How to juggle a toddler and constantly waking baby - BUSY nighttime parenting

Mary - posted on 05/06/2011 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My 4 month old used to sleep for 3-4 hours at a time, but now she's waking up every 20 minutes or so if I'm not laying next to her. I usually put her down to sleep in a crib in my room for the first part of the evening. Then when we're ready to go to bed she'll sleep with my husband and I. The baby seems to be at the stage where she gets anxious if we leave her alone. And thus the constant waking. How long does this phase last? Its a problem because I often have to finish chores, put my older daughter to bed and do some work in the evenings. A moment of me time would be nice too ;) I seem to recall my older daughter having trouble staying asleep as a baby, but my memory has faded on that subject. Any tips for AP style nighttime parenting w/ two kids?

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My daughter HATED the crib. She would sense she was being put in it and wake up. IF she woke up in it, she'd scream and scream like it was torture. LOL I don't think she ever used it.

LUCKILY I had one of those vibrating baby chairs called bouncers. It was a godsend. She would sleep in it during the day time without fuss. I could put it anywhere. If she woke up and could see me, she'd fall back asleep. As she got older, she got too big for the bouncer, and I got one of those toddler foam chairs that fold out to a bed, and she will crash on that for naps or pre-bed time in the evenings until I carry her to bed at night. She goes to sleep in a mini crib at day care now, ironic as it is. I suppose since I am not there, it is easy for her to go to sleep without me.

She has slept with me at night all her life (she's 16 months now) and I am a single mum, so I didn't have anyone else to help sooth her for me. I don't know what I would have done without that bouncer chair when she was younger.

Tameka - posted on 05/09/2011

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I had this problem BIG TIME!!! It doesn't last because their little body matures with time. My biggest tip is don't shoulder all the parental responsibility. I did this because I felt guilty that hubby did a full days work only to come home to a war zone. I can't stress it enough to get your husband involved from the word go. Not just here and there either. Get him involved with absolutely everything. My youngest will only tolerate me. She screams whenever my husband touches her. He can't pick her up, hug her, change her, bath her, nothing. It saddens me but I suppose it is her decision. Nothing has happened. She just started to reject absolutely everyone one day. I truly hope this doesn't happen to you...

Also, work out what gets your daughter off to sleep. Make sure there is more than one way to put her to sleep. Whatever you do, do not get stuck with one method because it will send you crazy (unless it takes a minute or two for her to fall asleep and you are happy with that method). After nine months of my daughter only sleeping from 4am-6am I started to BF her to sleep. What a miracle that was!!! I was now getting between 2-4 hours of sleep!! That hadn't happen for so long. The first time it did I cried. Silly me. The problem with that was she was waking up to 15 times a night. At first I didn't mind because she was only waking for a minute or two so I saw no problem. Another problem was hubby didn't want me co-sleeping in our bed because he was afraid of rolling on her. So I was in the guest bed with her. I missed my husband terribly. He would start work at 7am and work all day, we'd do the night routine together and then I would go to bed at 7pm. I never saw him. There is pro's and con's to cosleeping. One thing I did find was I could sneak away without any problems if the ceiling fan was on. The soft noise it made masked the noises I made creeping off the bed.

Sleeping props are not a bad thing. Just choose them wisely. At the beginning of this year my daughter had to fall asleep in this manner: the ceiling fan MUST be on medium speed during all moments in bed, the curtains MUST be closed, mum MUST feed to sleep, her legs MUST be on top of mine, NO BLANKETS WHATSOEVER, mum MUST NOT touch her, I think there is a few more too. Now at 16 months her only sleep prop is me sitting at the foot of her bed while she falls asleep. I can assure you this took a very long time to achieve this.

Do whatever you can to get sleep. The first 12 months could possibly send you to near breaking point. If she like sleeping with her back against your tummy all night long then I say go for it. I promise I won't judge you if you put her in her rocker for her afternoon sleep to avoid screaming. Take it from an expert of sleep deprivation: sleep is a precious precious thing. It doesn't matter how you get your baby to sleep as long as both you and your baby are happy with the arrangements. No one will judge you and if you're worried they will, smile and pretend all is ok. That'll keep them off your back!!

Katherine - posted on 05/07/2011

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Can dad lay with the baby? And you with the older one until he/she falls asleep? I find the older ones only need the comfort until they fall asleep. The little ones sense that you're not there. I remember that well.

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