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co-sleeping with toddler, am I doing something very stupid?

(35 Posts)
mummylonglegs Fri 22-Apr-05 20:47:48

Dd 2 1/2 has, up until about 2 months ago, always slept alone in her cot. Then she had a really nasty cough which went on and on and also potty training and starting 2 mornings a week with a childminder. So I got in the habit of sleeping with her on a mattress in her room. Previously she wasn't a child we could co-sleep with even if we'd wanted to because she didn't seem to like it (likes her own space). Now what happens is that for naps she sleeps alone in her cot very well and goes off at bedtime alone well too. But about 3am she calls for me to sleep with her and I haven't resisted. The reasons are that I actually quite treasure sleeping with her because I've never been able to do it before and because I am an extremely fond and protective kind of mum who sleeps with the baby monitor pressed to my ear virtually when she's on her own in her room (she's 2 floors away from where we sleep so we can't do without a monitor) so being right next to her I sleep better, she sleeps better and longer in the morning than she's done in AGES.

BUT am I making some kind of rod for my back that I'll regret at some point in the future? I always thought that co-sleeping was other people's pleasure / problem, it's all new to me.

beansprout Fri 22-Apr-05 20:51:55

I've co-slept with ds (now 6m) a few times and LOVED it. But, I stopped, as I asked myself if I still wanted to be doing it months and months down the line and although part of me wanted to, it wouldn't have been best for me and dp and, in a way, ds as well.

How would it work for you if it developed into a longer term thing?

mummylonglegs Fri 22-Apr-05 20:56:30

At the moment I'm quite easy with it because it's not all night so dp and I get to go to bed together and she naps in the cot so I get a break in the daytime. If it started to creep earlier or cause a problem with her initially going to sleep I'd be more worried.

ionesmum Fri 22-Apr-05 21:02:14

If you like it, why worry? It's only a problem if it's a problem for you as a family. I had an awful time with dd1 as she would wake up, need me with her but wouldn't go to sleep. She actually used to pinch me, pull my hair...anything to make sure I was awake too. This would go on for hours! So you can see why I was very relieved to sort it. But when she just went to sleep it was lovely to wake up beside her. If your dp is happy and you are all getting sleep, I wouldn't worry too much.

blossom2 Fri 22-Apr-05 21:16:31

My daughter (3 yrs) will come to our bed most nights. Sometimes i don't even hear her and wake up with her feet in my face or head pressed against my back. She likes to sleep horizonally b/w me & DH.

DH loves it although i'm the one not getting much sleep as she likes to cuddle close to me rather than him. We've also got the largest bed that Ikea do so there is enough room.

I've also figured that she'll grow out of it and at age 10 yrs, she will definitely NOT be wanting to sleep with us!!

Pinotmum Fri 22-Apr-05 21:42:10

If it's working for you then don't worry. After I had ds my dd went from being in her own bed to sleeping in with dh, whilst I slept with ds. They are both now in their own beds in their own rooms and dh and I are back in our own bed. She was 3.8 yo when we changed the arrangements and has adapted fine - a star chart as an incentive to stay put helped as well. Enjoy it

mummylonglegs Sat 23-Apr-05 14:09:25

The truth is, I am enjoying it. But feel as a thoroughly 'Western' mum in other ways that I 'shouldn't'. I should add too that prior to this arrangement we were always got up at the crack of dawn by dd, well 6am-ish, and since this has been going up we're rarely up before 7.30am which is, of course, bliss!

Does anyone else co-sleep but kind of feel like they shouldn't? I can't say I'm really totally co-sleeping as it's only half a night. I'm not sure I could handle sleeping with her in our bed the whole night. But this seems a blissful compromise.

suzywong Sat 23-Apr-05 14:11:28

we always pull our toddler in to bed when he stirs at 4.30-5 and then we all sleep till 6.30

suppose we could train him to stay in his cot but not at that hour of the morning,

{lovely and warm and snuggley too}

lailag Sat 23-Apr-05 14:16:23

ds slept with us till few weeks ago, he is now 4.5 yold. DD (2.5Y) still sleeps with us...

jjash Sat 23-Apr-05 14:16:23

My dd of 2.5 is often in our bed .Dp works 5 out of 7 nights anyway .I love it .We let ds in our bed when he was little [only had i bedroom at the time ] Its not a problem for me as dd sleeps well and doesnt disturb us .enjoy it if it doesnt bother you .

ambrosia Sat 23-Apr-05 14:17:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WigWamBam Sat 23-Apr-05 14:19:58

Blossom - don't be so sure she won't want to sleep with you at 10! My little sister started creeping into my parents' bed in the night when she was about 3, and because they didn't put a stop to it she continued doing it until she was about 10. Not saying that it's the wrong thing to do, though, just that once you start, you may have to be prepared to be doing it for a long time!

