completely losing it and hating my DS - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-29-2008, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We night-weaned DS last fall when he was 21 months, but during the holidays he was sick, we had visitors, etc. and we backslid a bit (nursing him at about 4am instead of making him wait until 6:30). After Christmas we night-weaned again, and this time it was easier and quicker. But now it's nearly April, he is 2y3m, and he is still waking sometime between 2am and 4am, tossing and turning, trying to get out of bed to play, crying to nurse... then he wakes for good at 5:30 and we wrestle with him some more until I nurse him at 6:15.

Add to this the fact that we still have to rock/bounce him in the Ergo (front carry) for an hour or more at night to get him to fall asleep. He weighs over 30lbs and I am 3 months pregnant, so I know something will have to give sooner or later. Bedtime routine starts at 7:15, and we nurse from 7:30-7:45. Then DH and I take turns wearing him down in the Ergo. He usually falls asleep around 8:45 or 9.

He naps early, from about 12:15 until 2 or 2:30. He is already yawning and melting down at about 11am, because he isn't getting enough sleep at night.

Last night as I tried to sleep with him kicking us, kicking the covers off, asking for water...I dreamt I was screaming at him, wanting to hit him. I woke up in a total rage, hating my son and my life and wishing we weren't having another kid. None of us is getting enough sleep. We've been severely sleep-deprived for over 2 years now. I don't know if I want to co-sleep with #2 even though I know why we did it in the first place.

Please help me figure out how to help our son sleep. This is ruining our family. It isn't supposed to be like this.
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Old 03-29-2008, 01:17 PM
 
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Oh man (((((hug)))))) It sounds really bad right now. Youa re right- something has to give. One thing I would suggest is making a decision and sticking with it confidantly at this point. Don't second guess your feelings or intuition. You are pg, he is over 2 and everyone needs to sleep. Maybe try a simpler bedtime routine that doesn't involve wearing him down to sleep. It may take a while ( like maybe a month) But children just need routine- you can chnage it gradually but they need a routine. Right now your routine is wearing him down to sleep. Maybe trying to read and lay with him or rock and lay him down trying each time to encourage him to fall asleep on his own. Stick to it for a week at least and see if changing the first sleep association helps. You could also try a mattress next to yours. I don't know your child's temperament so it might be better to try one thing at a time. Remember that children will resist changing a routine that they enjoy but it sounds like you know hat is right for your family and your health.
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Old 03-29-2008, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you.

Oh, I should have said, he starts out the night in a co-sleeper next to our bed. The idea is that he'll spend most of the night in it, but the longest he goes before coming into our bed is 4:30. Once he stayed in the co-sleeper until 5:30.

DH wants to get another bed for a second room (we're moving to a bigger place in the next few months) and have DS sleep in there, on the the assumption that he might sleep better if we're not in the room. At this point I have no faith that this will happen.

What do you mean by "changing the first sleep association"?
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Old 03-29-2008, 01:37 PM
 
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What I mean is he is associating falling asleep with being held in the Ergo. If you gradually help him associate something else like- reading 3 books, and then we rock and lay in bed -with sleep he may start to learn that when he wakes up at night he doesn't need you. Sorry sort of awkwardly written- I am in a rush!
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Old 03-29-2008, 02:21 PM
 
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I'm so sorry That sounds rough. I agree with the suggestion that you need to change the routine so there are different cues for bedtime. We have recently started thjis with our son who is 15 months. Bath and jammies starting around 7:30, nurse, then hold him and rock until he looks sleepy. He goes down in the crib awake, but sleepy. There I pat him, lay him back down when he gets up and tell him it's night, night time. These days it's working and he falls asleep about 8:30. When we go to bed we move him to our bed.

We were having to hold him and bounce him for like an hour and it was exhausting. For some reason removing that stimulation and putting him down is working these days.

