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OK I give in. I have got to get this child out of my bed

(43 Posts)
EyeballsintheSky Fri 06-Nov-09 07:26:30

DD is nearly 22 months. We have co-slept since she was 6 months and mostly I didn't mind, quite liked it really. But she's very needy at night. Will only sleep right on top of me or cuddled up next to me. As well as this she has to stroke my skin. Fine, but that involves pinching (bloody hard sometimes!), pulling hair
and scratching. It's not deliberate, it's her comfort thing but obviously it's not good for me.

If I wriggle away she wakes up immediately and she will not entertain the idea of being put to bed not quite asleep or whatever. It's me or no sleep.

This child has never slept a single night in her own room, cot was in with us. Where the hell do I start to get her to sleep on her own? Yet again I had no sleep last night and I've had enough.


piratecat Fri 06-Nov-09 08:04:21

oh crap!

I wouldn't know where to start. I only read/hear of going cold turkey, so preparing for hard hard nights of separation.

EyeballsintheSky Fri 06-Nov-09 08:07:45

Lol. Oh crap pretty much sums it up!

PyrotechnicToadstool Fri 06-Nov-09 08:08:53

Does she have her own room at all - is there a cot or a bed in it?

TheFoosa Fri 06-Nov-09 08:11:08

oh dear, sounds just like my dd, we co-slept from birth

she is now 7 and still wakes up a 3am to get into our bed

good luck! <scarpers>

EyeballsintheSky Fri 06-Nov-09 08:13:24

She has a lovingly decorated box room nursery with a big, unused cot bed in it. She spent 15 minutes in it once... hmm

This is totally down to my lazy parenting btw, I hold my hands up. I am not good with middle of nights and she wasn't an easy baby hence the willingness to bring her in with us.

PyrotechnicToadstool Fri 06-Nov-09 08:19:30

I don't think it's lazy. IME co-sleeping gets to be bloody hard work past 12 months. Wriggly kicky little things that despite their size take up ALL the room. It is lovely though obviously

Well, maybe we were just lucky, and DS was a bit younger than your DD - 18 months - when I decided I had had enough. I expected it to be hellish but it was really really fine - we made a very big fuss about moving his cot to his room - and then putting his favourite toys in it and so on. Then, that night after his bath, read him stories in there, told him he was sleeping in his bed with Iggle Piggle and whoever else, and that was that.

He DID wake up a few times but it wasn't bad really - I had still been BFing in the night until that point so again I was really anxious - but DP just offered him water and soothed him back to sleep with a song.

She might surprise you? DS never really bothered about soft toys until he was in his room but now he has a small selection that he will cuddle in rotation so maybe you can replace one comfort with another?

EyeballsintheSky Fri 06-Nov-09 08:21:10

Cheers Foosa...not!


EyeballsintheSky Fri 06-Nov-09 08:24:36

That's reassuring to hear. So my first plan of action when we get home (away at the mo) is to make cotbed into cot.

I wonder if you can get Night Garden cotbed bedding?


abra1d Fri 06-Nov-09 08:32:17

Every time this topic comes up I bite my lip but now I'm going to say it...

I understand why people take small babies in to bed to feed them on cold nights (I did this myself). But regular co-sleeping sounds to me like something that is lovely for the baby and not so good for the mother, in terms of lost sleep.

Mothers need sleep. If you are sleep-deprived you don't enjoy your children as much, in my experience. There are regular instances of people coming on to MN to describe how completely shattered they are and my heart goes out to them: it's awful feeling like that.

Why is this habit so prevalent now? I can't remember many of my friends co-sleeping 10 or 12 years ago when we had our babies. Did a book come out or something? Why don't people encourage their babies to sleep in their own cot, through the night? Obviously at an age when this is reasonable to expect: for us, this was at about six or seven months. I accept it's different for other families, but surely lots of babies could be sleeping through or just waking once if they were encouraged?

This isn't meant to be nasty or critical, I just don't get co-sleeping. It seems like another instance of how things have swung so completely to the child's interests that the poor mother is having a harder time than is needed. To me (and again, this isn't intended to be an attack) it's an extension of the view that children must be attached to you all the time, that you are never 'allowed' to leave even quite big children alone or let them walk to school or play outside.

