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How do you get the baby to take naps with a toddler in the house!?
At my wits end...


19 replies to this topic

#1 Babby and Roo

Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:16 PM

I have a 2.5 year old DD and a 7 month old DS.

I have always had a lot of difficulty getting DS down for day sleeps. He has never been great at self-settling and having my 2 year old at home makes it very hard for me to spend time comforting him to sleep by rocking, patting, feeding, whatever. So ever since he was little I have had to either take them both out so he can sleep in the ergo (I still go out every morning just so he can have that sleep!) or I have had to put him in his cot to grizzle/cry to sleep with occasional comforting from me (but the comforting was usually minimal shhhhing or briefly patting/stroking otherwise DD would follow me in the room and hype him up more).

I always felt really guilty about letting him cry when he was little as they say not to do that under 6 months but I had no choice. Whenever I could I would carry or feed to sleep to try and 'make up' for leaving him to cry. This included feeding to sleep at night as a kind of compensation for the crying at day sleeps.

ANYWAY, now at 7 months his sleep is a MESS. He is not self-settling in his cot at all, even when I do leave him to cry (and I have tried up to 30 mins when feeling really frustrated), so I am having to either put him in the ergo at home or try and distract my 2 year old with TV for long enough that I can lie down with him and feed him to sleep (he then sleeps usually only one cycle on my bed - but he is a roller and this isn't safe!).

I feel so stuck. Its not fair on my 2 year old, I get cranky at her when she follows me and interferes with the settling, but she is just a baby herself. Its not her fault.

His night sleep has also become terrible, gone from waking 1-2 times a night to 4+ every night - probably a response to me feeding to sleep and having developed the sleep association now.

When DH is home on the weekends I get some break as he will take him for walks in the ergo/pram for some sleeps - but he is not having any day sleeps in his cot any more.

I just want him to have two decent naps at home in his cot with minimal fuss!!

Sorry for such a long post, I'm really struggling with this and not sure how much info is relevant! I am really hoping someone with similar aged kids might be able to shed some light on how they managed to settle the baby with a toddler in the house? Obviously many people manage as there are plenty of siblings 2 years apart.

I am considering sleep school (maybe) cos I just really don't know...

#2 sophiasmum

Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:16 PM

It sounds like you have so many issues here & the toddler is just one of them.

If you are thinking about sleep school, I can say from experience it was the best thing I ever did with DD1 when she was about 3 mths old.

#3 bettymm

Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:31 PM

Oh OP, i can sympathise!

I was in your position a short while ago (my baby is  now 13 months)  My elder girl was only just turned 3 when DD2 came along and i did the same as you intitially, mornings we went out and the baby slept in the carrier or in the pram.

For the naps at home, it was difficult.  I lost my temper at DD1 for coming into the room when i was trying to settle bub a few times.  I explained to her again and again not to come into the babies room while i was in there getting the baby to sleep and that if she didnt, it meant that i could come out and we would be able to do big girl stuff together, like crafts or play dough or puzzles.  While i was settling the baby, i would put a DVD on or get her a snack or some colouring, whatever could distract her.

Dont feel gulity about the tv thing..its relatively a short period of time you need to rely on it..and really, she probably could do with a bit of quiet time as well.  

I used to feed DD2 to sleep and then i think around 7-8 months she did start to settle herself and sleep a decent amount in the the cot..that was a happy day!!

All i can suggest, is keep doing what youre doing in trying to get bub to nap in his cot..leave him to grizzle a bit, i use the ten minute rule., if not asleep by then, go in and try to resettle, feed again if u need to..rock, whatever.  If still not asleep after 30-45 min..its probably not going to happen.  in that case, I used to either take both kids out in the double stroller for  walk to get baby asleep and then let the baby finish his nap in the stroller OR go for  a drive if that works?

Keep persisting with the cot though..he will get there!

Good luck.

Edited by bettymm, 29 January 2013 - 02:33 PM.


#4 Copper and May

Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:38 PM

Could you carry the baby in a sling on your chest and hopefully he may have a sleep, being next to you and hearing your heart beat and plenty of skin to skin. I know many mums who do this and their babies are very contented.

#5 LovenFire

Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:43 PM

iPad for the older one, and I got him a baby, so he could put his baby to sleep while I put mine!

Edited by LovenFire, 29 January 2013 - 02:44 PM.


#6 Babby and Roo

Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:45 PM

Thank you for the replies. You are right Sophiasmum - there are more issues here than just the toddler! A lot of mummy guilt wrapped in there too I think.

bettymum thank you for your reply, made me feel much better knowing I am not the only one! I have tried to explain to DD that she would benefit for much from not making noise as I could then play with her 1:1 but I guess she is just too little to understand. I am really impressed your baby started self settling after being fed to sleep - mine seems to be working the other way around and expecting boob the more I use it! I did try a self settle today and he went down after about 15 mins of grizzling and me going in and out. Only slept 30 mins but hey at least he slept!

winterdanceparty - I do carry him in the ergo A LOT, he is carried at least one sleep each day. He is a big boy though, 10.7kg at 7 months and I can't do this for every sleep. It has been a lifesaver for me though.