Good luck. I hope you find something that works for you.
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Old 03-30-2008, 12:13 AM
 
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Another idea- have you tried sarting your bedtime routine way earlier like 6:00? I get my kids into pj's between 6:15 and 6:30 we are in bed reading by 6:45 at the latest.
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Old 03-30-2008, 01:05 AM
 
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He might be hungry. Every once in a while my DS wakes in the night for cereal. It isn't every night but every once in a while. I give him a little snack and water and both go back to sleep.
My DD also did this as toddler. At first I tries to stop it thinking if I didn't give in she would learn to sleep and not eat but really she WAS hungry and I did learn my lesson.
It didn't last forever and it was easier than fighting to get them back sleep.
BTW..it is dry cereal that is eaten in bed in the dark.

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Old 03-30-2008, 01:10 AM
 
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You are pregnant. You are exhausted and frustrated to the point where you, an obviously loving mama, are having subconscious thoughts of hurting your ds.

You need to dump this problem in your dh's lap. Tell him to make whatever decision is necessary and you will not second-guess him, but that your primary duty right now is to nurture your unborn child by getting enough sleep. Tell him that the room you are sleeping in must be quiet enough for you to sleep, then GO TO SLEEP.

I'll bet that your dh will get another mattress for your ds and teach him to sleep outside your bedroom, that you will hear some crying as the adjustment takes places, that you dh will suffer a little sleep-deprivation for a couple of weeks as he works on the transition, but everybody will be much better off in the end.

You are going to have a new baby who will NEED to nurse and to otherwise deprive you of sleep for at least a year. For everybody's health, your husband must keep your toddler from piling more intense physical demands on top of what you are already facing.

Maybe you should show him this post, and tell him it's from a mama who has been there and done that, and really endangered her own health before she finally surrendered to her body's demand for sleep and fully trusted her dh to handle the toddler without sabotaging him by bursting into the room at 3 a.m.
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Old 03-30-2008, 04:43 AM
 
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What about helping him drop, or shorten, that nap? Do you think that might help the night-sleeping at all?

When he's waking at 2ish, does he have to pee? We started noticing that if DS woke in the night b/c he had to pee and we didn't realize it, he would wake ALL the way up. If we woke up while he was still squirming around asleep, put him on the potty really fast, and let him pee, he could go back to sleep quite easily.

Another thought is that he might also just be a night owl. We were starting bedtimes too early for awhile, and it was taking the same amount of time each night, I mean 2 hours is just too long. At some point we decided to just be up for another hour, and start an hour later. Hey guess what, he went to sleep at the same time. With only an hour of helping him to sleep. Sure, it's weird to have a kid sleeping at 9 when most of my friends were putting their kids to sleep at 6:30, but then again, their kids were waking up with the sun and that Does Not Work For Me. I'm not sure what I would do if I had a kid who liked to wake up at dawn. So having him get to sleep around 9ish and sleep until 8 or 9 is just fine with me. Nowadays, as he approaches 4, he is sleeping all night, except for when he has to pee (and he has started going to the bathroom on his own which is just amazing), no milk needed in the middle of the night, when year ago I never thought he was going to get to this point. OK I knew it, I just didn't FEEL it.

My point of that paragraph was that maybe if you just started bedtime later it would maybe help you out in that perhaps he would sleep at the same time, thereby giving you an hour to not be walking in circles with him.

Good luck!!!!!
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Old 03-30-2008, 09:14 AM
 
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I would stop using the ergo to fall asleep-that just sounds like too much and he'll have to figure it out. you can slow it down gradually until he's just falling asleep lying in bed.

I would stop nursing him at 6:15. It sounds like all early morning he's restless because he's anticipating nursing so I would move that to after breakfast. Since I weaned that early morning nursing session my DS sleeps very soundly in the early morning (and sleeps about an hour later than he used to).

If neither of these help him sleep better then I would move him to another room and have your DH take over. I'd use whatever I needed to get him to stay in his room all night (whatever rewards.. sticker charts : whatever he responds to).

