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baby isn't getting sleep due to 3yr old

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
my 4 month old dd needs to sleep. Everytime she starts to nod off, here comes ds to growl loudly in her face until she cries. I need to diffuse this power struggle. we tell him not to, we tell him she needs sleep, we say he could talk to her softly. I just want to bop him in the head but I know that wont accomplish anything positive. I cant put her down in another room, he comes in. She doesn't stay asleep very long without me anyway. If I magically get her to sleep in another room he finds her and slams the door. "I woke her up!" he shouts triumphantly. I just want a break. I am so tired of that growling noise. He has been doing this about a week. Would "Siblings w/o Rivalry" help with this? I want to read that. I am having horrible rage problems and have trouble finding patience. Any tips?
post #2 of 12
That sounds really frustrating!!! I have a 3 year old and a 7 week old, so we are going through similar things. What I tell my dd is that when she wakes the baby, I have to stop playing with her and tend to the baby. SHe seems to understand that pretty well. So when I get dd2 to sleep, I will remind dd1 "Abby, Ella is asleep, lets play together. Remember if you get too loud and wake her, I'll have to stop playing with you and help her fall asleep again, so lets let her sleep." And when dd2 is asleep, I try really hard to focus a TON on dd1.

Would your little one sleep in a sling? That helps to keep them safe and also to allow you to be with the older one. Plus it does help to block out noise and growling! HTH
post #3 of 12
I was thinking about this thread the other day. Taking off my "mom" hat and putting on my "older sister" hat, I wonder if the baby has been doing something very specific to annoy the 3-year-old? If I, at 3, had done something like that to my younger sister, it would have been revenge for keeping me up at night/ waking me up in the morning/ getting into my stuff (not likely for a 4-month-old of course). IOW an issue of something that she had done to annoy me, rather than general rivalry.

If you can't identify something like that, my advice is always either to send the 3-year-old to preschool, or change up the 3-year-old's schedule so he takes a nap which begins before the baby is likely to need a nap and is therefore asleep and unable to wake the baby. (See Sleepless in America for tips on re-introducing naps.)
post #4 of 12
lolar2-I see what you are saying, but I would really hesitate to assign such negative intent to a three year old. I really dont think 3 year olds are capable of 'revenge' for being annoyed at someone, you know? My 3 year old forgets and forgives almost instantly, and I would not think she would hold a grudge at all.
Most likely, a 3 year old is simply feeling displaced, confused and a little jealous of all the time and attention this new little baby is getting.

Something I've been doing (actually since I read this post!) is when I see that dd1 is about to wake the baby, I quickly step in and offer a game or something. So, for instance, I'll say "Hey Abby! How about let's do the bugs puzzle together!" or "Abby! Let Ella sleep a little longer so we can swing on the playset!" And if she does wake her, I don't make it a big deal at all. I just simply take the baby, calm her down and move on with the day. Once the fun is taken out of it, most toddlers will stop doing whatever is so aggravating to us, you know.
post #5 of 12
Originally Posted by mommy2abigail View Post
lolar2-I see what you are saying, but I would really hesitate to assign such negative intent to a three year old. I really dont think 3 year olds are capable of 'revenge' for being annoyed at someone, you know?
LOL Are you a younger sister? It didn't even occur to me to think of revenge on a younger sibling as a negative intent! I was remembering the ways my sister used to drive me nuts when we were little, and thinking "I should have thought to wake her up-- she had it coming!" So I was thinking that an ultimate solution might be to stop the baby from doing whatever she is doing to annoy the poor older sibling.
post #6 of 12
You could wear the baby in a sling.

You could have an activity, snack, and maybe even a video on during the baby's naptime. Sometimes we would go outside. That helped for some reason.
post #7 of 12
We have issues with this, too, though my lads are closer in age (21 months apart). Like your DD, OP, and like my DS1 before him, my DS2 (now 12mo) doesn't sleep long without me (30 or so minutes, maybe, which is what his older brother did until he was probably 14mo or so). He's also a champion sleep fighter, even when slung or driven in the car for a while.

Anyhow... the main point of my post was to say that while slinging my DS2 is sometimes a good way for me to get him to sleep longer, a lot of times my older lad is really wanting me to put DS2 down so that DS1 can snuggle up to me (he still needs me in physical contact with him to fall asleep). I try explaining to DS1 that waking DS2 will mean taking attention away from DS1, but sometimes he replies "I want to wake [DS2] up." : I think, though, that's a sign of a deeper need that he's trying to have met, and I'm still searching for the way to meet it while also caring for DS2.

