Monday, March 17, 2008

Sleep Experiment, Part Deux

Confession time. We have a bed of blankets and pillows for Mama and/or Dada in the little guy's room. A HUGE no-no, I know... When we were in that early fog of caring for a newborn, we tried every sleep trick we could think of: swings, bouncy seats, sleeping on one of us. The crib would result in crying howls of protest that did not stop. After listening to hours of it, we would pick the boy up and go back to one of the old methods. I ditched most of the "sleep manuals," as all they ever really did for me was point out that every single thing I tried doing was wrong, sending my sleep-deprived self into an even greater funk.

We stumbled our way into co-sleeping for awhile. With many tears on both our parts I eventually managed to drag Daniel into sleeping in his own room, and in his own crib. The thing that helped him with that was being able to peer out, and see that Mama or Dada were right there as he was drifting off. This has been difficult to break. I think we've sort of looked at it as a trade-off to avoid the nightly sobbing stress-fest. As the pediatrician said to me at one point: Sometimes you just do what you gotta do, so that everyone can get some sleep.

Flash-forward to our recent sleep developments of converting the crib to a toddler bed. It's been rather anti-climactic as, in reality, Daniel hasn't spent very many nights actually in the bed. He thinks that the little nest of blankets on the floor look pretty comfy-cozy for the night. At this rate, I may forgo the bed altogether and pitch a tent. But I can't complain.

He's still in his room.


Shawna said...

Our solution - which took forever but has finally worked in the last couple of weeks - was to do the nighttime routine of teeth, diaper change, PJs, books, and cuddle, but to start adding some key phrases to the cuddle time, namely that Mumma or Daddy was going to be over there/just out in the hall/just down the hall in Mumma's bed and, always, "not far away". We progressively started lying down further and further away until just our heads were sticking into the room from the doorway, then the next step was that we sat in the hall for awhile so that she could see we were there when she got up to check. Once she stopped checking, we'd tell her we were down the hall in our own bed but that she should stay in her bed until morning when she could come and cuddle with us. ("Grommet's bed at night; mumma's bed in the morning" is another oft-repeated mantra.)

Some nights she still shows up a few times during the night and has to be quietly escorted back to bed with a hug and reminder to stay there until morning, but more and more she's staying in her room for the whole night. I think it really helps her psychologically that she's in a big girl bed so staying put is a choice and she's not trapped in a crib.

AmyV said...

For the longest time, our older boy slept in our bed. Now, they both start the night sleeping in their own beds, but usually end up in bed with us before the night's through. Because, honestly, at 2 or 3 am, we're not in the mood to coax them back to sleep in their own rooms. We just want to get back to sleep ourselves.

But I'd say about half the time, the big boy stays in his bed the whole night; once in a while the toddler makes it until about 5 a.m. We're getting there. But it ain't easy.