So that's what I'd do. I hope you find something that works for you. I would expect some crying (maybe a lot of crying) but personally a 2 year old crying IN ARMS because they want to nurse/play and can not is well within my comfort zone. Except when I've had to leave to leave to catch a breath, I never have (and never will) let my DS cry alone. But CIA is different, IMO.

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Old 03-30-2008, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for taking the time to reply! It means so much to me just to hear from others who have gone through similar situations.

In response to the above posts, in general:

We're sort of stuck at the moment in some ways: we are living in a one-bedroom apartment, so there is no other room to put DS in yet. When we move this will be possible but not yet. Also we are a one-car family, so DS and I pick DH up from work each day. We don't get home until 6pm, at which time we have to make and eat supper. 7:15 is the absolute earliest we can get bedtime going at this point, though this will change, as we're planning to buy a second car before the new baby is born. Sometimes I think he fights bedtime because he doesn't have enough time with DH in the evenings. I don't know how we can fix this, though. We're already pushing the flexibility of DH's job to the limits.

In regards to the suggestions to let DH handle this: DH is technically on kid-duty all night. The reason we take turns with the Ergo-ing to sleep is because neither of us has the stamina to do it more than 15-20 minutes at a time. The kid is heavy! So in theory, after DS is asleep it's DH's responsibility to keep him that way. In practice, though, none of us is sleeping because we're all in the same room. I was fine with letting DH become a bit sleep-deprived in order to night-wean, thinking it would be a few weeks, maximum. (During that time I slept on the uncomfortable couch in the living room, not an option now that I'm pregnant.) But this has stretched into months and months of it, when we weren't well-rested to begin with. And no matter now I try to justify it, he is the one earning the money to pay our rent, and if he can't concentrate at work... we live in Silicon Valley where we are barely making it. If he lost his job, we'd be completely screwed.

All that said: Last night we let him toss and turn in his co-sleeper while I laid next to him on the bed. (I was happy to volunteer for this duty because I wanted to lie down in the dark!) It took an hour and a half, but eventually he fell asleep sort of on his own. And he stayed asleep until 5:30am, climbed into bed with DH and slept until 7! He hasn't slept past 6am for at least 8 months.

I like the idea of putting off the morning nursing until after we're out of bed. I think we'll give that a try.

I've thought about the possibility of his nap interfering with nighttime sleep, but to be honest I am loathe to encourage dropping the nap. I need to rest during that time too. He seems awfully young to drop his nap. Also, he falls asleep soooo easily at nap time (takes no longer than 3 minutes). We are so confused as to why he can fall asleep so quickly at naptime but can't do the same at bedtime. It's like he simply can't turn his body off. Now that I think about it, maybe we're putting him to bed too early; there are 6.5 hrs between waking and naptime, but only 5.5 between end of nap and bedtime.

Once again, thank you for your thoughtful responses. I felt like there was some hope after reading them.
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Old 03-30-2008, 04:31 PM
 
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It sounds like you are improving your situation but I just wanting to chime in with a few ideas since my oldest ds was very similar sleep wise.
When I became pregnant with #2 it was very hard to get enough sleep with night nursing. The only way ds stopped nursing at night and sleeping through the night was to wean him all together. He was about 2.5 when i did that and I was about 5-6 months pregnant. He then moved to a bed with dh and I slept by myself (same room) until new baby and then with him and ds #1 still often comes in the middle of the night and then dh moves to his bed. We all still sleep in the same room.

Things that have helped ds go to sleep from infancy: books, the same lullaby cd played every night, dimmed lights, not completely dark....that lullaby cd still triggers sleep.
Ds #2 has been so much easier sleep wise since birth THANK GOD! Here's hoping you have a similar 2nd one. I don't wish more than one bad sleeper on any parent!
Take care!
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Old 03-30-2008, 08:00 PM
 
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Sounds like your evenings are rushed and busy, with picking up DH and dinner, and bed time.

