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I am having huge sleeping issues with my little girls. Since they were born they have co-slept with me most of the time. Now they are getting older but they are harder to put to sleep than they were when they were babies. I have to lay down with them for 2 hours or more a night, cuddle with them, read them stories and lay there until they fall asleep. If they are being hyper I split them up and put one on a different bed and then I have to do that routine two different times. Most nights I am not done with the bedtime routine until anytime from 10p to midnight. Then I either fall asleep myself or get a bit done and go to sleep and get up with them at 7 or 8 in the morning whenever they wake up. The point is that I am getting no break, no time to clean even or shower, and it is taking a big toll on my marriage. If I refuse to lay with them until they go to sleep they will scream for an hour and we live in an apartment so screaming at night is not going to happen. I just don't know what to do. After I finally get them to bed I put them in bed together (if they aren't yet) but then in the night I have to get up from sleeping in bed with DH and sleep with them or they won't sleep. I love cuddling with them but it is so hard to have them so clingy and dependent on me to go to sleep. I have tried wearing them out, warm baths at night, a bedtime routine etc. and it has not worked in getting them to go to bed by themselves. I am going to school full time next semester and DH is already in school full time and I just need a break from this. Anyone have any ideas? TIA!
 

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Ah...I'm totally with you! How old are your girls? Mine is 21 months and has ALWAYS been like what you describe. At least two hours to go to sleep every night since the day she was born, and her bedtime has pretty much always been 11 pm. It's exhausting.<br><br>
In the past few months I've been trying really, really hard to get her to go to bed faster and earlier, and I'm gradually having some success. Here's what I've done:<br><br>
1. Wake DD up at the same time every day--pretty early. No later than 7:30 is ideal. No matter what time she went to bed the night before. I can't control when she goes to sleep, but I can control when she gets up, and that helps set her body clock.<br><br>
2. Feed her at the same times every day for all five (six?) meals. (Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack.) This also helps set the body clock.<br><br>
3. Wake her up from nap no later than 3:00 pm. Although today she fell asleep for nap early (11:30!--usually it's 1 pm) and woke up at 1 and went to sleep tonight at 8:00--first time she's EVER gone to bed that early except on days when she skipped naps entirely. Very nice. It was only because she was up so late last night that she was freaking exhausted this morning...but I'm going to keep trying to move her nap earlier; it's helpful.<br><br>
4. Take her OUTSIDE every single day pretty much all the time when she's awake. In the morning I get her outside asap after breakfast; if I don't then she won't nap at all. In the afternoon I get her outside right after nap. I keep her outside as much as possible. If it's raining or really bad weather, then we at least go somewhere to get out of the house.<br><br>
5. NO television, generally ever, but definitely none after nap. Absolutely no exposure to any screen light in the evenings (which means she can't look at pictures on my phone and I can't use the computer in the evenings while she's awake).<br><br>
6. I moved dinner earlier--it used to be 7:00, because DH gets home at 6:30, but now DD has dinner at 5:30 or 6 and DH just eats when he gets home. Usually DD has another snack with DH.<br><br>
7. After DD's dinner, everything is quiet. No loud rambuctious games of any kind. DH is not allowed to play exciting games in the evenings. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Books, quiet toys, etc. are all that she does. Frequently DH will take her outside on the porch swing and they'll sit there and watch the neighborhood.<br><br>
8. For bedtime now, we do potty, brush teeth, pajamas, etc., and then I rock DD in my arms while nursing her. It's exhausting but the motion combined with nursing really helps her fall asleep faster. I can only do this for about 20 minutes, but a lot of times she does fall asleep in that amount of time--and if she doesn't then I give up and move bedtime a little later.<br><br>
9. Warm pajamas, blackout curtains & white noise in the bedroom.<br><br>
10. Working on night weaning. Haven't accomplished this yet. Hope it will help.<br><br>
All that said, I do still have to sleep with DD, and she wakes every few hours all night. She's a rough sleeper and always has been (she comes by it honest since both DH and I were like that as babies as well!). So...yeah. I don't know if any of this helps. I feel like I've tried pretty much EVERYTHING for sleep, and none of it has gotten me where I want to be (i.e., sttn!!!), but the combination of everything has helped.<br><br>
How old are your DDs? How many naps do they take right now? Every time I've dropped one of DD's naps, she would fall asleep more easily for bed, at least for a little while. If they're on one nap, make sure they're waking up from that nap early enough--like I said, 3:00 is my cutoff time, but I'm trying to move that even earlier. My DD needs a good solid 6 or 7 hours between end of nap and bedtime. And outside time is absolutely essential for her--as much as possible, preferably pretty much all the time she's awake. It's especially important in the morning, because that helps set the body clock.<br><br>
And the book _Sleepless in America_ really helped me. It didn't have a whole lot of ideas--at least, I was already trying almost all the ideas--but it made me feel better about DD's sleep and it helped me understand more about some of the reasons behind her sleep patterns.<br><br>
Also, I read recently that in Ghana the common belief is that all children need to wake at night to nurse until they're around 3 years old. So they're not expected to sleep all night until they're at least that old. And of course most babies and children outside of western culture are never expected to sleep all night alone. Knowing that kind of stuff always makes me feel better. I don't know how old your girls are, but judging from your post, it sounds like getting them to "go to bed by themselves", as you say, is probably not going to happen, realistically, until they're quite a bit older. Just like mine is not going to sleep straight through the night until she's, I dunno, five or something. Sigh. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Good luck! Oh--forgot to suggest: get your DH involved in every part of bedtime routine that doesn't involve nursing. That will at least give you a little bit of a break!
 
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