mummylonglegs Sat 23-Apr-05 20:33:27

Thanks for the replies everyone.

ambrosia, what kind of 'rod' do you think I'm making? I'm asking because I'm interested and want to know the down side of what I've started! If it continues in this way that she spends only the last third of the night with me and we sleep well, better in fact than the 2 1/2 years I've insisted on her being in her own bed, in a way I wouldn't find that a problem even if it did go on until she was 10. BUT I would find it problematic if she started to refuse to sleep at all without me there. Not keen on going to bed at 7.30pm myself!

ionesmum Sat 23-Apr-05 21:56:54

mll, my dd1 was a shocking sleeper as I said. However, she always had been - she'd never been able to go to sleep on her own. I think what you are doing is fine. It is only a 'rod' if you see it like that, and I think you are sensible enough to nip something in the bud if it starts to get out of hand. Your dd is old enough to be reasoned with - always a big plus - my goodness, she is even old enough to be bribed . If you find it isn't working, then you can do the gradual withdrawl thing we talked about before - as she's been a good sleeper it shouldn't take too long to sort it.

mummylonglegs Sun 24-Apr-05 14:07:32

Thanks, ionesmum. It's an odd situation. I guess I've always been kind of 'against' co-sleeping, for us at least, plus it didn't work with dd on the occasions we wanted it to. Now it seems so obvious and so easy and we're all so much better rested I can't quite find my old logic against it!

ionesmum Sun 24-Apr-05 14:13:52

I was against children watching telly, eating crisps, wearing trainers with flashing lights, going to Centre Parcs...Funny how things change isn't it?

ionesmum Sun 24-Apr-05 18:27:08

Btw I don't want to equate co-slleping, which is very beautiful, with the not quite so lovely things I let my dds do. I just used it to show how things change. Seriously, when I was pg with dd1 I read a book on sleep that recommends cc. I nodded my head in agreement and felt nothing but contempt for those idiots who wouldn't let their babies cry. And since I'v ehad my babies, have I ever let them cry for a moment? Have I fairycakes!

mummylonglegs Mon 25-Apr-05 11:03:28

Oh, yes, ionesmum, I know what you mean about what one thought one would do when pregnant! I think this is an odd one for me because dd has been sleeping how they're 'supposed to' i.e., alone, for such a long time. She was an incredibly uncuddly baby and now seems to have changed character!

ionesmum Mon 25-Apr-05 13:52:00

How lovely - I'd make the most of it! I am having terrible problems with dd2, she is co-sleeping and bfeeding all night and I will have to do something about this as it's affecting my evening time and how I function during the day, as well as my relationship with dh. I've spoken to a sleep consultant who is going to send us a plan, I think dh will be taking the lead and I will find this so hard, I know it needs to be done but I will miss our quiet cuddly times in the night. But I have to let go of this stage and move onto the next. If she had a room of he rown and a compromise like you have was possible I'd be over the moon!

mummylonglegs Mon 25-Apr-05 14:46:43

Sorry to hear that im. How old is your dd2 now? We never had any real problems with dd. Right from the start she slept by herself on her own. We all shared a room until she was abut 10 months old so I could get her out for a b/f when needed. When we moved out of the room she didn't seem to notice! And I committed the cardinal sin of b/f her to sleep right up until she was 18 months old! Still, when I stopped there were no real problems. I just figure for whatever reason, she needs to be closer to me right now and so I guess I'm enjoying that cuddly baby time that I never had and always slightly longed for at the time. Even if it's 'unhealthy' I do really treasure curling up with her in the early hours. I also think that she's our only child and we most likely won't have any more (health reasons for me, I was told I couldn't have any!) that I want to make the most of her. Dp has no problems at all with me nipping off to her room in the night, in fact is also enjoying the lie-in he gets to have now!

What's your plan going to be for dd2?

ruty Mon 25-Apr-05 15:29:15

just wanted to say its nice to hear other mums co-sleep. when i told a friend i am co sleeping with my 8 month old ds and letting him bfeed when he wants she was horrified! I'm afraid its the only way we all get a decent night's sleep. I'm not going to worry about it so much now, tho i know at some point we'll have to change.

ionesmum Mon 25-Apr-05 20:13:15

Mll, you and dd sound so happy together. Unhealthy according to whom????? I agree, enjoy every moment. I'm sorry to hear about your health problems, your dd is obviously very treasured.