My best hope of getting DS2 to sleep a while is to get him down, then get DS1 down (which is *much* easier said than done). If I can manage that before DS2 awakens, then I can often get DS2 back to sleep for a while. Now that DS2 is older, I lay him down in his brother's twin bed. If DS1 by some miracle allows himself to fall asleep for a nap (pardon the sarcasm -- it's been a long dry stretch of a nap strike), I lay him down in his bed, and the brothers sleep well together.

I realize this doesn't get at the heart of your post seeking help to stop your DS's behavior, and for that I think mommy2abigail's approach is a good one if it will speak to the need your DS is trying to have met.

At 4mo, your DD2 can't really be doing anything to annoy her older brother except existing, and neither can do much about that!

Hang in there.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
I tried to post on this thread a couple times a few days ago, but the server ate it. my dd is definitely not doing anything to annoy ds except existing. But he doesn't generally seem that upset that she exists either. He mostly wants attention. Attention from me, attention from her too. When she is awake he loves to get her to laugh and I think sometimes he will wake her up so that he can try to play with her. I pretty much wear her all day. When I am wearing her he comes up and wakes her up. If she is really asleep soundly, he will tug on the wrap while he yells and growls at her. It is really a power struggle between him and us, the parents, that needs to be diffused. The way he is so happy that he woke her up I think is him trying to get back at us, if not just trying to get attention. He knows it gets a response. I know I need to try to spend more time interacting with him. 1 on 1 time is pretty much out of the question though because dh isn't home until it is dinner, then evening goat husbandry chores then off to bed. We get up when the sun rises, and I guess maybe I should try to get him to take a nap but I don't know how to do that without trying to force him because he isn't interested and will just jump around on the bed until he gets bored and leaves the room. Dd isn't really old enough to have a "nap time" yet. She mostly tries to sleep all day still. But maybe that is just because she isn't getting much sleep in a stretch and I get her up when the sun rises to come out and milk with me in a wrap. Either way, one nap time isn't going to be sufficient for her.

thank you for the replys
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
I wanted to add that we live rurally (an hour from anywhere, basically) and only have one car, so we can't really get out of the house and go to a playgroup or anything at this point. We do have a big yard and some great neighbors across the street with kids but we are new in town and I am not sure how much time the neighbors would really like to devote to us. I think if ds could spend some more time playing with kids that he would be happier, but he only gets to do that rarely.
post #10 of 12
Sleepless in America has some ideas on how to get 3-year-olds to nap.
post #11 of 12
Hi there! Congrats on your new little girl! We miss you and hope you're doing well.

Now that I've made the move from 2 kids to 3, I am also struggling to find enough 1 on 1 time for each child. I've found that even short spurts like 10 minutes make a huge difference. That is usually enough time for me to squeeze in a quick activity while the baby is happy. Even if she's in a carrier they don't seem to mind that it's not actual "one on one." One thing you could try if baby doesn't sleep well without you is to nurse her lying down and read books to DS. My baby doesn't sleep well without me either (VERY different from Riley, who only took catnaps in a carrier but slept really well by himself on the bed). So if I'm having a time where I can see the boys need attention but she won't be put down, we read for awhile. They love it and it's also become our bedtime ritual when DH is home to hold the baby. This also works well for encouraging daytime naps when they don't want to take one.

Sometimes right after DD has napped (when she's in the best mood - her "worst" times are when she's tired and wanting help falling asleep), I lay her on a blanket in the boys' room and play a board game, build blocks, or play with their toys with them on the floor. A lot of times really all they want is for me to be in the room. They'll take off on their own game and I'm more of an observer (which leaves me free to nurse DD if she needs it). That way they can tell me what's going on in their game and feel like I'm giving them attention. Another favorite is for all of us to sit at the kitchen table and color/draw or play with playdoh.

Anyway, I hope some of that was helpful. It is definitely challenging having more than one child. I hope it gets better for you soon.
post #12 of 12
I am in your shoes. Every time I get DD2 to sleep DD1 goes in the room to wake her up or screams at the top of her lungs. Unfortunately DD1 is the heavy sleeper and DD2 is the lightest sleeper known to man. It drives me up the wall! Lately whenever she does that she is also made to take a nap and she doesn't nap anymore so it is really just her having "quiet time". She doesn't like that much so I see her thinking twice now before waking her up but she still does it.
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