Please forgive me if this sounds critical. I'm just curious.

EyeballsintheSky Fri 06-Nov-09 08:43:00

S'ok abra For me it was purely short term gain. Of course I got less sleep than I would have done if dd was in her cot but I got more sleep than if she was in her cot screaming IYSWIM. She was never particularly fond of sleeping on her own but she did. Then overnight she changed from being reasonably happy in her cot to not wanting anything to do with it. I've always thought it coincided with teething.

Every night I thought this will be the last time, but the next night I was just as knackered and couldn't face the battle. It's got worse over time.

Not sure about the book. If there was one I'd set fire to it atm

piscesmoon Fri 06-Nov-09 08:52:51

I agree with you abra 1d-I am a much better mother with sleep. I am also a person who likes personal space. I think it is fine if it suits people but I don't think that we should be made to feel a lesser mother if we don't like it. I don't think all babies do either-they aren't all the same.
Sorry OP-that isn't a lot of help!
I would make her her own nice room with a bed and get in with her and go back to your own when she is asleep. I think you have got to the point where you can't change the behaviour without loss of sleep. Have you got parents she could go and stay with-in her own bed? At that age mine used to stay with grandparents which was lovely for both sides.

PyrotechnicToadstool Fri 06-Nov-09 08:54:00

abra1d I got more sleep by co-sleeping with my DS than if I'd put him in a cot as he fed during the night for 18 months and I went back to work long before that. And yes I believe he was genuinely hungry most of the time - but feeding for comfort during teething etc also ensured a more peaceful night than pacing the floor with him or whatever.

It was more about me than DS - as shown by moving him into his own room when I was ready. Also I was very paranoid about SIDS (still am) and felt that I just needed him to be close.

And yes you do sound very critical. And dismissive: 'did a book come out or something?' - as if it couldn't possibly be the mother's idea!

piscesmoon Fri 06-Nov-09 09:05:41

OP isn't getting more sleep-she isn't getting any!

CocoK Fri 06-Nov-09 09:07:14

Whatever you do it will involve a battle and night awakenings/screaming for a while. So you need to decide if you can face that. Sounds like you are reaching the end of your tether, very understandably. But there's no point starting the process unless you (and DP if relevant) are both totally into it and agreed on a course of action. If you stop before succeeding it will be frustrating for you and confusing for your DD.

One way to start is to put a mattress or her cot next to your bed and explain that this is where she will sleep from now on. Resist all attempts at escape - this will take time and effort but you will win in the end if you stick to your guns. Repeat until fade every night. Be loving and calm but do not budge - otherwise your good work will be undone.

Alternatively (and possibly easier long term), is to go cold turkey and put her straight into her own room with a stairgate on the door. Make the room look nice with posters, nice lighting, cushions, music... and spend lots of time in there before bedtime. Develop a long lovely bedtime routine if you haven't already. Make your bedroom off limits for a while. Start putting her to bed early as it will be a long night for the first few days/weeks. Put her to bed slowly, explain that she is a big girl now and that big girls sleep in their own room, and then leave when it's her bedtime. She will feel very upset to start with, but as long as you keep coming back to reassure her she will know you are there and that you aren't angry. Keep putting her back to bed and leaving. Be calm and make sure there is nothing in the room that she can hurt herself with. Start leaving a bit longer between every time you go up. Slowly slowly catchy monkey. One of those light projectors that do a light show on the ceiling and play lullabies for 10 mins can be a great distraction for an angry child - Tomy do a basic one for about a tenner. Keep doing this and eventually it will work.

We went for it several times after periods of cosleeping and it did work every time, but YOU MUST NOT GIVE UP OR GIVE IN once you decide what to do. It is an upsetting and difficult process for everyone involved but you can still handle it sensitively. All children need to learn to sleep in their own beds sooner or later and you'll function better with a good night's sleep after two years. Giving up will immediately take you back to square one. Good luck!

piscesmoon Fri 06-Nov-09 09:07:57

There are books about co sleeping. Parents can be made to feel that it is the best thing for all mothers and babies not some mothers and babies. There is never one size fits all and it is best to go with your instincts.