The big problem I have is that dd2 (who is 13 mo) is now waking to be bfed to sleep pretty regularly. At first I could bfeed her to sleep and she'd go through but after a winter of colds she's got in the habit of nursing pretty much around the clock. In many ways I love bfeeding to sleep but she's now waking up after only an hour and I need my evening time as it's the only chance I get to write or do anything that isn't mummy-related. And dh gets even less sleep than me so we are both sleep-deprived. And as we've had one night out together in three years I really need to get dd2 to the stage where she can be left so we can go out for an evening.

When you stopped bfeeding to sleep was that when you weaned altogether?

I don't know exactly what our plan will be yet, but I think it will involve dh holding dd2 and getting her to sleep without needing a feed - obviously he doesn't have the equipment! After a few nights I can take over, but until then I have to stay out of sight . The consultant is also helping us to look at dd2's behaviour and is allowing for the fact she's going through separation anxiety at the moment, and giving us strategies for coping with it. I do feel a bit sad but have concluded that, unlike in your situation where you are all getting better sleep, dd2 and dh and I are getting less sleep because dd2 needs to bf and co-sleep, that she slept better and was happier when she did go for long stretches in her cot, and that dh and I were better rested then too. So I think I need to let go of her little baby stage and accept she's an older baby now, and change how we do things - it'd be selfish of me to carry on. Atm her cot is in our room so she won't be far away, and hopefully we'll be moving soon and she'll have her own room so if she needs one of us we'll be able to sleep in with her like we do with dd1 now.

ionesmum Mon 25-Apr-05 20:13:17

Mll, you and dd sound so happy together. Unhealthy according to whom????? I agree, enjoy every moment. I'm sorry to hear about your health problems, your dd is obviously very treasured.

The big problem I have is that dd2 (who is 13 mo) is now waking to be bfed to sleep pretty regularly. At first I could bfeed her to sleep and she'd go through but after a winter of colds she's got in the habit of nursing pretty much around the clock. In many ways I love bfeeding to sleep but she's now waking up after only an hour and I need my evening time as it's the only chance I get to write or do anything that isn't mummy-related. And dh gets even less sleep than me so we are both sleep-deprived. And as we've had one night out together in three years I really need to get dd2 to the stage where she can be left so we can go out for an evening.

When you stopped bfeeding to sleep was that when you weaned altogether?

I don't know exactly what our plan will be yet, but I think it will involve dh holding dd2 and getting her to sleep without needing a feed - obviously he doesn't have the equipment! After a few nights I can take over, but until then I have to stay out of sight . The consultant is also helping us to look at dd2's behaviour and is allowing for the fact she's going through separation anxiety at the moment, and giving us strategies for coping with it. I do feel a bit sad but have concluded that, unlike in your situation where you are all getting better sleep, dd2 and dh and I are getting less sleep because dd2 needs to bf and co-sleep, that she slept better and was happier when she did go for long stretches in her cot, and that dh and I were better rested then too. So I think I need to let go of her little baby stage and accept she's an older baby now, and change how we do things - it'd be selfish of me to carry on. Atm her cot is in our room so she won't be far away, and hopefully we'll be moving soon and she'll have her own room so if she needs one of us we'll be able to sleep in with her like we do with dd1 now.

ionesmum Mon 25-Apr-05 20:13:34

oops!!!!

mummylonglegs Tue 26-Apr-05 20:46:39

Yes, ionesmum, dd is incredibly precious, a bit of a 'miracle' baby in terms of my medical background.

Hmmm ... re. your dd2, I think you're right to try to sort it out if you're getting such an interrupted night. Is it that scenario in which she's kind of using you as a 'dummy'? With my dd everything was so smooth I'm almost embarrassed to talk about it on MN given that people have such awful problems with sleep. I b/f her to sleep at bedtime for AGES. But she slept through the night on her own in her cot from about 10 weeks old, the b/f to sleep never seemed to cause a problem. I didn't b/f her to sleep for naps, I don't know if that helped with the final transition. But by the time she was 18 months old she was just having 1 feed from me a day at bedtime and my deciding it was time to give it up coincided with her being quite unwell with a chest infection and so not wanting to b/f. For a couple of nights she just refused to feed at bedtime and then I just stopped it altogether. I replaced it with a very long story session with a cup of formula and she took to that without a whimper which in a way I found quite strange, very sad really as I loved b/f her. Now b/f seems a lifetime ago and I miss it a lot. I looked back at some old video footage of me b/f her just recently and felt incredibly nostalgic.

sorry I don't have any real advice for your current problem. What you described sounds like a good idea. It might be horrible for a couple of nights but they all seem to 'tow the line' in the end and maybe you'll end up with a comfortable halfway situation like I seem to have landed myself with!

Pure nosiness here but you mentioned 'time to write' and I wondered what you meant by that, what kind of writing you like to do?

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