You may remember a couple of my previous posts: 3 In The Bed… Part 1 and Part 2. Well the issue of nighttime has come back to light lately. Yet again we are trying to get Lily to sleep through in her own bed.
The sleeping issue: When Lily reached a year old I decided to stop all night feeds, however the knock on effect of this was that she stopped settling at night when she woke up. Whereas before I would feed her at midnight and it would get her sleeping through until morning, since cutting that feed she would wake up and just not go back to sleep….unless I brought her in to our bed. Yes, we became *shh* co-sleepers!! Such a dirty word that. But it worked for us. When I was going back to work and needed my sleep, it just seemed to make sense. I had avoided it before because of the risks associated with bed sharing. But at a year old I felt that she was bigger and I researched how to co-sleep in a safe way so no pillows/duvet around her etc.
We have continued to co-sleep when Lily wakes in the night since then, until a few months ago when the thought of baby number 2 started cropping up. Worrying that I would have two babies waking up in the night made me think I needed to get Lily sleeping through in her own bed. We probably didn’t prepare her enough for the change, or persevere long enough when we originally tried. Plus Joe was against the idea as he didn’t see why she needed to suddenly sleep in her own bed (he loves the extra cuddles). So we failed in our mission, as you can read about here.
But now we are back to it! I’ve been having loads of trouble with eye infections lately, I currently have my 3rd one since November! So I am wary that sharing a bed with Lily could lead to it spreading. In fact it looked the other day like she may have got it too but it seems to have settled. With this in mind, plus for all the same reasons as before we have decided to give it another go, and this time do it better. Here’s how it’s gone so far…
We tried to prepare Lily for what was happening, talking about her lovely bedroom and big girl bed. There was a bit of good old bribery– if she slept in her bed all night she could have a special treat the next day. She asked for a squishy pal, you know those toys on YouTube videos that come out the surprise eggs!
Lily settled at 7pm and stayed asleep until about 11:30pm, when she called out for me. I went in to her room, tucked her back in and gave her a kiss reminding her that she was staying in her big girl bed tonight. She SCREAMED, I mean tears and real sobbing. She said she didn’t want presents she just wanted to go in to Mummy and Daddy’s bed. It broke my heart. Lily is still little, and doesn’t understand why she can’t just carry on as she has before sleeping next to her parents where she feels safe and secure.
Nevertheless I had my mission hat on and sat on the stall again next to her as she settled down, and I thought she may have gone back to sleep. But she hadn’t, every time I so much as moved a leg to leave the room she said “Mum!?” I kept explaining that she needed to go to sleep, and reinforced that she would get rewarded, but still no. After about an hour I was feeling really tired and told her to budge up as I got in to her bed with her. There we slept for pretty much the whole night. I managed to sneak back to bed a couple of times, but each time she would wake within 5minutes and call me back in.
OK so I may have been with her, but I’m taking the small win that she did in fact sleep in her own bed all night. Baby steps.
Worried about facing another night where I could not stretch out my legs and had half my bum hanging out of a tiny toddler bed, I decided to make a quick (very basic) sticker reward chart:
Lily loves stickers and they do seem to work well as bribery goes! Before bed I explained that if she slept through the night in her big girl bed she would get a present, PLUS a sticker on the sticker chart! She was very excited and seemed to be on board! So we gave it another go, now there was one issue however, Lily had a danger nap at 3:30pm. Danger naps can be really bad for Lily’s routine, if she sleeps after about 2:30pm I find it stops her from settling at bedtime. As I feared she just wouldn’t settle for bed, I tried and Joe tried but eventually we gave up and she came downstairs with us.
At around 10pm when we were going to bed ourselves we took Lily up. We gave her milk and the usual bedtime routine but just later on than usual, I read her a story and said goodnight. She was perfectly happy to be going to sleep in her bed even though it was later, to my surprise.
She slept through until 3:30am when she woke up and called out to me. I went in and lay down next to her for a moment (a bit dazed through sleepiness). Quite quickly I heard her heavy sleepy breathing and decided to try and make a run for it, or a ninja roll crawl out of it. Success! She stayed asleep.. For another hour anyway. Again she woke up and called out for me but unlike the night before she wasn’t asking to come in to our bed. She seemed happy knowing I would settle her in her own bed now.
I lay down next to her again and after a few minutes she was a asleep and I successful escaped. This happened once more again about an hour later, but then she slept through until 6:30am! At this point we let her come in with us because we had promised her once the sun came up she could come and have a cuddle for a bit (and let me have a lie in!)
I brought the sticker chart in to her as soon as she woke up again and gave her lots of praise for sleeping in her own bed during the night. I’m hoping that as each day goes by it will get better. Any other tips you have please let me know in the comments! I’m a bit apprehensive about tonight as I’m hoping for a normal bedtime for her of 7pm and know that means she will probably wake up around midnight again. Hoping after that it won’t be once an hour like last night!
To Be Continued…