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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's my story:

My dd is 3yo. We coslept until she was about 2 1/2,then she got her own "big girl" bed because it got too crowded in the bed and dh often had to go sleep on the couch because of it. Even though I put her to bed in her own bed, she would (and does) wake up in the middle of the night and get into bed with us.

Well now we have a newborn. I put him to sleep in our bed and then move him in his cosleeper when we get into bed. But when he wakes up in the night to nurse, I just put him next to me and he sleeps the rest of the night with us.

DD still wakes up in the middle of the night. So now when she wakes up there is just absolutely NO room (we only have a queen size) to get in bed w/ us and most of the time I'm in the middle of settling ds back to sleep so dh has been getting up and just going into her room and sleeping the rest of the night in there.

Here's the situation: I don't know how to get my dd to sleep through the night. I understand that she's still young and kids tend to do that for awhile. But, it's really starting to get to my dh. He doesn't do well if he gets broken sleep and he's getting so frustrated during the night.

Last night ds woke up as we were getting into bed which woke dd up. Both were crying. I had to tend to ds first, obviously. Dh went in w/ dd but she (for some reason) didn't want daddy, she wanted mommy so basically told him to leave her room while she continued to cry for me. I ended up having to take ds in her room w/ me and sit w/ her until she fell asleep (which seriously only took like, 10 min.) then go back to bed. I figured she would sleep through the night since that happened at like 1am. Nope. She woke up again sometime and she just got in bed w/ us. All cramped in, which woke up dh..complaining..so I took her back in her bed, fell asleep w/ her, and then woke up to ds crying so I then went back in my own bed. *sigh*

I just don't know how to work it. Dh is really starting to get annoyed by the fact that she is still waking up in the night. His attitude is that she just needs to learn how to go back to sleep on her own. I guess I just have a little more compassion and want to always settle her back to sleep. What should we do? Has anyone else experienced this and what works for you? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

I wish I just had a huge bed so we could all sleep together peacefully.
 

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We don't have baby #2 yet, but what we're planning is to put our mattress on the floor and then put another twin size/toddler size next to it for DD #1. It would fill the whole room, but everyone has plenty of space.
 

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Can you buy a king size? Would she sleep through the night if she were in bed with you guys? Or bring her mattress in your room and have her sleep next to your bed?
 

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I would suggest a big bed too. we have a king and we knew it wouldn't be enough room for a newborn too. We just bought a twin and added it to the king. We now have no room for a dresser but wow we have a lot of sleeping space for everyone. I am due in a couple weeks now. I didn't want dd to feel like she was being kicked out of the bed because the baby came so thats why we added more space. dh also is quite grumpy in the middle of the night and doesn't do well with getting up (although he will) so I think it will work for us.
 

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Do you have a crib you could side-car between the bed and the wall, to increase space? We have a queen as well, but do have the crib side-carred. Bed is still quite crowded with Ina, dh, and me in it (she's about the same age as your oldest) - but not bad. If baby sleeps in the "crib" space, and dd sleeps between you and dh, and you're near the crib too - this *might* work.

Our issue is that Ina sleeps on the crib side of our bed, and we'd like her either inbetween us, or in her own bed (we're trying to get her excited about "her" bedroom right now) before Baby #2 arrives in September .... Just because I worry about space and safety with all of us crammed into just the "small" bed. And I really worry that she will be fussy/resentful of baby sleeping where *she* prefers to sleeep, too (by me, crib side). I can see nighttime getting really rocky, with a frustrated dh, frustrated mom, frustrated children ...!! Argh.
 

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This q&a from Mothering.com might be helpful (even though the question is different than yours) http://www.mothering.com/sections/ex....html#pacifier

question:
My 3 year old daughter still uses a pacifier to help her sleep. We have discussed her giving it up, but we are determined to allow her to wean herself from this beloved object in her own time. Not too long ago, she threw it away of her own accord, and was very proud, but when bed-time came she was disconsolate. You should also know that she naps at daycare without a soother, so sleep without it is possible. The only difficulty we have with her continuing to use a pacifier is that she wakes us up, many times each night, to have our assistance in locating her soother, and after three years we are growing weary! She no longer sleeps with us, but sleeps very close by in her own bed next door. She is no longer nursing. We never let her CIO. Help?!

Answer:
Your intelligent daughter is trying to let you know how important your reassurance and presence are to her both day and night. If a child has a healthy need like this, the best way to help her grow is to meet that need.

I'm delighted to hear that you have avoided crying-it-out, despite the frustrations you and your daughter are having. In my opinion, the healthiest solution would be to return to a cosleeping arrangement. That would meet your need to stay in your own bed all night, and would also meet your daughter's need to be closer to you. I feel sure that retrieving her pacifier is secondary to her need to have your attention and presence. But this is a very normal and healthy need! For hundreds of thousands of years, babies this age and older were held all night. This is a perfectly natural and understandable desire for a three-year-old - or a 33-year-old! In natural societies, and in most societies around the world today, cosleeping for many years is the norm. From all that we know of human history, it is a safe guess that few if any children were ever isolated at night. Such a practice would most likely have been seen as incomprehensible. Yet Western cultures are determined to force babies to grow up quickly, and consider separate sleeping as a sign of maturity, even though most adults have sleeping partners.

I have only the question you sent in, so I don't know if there are special circumstances for your family. But if the problem is that the bed isn't large enough for everyone, an alternative would be to remove the bed and place futons or mattresses on the entire bedroom floor. That will allow everyone more room.