If I was in this situation, I'd move bedtime later by one hour. Giving you guys more time after dinner to just be a family, before trying to settle down for the night. Also, 5.5 hours after nap isn't all that much, when you think that most of it is sitting in the car, eating, getting ready for sleep (ie. no big run arounds or anything).

Maybe a quick trip to the park after dinner when the weather is nicer!

I'm sure something will give, sounds like it is already!

You CAN do this.

-also, maybe use a slow cooker. Put it on in the morning, and when everyone is home you can just worry about eating for a few nights, instead of all the prep and cooking and eating!

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Old 03-30-2008, 11:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sounds like your evenings are rushed and busy, with picking up DH and dinner, and bed time.

If I was in this situation, I'd move bedtime later by one hour. Giving you guys more time after dinner to just be a family, before trying to settle down for the night. Also, 5.5 hours after nap isn't all that much, when you think that most of it is sitting in the car, eating, getting ready for sleep (ie. no big run arounds or anything).
His bedtime used to be an hour later, but back then it was taking 1.5-2 hrs for him to fall asleep, so we figured maybe he needed an earlier bedtime. That was six months ago or more, so maybe he's ready for that later bedtime now. We might try doing a later bedtime, but I think we'll change one thing at a time.

I do actually take him to the park every afternoon to make sure he gets some energy released. Hopefully when we move we might have a yard he could ride his trike in while I do dinner prep before DH comes home.

DS has always been difficult to put to sleep, even when he was an infant. I just hoped that things would be different by now!
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, last night we decided to let him stay up later, and watched him for signs of sleepiness. We did "quiet" activities like reading books, drawing, etc. He just got crazier and crazier. DH went in to lie down with him at about 8:30, and he didn't fall asleep until 10pm. Which is our bedtime.

He woke up at 6, as usual. It's 8am now and he's already yawning and melting down.

Should we just let him sleep whenever he wants to, to sort of re-set himself? We are at a total loss here. We can change nothing, or change everything, and still he won't go to sleep. We must be doing something wrong, we just can't figure out what it is.
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:42 PM
 
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oh mama, my ds used to be the same way. i think at this point maybe your ds needs you to take the reigns and show him what needs to be done. letting him decide when to sleep or not will likely be very hard on you and dh. what i did for ds was just figure out what worked for me, that wold also meet his needs, and then really stuck to it. it was 2 weeks of very intense bedtimes but it worked. the first thing i did was get ds his own bed and this alone worked wonders. (and btw, i was also pregnant when i had to draw the line~ i really feel for you!) i decided that since he was not taking a nap (he was 2 at that time) he needed a full 12 hours of rest at night and since we have to wake at 7, that means a 7 pm bedtime. he bathes at 6, gets jammies, we read 2 stories and then its lights off. i layed next to him in my bed and he layed in his own little bed right next to mine. at first i stayed untill he was asleep, about an hour. then i stayed for 30 minutes and left him, and took 5 minutes off of the time each week. he actually fell asleep much faster without me there. at first he cried at the door like crazy but that only lasted about 4 days. it was hard, but i just could not do it anymore. i needed him to fall asllep on his own because i am a single mom and a full time student and 2 hours for bedtime routiene left me too tired for homework etc. now, hes 3 and he goes to bed at 7, and i kiss him goodnite and leave and hes sleeping in about 5 minutes. im so happy that i was consistant and stuck to my plan because life is so much more peaceful now. he still wakes 1-4 times a nite but thats the next hurdle...

joyful mama to DS 2-05, open adoption birthmama to DD 5-07: and DS 6-98, and my littlest one 7-09. crazy in love with DH!
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:45 PM
 
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If you'd be interested in a book, I just finished Sleepless In America, by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, and it was full of good information and tips.

