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Making nighttime changes- what to do first?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
DS is 17 months old and has been cosleeping with us since birth. We have run into some difficulties the last little while and need to make some changes. I would like to know what order I should address each of these issues?
1- Getting him to sleep- this is an hour to an hour and a half process at night. He usually falls asleep nursing.
2- Nightweaning- he nurses a lot during the night.
3- Sleeping in his own space- even if this is in our room. He thrashes a lot in bed and ends up horizontal, kicking DH ALOT! DH is loosing his patience.

We do have a crib in our room. We move him in there after he falls asleep and he usually sleeps in there 1-3 hours. We have also thought about getting him a toddler bed and either setting it up in his own room or next to our bed. He seems young for it now, but maybe working towards it in the next year?

In what order should I tackle these items and does anyone have any advice or suggestions?
TIA!
post #2 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalishea View Post
DS is 17 months old and has been cosleeping with us since birth. We have run into some difficulties the last little while and need to make some changes. I would like to know what order I should address each of these issues?
1- Getting him to sleep- this is an hour to an hour and a half process at night. He usually falls asleep nursing.
2- Nightweaning- he nurses a lot during the night.
3- Sleeping in his own space- even if this is in our room. He thrashes a lot in bed and ends up horizontal, kicking DH ALOT! DH is loosing his patience.

We do have a crib in our room. We move him in there after he falls asleep and he usually sleeps in there 1-3 hours. We have also thought about getting him a toddler bed and either setting it up in his own room or next to our bed. He seems young for it now, but maybe working towards it in the next year?

In what order should I tackle these items and does anyone have any advice or suggestions?
TIA!
My sense is that you first should decide on the sleep space you're happiest with. There's no point attempting all those other changes, only to disrupt them with a changed sleep environment. Have you considered putting a single mattress or bed right up next to your bed (between the bed and the wall? For some, this helps with decreasing the night feeds quite organically. (For others, like me, you end up jumping up and down and bed swapping 95 times a night or sleeping squished into an even smaller space than prior...) It's worth a try.

How long has the impossibly long bedtime routine been going on? Is it possible that it may be a symptom of an impending developmental leap? He is approaching 18 mths, right? Maybe this epic routine will resolve on it's own, maybe it won't. At around your DS's age I however, was DONE with bedtime struggles and never-ending nurse-to-sleep scenarios so we changed our routine entirely. Now, we do bath, books, boob - all in the living room, and then DP takes DS to bed and lays with him until he sleeps. Most nights it only takes 10 mins. Sometimes less, sometimes a bit more. But it's make everything so much easier and taken so much pressure off me. I am now able to be gone for births or when I teach at night and know that DP has a 95% chance of getting DS (he is 22mths now) to sleep at a reasonable time. It only took a few nights for DS to get the hang of this routine but it did require some serious patience on DP's part - she laid with him as he climbed and jumped and sang and cried for over 2 hours on the first night.

In terms of nightweaning, we did Jay Gordon at about 15mths and it worked for a short time but teething got in the way. We tried again at 19mths but I was the weakest link and was too tired to carry it through. Our DS was an hourly waker. Eventually, I went and slept the night at my mum's house. I put him to bed that night and was home at 6 in the morning. He woke twice. Once, DP battled to get him back to sleep and the other time he cuddled her and was out withing seconds of waking. 3 months later and he sleeps through most nights and is super easy for DP to resettle on those nights that he does wake. I'm sleeping in the spare room for the foreseeable future though because I like sleep too much now and I can't risk going back to that place.

Wow - you didn't ask for an essay, sorry. I just thought it might help you to hear that it can be a struggle for a lot of people BUT it's possible to find something that will work for you. It may not be how you pictured yourself doing it (I really hate sleeping apart from DS & DP but not as much as I hate sleep deprivation) but if you get a bit creative, it can work.

Good luck.
post #3 of 6


nak I am in the same boat!
post #4 of 6

OP, I was just coming here to write exactly your post - my DS is also 17 months, and we have the same goals - go to sleep easier (without nursing?), sleep in his own space (crib for us) and stay asleep most or all of the night.

