Expecting 2 under 2, need to sort DS1 sleep routine first! Help!(14 Posts)
OK, I need advice, especially from those who have done the 2 under 2 juggling act.
DS1 is 11 months old. He is a great sleeper, sleeps 7pm until 7:30am-ish every night, with 2 good daytime naps at 10am and 2pm. The problem is that I have allowed him to become reliant on me to fall asleep at nightime and nap times, and I'm worried I will struggle to do this when DC2 arrives.
Currently DS1 needs a bottle and to be wrapped in a sheet to fall asleep. He falls asleep like this in my lap, which normally takes about 15 mins, but can take much longer if he's teething/poorly/etc. Then I transfer him to his cot. He then sleeps perfectly, and gets himself back off to sleep without any fuss or need for me when he wakes in the night.
I know I should have got him out of this cycle by now, and now I don't know how to break it! Please give me some words of wisdom so I can encourage my son to fall asleep by himself without so much help from me.
My DC2 is due early November and there will be just over 16 months between them. I am terrified.
Any parents with 2 under 2 who can help with this?
You still have a while to go so there's no need to panic yet. Anything sleep related can be changed in just a few days. I used to feed my daughter to sleep but at about 15 months I stopped this. I would feed her in a light room first then go to her bedroom and lay her down leaving my hand on her tummy/back. She did cry a little bit about the change but not much at all. After a while, I then started putting her down and sitting next to her with no touching. Then putting her down and leaving the room. There was a little bit of crying at each stage but VERY little. Each step was quite gradual. After cuddling and feeding her to sleep for so long, I think it would have been unfair on her to do it too quickly. Do you think you could do something like this over the next few weeks or months even? Small and manageable steps.
Great advice above, I think this would be a good way to go too. It really does only take a few days to get into a new routine but the key is that once you have decided what you are going to do, be really consistent. Good luck!
Thank you Pinkandwhite this sounds very sensible and achievable. It's good to know that others have still been feeding to sleep at our stage, I keep thinking everyone else has cracked it by now. So I think maybe I've been building it up in my mind to be a bigger deal than it is. Can I ask how long it took you to make the transition until your CD was settling themselves to sleep?
Thanks Bertie think I'll need all the luck I can get when DC2 arrives
Congratulations on your pregnancy and welcome to the two under two club! It probably won't be as bad as you are imagining and other people may be telling you.
Have you got a partner who could do bedtime? We found that very helpful in the run up to my C section for second baby, when first was 15 months.
And the time between now and your new baby's arrival is quite a lot, though you are doing right to be thinking about it. When I think of the difference between my 11 month old now and how her sister was when the baby arrived, it's a big difference!
18 months between my two. I agree with making small changes between now and then. However, Ive popped in to point out a mistake I made!! I was highly sensitive that the whole new baby thing may put DC1s nose out, so in the build up to the new arrival, I weaned DC1 out of the cot and into her own single bed. I really didnt want her to feel she was being evicted from her own bed as well as having to now share mummy and daddy with this new arrival! That was a HUGE mistake! DC1 then night walked and got in with us almost every night for the next few years! Because DC2 had the cot, I kept him in it till he basically shook it apart around the year 2 mark, however, the sleep routine was set by then for him, and waking up, playing with his toys was an accepted routine. DC1 was clearly put into a small (low) single way too early, so my tip, dont over compensate for issues that dont yet exist, and yes, DC1 will have to fit into a new family routine, but that isnt a bad thing x
When I finally decided that she needed to self settle, it took two nights!
But it was a slow build up to that (in retrospect I could have done it much more quickly).
So it was:
Step 1: Feed in the light, then into the bedroom for cuddling to sleep in the dark (I kept that up for about a month but you could do this for a shorter period of time - say 10-14 days)
Step 2: Feed in the light, then hold hand in the bedroom in the dark until she fell asleep (I also did this for about a month)
Step 3: Feed in the light, then sit next to her in the bedroom in the dark until asleep (for a month)
Step 4: Feed in the light, put her into bed and leave (she cried for a couple of minutes the first couple of nights but like I said above, she never cried for more than 5 minutes)
I worked hard to get her to become attached to some cuddly toys as well. That really, really helped. Perhaps your little one could have a couple of bits of the sheet you currently wrap him up in? Or you could introduce something new. My little girl absolutely loves the cuddly toy elephants I chose for her (I bought several ones she started to like one because I was scared of losing it!)
You could very easily do each of those steps far, far more quickly than I did it. I think she eventually took so quickly to falling asleep without me being there because she was already lying down to fall asleep anyway. It meant it wasn't a big leap. I didn't like leaving her to cry at all but it was so minimal and after about 5 nights she was asking me to put her into her cot at bedtime. I couldn't believe it!