I agree with some other posters that you will need to establish some new sleep cues, that don't involve hours of strenuous Ergo-ing. Your back must be killing you!
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Old 04-03-2008, 03:07 PM
 
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All of mine have been in their own bed some where shortly after theyr first birthday. I have found that once they get mobile they don't co-sleep nearly as well, and moving them to their own bed helped immensly.
I make a big deal about big girl/boy bed, lay down with them til they sleep the first few nights, mine took about a week, then leave after they are asleep.
After the first week or so, mine where happily sleeping through the night, and generally very happy to have their own space.

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Old 04-03-2008, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just don't know what our options are...if we leave him in the room to scream (that's what happened a few nights ago, for a few minutes while I left to get DH to take over) then this is CIO. It doesn't matter to me that he's over 2, it's still CIO. I think this would be extremely traumatic for him.

We read books to him, and he climbs all over us. We've never given him baths at night because every time we tried he got completely wired instead of calm. We've always been clueless about his "sleepy signs" because he doesn't seem to have any. He's either happy and playing (won't go to sleep because he's not tired) or wired/hyper/crazy (won't go to sleep because he's too wild). There's no middle ground as far as we can see. And we've been looking for two years now.

If we lie with him, he just kicks, sings, talks, takes his jammies off, etc. If we hold him, he screams "I don't like this game!" If we let him go, he cries for us to hold him. We've stopped Ergoing him because neither of us can do it for very long, but that doesn't matter anyway because it still takes just as long to get him to sleep even with the Ergo. (And yes, my back is killing me!)

I don't even know what I'm looking for here. I guess I'm hoping someone will come up with something we've never thought of? I feel like there's something wrong with our kid; he can't turn his body off at night, even if he's exhausted. And FWIW, he's always been a difficult sleeper, even before he was mobile. When he was only three months old, we were already doing the 2-hour bedtimes. The thing is, he's a totally great, easy-going child other than the sleep issue. (And, he goes down for naps within minutes.) He's funny and loving, rarely aggressive, not overly unreasonable, he's a great eater, and very verbal and expressive of his needs and feelings. He even entertains himself much of the time! We love him to pieces.

We just can't get him to sleep.
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Old 04-03-2008, 04:38 PM
 
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have you read Sleepless in America? she talks a lot about children like yours. I bet you would find it helpful.

from memory-she emphasised no TV... low lights.. only quiet activity for HOURS before bed. Emphasizing that for some children external cues are extremely important. That's all I can remember unfortunately.

If I were you I'd work on getting him to a point where he can wind down alone. It's possible that anyone there with him is too stimulating. You can create his own space for him and either slowly remove yourself from the room (sitting next to the bed...at the door... outside the door OR tell him you'll be back in 5 minutes (maybe give him a clock and a special book/CD).

I can't think of anything else right now. I hope you can get more help than I can offer.

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Old 04-03-2008, 04:42 PM
 
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Thank you all for taking the time to reply! It means so much to me just to hear from others who have gone through similar situations.

In response to the above posts, in general:

We're sort of stuck at the moment in some ways: we are living in a one-bedroom apartment, so there is no other room to put DS in yet. When we move this will be possible but not yet. Also we are a one-car family, so DS and I pick DH up from work each day. We don't get home until 6pm, at which time we have to make and eat supper. 7:15 is the absolute earliest we can get bedtime going at this point, though this will change, as we're planning to buy a second car before the new baby is born. Sometimes I think he fights bedtime because he doesn't have enough time with DH in the evenings. I don't know how we can fix this, though. We're already pushing the flexibility of DH's job to the limits.

In regards to the suggestions to let DH handle this: DH is technically on kid-duty all night. The reason we take turns with the Ergo-ing to sleep is because neither of us has the stamina to do it more than 15-20 minutes at a time. The kid is heavy! So in theory, after DS is asleep it's DH's responsibility to keep him that way. In practice, though, none of us is sleeping because we're all in the same room. I was fine with letting DH become a bit sleep-deprived in order to night-wean, thinking it would be a few weeks, maximum. (During that time I slept on the uncomfortable couch in the living room, not an option now that I'm pregnant.) But this has stretched into months and months of it, when we weren't well-rested to begin with. And no matter now I try to justify it, he is the one earning the money to pay our rent, and if he can't concentrate at work... we live in Silicon Valley where we are barely making it. If he lost his job, we'd be completely screwed.

