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how to break a semi co-sleeping habit in toddler ...

(20 Posts)
mummylonglegs Sat 26-Mar-05 21:06:12

Dd's 2 1/2 and has always slept in her cot quite happily until a couple of months ago when she had an awful chest infection and inflammation on her lungs and coughed and coughed for hours in the night. As I was worried and she was upset in the night I started to sleep with her on a single mattress in her room from when she woke (usually 2am-ish) until morning. Now she's much better but is still waking some time in the night and needing me to lie with her in order to get back to sleep. In a way I don't mind as I like lying with her but I think it's having an effect on all her sleep in that she now protests at going to bed initially and asks to sleep with me which I can't do at 7.30pm. I won't start a habit of lying with her until she's asleep then transferring her into her cot as I don't think that's fair. If I do try to get her to just settle in the cot in the night she gets totally hysterical and cries and screams for ages whereas otherwise she goes out like a light with me on the mattress and sleeps until about 7.30am.

What would you do? Is it possible to half co-sleep without it scuppering sleep routines altogether? Or do I just have to tough the screaming in the middle of the night out?

ionesmum Sat 26-Mar-05 21:26:43

This worked for us with our dd1 when she was two.

Forget the cot. At first, stay with dd as usual whilst she falls asleep but sit on the edge of her matress. Then, after a night or two, move to the end of the matress, then beside the matress the next night, then a few feet away, then by the door. Once your dd will go to sleep with you by th edoor, do you rroutine as usual then kiss her goodnight, leave, but stay outside the door. Let her know you are there. Then the next night go to your bedroom for a few minutes then go downstairs. If she wakes in the night, do the same thing - stay by her bed whereever you were whne she fell asleep - no closer - get a chair if you need one. The first few nights you may find yourself hovering at the end of her bed for hours (I was bfeeding dd2 so was up anyway!) but if you are consistent it works. This method took us 10 days max to crack a sleeping habit formed when dd1 was a few months old - I never thought I'd see the day when I could kiss her goodnight and go -it was wonderful!

Some things which helped:

A routine
A favourite cuddly toy - I asked dd1 to look after them for me!
A 'God Bless' prayer last thing
A plastic photo wallet with lots of photos of her and our family that she can see from the bed
Posters of her favourite characters on her walls.

Now she sleeps like a lamb! Good luck!!!!

Clayhead Sat 26-Mar-05 21:28:18

we did very similar to ionesmum and it was successful. We never did crying in the night, just as IM describes.

mummylonglegs Sat 26-Mar-05 21:32:51

Thanks ionesmum.

I don't know if this suggestion will help in our case though because literally up until a month or so ago she always did go to sleep on her own and in fact even now 80% of the time she goes off to sleep initially with no fuss, just says goodnight, lies down and sleeps. It's really a middle of the night thing rather than anything else.

We do have a very good routine I think and a very favourite toy plus a couple of others she's keen on at the time.

I have, however, wondered about whether to move her into a bed sometime soon. The thing is, up until lately, she's LOVED her cot, calling it her 'little sleep den' ...

ionesmum Sat 26-Mar-05 21:38:20

Try it in the middle of the night and see. You can try making her matress special by getting her to choose her covers, special toys etc. I have to say dd1's bed looks so cosy!

mummylonglegs Sun 27-Mar-05 14:07:42

If I did do that in the night, it would still mean getting her out of the cot, putting her on the mattress and going through the process, therefore not really aiding the problem of keeping her in the same place all night. I could only do it if I get her to sleep on the mattress all the time rather than in the cot. I guess I'd rather get her a proper bed first because the mattress was meant more for us than her, so we could sleep in her room if we were worried about her etc. and it's under the window so a bit chilly.

bakedpotato Sun 27-Mar-05 14:21:27

when DD was about the same age she very suddenly became afraid of the dark. previously, she'd happily gone to sleep in a pitch-black room. the change happened before she had the language to explain how she felt.
have you got a nightlight?

mummylonglegs Sun 27-Mar-05 21:59:05

No, we haven't got a nightlight, I've been thinking of getting one. But do you think that would effect her waking in the night? Do you leave them on all night? I thought they were more for helping to get to sleep at the beginning of the night and people turned them off when they went to bed?

If I do get one, does anyone know of a good one?

ionesmum Sun 27-Mar-05 22:09:05

We use nighlights, the Bruin ones are nice and soft - I think BabiesRUs do them.

We abandoned the cot when dd1 was 17 mo and put her to sleep on a four foot matress on the floor. This worked great as she could roll around and even off the bed without hurting herself. We moved it onto a bed when she was nearly two, and took the bed guards off a couple of months ago.

A friend of mine who is a retired hv recommends putting toddlers into a bed or matress from when they can walk.

mummylonglegs Sun 27-Mar-05 22:11:20

That's interesting ionesmum, why does she recommend that?

ionesmum Sun 27-Mar-05 22:12:46

Hmmm - don't know actually! I will ask her next time I see her - should be Wednesday!

mummylonglegs Sun 27-Mar-05 22:15:52

How old is she now ionesmum?

I am seriously considering getting her a bed now. Previously I was going to wait until she's closer to 3 as she's quite small and really loved her cot. Now I do think something needs to change. I just dread the wandering around and faffing about at bedtimes that might ensue when she's in a bed!

ionesmum Sun 27-Mar-05 22:18:42

Dd1 is three. We have no wanderings or faffing. If she doesn't get into bed I ask once nicely, once firmly, and then say that if she doesn't get in bed, I will count to three and then pick her up and carry her. She's always in bed by three and there she stays! She does call out, but never comes to find us.

mummylonglegs Sun 27-Mar-05 22:25:00

She sounds very good, ionesmum! I have heard some horror stories on here about wandering kids ...

Ok, I think a bed's needed. And a night light. Time to update her room.

ionesmum Sun 27-Mar-05 22:26:37

I think the key is to make her room a nice place to be, and her bed especially cosy. Dd1 regards going to her room to play as a special treat!

mummylonglegs Sun 27-Mar-05 22:30:15

Yes, dd does too. It's just this weird night waking business. In a way I know I could crack it if I got tough in the middle of the night but i can't face it.

ionesmum Sun 27-Mar-05 22:36:40

I don't think you have to be tough. Firm, yes, but not tough. And you do need the energy to be consistent, which is hard - I now have a night-waking dd2 and have no idea what I'm going to do about that!

mummylonglegs Sun 27-Mar-05 22:38:53

How old's dd2? What's happening with her?

mummylonglegs Sun 27-Mar-05 22:55:47

I'm off to bed now ionesmum. Thanks for your advice.

ionesmum Sun 27-Mar-05 23:06:19

I've just been upstairs again with my non-sleeping dd2! She needs to bfeed to sleep.

Night night!

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