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<p>I need advice. DS is 26 mos. He has always slept with me in bed. DH has never enjoyed cosleeping, and sadly, has been sleeping on the couch since DS was born. I am due to delivery baby girl March 27. I have been breastfeeding DS through this pregnancy until Christmas eve, he hasn't nursed since then. Overall he has been handling it OK, but last night he did have a 30 minute fit with screaming and crying, but we got through it. The last couple of months, bedtime has been pushed back further and further, and now he rarely falls asleep before 10:30 or 11:00. He's been taking good 2-3 hour naps most days, but I need him to start falling asleep at a decent hour before baby is born. I would also like to get him in his own bed, because I don't plan on him being in bed with me and a newborn. We have a toddler bed for him and have worked on getting him there a little bit here and there, but he hasn't taken to it. And he honestly never falls asleep unless he is cuddling with me or his dad, and he wakes frequently at night and requires cuddling to get back to sleep.</p>
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<p>So I have tackled the weaning from the breast part, and I know it will still require additional work, but I feel that I can handle that. I don't know how to bring bedtime down to a decent hour, or how to transition him to sleeping by himself. We are considering buying a twin mattress instead of another crib size mattress, because we'll have to move the mattress from his toddler bed into the crib for the baby (even though I'm not sure if we'll use it for sleeping, we will use it for naps, etc.).</p>
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<p>Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I just can't imagine how we will cope with his nighttime issues and a newborn too. I'd love to make some major progress in the next few months before baby is born.</p>
 

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<p>DS' bedtime got that late when he was ready to drop his nap.  Once I cut that, he went back to a normal time (initially 7pm at the latest.  Sometimes earlier).</p>
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<p>To stop 100% cosleeping (we continued to p/t cosleep for ages but I wanted flexibility) we insisted he sleep in his own bed until he woke up in the middle of the night.  He wasn't happy about it but adjusted quickly.  We lay with him in his new room until he fell asleep, etc.</p>
 

