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-   -   Need Help: Toddler Won't Let Daddy Nighttime Parent (http://www.mothering.com/forum/37-co-sleeping-family-bed/1218171-need-help-toddler-won-t-let-daddy-nighttime-parent.html)

*EarthMama* 04-24-2010 03:51 AM

I need help. Baby # 2 is due in a matter of weeks and we are struggling with our 2.5 year old son sleeping through the night.

Most nights ds sleeps with us and when he does he sleeps fairly well. We have been trying to start him off in his bed as of late though and then after his first or second night waking we move him in to our bed. (When he is not sleeping with us he wakes every 1-3 hrs usually). I never realized how completely dependent he is on ME being the one to put him back to sleep. Lately we have been trying DH being the one to get him back to bed and ds screams and cries to the point where he makes himself choke/ cough/ etc. It is painful to hear and I usually go in after 10-15minutes of hearing him like this. I know this isn't letting him CIO really, since his daddy is with him comforting him, but it feels like it is and I feel horrible not just going in and helping. At the same time though I know he doesn't need me to get back to sleep and that he is probably responding in that way because he expects it to be me (it's what he's use to). I know it would be healthy (for all of us) for him to learn to allow himself to be comforted by daddy at night (especially with the new baby coming!) and that's why I am on here asking for advice.

I am just at a loss and don't know how to deal. Should I let ds cry for longer periods until he settles down with daddy? Will it get easier? Should we be consistent as far as only having daddy put him back to sleep at this point? I have never done any type of sleep training (I hate the term even) and don't know how to help ds to learn to sleep without me. Or should I not be doing this now... as in, is it too much too soon before the baby comes? (We aren't ending cosleeping, just trying to help ds learn to sleep on his own when we need him to). I just don't know how to handle this mamas. I want to do the best thing for all of us and I am just overwhelmed at the idea of not being able to rely on dh putting ds back to sleep when I need him to after the baby comes... I can only do so much!

Sorry this was so long!

Any advice would be sooooooooo much appreciated!

m4c10c 04-24-2010 02:18 PM

Can you try putting a mattress at the foot of your bed and have him sleep there for a few nights, saying, sweetie, this is your bed now that you are a big boy you get to sleep on your own mattress.
And first get him used to his own mattress, then he can't join you in the bed until morning, but when morning comes, he can snuggle with you for a little bit.
If he gets out of bed, just keep returning him to the bed and reiterating that this is his special bed now.
Then after a week or however long it takes for him to adjust to this new routine, then you can move the mattress to the floor in the other room and say, when morning comes you can come snuggle with mommy and daddy.
I'd keep talking about how big he is now and how proud you are of his accomplishments.

Also, maybe he needs more male bonding time with daddy during the day, so he trusts him more at night? There could be a switch from mommy comfort time to daddy comfort time. Although I wouldn't want you to lose out on those fun comfort times....

Have you tried anything similar to this before?

Enudely 04-26-2010 02:56 AM

I could have written your post! My dd (who is now just turned 4) had never been comforted by dh in the night at all, and we didn't get it figured out before the baby came either. The way we delt with it was to just let dd sleep in the bed with me smushed between her and the baby. (dh got to skip out to the guest room) We are now finally at the point where "enough is enough", and are firmly working on getting her to stay in her own bed. This is mostly because she kicks and yells and wakes up the baby and everyone else when she's in our bed.
I realized (after a long talk with my mil, a psyhciatrist!), that this was never going to change unless I really felt and knew that it was the right thing. Internally, I went from "the best place for her is our bed, she really deserves to be with us, and I feel guilty for kicking her out of our bed" to "This is really the best thing for our family. I wish co-sleeping would have worked out better for us, but is just didn't, it really IS the best thing for dd to be in her own bed, so she (and the rest of us!) can get some sleep.' Not feeling guilty is KEY! They sense it and know if you're not 100%
SO, I've explained to her that she needs to STAY in her own bed (no exceptions, at this point!!). When she wakes up, either me or dh will come lie down in her bed with her until she's asleep again (hoping to transition out of this!!). I told her I will try to make sure it's me, but if the baby needs to nurse, it will have to be daddy. I told her that if she screams and yells, then I will NOT come in, but if she politely tells daddy that she really needs me, then I will come in to her bed after the baby is asleep.
Last night was the first night, and after going into her room 3 times, by 4 a.m, I had dh go in. She screamed for a while and then calmed down and asked for me so I went in. Yes, I got out of bed 4 times last night, but she stayed in her bed. Here's hoping it gets easier!
SORRY this is so long, but this is fresh for me! My advice to you: It's probably too close to the birth of the baby to make any major changes. When you do make a change, make it with all your heart and know it's the right thing to do. I'll keep you posted how our big plan works out.
If this is jumbled, just remember how many times I got out of bed last night! WHY am I still awake!?


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