 

I'm not sure how to tackle any of it.  I think my first goal is to get DH to take over at bedtime - it won't be easy, because DS doesn't tolerate anyone but me when he's tired and my DH gets frustrated quickly.  Hopefully DH can figure out how to get DS down and in his crib.  Nightweaning is less of a priority for us - I feel like if DS will sleep in his crib for a couple hours at the beginning of the night (thus giving me a break), I'll handle the nightwaking better. 

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalishea View Post

DS is 17 months old and has been cosleeping with us since birth. We have run into some difficulties the last little while and need to make some changes. I would like to know what order I should address each of these issues?
1- Getting him to sleep- this is an hour to an hour and a half process at night. He usually falls asleep nursing.
2- Nightweaning- he nurses a lot during the night.
3- Sleeping in his own space- even if this is in our room. He thrashes a lot in bed and ends up horizontal, kicking DH ALOT! DH is loosing his patience.
 


Not sure what order makes sense, but here's what we've tried for each of the above:

 

1. Moved the first part of bedtime to upstairs, with lights out and just a single candle lit. DH and DD (23 months) and I tell stories and sing songs calmly for 10-15 min while she has some milk, and then DH takes DD down for bedtime which is totally quiet (soft music and rocking).

2. We nightweaned very gradually and there was pretty much no fuss. We were bottle-feeding, however, so this may not apply to you. We just decreased the volume of each bottle bit by bit and then eventually substituted water when we figured that she probably waking because of hunger anymore. However.. she still wakes frequently and requests water instead of milk, so I'm not sure whether it's really resulted in better sleep for anyone.

3. We sandwiched a twin between our king mattress and the wall. The height difference between the two (about 2 inches) is just enough to contain her. Unless she really wants to come over smile.gif

post #6 of 6

We are in the middle of nightweaning, and some days it seems like I have made no progress, and other days we have made great leaps forward. We coslept until about a month or so ago. I started putting DD in her crib for naps for a month before I started putting her down in the crib at night. I found that the reason I was having such a hard time getting her to sleep was because she was going to bed too late. I started giving her a bath at around 6, then dinner, then a short time to play/read books and then bedtime around 7, sometimes earlier or later depending whether she has had a good nap during the day-before that, she had been going to bed around 9-9:30, and it was taking upwards of 45 minutes to get her to sleep.. . I have learned to read her sleep cues much better..(The two books that helped me the most were Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution, and The Sleep Lady Book.) I have modified their methods for my DD. When she gets cranky, time for bath and bed. Last night she went to bed at 6:30! And this was after having a daytime nap. I started nightweaning when she started sleeping for longer stretches in the crib. Currently, I nurse her to drowsiness and put her to sleep, then she generally wakes up 1-2 times before 11. The first time, I nurse her, the second I try to soothe her by rubbing her back. If I nurse her, I time it and try to put her back in the crib after 3 minutes, unless she is really nursing (gulping), but no longer than ten minutes.. She will then wake up in the middle of the night, sometime between 2-4. At which time I take her into the bed. I am trying to get her to eat a bigger dinner because I have realized that she sleeps longer when I load her up on carbs before bed. Cheese, pasta, potatoes, beans... I try not to give her meat before she goes to bed. It is really hard, and we had a lot of tears at first, but we are figuring out what works for us. I am trying to cut out the 4 a.m. feeding, but she cries and fights me, so I am just going to go with it for now, because she is doing so well otherwise.Eventually, I hope that she will stay in her crib all night, and not have to get up at four a.m. to nurse her. But, considering where we were last month, it is a great improvement. At that time, she was waking almost every hour to nurse!

 

So, to sum up:

 

1. Try an earlier bedtime with an unchanging routine.

2. and 3. Transition to crib. (btw, this helps your sex life tremendously )

 

Good luck, and be patient, you will see results, even though it may seem like it is not working at first. The first couple of weeks are the hardest. Just hang in there and you and your DS and DH will be sleeping better in no time. BTW, Pantley (I think) says not to get a toddler bed until the child is over two years. I forget what her reason is.

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