All that said: Last night we let him toss and turn in his co-sleeper while I laid next to him on the bed. (I was happy to volunteer for this duty because I wanted to lie down in the dark!) It took an hour and a half, but eventually he fell asleep sort of on his own. And he stayed asleep until 5:30am, climbed into bed with DH and slept until 7! He hasn't slept past 6am for at least 8 months.

I like the idea of putting off the morning nursing until after we're out of bed. I think we'll give that a try.

I've thought about the possibility of his nap interfering with nighttime sleep, but to be honest I am loathe to encourage dropping the nap. I need to rest during that time too. He seems awfully young to drop his nap. Also, he falls asleep soooo easily at nap time (takes no longer than 3 minutes). We are so confused as to why he can fall asleep so quickly at naptime but can't do the same at bedtime. It's like he simply can't turn his body off. Now that I think about it, maybe we're putting him to bed too early; there are 6.5 hrs between waking and naptime, but only 5.5 between end of nap and bedtime.

Once again, thank you for your thoughtful responses. I felt like there was some hope after reading them.
It definitely sounds like time for a change. My dd starting at 12mths slept on a mattress in her own room, usually with daddy. Not to say she never was in our room or that I never slept with her. But I worked shifts so there were lots of times that it was the two of them. How big is your bedroom? Any chance you could put a twin bed on the floor now, instead of waiting until you move. Besides I'm sure you will want the co-sleeper freed up for the new baby. Bedtime did still take a long time, but it was easier than when we were slinging her ot sleep. changes like this take time but it'll happen. Good luck getting some sleep.

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Old 04-03-2008, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, I will check out Sleepless in America. We don't have a TV, so it's probably not a factor. Maybe we'll try telling him we'll be back to check on him. I do think that us being in the room is stimulating, but I don't know how we'll keep him in the bed without being there. We'll see. (We're willing to try nearly anything at this point.)

As I said in an earlier post, we're stuck as far as bed set-ups at this time, living in a one-bedroom apt. When we move we'll set him up in his own room, but that could be several months from now. At the moment he is in a co-sleeper side-carred to our king bed, but spends most of the night in bed next to DH. Our bedroom is pretty small, so no room for another bed (there's about six inches on either side of the bed, and the walls are not at 90* angles to each other so we can't push the bed into the corner to make more room). We're planning to move before the new baby arrives.

Thanks for the replies. If anyone has any other ideas, keep 'em coming!
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Old 04-03-2008, 04:54 PM
 
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yes yes-I forgot you were in an apartment. Is your room big enough that you could make a little special 'big boy' corner? His own light, mattress, sheets, bookshelf etc? (our room is closet-sized).

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

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Old 04-03-2008, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, we're in a very small bedroom. Our dresser barely fits. The co-sleeper is actually already blocking access to half of the closet. Making him a corner of his own is pretty much out of the question. Good idea, though!

Funny thing is, this apt. felt like a palace when we moved in a year ago. We'd just moved off of our 30-ft sailboat!
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizajane30 View Post
Yeah, we're in a very small bedroom. Our dresser barely fits. The co-sleeper is actually already blocking access to half of the closet. Making him a corner of his own is pretty much out of the question. Good idea, though!

Funny thing is, this apt. felt like a palace when we moved in a year ago. We'd just moved off of our 30-ft sailboat!
My dh would be so jealous of the sailboat! Not me though. What about packing up the co-sleeper totally and making a nest on the floor. Floor nests go a long way with my dd. She's five now and we often find her on the floor. I don't think she'd care if she didn't even have a bed.

Leslie, mama to Paige 8, Zara 3 and Audrey, Sophia & Nina June 7/11 @32.6
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