Baby and mum have different bedtimes - how do we do it?

Janneke - posted on 01/02/2012 ( 2 moms have responded )

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We have a beautiful 8 and a half month old baby girl. We have co-slept with her from when she was born and I have always found it a beautifully bonding experience, making night time wakings a joy more often than not.

It has, however, now developed into two problems, which are starting to drive me mad...! Firstly, even though DD and I often synchronise our sleep cycles and wake, feed and sleep very harmoniously, I cant sleep at all if my partner is in bed too! My alertness to DD and her movements makes me pick up on all his sleeping noises and I feel the hours tick a way lying awake in between two sleeping beauties, not getting any sleep myself. We have sort of accepted that, for now, we cant sleep in the same bed. But of course we miss each other.

Secondly, DD does get tired at around 7, but, unless I go to bed at the same time, she will wake continuously. After 20, 40 or 10 minutes. Recently, we have been starting to bring her downstairs to sit with us until I go to bed myself, in order to be able to wind down a bit with my partner at the end of a day. This doesn't feel sustainable though as I am so uncomfortable knowing she would rather be asleep.

She sleeps alright during the day, but only if I go for a walk with her on my back in our ergobaby backpack.

So, basically, I don't get any break during the day at all. Nor do her dad and I get much of a chance to be a couple. And I think what is causing me to worry, is that it doesnt seem to be improving, even though she is nearly 9 months now. If anything, it seems to be becoming a stronger pattern.

Any suggestions or similar experiences much appreciated!

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2 Comments

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Ally - posted on 01/03/2012

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Oh, hang in there! You are devoting yourself to this tiny baby who loves and needs you. You are reading her cues and responding in the ways that make the most sense to you. If something about it isn't working for you, don't be afraid to change it a bit! That doesn't mean you have to entirely ditch the parts you are okay with.

I had the same experience with our now 3 1/2 year old. She would only sleep in a backpack or if I laid down with her. Sleeping on her own would last for 10 minutes max. I understand this feeling of never having your own time! But rest assured, it does change!!!

I remember saying to a friend of mine, when she was about 10 months old, hanging around my neck with one arm, "Will I ever get a break from this barnacle baby?" The reality is, it does change. If a part of the equation isn't working for you, then try changing one small part to see what makes you feel better!

If it's time to be with your hubby, then make time and space to have a date when you can. Dates don't only have to take place in the bedroom, if that's where DD is!

Your decision to sleep with your baby, on her schedule, may not work for everyone, but it can indeed work for you. Sleep and how it works is something that grows and changes over time.

My daughter is 3 1/2 and she has always shared a bed with us. We experienced the same lack of break time at night, where she wouldn't sleep without me, until she was about a year. At that point, she began sleeping longer between wake-ups, so that I would lay down with her until she was asleep and then get up and go join my husband. While sometimes I would get 10 minutes before she woke up, other nights I got a few hours! It does get easier. Remember how different things were a few months ago? They will continue to change at every point going forward, too. Hang in there!

Incidentally, I'm pregnant with #2 now, and wondering how I will balance the next baby, since I now don't have the luxury of sleeping when the baby needs to!

Remember, you are doing what works for your baby. If a part of it isn't working for you, change one small piece and see if you feel better about it. It doesn't have to be drastic!

Dr. Sear's sleep strategies and ideas were helpful to me. When I realized I could put DD to bed while reading a book by Kindle, it made me a lot more patient with the process. We still use same process today. Getting up after she went to bed and setting dates with my husband helped both of us feel better about our arrangements. It's a juggling act! It won't last forever...

Best of luck to you! You'll figure this out. And if what you try doesn't work, you'll try something else!!

Louise - posted on 01/02/2012

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You will not want to read this but you are doing no favours to your child by doing this. She has learnt to sleep only with mummy present and to break this is going to be a hell of a job. You must break this though or your partner is going to get fed up and drift away. You need to reclaim your bed as yours and your partners and this is very important I can't stress that enough. It has taken 9 months for your daughter to learn this sleeping pattern so it is not going to be a quick fix. Start by teaching your baby to sleep alone in the day and to self soothe to sleep. Do not pick her up and carry her around in a back pack or rock to sleep in a chair. Lay her flat and let her fall asleep by herself. Let her cry and settle her after 10 minutes and leave her and let her cry again until eventually she will fall asleep. It is horrible to do this but just keep in mind that you are doing it now to stop her from still being in your bed at age 10! I understand how people fall into this trap of co sleeping as it is easy when baby is young. The only problem is you need to think about your husband and although he is fine with it now in months to come he wont be. He needs his wife back.

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