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Moving from co-sleeping to cot or bed

(15 Posts)
dorisbonkers Tue 03-Nov-09 10:07:02

I've written here before about our sleep woes but have trudged on breastfeeding to sleep and co-sleeping. It's driving me increasingly to despair and I'm getting stressed. She has recently turned one, and I'm planning to go back to work part time, and my husband will look after her when I do (she's very attached to him, too)

Typical day involves breastfeeding to sleep and having her sleep on me (can't move her) after perhaps an hour of attempts. Then another nap is achieved by either me or my husband walking around with her in an Ergo (she sleeps better for him). She isn't the sort to play by herself and wants to be held and talked too all the time. So of course unless my husband is here (he works 3 nights a week) I cannot get showered, do anything or cook.

At night we have a bedtime routine and after several stories I lie down to feed her to sleep. What used to take 10 minutes can now take an hour, depending on how ready she is. Typically she wakes on her first sleep cycle (although not last night funnily enough) and then sleeps a few hours but the early hours are me swapping sides and actually lying there with a boob in her mouth until 7.30 or so.

I have had no time to myself, or time with my husband. I often can't get back to sleep when she's woken me and lie there obsessively thinking about every sodding decision I've made and second guessing my approach. My mother's on at me for being 'weak', my best friend wants me to wean her and my mother friends pity me. My husband has taken to sleeping on the sofa when he's here.

I'm not unrealistic. I don't yearn to go out on the town, I'm not about to change everything just so I can get a babysitter (ironically when we lived in Singapore my cleaner would successfully babysit so I felt much better in myself then for having some time off)

All I want is say 5-6 hours unbroken sleep and a couple of hours in the evening to unwind and not think about baby stuff.

So I think I need to move her to a cot (she used to sleep in an Amby but then came in our bed on waking and when she got finally too big for the Amby. But I have a spare cot she can go in. Or should I ride it out for a few months and she go in a toddler bed (she can get down from bed properly)?

Any practical advice? I've got the Ferber book and have considered CC but obviously it would be a dramatic shift from her being in bed to sudden sleep training, so I'm not sure I should do it. But as she gets older I think I can cope with some tears as this situation isn't sustainable.

Oh, and she is getting so much harder to breastfeed to sleep so this feels a natural time to shift things.

Christ - it was so much easier when she was smaller.

Unlurked Tue 03-Nov-09 10:16:11

We've just moved DD to her own bed in her own room at 17mo. I bf to sleep and co slept till she was 14ish mo.

At 14mo I stopped bf to sleep (just stopped, no tricks, I just didn't feed her at night anymore) she faffed about in bed for a while (we were still co-sleeping) then cried for a bit, I cuddled and patted and eventually she fell asleep. It took a couple of weeks but she got the hang of it.

I've just found out I'm pg with dc2 so decided it was a good time to move dd to her own bed which has actually been much easier than I thought. It's been about 2 weeks now and she's waking about 2-3 times a night.

We skipped the cot, I thought that going from a bed to a bed would make more sense to her and I find it easier to comfort her at night when she's in bed rather than leaning over the side of a cot.

Hope some of that is useful to you!

Pinkjenny Tue 03-Nov-09 10:16:14

<nods> I am in exactly the same position. I gave up after two nights because I felt so bereft without dd.

<wonders whether she should have posted this>

dorisbonkers Tue 03-Nov-09 10:23:51

Unlurked - thanks so much. I thought about not bothering with the cot. You'd laugh as I've put the thing up saying to myself 'I'm going to DO this', and dismantled it so many times because it looks back at me like a symbol of failure.

You'd think she'd like it - it's Boy George's old cot (long story...)

Yes Pinkjenny. I half think I should continue co-sleeping because it will give me a chance to cuddle her after going back to part-time work.

But I need some time to myself as a matter of urgency. I think I'm losing my marbles.

FreeTheGuidoOne Tue 03-Nov-09 10:31:13

I was you. Feeding to sleep, acting as a dummy all night, changing from one side to another, waking as soon as I latched her off.

I have to say my approach probably won't work for you as I waited until she was older and more able to understand what was happening.

I moved her straight into a bed. She has never slept in a cot. I started by latching her off when she was almost asleep and then patting to sleep and then latching her off earlier and earlier. It took a while for it to work but slowly, slowly she learnt to have a feed, then a cuddle and then nod off to sleep. I made the rule that she must go to bed in her room and on first waking she can come in with us. I then started settling her in the night without milk using cuddling and patting. She was cross but not upset. Now that she no longer has milk in the night she is sleeping for longer and longer in her own bed and on a good night we get 7hrs before she's back in with us.

There were no tears. I would never resort to cc, in fact would never leave her to cry at all but I think in particular moving from cosleeping and bfing to cc is too much for such a little one.

Have you read Jay Gordon?

Unlurked Tue 03-Nov-09 10:32:36

I think you just know when you're ready to do it. I dithered a bit too before actually committing but I can honestly say it hasn't affected my relationship with dd one bit. She is as secure and happy as ever.

I've never left dd to cry. In fact she dosn't cry when she wakes up now she just toddles through to my room, stands at the side of the bed and stares at me. Scary! Or when she thinks it's time to get up (usually it is, sometimes it's 5am!) she comes through and shouts 'Hello' really loudly in my face.

Don't think of it as failure, forget the books, forget everyone else, you've got to do whats right for you and your family.