Lovenfire - thanks for the suggestion - I want to get an ipad, maybe this is the excuse I need original.gif

ETA: I went to my baby health clinic this morning and got a referral to a sleep school. They called me this afternoon and I have an appointment for a 2 hour consultation in about 2 weeks where we try and settle bub there. If they think I need the residential stay, then that would be the next step. I hope it helps.

Edited by Strawberry Wellies, 29 January 2013 - 07:48 PM.


#7 Mum2TwoDSs

Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:14 AM

Totally can sympathise! Must be very hard! My DS1 is already 7 and he doesn't understand his running and tumbling around the house will disturb his little brother. I use white noise to muffle any of his sudden noises. It's also a good sleep cue for bub.

#8 Mum2TwoDSs

Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:15 AM

Totally can sympathise! Must be very hard! My DS1 is already 7 and he doesn't understand his running and tumbling around the house will disturb his little brother. I use white noise to muffle any of his sudden noises. It's also a good sleep cue for bub.

#9 MummaBirdy

Posted 30 January 2013 - 05:07 AM

Glad you are considering sleep school, it worked a miracle for us. All the ergo sleeping, feeding to sleep etc helps to keep you sane but it isn't setting baby up for a healthy sleep pattern into his toddler years. The short sleep cycle is a symptom of this. He's the perfect age for sleep school, plus they have lots of toddler distraction techniques to help you when you get home. Good luck!

#10 Babby and Roo

Posted 30 January 2013 - 10:40 AM

Thanks MummaBirdy - its good to hear positive stories about sleep school. You feel so guilty for considering it, I'm glad to hear it worked well for you. I hope he is a good age, old enough to respond to the techniques but young enough that the bad habits aren't too entrenched yet. We did the gentle approach with DD and she still needs someone to sit by her bedside at night to fall asleep. She is quite clingy in general actually but that might just be her nature.

Mum2twoDSs - we used white noise for DD when she was a baby for months. Its such a horrible noise, we ended up ditching it! But it did work well to muffle other sounds.

#11 SDEE

Posted 30 January 2013 - 10:51 AM

if you cant afford a ipad, I just had a few special sticker or colouring book that were only allowed to be played with/used while i was settling the baby. my 2 year old would know sleep time was coming and be begging me to put baby to bed, so she could do the special books (quietly)

goodluck


#12 tick

Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:12 PM

I have a 3.5 year old and a 7 month old too OP and we have the exact same problem.  Some days we go for drives around the block just to get her to sleep.  She sleeps well in the Ergo (are you doing back carries?) and I have a mattress on the floor of her room so that I can lay down with her and feed her to sleep and not have to worry about her rolling off the bed later when she wakes.  

I don't really have any words of advice - iPad hasn't been a great help here because DD1 is always wandering in to ask me to fix something on it or something and the mere sound of her voice wakes the baby up completely ..... TV is probably the best option we have.  I set her up with a snack, a drink, a favourite show, toys, books, you name it, in the hope that she'll be entertained for the 10-15 mins it takes to get DD2 to sleep!  

I admit that once or twice I've actually locked her out of the baby's room just so I could get her to sleep in peace ....

The behaviour itself - waking frequently, not self settling, I'd call that fairly normal for a 7 month old myself.  My first was a crappy sleeper, second is too but I'm so much more relaxed about it this time around because I know that even if I do nothing at all, the baby will grow out of it eventually!  I fed DD1 to sleep until she was 2, co-slept, never taught her to self settle .... but she learned it all anyway and happily sleeps in a bed by herself all night long..... I know DD2 will do the same in her own time.  

Good luck!  



#13 Ines07

Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:28 PM

I can sympathize because I had an almost 4 year old when my 2nd was born & he also used to come in whenever I was trying to settle. He understands better now about being quiet when my now toddler sleeps but still isn't great. They're just kids I suppose!
But definitely put the tv /iPad on for your 2 year old while you put the baby to sleep.  But I think what is messing up the baby's sleeps now is that sometimes you walk him to sleep at home n the carrier, sometimes you feed him to sleep at night & sometimes you just leave him to self settle in the cot. You really need to be consistent at every sleep - at this age you def want to leave him to self settle in the cot ESP so he sleeps through the night. If you do this every time & maybe even resist the stroller sleeps too, he should get more used to the idea of sleeping only in the cot without assistance & learn to do it quicker.

#14 FiFiLicious

Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:41 PM

Hi there, it sounds like you are off to Tresillion or Karitane. - great. If you are seeing them in two weeks, just do what you've been doing to get through knowing that help is around the corner.  Don't change too much now because from the sounds of things, you will get into a residential stay and they will give you a break, tools for your 2 yr old and hopefully help your baby take minimal time to get to sleep. ( they do the "work" for you and fully support you through the process. )
I will say that at residential stay there are a lot of crying babies/toddlers trying to sleep so I wouldn't worry too much about your baby crying.  It is what it is, but on some level, the babies seem to learn to sleep with all the noise from multiple families milling about!

