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Toddler and Newborn bedtime nightmare

(20 Posts)
StepfauxWife Wed 15-Jun-16 18:29:27

Those with two plus children - how do you manage bedtime?!

DD1 (3.2) is usually ready to sleep at 6:30 - 7:00. DD2 is twelve weeks and her sleep is a farce. I'm wondering how to go about managing both alone.

I tried doing DD1's bedtime first and DD2 screamed through it. I've tried putting her in a sling but she squirms and continues screaming. She's usually overtired by this point despite every effort to ensure she gets adequate sleep during the day (she's a prolific cat napper).

I tried doing DD2's bedtime first and it took over two hours. There's only so much I can occupy DD1 as I try everything to get DD2 to sleep. I ended up leaving DD2 in her cot, running in and out to attempt to settle her while simultaneously trying to give DD1 a relaxed bedtime. Needless to say, that also failed. I was so upset that DD1 said "Mummy I'm sorry, did I make you sad?" which just made me feel like a rotten mother.

Unfortunately my DH is rarely home from work by 6:30 to help with DD1's bedtime.

I was so hoping that the sling would work. I'm desperate to get DD2 into a routine but she's too young.

I'm at the end of my rope. How do others manage it?

Tangoandcreditcards Wed 15-Jun-16 18:37:14

I don't!

2.4 yo who's been a shit sleeper since birth and an almost 6 month old. It's been a free for all since DC2 arrived. Some days everyone is in bed by 7. Other days I'm watching In The Night Garden at 9pm on a loop rocking a baby wondering if chloroform would be ok.

Mostly put the baby down early and the toddler after, sometimes I just go to bed with him to save on drama.

Mmm. Not helpful. But I understand.

DocMcFanjo Wed 15-Jun-16 18:37:48

I've no idea really as I only have the one (with DC2 on the way) but I would have thought getting DD1 to bed first is definitely the way to go. You can then work on DD2's routine with the pressure off a bit.

Is there any other workable distraction for DD2? Playmat with loads of bits to bat on the floor in DD1's room? Bouncy chair you could move around with you?

What's DD1's bedtime routine like? Could that be pared down a bit till you get DD2 into a bit more of a routine?

Sympathiesflowers. This is the very scenario I dread.

almostthirty Wed 15-Jun-16 18:45:23

I ha e a 20 more th gap between dc a day this worked for us.
On bath night -
Make up bottle and leave to cool
put ds2 on changing mat in bathroom when undressing ds1 and plonking in bath. Then undress ds2 and bath at same time. Get ds2 out of Bath, dry and put into pj's.
Get ds1 out of Bath, dry and dress.
Ds1 then I to bed for a story while feeding ds2 (bottle cool by then, bit of a juggle but doable).
Leave ds1 to go to sleep, finish feeding ds2 then into moses basket.

On non bath night I fed ds2 while reading to ds1 then straight to sleep.

paddypants13 Wed 15-Jun-16 18:49:12

My dh is usually missing at bedtime too so I used to have this problem. Dd (3.5) goes to bed about 7 but Ds (11months) later on.

When ds was small I used to pop him in his bouncy chair in front of the telly. This usually occupied him. If he was really upset, I used to change Dd, get her into bed and then sit him on my knee whilst I read her a story.

Now he can sit up, once she is changed and in bed, he gets in with her and I read a story, they both really like it.

I know it sounds really mean but sometimes I just have to leave ds to cry whilst I sort dd just like dd has to wait if I'm busy with ds.

StepfauxWife Wed 15-Jun-16 19:26:59

Thanks for the replies and sympathy.

Almostthirty, that sounds lovely. I would love to bathe together but DD2 screams like a banshee when I take her out. So I'm actually thinking of ditching the bath from her bedtime routine.

DD1 is a great sleeper (I wish I had appreciated it more when she was little, sob!). She usually does need a bath as she gets mucky at nursery.