PyrotechnicToadstool Fri 06-Nov-09 09:10:58

Well yes I gathered that pisces which is why I gave her advice hmm I was answering abra1d about my experience. I got more sleep. When I no longer found that to be true, I moved DS to his own room. Simples.

piscesmoon Fri 06-Nov-09 09:14:34

I haven't really got an answer for OP though, because moving her DD is going to be anything but simple! Any method is going to bring distress on both sides. I think you need to think it out before you start.

PyrotechnicToadstool Fri 06-Nov-09 09:15:37

Well I think believing it will be distressing can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe I just imagined that DS was fine.

EyeballsintheSky Fri 06-Nov-09 09:15:41

Thanks coco. DH has a very easy solution to all this, he sleeps in another room! He pleads work in the morning (so do I three days a week but to no avail). Once in a blue moon I can negotiate a night in the spare room but 9 times out of 10 it's me with her.

I definitely think it's gone on long enough and I have reached the end of the road. I know it's going to be tough but it has to be done.

CocoK Fri 06-Nov-09 09:22:55

Do it! You need to sleep with your DH and to make this happen he needs to back you up 100% with the process. You could ideally take turns putting her to bed and getting up in the night when she wants you to put her back in her bed, at least on the nights when you are both working the next day. The key thing is not to get angry - with DD or each other - tricky when it's the middle of the night and you've had enough and just want to sleep. But if you talk about it beforehand it might be easier to handle. I remember being so tired and sick of the whole operation and people rolling their eyes at my stories of angry children howling at the stairgate at night, but we cracked it eventually. We consider ourselves attached parents and have a really close and loving relationship with our kids, however some things just have to be done and there's no cuddly easy peasy way through it. You have to play hardball for a while but you will come our the other end a much more relaxed and settled gang.

PyrotechnicToadstool Fri 06-Nov-09 09:23:12

EITS just to add my DP slept elsewhere too so it was just me and DS - part of the reason I wanted to put an end to it, I missed him. As your DH is rarely sleeping with her can you have your first night on a weekend and send him in for re-settling so she doesn't assume you are coming to get her back into bed?

Nyx Fri 06-Nov-09 09:24:21

What we do with DD(3) is I go through to her room with her at bedtime, sit in her bed with her and read stories, then lights out, I lie with her (or sit propped up) in her bed until she sleeps, I creep out. It doesn't actually take that long for her to fall asleep so it's not too bad. If she comes through to our room in the middle of the night, I take her through to hers again and lie with her till she sleeps again.

I would love to not have to lie with her till she sleeps, but can't see that changing for a while. I will have to start a thread of my own to ask for advice on that! However atm things are working out okay.

Hope you find a solution, OP!

moodlum Fri 06-Nov-09 09:27:08

Eyeballs - I really feel for you. We have been really lazy parents (out of tiredness) and dd has spent most nights in our bed not hers. She's now 5. But I think that cold turkey is the way forward, as long as you are really clear to her in advance about what you are doing.

For DD - small rewards (not this bolleaux about the 'sleep fairy' which some people use) in the morning, for staying in her own bed all night, did work well. Its a hard habit to break, but one worth breaking. I speak as someone who in the last three nights has no longer had little 2am visits and then crap sleep from then on. Its great. <not tempting fate emoticon>

CocoK Fri 06-Nov-09 09:33:14

Eyeballs - I'd avoid lying down with her until she sleeps as you will make a rod for your own back/prolong the process of weaning her off you as a sleep aid. Try stroking her head/back or patting her for a while and sing her some gentle songs at the same time before getting up and leaving with a gentle 'night night'. Children are suckers for repetition - I have sung them the same songs in more or less the same order for years, nearly always finishing with the same one. It still works for DC aged nearly 5, usually asleep minutes after the last song. We also leave a radio on (out of reach) on BBC R3 - somehow gentle talking in the background and classical music seems soothing, especially during night wakenings. Avoid complete darkness - leave the door open so she can hear you and maybe get a good nightlight - IKEA do some ghosty ones which are cheapish and give good but gentle light.

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