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Transitioning from lying next to child

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#1 JessMcA

Posted 10 December 2012 - 08:35 PM

I'm after some advice on a difficult sleeper. My little boy is almost 2, and he has never been a good sleeper (has probably slept through the night a dozen times in his life). Until about a month ago he was in his cot, but it took up to an hour to get him to sleep each night, and he always woke up by about 2am. Most of the time we couldn't get him back to sleep in his cot again once he woke, and he'd end up in our bed (he would sleep perfectly in our bed).

A few months ago he started having day sleeps in his big boy bed, and it went really well, so we decided to try transitioning him to that bed at night too, since we were getting nowhere with the cot anyway.

In some ways life is better, because at least when he wakes up, he can either walk himself to our bed if we're too tired to object, or one of us can resettle him in his bed and it's warm and comfortable rather than sitting next to a cot in the dark.

But the problem is, I'm having so much trouble trying to transition out of lying in the bed next to him. The sleep books tend to just say start with lying next to them, then move to sitting, then start moving the chair further from the bed, etc etc, but I can't seem to crack the first stage. He will go to sleep beautifully if you're in bed with him but the second you sit up he becomes alert again, and asks you to lie down, and if you don't he cries and grows more and more upset the more you insist.

I'm not comfortable leaving him to cry with the door shut to his room. But I don't know what to do to ease him through this stage. I'm happy for it to be gradual but I just don't know how to get from horizontal to vertical!

Anyone had a similar problem, and any suggestions for a solution?

Thanks so much.

#2 caitiri

Posted 10 December 2012 - 08:54 PM

Are you starting out lying down and then sitting up when he looks sleepy?  If you are then maybe just try sitting up and not lying down at all,  that way your not moving away from him.

If he likes contact you could try sitting in a way so that he can use your leg as a pillow.  

Could he handle you leaving the room for a couple of seconds,  'I just need to go to the toilet or get a drink' .

Could you drop his day nap so he is really tired?

#3 tick

Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:41 PM

My DD1 is almost 3.5, has been in a big bed since 15 months and I've been laying beside her to get her to sleep since 2 when I stopped feeding her to sleep.  Nowadays she's getting better at falling asleep alone, but it's been a long time coming.  To be honest I didn't push it to happen to quickly though, is there any reason why you don't want to lay beside him to get him to sleep?  It won't go on forever, I promise, and it's quite relaxing I find! It sounds like he's not ready to go it alone yet anyway..... perhaps just give it some time.

Since my DD1 turned 3 or so I found it got a lot easier to lay with her for say 10 minutes then make up excuses to leave the room and come back - toilet, get a drink, just checking on the baby etc, then increasing the time I'm out of the room.  Some nights she stays in bed and falls asleep alone, others she just keeps getting up etc until I give in and stay with her until she's asleep.  If she does fall asleep alone, I always make sure to mention in the morning that I came back from the toilet/drink/baby/etc and found her asleep so that she knows I did indeed come back to check on her.

#4 ausmumof2

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:04 AM

Mine were a little older when I did it and my DS was a pretty woeful sleeper, but I did the "I just need to go do xyz then I'll be back"  and gradually increased the timeframe.  DD it was fairly easy but DS was more difficult so we ended up putting some music in there for him to listen to while he was falling asleep too.  As long as he had the music playing it was fine but if it wasn't working for some reason he'd get really anxious.

#5 Manicmum

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:14 AM

If mine goes to sleep on her own tonight it will be 5 nights in a row and she gets a lollipop.  She's 4.5yo.She openly says she can't sleep without someone and I believe her.

#6 bees-knees

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:21 AM

I will be watching this thread with interest, as I also have to lie down next to my 3 1/2 year old for her to go to sleep. It usually takes literally about 2-3 minutes, so it's not a big deal time-wise, but I just feel like the longer I let it go on, the harder it's going to be to stop doing it.

I also tried the "gradually move further away" thing, but the problem is that she plays with my hair, that's how she relaxes herself to go to sleep. So as soon as I'm not lying down, she can't reach my hair.

