with it until her routine changes which it will. About 3 months ago I was doing story time for them both and DC2 would conk out after feeding during story but bedtime routine has changed with eldest being funny about dinner so just adapting again..and again....

minipie Wed 26-Nov-14 18:06:22

Marking place as having DC2 next year and am terrified about bedtime. DD1 currently goes to bed at 8.30 (she doesn't need much sleep, is up at 6.30 so can't bring it back really). DH often not home till late. Argh. I think the solution is going to be that DD will have to sit in front of TV or whatever while DC2 is put to bed at 7 something, but not sure how that will work in practice.

Liveinthepresent Wed 26-Nov-14 18:18:18

I have no advice but really can empathise with how hard this is! My DC1 is 3.5 and ( non sleeping )DC2 17 months and up until about two months ago I was literally in awe of anyone who could manage a solo bedtime.
The only helpful thing I can really say is it does get easier - both settling the little one and the older one complying with keeping quiet.

What could be worth a try is a special bedtime box of toys she only gets at this ' special' time - my DD would love magnets / sticker books at this age.
Basically bribery is worth a try?

Good luck

TarkaTheOtter Wed 26-Nov-14 18:33:44

I have the same gap. Mine are a bit older now (baby nearly 11 months) but I've had the same routine for about last 6 months. I bath them together getting the baby out and into pjs first. Then baby crawls about bedroom whilst I get toddler ready for bed and read a story. Then she has a lamp on and is allowed to look at her books in bed until she falls asleep. I feed baby to bed and settle in cot. Toddler always asleep by the time I get back.

Petallic Wed 26-Nov-14 18:59:45

Can you put a baby gate on babys room? At least that way when you are trying to settle DS, DD couldnt physically interrupt and baby might be less disturbed and so hopefully settle quicker.

Or even if DS wont feed to sleep, could you still offer a feed when doing DDs bedtime just to keep him quiet and pad him out until you can put him to bed.

I've got 12 months between mine and usually have to do solo bedtimes. If you can manage the timings I found it far easier to get DC1 off to bed before settling DC2 which I think is common, so if you could find a way to switch them I think you might find bedtime a bit less stressful.

Agree with previous PP though it does get easier!

compostheap Wed 26-Nov-14 20:32:58

Similar advice to many others, but I have 4DC with 19-25 months between them, and a DH who is rarely in before bedtime, and so it's a very familiar scenario!

I have always given the baby a feed whilst the others are in the bath (sitting on the loo seat!) and then plonked baby in the bath, whilst cleaning teeth / washing hair / getting the next youngest out. This seems to tide the baby over for a bit longer so that we can all have stories together, and I get the older ones to bed, then give the baby a proper feed and get him off to sleep.

It doesn't always work - tonight the older ones needed to amuse themselves whilst I got DC4 off to bed, as he was really tired - but I usually manage. And when I just had the two, then a basket of regularly reviewed "treasures" (aka junk) always seemed to keep the older one amused whilst I was feeding the baby or putting them down for a nap.

And remember, it will pass and it's a lovely age gap!

Chumpster Wed 26-Nov-14 21:23:57

I did telly and nice treats to eat for my older DD (mind you I had bigger age gap) while I settled DS. If he didn't settle straight away I'd shush and pat for a bit, but then his time was up and I had to leave him to cry while I put DD to bed. Not very nice, but I couldn't think of anything else! (I tried all the reading stories to DD while feeding DS, but that didn't work for me).
Now depending on who is more tired I put DS (3.5) bed first, while DD2 (8months) sits next me. (DD1 is downstairs playing) Or I put DD2 to bed while DS is in the bath. I have to leave her to cry sometimes while I then put DS to bed, but she's normally alright (but then often wakes up later in evening.. haven't come up with how to reduce this..)

wejammin Wed 26-Nov-14 22:15:18

I have DS (3 in Feb) and DD (4 months). If we‘re at home without DH and DD needs a nap I will either put her in the sling or suggests that me and DS have "movie time" so I can feed her and she can nap on me. If DH is home I will feed her to sleep on the bed so she at least gets used to naps not lying on me.

At night I have only ever done solo bedtime twice so far, and both times I totally gave up trying to do a proper routine. Put DS in the bath whilst I got DD ready for bed, got myself ready for bed and we all got in the big bed together, I did stories for DS and fed DD, eventually they both fell asleep and I messed about online until I was sleepy.

So really, I‘m a bit rubbish at it!

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