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<p>Ha ha, I logged on to post a similar question! I'm in a very similar similar situation -- baby due in March as well, 27 month old son -- but here's how I've been handling things.</p>
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<p>Late bedtime: same problem with my son. After weaning from nursing to sleep back in October, my son went from 8pm bedtime to 10pm bedtime. I tried "re-setting his clock" by skipping naps for a few days and getting him to sleep at 7pm. Works when skipping a nap, but when we had a nap it was back to 9:30-10pm bedtime. I do NOT think it's a good idea to eliminate naps -- my naturopath pediatrician agrees, saying it's important for children to nap at least until 4 yo. Anyway, my son desperately needs his naps - that part is very clear. But to get an earlier bedtime, according to friends and pediatrician, he should nap NO MORE THAN 2 hours, and nap time should at 2pm.</p>
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<p>A few other friends told me about the "window of golden opportunity" for toddler sleep, which is 7pm. If you pass thru this window, the toddler goes into another awake cycle which ends around 9:30-10:30pm. This rings true for me, as often around 7pm he says he needs to have a nap so lays down on the floor for a few minutes!</p>
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<p>My husband and I have been debating about this for two months now, bc if our son goes to sleep at 7pm he will hardly ever see his daddy except for weekends, as DH is gone 7am-7pm. But finally we decided we HAVE to get an earlier bedtime in before our baby arrives in March. My husband will try hard to be home by 6:30 so he can snuggle in bed a few minutes while son is going to sleep. So .... tonight was our first attempt to do 7pm bedtime! It started out surprisingly well. We had dinner earlier than usual (my husband is off from work this week -- we should have started on Christmas Eve! oops). Anyway, usually we have dinner at 6-6:30, mellow playtime, bath at 7pm, more mellow playtime, into bed at 8:30, stories, lights out at 9:15pm, sound asleep by 9:30. So tonight we had dinner at 6pm and we just skipped a bath for tonight. We just started talking about bedtime during dinner and our son didn't seem to blink an eye. It's dark out, bedtime is soon, etc. We went from dinner to snuggling on the couch and reading stories, brushing teeth, then into bed for more stories, he turned lights out himself at 7:15, and we snuggled down together! Brilliant, right? Ooops. Even though he seemed totally sleepy and ready to go to sleep, he couldn't. So my husband and I switched off and on till he finally fell asleep with both of us in bed with him at 9pm. 1 1/2 hours later ..... but still 30 mins to 1 hour earlier than usual!</p>
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<p>So as for bedtime: we are going to keep practicing this "window of golden opportunity" and hope that eventually he gets to sleep by 7-7:30pm. This means that we wake him up from his nap no later than 2pm, even if he hasn't had 2 full hours of sleep. More on earlier bedtime in a minute.</p>
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<p>Co-sleeping: We co-slept till 18 months when we moved into a new house. In our new house, we put our old queen size bed into his room and got a new king size bed for ourselves (hooray!). I thought it would be well nigh impossible to get him to sleep in his own bed! But it turned out to be super easy. We started doing his naps in his own bed, and talked about this being his own bedroom, his own bed, etc. (We have not decorated it especially for him, but maybe that might help some kids?) Then, we began putting him to sleep in his own bed but we still laid down with him to go to sleep.  (btw, we had nightweaned back at 16 months so night nursing was not an issue.) We are totally okay with him coming into our bed when he wants to - so usually he comes in around 4am or so, snuggles down, and goes right back to sleep. We love this, and having a king size bed has made ALL the difference in our own ability to get right back to sleep. So this part -- having him sleep on his own -- has been really easy, and I think it's because of the queen size bed where we can all sleep together if we want. And, starting him out by napping in his own bed.</p>
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<p>Going to sleep by himself, without us laying in bed with him: Now THIS is what I was logging on to post a question about! Just trying to get some extra support about it. However, my friend has really been encouraging us to DO IT. She says that our son is most likely staying up late in order to just be with us a little bit longer. If we weren't in bed with him, she says, he will be far more likely to go to sleep earlier. Here is our plan. I've gotten feedback about this from a number of attachment parenting friends who say it works, but it takes a few weeks. And a heck of a lot of patience. And as little emotional involvement as possible. Here's what we will do. First, we will spend a few days talking about what it means to go to sleep on his own. ALL his bedtime stories have parents tucking their kids into bed and then leaving, so I'm going to collect all these books and show them to him! And talk about what this means. I'll tell him clearly about the whole process. THEN, we will start, after maybe 2 or 3 days of this conversation.</p>
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<p>Okay: First night: I will remind him about how I'm going to leave after we turn lights out and snuggle for a few minutes. We will do our usual books, lights out, and songs while cuddling in bed together. Then, I will remind him again that I'm going to leave in a few minutes, we'll snuggle some more, then I'll get up to leave. I am SURE he will cry! I will pat him on the back, give him another kiss, tell him how much I love him, remind him that he's a big boy and he can do this, and then I'll close the door with a crack. He will DEFINITELY climb out of bed. I will open the door and with absolutely no emotion whatsoever, I will say, Please get back into bed, honey. And pick him up and put him back down in bed. A little pat on the back but no extra snuggling. Close the door. He will get up. I will say, with no emotion, You need to get back into bed honey. Put him back in bed, a little pat or quick kiss, close the door. Try to eliminate the kiss and pat -- make my coming in a totally emotionally neutral experience (giving him no feedback to his antics or crying). This is sure to go on for a good hour or even longer! He will surely cry as well. This is going to be HARD! But I will KNOW that after 2 years of sleeping together that he is securely attached, confident in our love and bonding, and that he will be able to handle this. Same idea as nightweaning. He cried, but I was there to hold him and snuggle him back to sleep. I did not let him cry alone in the dark. Here, he may cry and he will be alone in bed, but I will be right there and he'll know that I'm nearby. He won't be scared, though he will be frustrated. Understandably! (Btw, I keep saying "I" here but I really mean "either my husband or I" -- he's totally on board, thank god.)</p>
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<p>Okay, so from what friends who have done this have told me, the getting out of bed eventually slows down, and I won't have to stand at the door with it cracked open going back in every 2 minutes to get him back into bed. Eventually, I will be able to sit in the hallway with the light on and read a book, and only have to go in to put him into bed or pat him on the back like every 10 minutes or so. This will stretch out, and eventually he'll just go to sleep on his own. This process has taken friends 2 weeks - 1 month.</p>
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<p>Back to the earlier bedtime: So I had been thinking we needed to get earlier bedtime dialed in BEFORE we try going to sleep on his own. But my friend encouraged me to do it SIMULTANEOUSLY bc the problems are so interconnected. ie, staying up later in order to spend more time with us. So my plan is that starting tomorrow we will do earlier bedtime simultaneous with the conversation about going to sleep on his own, and in about 2 days we will start the process of going to sleep on his own, at the earlier bedtime.</p>
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<p>See, I didn't actually need to get some extra support from people on this forum -- I feel better already just writing out such a detailed plan!</p>
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<p>Oh -- another thing we are planning is to allow baby to go to sleep on her own from early on -- my husband travels a lot for work so it will be me alone doing bedtime a lot of the time, and at the moment it seems impossible to do it with a baby in arms as well. How to read stories, snuggle, lights out, songs for todder, with a baby in tow? Two friends have hired night-time babysitters to help with this process. We don't have the money for that, and I don't really want to do that anyway. What we're going to do is buy some kind of a swing (not sure which one yet) and see if baby will go to sleep in the swing. That way I can put the swing in our son's bedroom, maybe nurse while our son is reading some stories to himself, put baby in the swing, and hope that baby will go to sleep while I'm reading stories and songs etc with my son. Fingers VERY TIGHTLY CROSSED for a baby that is much more amenable to this kind of sleeping than our son was as a baby!</p>
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<p>Good luck with all of this. I hope some of what I've written is helpful here, and I'd love to hear if you have other ideas. Best wishes for good sleeping all around!</p>
 

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<p>Oops, what a long email I just posted! Quick follow-up: as for learning to go to sleep on his own: my husband suggested last night that instead of going directly to standing outside his door, we should transition by sitting in a chair next to his bed, and help him stay in bed from that position. Then it wouldn't be such a dramatic switch from laying in bed to suddenly not being there.</p>
 
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