I would love to stick a boob in DD2's mouth while I get DD1 to sleep but DD2 is usually so wound up that it doesn't work. Everyone says she is too young for a routine but I can't see any other way of making bedtime a little less fractious.

Any other ideas?

bobbinpop Wed 15-Jun-16 19:37:12

I had bedtime madness for years (twins) so totally sympathise. Could you put bedtime off til your DH gets back? Is it very late? You could read to DC1 for a while, while you feed/rock DC2... Try some lullabies and low lighting while you do it maybe? Then he could do the rest of DD1's bedtime while you put the baby to bed elsewhere.

bobbinpop Wed 15-Jun-16 19:40:08

Please don't ever feel like a 'rotten mother' about this. If you could see the horrendous bedtime chaos we have had over the years (I was a single parent for a long time!), you'd feel like the world's calmest mummy! You're doing brilliantly!

Hopelass Wed 15-Jun-16 19:49:59

No advice at all but watching with interest as I'll have exactly the same age gap in October confused

searchingfortheanswer Wed 15-Jun-16 19:51:37

I have three, all two years apart. Youngest is six months. I now have some help at bedtime but when I just had the two I didn't.

It's hard.

At that age (I also BF so maybe slightly less useful if bottle feeding) I used to:

- give baby a little feed while toddler eating tea
- put toddler in bath with toys, baby on mat periodically or bouncer to stave off melt down while you give toddler quick wash
- feed baby while sat on loo / toddler step while toddler in bath
- baby goes in bath and is taken out again ideally before meltdown has started
- dry baby on mat and put on PJs while toddler still in bath
- feed baby bit more
- get toddler out, I would put him in towel in our bedroom in front of TV while I fetched baby from bathroom
- toddler in front of TV while you feed baby

What happens next depends on if baby will self settle - I am guessing probably not at this age.

Before baby can settle Itself I would keep it on boob while doing stories with Toddler, then Toddler in bed and deal with baby (put the baby in a bouncer momentarily if you need to). Also assumes Toddler will go to sleep well, I was lucky with that.

When baby can settle itself, put it to bed first and then spend longer with toddler. The nightmare bit for me (which I have written so glibly above!) was feeding the baby while doing stories... Having enough hands and arms to cuddle toddler, turn pages of book and feed baby is tricky.

Laquila Wed 15-Jun-16 20:00:01

I have a toddler of 2.9 and a baby of 15 weeks. To be honest, the baby doesn't have a bedtime - he just does everything with us whilst we put the toddler to bed and then I generally take him back downstairs to have tea/watch telly with us - he's usually asleep for most of this but it's easier to have him sleeping on us than trying to transfer him from boob to cot, or, God forbid, trying to put him down awake and getting him to self-settle (hah!). I'm not claiming that this is a foot way of doing it, btw - I'm just saying this is the only way we can do it!

And I have my husband here for bedtime most nights too. We do make life easier for ourselves by only bathing the toddler about 4 times a week, and either doing the baby after he's gone to bed, or in the daytime. Good luck OP - it will get easier!

paddypants13 Wed 15-Jun-16 20:12:12

If it makes any difference I bath ds (youngest) on a morning and dd in an evening. This has made evenings less stressful for me. Also, dd likes to help bath ds so it helps with bonding.

Ds is almost one and does not have a real bedtime routine, he's a little night owl and would be up to the early hours if I let him. Once I've had enough of him, it's clean nappy, jim jams, last bottle, bed!

StepfauxWife Wed 15-Jun-16 21:05:51

This is all super helpful, thank you!

DH doesn't usually get home until 8ish (on a good day) and DD1 would be going nuts by then.

My ideal would be for DD2 to nap in the sling until 6:00ish. After which I can feed her whole DD1 is in the bath. Then DD1 in bed by 6:30 and then I can do DD2's bedtime (leaving out the bath every other day) and have her in bed by 6:45.