Another thing you should be reassured about is the fact that even though your little one may not be speaking much at 16 months when his sibling arrives, he will understand most of what you say so he will understand when you tell him it's bedtime. Just keep on using the same phrasing at bedtime. I always said/say 'it's goodnight time now'.
This is great advice, thanks so much!
Miffy yes I have a partner. In all honesty it's very rare for him to do the bedtime routine at the moment, because of his work and how knackered he is by that time. But I can see that I may need some more help with this when DC2 arrives, or when bump is gigantic!
Chris thank you for this. I have definately been concerned about potentially putting DC1s nose out of joint, and this was one of our reasons for spacing them so close, thinking that the younger they are the more adaptable they are. Hope I'm right! I was planning on keeping DC1 in his cot, as he's pretty dinky anyway so I'm hoping he won't outgrow it too quickly. It's really helpful reading about your experience.
Pinkandwhite thanks again, that's so useful. I will be taking things slowly with DC1, we've got time. Your point about the comfort toys sounds like a great idea too. I feel so reassured reading your post. Phew!
OP, oh yes, keep the cot for as long as you can!
I assume that your OH may be a farmer from your name. It is important that he realises that the arrival of a second baby so soon will very much mean that he will be needing to pull his weight more, regardless of how tired he is after his day at work (you will be more tired).
Having two so close is physically tiring so I really suggest you work out a more equitable way to split chores. If you can I would recommend getting him to do some bath and bedtimes on his own - we did this too late for me to really benefit from the "me time" I could have had!
I loved having just the 18 months gap. Yes its a tad challenging at times, one horrific episode was I took them swimming Id guess youngest around 3, oldest 4 1/2, and the little DC2 who had been clearly instructed to sit quietly on the side, whilst I took a turn practicing backstroke with DC1 (both in armbands) decided to pull his armbands off and shove them on his ankles. Before I could wade the few feet over to him, he threw himself in!!! Good grief, the water turned to treacle as all i could see was the soles of his feet, but I have to say, I never took them swimming again after that on a 1:2 ratio.
On the brightside, it focussed the mind onto what activities you can do on a 1:2 ratio, and we took up Ice skating!! They took to that like ducks to water and looked sooooo cute in aran jumpers
I also used an extending dog lead with the eldest (shoot me now!) but more often than not eldest wanted to walk whilst youngest was still buggy bound, so I just clipped on to the reins. The extended lead indeed allowed far more freedom to go smell the daisies without any anxiety about having to drop or abandon the buggy in a hot pursuit at any given moment. I prefered that option rather than restricting the eldest to be restrained in the buggy on every outing.
I think it is important to feel confident about getting out and about with 2 of them, and youll find your own little tricks and hacks thatll make outings run far more smoothly, but instilling a sense of keeping themselves safe from an early age, which is what happens because it has to, has only ever been very positive for both of mine. Yes, they may throw themselves down a slide a tad too energetically whilst your attenion is diverted for that moment, but they learn from the bumps and bangs as to why mummy tells them to sit down or hold on! Relax, enjoy, and theyll both be at school before you can say "how come DC2 only has half a dozen baby pictures!"
PS It was a broad tape type lead, NOT a string type one...(just incase anyone picks up on that!)
Thanks Miffy. My OH is a self employed builder, the 'farm' is just a side project, like we don't already have enough on our hands! (It's actually a smallholding, but I thought my name was already long enough ) I do think I'll need more help from my OH. Maybe he can do our bath & night time routine with DS1, at least until DC2 is into some kind of routine. That took about 10-12 weeks with our DS1, but I know this baby might be very different. I'm hoping we have another good sleeper!
Thanks for sharing Chris your swimming story is an absolute horror! The dog lead made me laugh though, sounds like a great idea to me! Our DS1 is incredibly lively and adventurous and my OH often jokes that we should put him in one of our fields and tether him like a goat. I hasten to add this is a joke, before anyone reports me for child cruelty.
I think you're absolutely right about the confidence issue. I am still not a terribly confident parent, though I think I'm muddling through OK, but I know how much more smoothly our day goes on those days where I do feel more confident. I guess it just comes with practice. How did you manage the bath & bedtime routines in the very early days, if you don't mind me asking?
They did everything together. (Early days baby had own sleep/feed routine) but from quite early on they did everything together. Bath together and bed at the same time, usually same bedtime story etc. Older one would climb in with younger one for bedtime story, then skip into own bed straight after.
We also encouraged their own reading, so from around 7 or 8 ish the older would read with the light on for say an extra half an hour.
It was only when eldest was around 13 ish and quite rightly put forward a case for staying up a little later than younger brother, that we put a token half hour differential in for bed times.
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