How do you have Boy George's old cot?!

dorisbonkers Tue 03-Nov-09 10:35:42

How old, out of interest? And yes, the CC feels wrong, but I'm surely not the only sleep deprived co-sleeper who's considered it!

I think it's one of those things you do consider after a very bad night and think it may work and life will get some semblance of normalcy. Which of course, it won't!

I'm a bit too soft hearted to do too much crying. So is Mr Bonkers.

dorisbonkers Tue 03-Nov-09 10:39:52

I have Boy George's old cot (and his high chair) as my mother was doing some work for his mother (lives in the next road) and thought having a cot at her place would be good for when my daughter came to stay. That's never happened but she donated the cot to me when my daughter got too old for the Amby.

It has been checked for Finnish rent boys and burnt spoons wink

Unlurked Tue 03-Nov-09 10:44:52

Amazing! If you do decide to skip the cot you'll make a mint on ebay!

Oh, and I've considered far worse than controlled crying in past sleep deprived states grin.

dorisbonkers Tue 03-Nov-09 10:46:17

Out of interest, breasfeeders to sleep, how did you do naps at about 1 year of age?

She used to be easy. When she looked tired, put her on a cushion and feed her while watching tv. But now it takes multiple attempts and she wakes very quickly unless I keep the nipple in her mouth (dead arm, hurting neck and often dying to go to the loo but can't transfer her to a bed)

Unlurked Tue 03-Nov-09 10:53:43

I fed to sleep for naps up until we moved her into her own bed. She'll now go to sleep fine in her bed with a bit of back patting.

I do remember that stage but she did get past it before we stopped bf to sleep completely. Could you feed her to sleep in bed for naps?

That's probably not very helpful!

dorisbonkers Tue 03-Nov-09 11:24:08

No, it is, and I used to have success but not now. Much wriggling and twisting and in the end I brave the weather and walk for 2 hours in a sling (slinging indoors doesn't get her off)

How do you cook?

FreeTheGuidoOne Tue 03-Nov-09 11:59:58

dorisbonkers, it gets so much easier I promise. I had similar nap problems. Bear in mind that around aged 12 months sleep is problematic anyway regardless of co-sleeping and bfing. It's developmental and to do with them learning to walk. I perhaps wouldn't try changing the status quo around this time. They find it very, very hard to switch off when their brain is telling their muscles to practise standing and walking. DD used to get to her knees in her sleep (still latched on) and then get confused.

DD dropped all naps at 13mo so the problem effectively disappeared where naps were concerned.

I waited until dd was well over 2 to move her to a bed and to stop bfing to sleep and there were no tears, no fuss. She gets up in the night, toddles through, says hello, cuddles daddy, cuddles me, back to sleep straight away.

At 12mo dd was still ridiculously dependent where sleep and milk was concerned. I used to wonder how on earth people had bfed babies that had dropped feeds. DD just fed and fed and fed. She's 2 and a half now and still loves milk but in the last month, only at bedtime and on waking. I suggested it to her and she agreed. I was utterly amazed.

dorisbonkers Tue 03-Nov-09 14:08:47

Thanks, it's good to hear. I know deep down I want to continue this way, but also something has to give. My going back to work for three days will be a momentous change, so we'll see how Mr Bonkers fares with naps. She already is far more amenable to kipping in the Ergo with him than me (that's where she is right now....)

I seem to be surrounded by women whose babies sleep when they are put awake in a cot. And they get the mums to babysit. And they have nights off. And their babies take a 2-hour nap in the afternoon and they whizz round doing chores and cooking.

I know, I know. Don't compare. I don't want their lives and I don't want to swap babies, but it's hard to hear glimpses of something you partly yearn after and I get a pang.

I also get annoyed that they (and my best friend and mum) think I'm weak, weird or too soft-hearted a mum, the implication being that I'm not doing a good job raising her.

I didn't know toddlers could drop naps like that. That's interesting and maybe will make me less prone to 'fight' her into a nap.

It's good to know I'm not the only one. Cheers.

Unlurked Tue 03-Nov-09 20:35:28

FTGO - that's really interesting, I didn't know that about learing to walk and sleeping. DD definitely went through that and we came out the other end still bf and co-sleeping (although that's since changed)and she still took a nap and still does.

Doris - I thought of a couple of things today that I wanted to add. All of my friends thought I was weak or strange for raising dd the way I do so I stopped talking about it. If anyone asked how she was sleeping I just said 'fine thanks' and changed the subject. I mentioned to a few people last month that I'd just night weaned and was met with a number of dropping jaws!I've also learned not to ask about other people's dc's sleeping habits and prefer to imagine they're just the same as me!

This is a bit rambly but... this summer I had a sickness bug that meant that dd just couldn't be around me. DP took her to his parents house while my Dad looked after me. DP brought her back morning and night to bf but while she was away from me she was fine. She went to bed a bit later than usual but slept through the night in bed with her Dad. She knew I wasn't there but she also knew that she would see me again soon. I know that doesn't really have a lot to do with your situation but maybe a bit comforting to know that your dd may well cope just fine when you are back at work.

Re cooking, when DD was going through her clingy stage I just had to make fast meals. I tried to cook more complicated stuff to eat the next day while she was in bed. By the time you've found a solution she'll be quite happy to watch tv play quietly by herself like my dd does grin.

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