We got her a doll with lots of long woolen hair, hoping that would be an acceptable substitute, and while she does sleep with this doll, she still wants MY hair to get her to sleep.

The additional layer of difficulty here is that my girl has Down syndrome, so the intellectual disability means I can't just tell her I have to go get a drink of whatever - she just doesn't understand.

Any suggestions gratefully considered!

Edited by bees-knees, 11 December 2012 - 06:23 AM.

#7 JessMcA

Posted 11 December 2012 - 07:28 AM

I guess the reason I'm keen to stop doing it is because while he can't go to sleep without one of us next to him, he's never going to learn to self settle, and we'll be getting up 1-4 times a night for all eternity! (hehe, well, it feels that way). And we have another baby on the way, so it's not going to be a feasible plan for both of us to be up half the night every night...

Re the sitting/lying, I've tried both starting at sitting and moving to sitting part way through - if I start sitting he won't even lie down, and if i move to sitting he sits up with me.

I have had to leave the room (genuinely to go to the loo or whatever) but he just follows and if the door is shut he stands at it and cries...

#8 flowermama

Posted 11 December 2012 - 07:44 AM

With DD1, eventually she was ok with me sitting on the drawers beside her bed holding her hand rather than laying with her. When she was nearly 3 I introduced a 'sleep fairy' - I told her when she decided she was ready to go to sleep on her own a sleep fairy would come in the night for 3 nights with a present. It worked like a charm, she decided immediately she was ready to go to sleep by herself. I think because she made the decision herself there were no problems and she has gone to sleep by herself ever since (sometimes she'll call out if she wants another hug!). I had to try and get her past needing me there as we'd had DD2 by then and DH is away a bit overnight with work so I couldn't spend ages sitting beside the bed every night.

Edited by flowermama, 11 December 2012 - 01:55 PM.

#9 lady lady

Posted 11 December 2012 - 07:46 AM

OP this is similar to us and I was worried about new bub arriving.

New bub (6 weeks) has actually helped!!  DH works shift so is not at home sometimes and I need to feed DD#2 and put DD#1 to bed.  To do this I feed on a stool next to DD#1 bed.... when she asks "mummy lie down", I gently explain that Mummy feeding DD#2 and I will lie down when she finishes .... usually DD#1 has fallen asleep by this time.  

So it's helped me get from lying down to sitting next to her ....  I read "Toddler Tactics" before DD#2 and it suggested that the going to sleep by themselves is more likely to happen around age 3'sh ....

I have also started making up "reasons" to pop out of the room for a few minutes at a time ...."Mummy need to go to toilet, be back in a minute etc".....  She started off by standing at the door calling out to me until I came back but now just sits on her bed playing with her bear until I get back (still can only do a few minutes at a time but still an improvement!!)....

My theory with the getting up during the night .... at this stage the covers fall off so she wakes up ...... fair enough she's too little to understand how to pull them back up ....

Once she is old enough to know how to pull the covers up it will be toilet training and she will wake to go to the toilet ... again fair enough ....

So in my head I have pre-pared for no "sleeping through" for another 4-5 years as now I have DD#2 to repeat the process ....Arghhhhh.....

ETA - also when I was in 3rd Trimester I would often say "Mummy tummy to big to lie down" and I would sit at the end of her bed.... Getting up off a single bed all squished next to a toddler and a pregnant tummy was difficult adn uncomfortable!!

Edited by lady lady, 11 December 2012 - 07:50 AM.

#10 Tessied

Posted 11 December 2012 - 07:56 AM

Mine is the same.  I intend to wait till he's a little older so he understands more instead of just crying.  It's not worth all the pain at the moment!

#11 Chelara

Posted 11 December 2012 - 08:13 AM

My dd was 3 when we stopped lying next to her until she fell asleep but before that she was cosleeping. It just happened one day as I had had DS (newborn) and DH wasn't home and I just told her she needed to go to sleep herself as I had to put DS to bed. She was fine, that was it. We never had to lay next to her after her story again.

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