Unfortunately DD2 doesn't seem to have got the memo.

StepfauxWife Wed 15-Jun-16 21:07:40

Bobbinbop thank you for your kind words. I suppose I feel guilty that DD1 is not getting the best of me at a time that was really special for us before DD2 arrived. Yesterday we were trying to read a book while DD2 cried and she took the book and sighed and said "DD2 is crying Mama, off you go". sad

loosechange Wed 15-Jun-16 21:15:08

I used to feed the youngest, plonk both in the bath together (had one of those bath chair things for babies), dress the baby then leave them to shriek for a few mins whilst I dressed the toddler and cleaned teetg (they didn't always shriek). I then fed the baby, who was always hungry again after a bath, whilst I read to the toddler and put them to bed.

That's will be the start of a routine for the baby, even if they don't go to sleep afterwards; they will be getting used to the flow.

It might sound serene now, but I always found bedtime a little stressful.

I would also say that at this stage(12 weeks) I think one is still finding ones feet with two children, and I would give yourself a break.

I can also remember bringing bedtime forward. I used to start going up at sux, and on the occasional day when the toddler was wiped out, at half five.

It gets better.

loosechange Wed 15-Jun-16 21:16:40

Unlike my predictive text, which has a mind of it's own.

bobbinpop Fri 17-Jun-16 09:13:36

Oh DD1 sounds so caring! What a lovely reaction to understand the baby needed you! Don't be so hard on yourself smile my twin babies used to have to cry themselves silly waiting for anything (even being fed). I hope my DC are this understanding when DC3 arrives in September!!

Having to wait or take turns at an older stage is no bad thing. She's had your nurture for years and knows you care about her too. She's learning a lot from this, and remember that she loves her sister too.

Could you put aside some cuddle/story time at the weekend and explain it's to make up for lost bedtime cuddle time, or something similar? Make DD1 feel extra special.

CaitAgusMadra Fri 17-Jun-16 09:41:39

I have nearly exactly the same age gap as you but DC2 is now 8 months old. As per PP we didn't have a defined bedtime for DC2 until they were close to 5 or 6 months. At 12 weeks DC2 would be in their bouncy chair or in sling or on the boob while getting DC1 to bed. I made the decision that a bath a couple times a week was plenty (and chose a night DH was home or did it during the day while DC2 napped). So the bedtime routine was pared back to PJs, TV for 30min, teeth, book, sleep. I usually tried to feed DC2 while watching TV so I could be hands free for books and cuddles.

DC2 was also a terrible cat napper so you have my sympathies. I just used to go with it and let him have lots of short naps rather than trying to extend them. They have gotten a bit better in the last couple of months

StepfauxWife Fri 17-Jun-16 18:11:03

Thank you so much, all. It has really helped to know I'm not alone! DH is home tonight as I've got the evening off and am heading out shortly. wine

I'm just finding it so tricky to look after both. DD1 goes to nursery a couple of times a week which helps. But the rest of the time, I feel totally torn between the two. Neither gets the best of me and I end up feeling awful. DD2 spends a lot of time in the sling but her naps are a woeful 20 minutes now! So by the end of the day, she's desperately overtired.

Agree re special time with DD1. She is doing brilliantly given that her whole world has been turned upside down by this overtired crying baby..!

Thanks again everyone.

paddypants13 Fri 17-Jun-16 19:59:04

Op , I still feel like that most days! Sometimes dd has to wait for my attention and sometimes ds has to wait.

Dd sometimes says to me ds is crying mummy. I just say that he will have to wait because I am doing x for you right now, just so she knows she's as important. I also make a big fuss of what a good big sister she is and how much fun it is to be a big girl and not a baby.

Of course there's still some jealousy but it's minimal. It gets easier as the little one grows as well.

It sounds like you're doing a great job. Ds is also a cat napper and up until very recently did not sleep through the night so I know how tough it is. x

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