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What do you do with your toddler while settling baby to sleep?


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#1 Emma600

Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:17 PM

I have an almost 3 year old DD and a DS almost 5 months.  
Up until recently it been fairly easy to settle him down for his day sleeps, wrap, dummy a minute or 2 of rocking and into a swing chair so entertaining my 3 year old while I did this wasn't really a problem. But in the last few weeks he has become increasingly aware of and interested in the world around him. It takes ages to settle him, he wants to look at everything and any little noise stops him from closing his eyes. Plus the swing chair doesn't seem to keep him asleep anymore he wakes after 15-20 minutes and needs re-settling. So I seem to spend what feels like a large part of the day trying to settle him and my 3 year old is finding it very hard to occupy herself ....nor is it really fair to ask her to, she needs me too ...... but it's such a frustrating process I find I'm getting cranky with her.
There must be a better way.... any more experienced mums have any suggestions or thoughts?
Today I'm resorting to using the TV .... it's pouring with rain and she has a cold so I don't feel bad about it today but rather it didn't become a long term thing.

#2 KnightsofNi

Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:22 PM

I used the TV. It was only for a short time, so I don't feel bad for it.

#3 Xander2

Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:25 PM

My DS turned 3 in March and my DD is now 15 months but back when she was 5 or 6 months old I had the same problem.  I used the TV more than I wanted to on most occasions when I was trying to settle DD.

I have no trouble now as DS understands that DD is trying to sleep and he can't come in, but didn't understand it when she was younger.  I tried puzzles and books and 'special' toys that only came out when it was sleep time for DD but more often than not he wanted me to look or play WITH him so they didn't really work for me.

Ultimately the only thing that worked was perservering until he was a bit older and had more of an understanding, but in the meantime the TV was the only thing that held his attention for long enough to let me have 10 or 15 minutes to settle DD.

#4 sg290780

Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:25 PM

Its going to be tuff if your baby has had 5 months of being rocked and settled...

But if you tuff it out the benefits will be great in the long run.

babies need to learn to settle themselves... they arent born with it. I never rocked either of my children I put them in their bassinette or stroller awake when they were sleepy but not over tired and let them fall asleep on their own.

I know it must seem harsh but if its impacting your life then you need to do something different.

Your baby will cry - but they cannot cry forever. I know friends who had to un-do rocking who would lay baby in the bassinette or cot; make no eyecontact but pat their stomach innitially to ease the transition.

Good luck with whatever you choose original.gif & remember what fun you can have with your toddler if you had that extra time.

#5 MAGS24

Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:26 PM

I have a four year old DS and a five month old. When I'm putting the baby to bed, I get DS1 to watch his favourite show on TV. That seems to distract him enough most of the time. I also found that giving him something to eat can distract him for a while.

Edited by MAGS24, 23 April 2012 - 02:28 PM.


#6 busymumof1&1/2

Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:28 PM

Hi Emma600,
The TV is my long term plan at the moment. I have a 20 month old and a 5 month old and to get the baby off to sleep is getting increasingly harder, because as you said, they are more aware now, and any noise she wants to look at.
I have tried putting my DD1 to sleep first, then settle the baby, but this only works when DD1 is actually due for a sleep happy.gif
For the rest, I just have the TV on, or organise afternoon tea/morning tea and DD1 in the highchair concentrating on food, while I feed DD2 off to sleep.
Hope you find your rhythym soon.

#7 kkbelle

Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:28 PM

We do a little tv here, too. original.gif I also have a few favourite boxes of toys that only come out when baby is being settled. DD1 will happily play with her tea set in her room for at least half an hour since it only comes out a couple of times a week.

My DD2 was starting to do the awake after 15-20 minute thing, too. I started putting her down about 5 minutes earlier and she's settling within 5-10 minutes now.

#8 trishalishous

Posted 23 April 2012 - 04:44 PM

i either used to put the twins (4years older) to bed first, then boob dd, or just put dd in the sling and let her do her own thing
i always made sure it was noisy at  sleeptime so she was used to it

#9 Freddie'sMum

Posted 23 April 2012 - 04:51 PM

Another one raising my hand saying ABC Kids was an absolute life saver.  When the girls were toddler / baby - if I was trying to get the baby to sleep - I would set up the toddler in front of the TV - with a snack and then do my darnest to get the baby to sleep.

Yes, I did feel guilty that I used the TV as a babysitter - but it was either that - or just have the toddler come into the room and want to play with me or her little sister.

Do what you have to do to get the baby to sleep - feed / wrap / dummy / music / it doesn't matter.



#10 soontobegran

Posted 23 April 2012 - 05:00 PM

I had a play pen! Oh the shame biggrin.gif
With lots of little toddlers at once if I had to at any time leave them alone whilst settling a baby, working in the kitchen or anything where I would be out of sight for several minutes I would put them in there with lots of toys, books and sometimes some music playing or children's TV.
They were safe and happy and I had no anxiety about being in a different part of the house.

I know there are those who will say that our children aren't animals or prisoners to be locked up and I say 'whatever'.
You do what you have to do to keep everyone safe and of course they were not in there for more than 15-30 minutes at a time.

#11 Natttmumm

Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:53 PM

For most of the time DD2 was good at going to sleep alone but on a bad day DD1 was only 2 so she didn't understand to b quiet so I sometimes went for a walk to the park and rocked the pram while DD 1 played. Sometimes I went for a drive. Sometimes I pushed DD2 in the pram in the house. It's much easier if the second child can fall asleep without too much assistance but not always possible. Have u tried music on in the room. This helped us a lot.
When all else failed I patted DD2 to sleep on the lounge while DD1 talked away.

#12 Ehill

Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:08 PM

Emma600, my 2 are exactly the same age as yours.  DD drives me bonkers when i try and get DS to sleep.  Yesterday he was nearly asleep in the pram and we were off for a walk and DD looks in the pram, his eys are slightly open and she yells 'MUM! HE'S STILL AWAKE' right in his face.  Omg thanks for that....He is certainly awake now.  

She follows me into the nursery and talks constantly.  TV works but as soon as she realises i have left the room, i can hear those damm footsteps up the stairs 'mum, where are you....'.

Just in general she is driving me batty at the moment, the baby seems so easy compared to her.  I feel like all my energy is being spent on her but that is another topic alltogether.

On a positive note i have put in some hard yards in lately to get DS to fall asleep with less rocking, patting etc.  It has paid dividends and i can now usually get him down before DD realises i am gone.  But you need to do what is right for you, not everyone can cope with crying bub.  It took about a week of persistence.

#13 sophiasmum

Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:23 PM

I had them 2 yrs apart, and then 3 yrs apart.

OP, I used the tv, I would say stay here & watch quietly I won't be long I'll be back soon. I would shut the baby's door so I could settle without being disturbed. They quickly got the message to wait for me to be free before coming to ask me for something.

However, I stopped hands on settling by 4 mths for the reason that it was taking longer & longer to pat or rock to sleep, and I couldn't be away from the other children for that long (45 mins, occasionally an hour). So I started putting to bed awake & they would fall asleep on their own. It was a lightbulb moment for me, like I suddenly gained all these extra hours in the day, it was wonderful!




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