can't manage bedtime for 22-month-old and two-week-old by myself - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 04-05-2011, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello All,


My 22-month-old daughter can only fall asleep with me or my husband lying with her, often with our arms wrapped around her. If we sneak out after she's asleep, there's a 50/50 chance she'll make it through the night on her own. The arrangement worked well enough until our son was born two weeks ago, and five days out of the week it still works. But my husband works evening shifts on Saturday and Sunday, which means on those nights, bedtime is entirely up to me. So far I've had my family sit with my daughter while I put my son down (generally a 45-minute process), and then remain on call for my son while I'm putting my daughter down (again, a 45-minute process), but this can't go on forever. Plus, I've gotten caught after my family has left, with both kids waking up, one wanting to nurse, the other wanting me to come back to bed. I've tried bringing my daughter into my bedroom to sleep, but she still insists I get in bed with her and wrap my arms around her, which doesn't work if I'm trying to nurse my son (which I usually am). I can handle every aspect of her nighttime routine—putting on PJs, reading books, brushing teeth—while holding/attending to my son, but I just can't get in bed and lay there with her for 45 minutes anymore. What is the gentlest way I can get her to transition to falling asleep on her own? Thanks so much.

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#2 of 5 Old 04-05-2011, 01:31 PM
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im just gonna tell you what i do, since it works so great for us


ds1 is turning two in a few days, ds2 is 7m.  ever since ds2 was born, instead of laying with ds1 and waiting for him to fall asleep, i just told him, very matter of factly, that "i have to hold V, go night night next to mama." i think i told him that every single time for a couple weeks. i would be laying *right next* to him, bodies touching, but sitting up holding ds2, or nursing him or whatever. i say Shh Shh Shh and focus on keeping ds2 quiet enough. at 2 weeks, it was a breeze. ds2 usually just nursed and fell asleep himself. sometimes ds1 wants to get up, but i just gently lay him back down, repeat the "i have to hold V, go night night next to mama" thing over and over, and he eventually gets the point.


at 22 months, she should be able to understand that you are *right there* esp if you are rubbing her back or arm or patting her or whatever and maybe humming or shushing like i do. now at 7m, ds2 babbles and tries to reach ds1, but ds1 is totally used to him being there and they both go to sleep in less than 30 minutes!


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#3 of 5 Old 04-06-2011, 07:57 AM
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We do something similar to what CherryBombMama does when I'm solo.  I have the big kid sit next to me with a book and tell him he doesn't have to go to sleep, but he needs to be quiet and can press right up against me.  Then I roll over and nurse the baby while sidelying.  If the big kid is still awake after that, then I turn on the video monitor and take the big kid to his room. 


When I'm ready to go to bed, I bring the big kid with me to the family bed. 


As for wakings, it's happened a couple of times that I needed to be there for both of them.  In that event, I just go to bed myself and bring everyone to the family bed.  It sucks if it's earlier than I wanted, but I have an iPhone so I can read on it or do puzzles or whatever while I wait to get tired.


It's hard, mama, I know.  But you can do it!

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#4 of 5 Old 04-06-2011, 08:08 AM
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I used to hold the baby and have the toddler watch youtube music videos with me until he fell asleep (it doesn't take him long). After a while that became too hard so we worked on him falling asleep alone. This time I have my toddler falling asleep alone already so it shouldn't be too bad. I think that's the ultimate answer but some other solutions work in the short term.

DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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#5 of 5 Old 04-19-2011, 10:14 AM
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i'm reading this thread with interest-- i have a toddler who will be 2y4m when baby two is born in september.  i'm not sure if i should begin some kind of transition process to have him sleep in a separate place? i have heard cosleeping safety rules about not cosleeping a newborn and toddler in the same bed.   we have an arms reach to sidecar for the newborn-- wouldn't that be safe? but  then how do i manage to nurse toddler in the sidecar crib on the other side?! and where does that leave my husband?!


my other question is about getting and keeping both my toddler and new baby to sleep.  right now my toddler nurses to sleep, sleeps in the sidecar crib "mostly" and wakes up to nurse back to sleep about twice a night (though he has gone all night a few times without waking to nurse recently-- which i actually love).  i've read here about some parents' routines regarding getting two kids down to sleep-- i'd love to hear more advice and experience, especially if your toddler is still nursing during the night. 


(i'm going to post this as a new thread too.)

Donna, working mom to Finn, born at home 5/2009:married to wonderful husband Tom, and expecting baby-dos in September 2011!
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