The fact that your daughter is still using a pacifier gives us a clue. If she were still nursing, she would be held while falling asleep, like all nursing babies and toddlers. Just because she isn't nursing doesn't mean that she is ready to lose the holding too! In fact it makes holding that much more important. Non-nursing babies are inevitably held less during the day. And here's an interesting fact - nursing babies grow up to be children who have higher IQs than non-nursing babies. We used to think it was the nutrition in breastmilk, but it turned out to be the extra holding! The following excerpt is from Dr. George Wootan's article "Breastfeeding: New Discoveries": "... the increased opportunity for parent-child bonding offered by breastfeeding is a widely known benefit of nursing, which brings up an interesting sidelight. A baby can have lots of brain cells, but they won't do any good unless they're interconnected. The nerve fibers that connect these cells are called dendrites. And what develops dendrites? You probably said breast milk ... right? Wrong! Touching develops dendrites. Holding, touching, and stroking a baby, as a mother naturally does while nursing (you can prop a bottle but not a breast), helps the child develop the way nature intended, both physically and emotionally." Perhaps you are wondering if she is manipulating you. But no child should be seen as manipulating anyone if she is trying to meet legitimate and important emotional needs. A compassionate response to a child expressing loneliness at night does not "spoil" her; it simply tells her loud and clear that she is loved and cherished. No human being of any age can be "overcherished".

If cosleeping is just not feasible, I hope you can at least consider having her in the same room with you. Fighting a child's age-appropriate needs can only delay her development, and endanger the parent-child bond in the bargain. As Naomi Aldort wrote, "Every stage in a child's life is there for a purpose. If we can respect and respond to her needs fully during each stage of her life, she can be done with that stage and move on." And move on she will! My son is now 22. Holding him as he fell asleep is one of my fondest memories. You'll be amazed at how quickly these early years go by. Enjoy them while you can!

Recommendations:

"Harvard Researchers Say Children Need Touching and Attention"
"Babies Need Their Mothers Beside Them"
"Ten Reasons to Sleep Next to Your Child at Night" I also highly recommend Tine Thevenin's book The Family Bed for information on all aspects of co-sleeping. We have posted the first chapter on our web site.
 

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We have a similar situation. Ds is 3-1/2 and starts the night off in his own bed and comes into our room when he wakes at night. Dd is 14 months and co-sleeps in our bed. We had the crib side-carred for quite a while but I found that dd wanted to be closer to me so we didn't use it much. And once she started crawling we lowered the bed to the floor and put the crib away. We also have a queen size and although it was a little crowded the thing that bothered us was that ds would never just come quietly into the room. Dd is a very light sleeper so whenever ds would come in and if he made a noise while sleeping dd would wake up. We tried a mattress beside our bed but ds didn't like being a bit lower than us (we had the box spring as well and don't have any storage room in our house for it) and after a few nights still crawled into bed and was just as noisy.

For a long time dh would just take ds back to his room and they would both sleep there for the rest of the night. Some nights, dh would just go to bed with ds. Other nights we would all squeeze in together. For the past few weeks we have switched spots and I sleep with ds for most of the night and dh sleeps with dd. If she needs to nurse I go back into bed with her. Obviously this is not an option for you as your babe is so young. I'm just trying to convey all the variations of sleeping that have occured in this house.

If your dh doesn't like broken sleep (who does really?
) maybe he could just go to sleep with your dd at the beginning of the night. Or else you could sleep in your bed with both dc's and your dh could sleep in another bed. I understand some people don't like to be "kicked out" of their bed. My dh was one of them but he eventually realized that if we just went with it and accepted things and worked it out we would all get better sleep. And he realizes that if I'm sleeping better, everything is better
 

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This might not work for every family, but we've done it since DS1 was 2 1/2 and DS2 was a newborn.

I put the baby to sleep in our bed. DH puts our toddler to sleep in his own twin. Then, when our 3 yo wakes up, he and my DH trade places.

So basically, I'm sharing the queen with 2 kids, while DH sleeps in a little twin. The arrangement won't last forever, but my children's fond memories of the family bed will, I hope!
 

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Could you bring her bed in your room and if that doesn't work put your bed and hers on the floor together so all of you could sleep in one big bed (kinda).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A king size is out of the question because we just bought a new queen size. (Why oh why didn't we get a king?!)

What's been happening is, I wake up in the morning w/ dd and ds in bed w/ me and dh is in dd's bed, alone.
Or they will be both in her bed and ds is w/ me. I really love cosleeping, as long as everyone has space, ya know? Perhaps getting an extra mattress to put next to our bed is the answer. Dd loves bedtime though. We always get cleaned up, read books, and then I lay and rub her back until she either falls asleep or is about to. She really likes her room and her "big girl" bed. Perhaps I'll just talk to dh about a new mattress but hey, as long as he doesn't mind what we're doing now, I'm ok with it. But I know he's getting tired of waking up in the night to go sleep somewhere else. He wants "his" bed, ya know? And doesn't want to get kicked in the..ahem.."nads" anymore! Before ds came..dd would just wake up and crawl into bed with us, no problems. It's tricky now.

mlec ~ I know she just wants some reassurance and like you said, what child doesn't right? I say the same thing when I've heard family members say that babies are held too much,
Well it's like, wouldn't you WANT to be held? I mean, you're carried around in this warm little circle for 9 months, feeling your mothers heart beat, movement, etc. It just makes sense.
I'll hold my baby as much as I please and could care less what anyone else thinks.
That's an awesome fact about dendrites!
Learn something new everyday!

My dd doesn't use a pacifer. She never has. Did you mean that her needing to be with us in the middle of the night was her sort of "pacifer?"
 
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