The only thing I would do if you do try to settle in the cot is to have some background noise to drown out noisy toddler movements, but only if you do decide to try the cot again.

Good luck and be sure to update with your experience at sleep school.

#15 ~Peaches~

Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:06 PM

The other ladies have had some great suggestions, and it's wonderful you have an appt coming up with the sleep school, I really hope they can help original.gif

It certainly is frustrating trying to get baby to sleep in the cot, and having a busy toddler in the house! DD1 was only 15 months old when DD2 was born, and was too little to understand being 'quiet' and not coming into the babies room when I'm trying to get her to sleep etc lol, it was a very hard time.
DD2 was a terrible sleeper and would only sleep on me during the day, I couldn't ever put her down anwhere. Finally after 6 months and with a little push from a phone call to Tresillion to keep persisting with it, DD managed to take a dummy (she flat out refused one before 6 months), and that helped her sleeping SO much. Will your DS take a dummy at all? It just helped us immensly to get her to sleep in my arms with the dummy rather than feeding her to sleep/her constantly being on the breast, so then I could eventually get her into the cot and she would stay asleep, hooray. She would then eventually go straight down in the cot with no rocking/patting etc, just the dummy was enough to comfort her to sleep.
We also used a white noise cd which was fantastic for blocking out some toddler noise, and also DD2 got used to it being a sleep cue and she ended up being a fantastic sleeper after a few weeks where I could just put her straight down and walk out and she'd drift off to sleep on her own. Never thought we'd see the day for a while there!

I really feel for you OP, and I hope you manage to find something that works for you and your family soon. Good luck hheart.gif

#16 Roobear

Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:28 PM

DD has just turned 2 and DS is 6 months and I just tell DD to play in the toy room and then shut the door behind me and settle DS for 10 mins or so. He is fed to sleep. We are out at some point most days so he always has a sleep when out and then one at home.
She sometimes comes up to the door and whispers "Mummmmy! Is DS sleeping yet??" through the door LOL. I always make sure I do something special afterwards with her.

Anyway best of luck at sleep school. Hope things improve soon!

#17 Babby and Roo

Posted 30 January 2013 - 10:27 PM

Thanks for the additional replies! We are going to Karitane FiFiLicious. I am still feeding to sleep at night for now, but have been more strict about cot sleeps for day time and it seems to be working... so far. My DD started daycare today so it gave me a bit more space to settle him in the cot, but for the first time EVER since he was born, he had all 3 sleeps in his cot today. All catnaps unfortunately, but it's a start!

I had been playing a lullaby CD to try and drown out background noise but he seemed to have developed a negative association with it, so I've stopped using it. The ceiling fan is good though, on hot days. Makes a gentle whirring sound.

Thank you tuck for sharing your experience, it sounds so familiar! I had actually thought about putting the mattress on the floor in case of rolling. But it still doesn't solve my problem of having to leave my toddler unattended for 10-20 mins while I feed him to sleep (or solve the problem of her following me in and waking him up again!). But it is a good idea, thanks. I really think I need to move away from feeding to sleep though, it is causing too many problems (even though it is so easy and so pleasant).  

Ines07 I think you are spot on, I have been too inconsistent and its made the poor baby confused about sleep time. I can't stay in all day with both kids obviously, we'd go mad! But at least when we are at home I will need to persist with the cot.I'm also glad I'm not the only one to make FULL use of the TV in this situation!

Peaches I'm glad to hear it worked out for you eventually! DS has always refused a dummy despite many attempts to get him to take it. I tried again a couple of weeks ago actually but he was just interested in playing with it. It did distract him a little while going to sleep, but not in the conventional way. I suppose I could persist but I am still sturggling with my 2 yr old and dummies, she is obsessed with hers and they cause all sorts of problems when I try to take them off her after sleeps.

Roobear sounds like your situation is similar to ours. DD wouldn't wait for me in the toy room though. Sigh.

Thanks again everyone original.gif

#18 lady lady

Posted 30 January 2013 - 10:45 PM

OP - would love if you could come back and update after your appointment.  I currently have a 3 month old and a 2 year old.  

3.5 month old is a BAD day sleeper and am just waiting to see what happens around the 4/5 month, DD has NO concept of what "being quiet" means, she'll watch the TV for 10 min but then come looking for me....

#19 IShallWearMidnight

Posted 30 January 2013 - 11:46 PM

I either wear the baby or use the TV to occupy DD

#20 Fat Amy

Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:13 AM

Sorry no advice but I do sympathize. I have a 6 wk old and a 2 & 3 yr old. I can already see bad sleep habits starting & I'm at a loss as what to do. Most afternoons are spent with bubs in a carrier.



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