Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Queen beds were not made for 4

My 18 month old girls have picked up a nasty habit recently. Smoking, drinking, swearing? No - sleeping in mommy and daddy's bed. And when I said queen beds were not made for 4, I wasn't kidding. With the girls spreading and sprawling in between my husband and I, it leaves, on a good night, 2 inches on either side of them to squeeze into. It's not that co-sleeping is necessarily evil or wrong to do, because I know it works for a lot of families. But when mommy and daddy's sleep is suffering because of it, it is no longer working.

We spent the holidays with my family in Oklahoma. Because of space, all four of us shared a room at my parents' house. I think that is where it all started. Isabelle and Eliza would wake up in the middle of the night, see Taber and I sleeping peacefully in the bed across the room and want to join us. It was too hard for them to resist. I guess I can understand. So, the co-sleeping started there. It continued the almost two weeks we were there. It has continued the almost two weeks since we've been home. We haven't had an unincumbered night of sleep in about a month and my husband (and I) are getting fed up. Do any of you have any advice/knowledge/wisdom/experience that you would like to share? What do you do when your child wakes up in the middle of the night and doesn't want to go back to sleep, but you're too exhausted to deal with it? Do you just give in and bring them into your bed, or do you let them cry themselves back to sleep?

Other questions for those more experienced than myself:
  1. Did you experience pacifier addiction? Is there a 12-step program for that? How did you handle weaning your child off of their pacifier?
  2. My girls are getting some molars in. Is there anything I can do to make that easier for them? I fear they are building up Tylenol and teething gel resistance...It seems like it is taking forever for them to break through. Is there anything I can do to help speed that along?
  3. I am currently in the process of trying to figure out how to have my girls go from two naps a day to only one nap. They used to have a morning and an afternoon nap. I've heard that I should cut out the morning nap and only give them an afternoon nap, but they get so drowsy and cranky late morning, I feel like they are practically asking to take a nap. I have a hard time saying no to that. Any thoughts or advice on this one?

Mom at wits' end


Nancy said...

I give Rachel ice cubes in wash cloths (I just tie the washcloth closed around the ice) and she likes to chew on that. It is hard so it helps break the tooth through and it also helps to numb the gums.

As for sleeping...I don't think you want advice from me. :)

The Buchanan's said...

Here are my thoughts on your questions. First about the sleeping thing I don't know what to say because I have been sleeping on the couch with Maggie asleep on my chest for about a week now. About the pacifiers, I have heard that you cut a little off the nipple and keep doing that until either they don't want it anymore or there is no nipple left. I don't know if they would understand this but I had some friends actually have their kids buy a toy or something they want with their binkies. I just took Ian's away cold turkey and he didn't have a problem with it but was only 6 months old at the time. When I was phasing out a morning nap for Ian I would just keep him up a little longer and still wake him up at the same time. I would maybe try that,keep pushing back the time you put them down in the morning and eventually they will have phased it out and just be down to 1 nap a day. I hope this all makes sense. Good Luck!!!

Rosie said...

on pacifiers: I've heard that you can wean kids of their binky's by essentially slowing cutting it up. You cut off a little bit of the nipple, and continue cutting off a little more every few days. Eventually there won't be any suction and the binky is supposed to lose all appeal.
on sleeping/2 vs 1 nap: all I can suggest is the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." I think is suggests that you go day by day and when they don't take a morning nap, the afternoon nap gets moved forward. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the ideas, gals! Hopefully they'll help.

Nancy, why wouldn't I want sleeping advice from you?

Report: Taber and I decided to rotate nights. He gets odd nights, I get even nights. We had tried that awhile ago when the girls were having trouble sleeping. That way, only one of us has to have our sleep disturbed, rather than both of us being sleep deprived in the morning. No more, "Are you going to go get that or do I have to?" battles. You can plan on your night being horrible and then you basically get a night off.

Last night, we had a 3:00am waking, screaming for about 40 minutes, a dose of Tylenol, some more crying, Taber coming and going a couple of times to check, and then I fell back asleep and didn't hear from or see the girls again until 8:30 this morning. Aw, the WHOLE half of the bed, just for me. Bliss.

Nancy said...

We don't actually know how we got Rachel to sleep through the night. That's why. :)

We went through the co-sleeping stage and when she got to be ridiculously wiggly we scrapped that idea.

Then she went through the stage where she stayed awake for a full week and rarely even napped.

After that she's been a gem. She goes to bed (between 8:30 and 11:00) with hardly a fight (0-60 minutes of screaming) and sleeps until the morning (between 6 and 10 am).

Granted, that doesn't sound like a very strict schedule, but Rachel is just that type of person. Sometimes she's just not tired. So we keep her up until she's "riding on the wave" of sleep and then we put her to bed.

Oh, and we pray about it every morning and night. At family prayer we ask Heavenly Father to help Rachel to fall asleep and stay asleep until the morning so that she doesn't disturb our sleep.

After she's asleep and we go to bed we say our couple's prayer we thank Heavenly Father that she finally fell asleep and ask that she'll stay asleep until the morning. We say that in our individual prayers, too.

When we have family prayer in the morning we thank Him that she slept well all through the night and tell Rachel what a good girl she was (after the prayer, of course).

Oddly enough, after that horrible, horrible week we had, she's been fine. She takes three naps a day (one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the early evening) and then sleeps through the night. It's been great.

I think it's really an answer to prayer though because we didn't really change anything that we were doing.

Anyway...that's what we do.

We also have a humidifier run in her room for some white noise and play primary songs for her while she's falling asleep.

Oh, and...this might sound gross...but Rachel liked to snuggle in my armpit when she slept with us...and I wear baby powder scented deodorant.

The doll we got her for Christmas is "baby powder" scented.

So now she snuggles up in the corner of her crib (I guess that's kind of like an armpit) and snuggles the doll into her face.

Yeah, that's kind of gross. I'll admit it, but she likes it.

Alright, now that you all think I'm weird because my baby likes to snuggle my armpit...I'll be going. :)

Rob and Marseille said...

I wouldn't cut out binkies while they're teething. I'd wait until they get their molars.

Abra said...

Okay... so after watching Nanny 9-1-1
The best thing to do for sleeping is to put the child to bed. They get up, you don't say anything, just put them back in their bed. Continue doing this... the time gets shorter each evening. I have three kids, I used to put them all to bed at the same time... however this led to hours of playing prior to actually sleeping. I now stagger the bedtimes, this helps hugely (1/2 hour apart)
As for the pacifiers, both my older two gave them up voluntarily and Kai lost his favorite one and wouldn't take any other so that solved that problem.

I kept the morning nap and phased out the afternoon nap. My reasoning behind this: They slept better at night. They would eat, feel full, have a bath, diaper change, and into comfy clothes and then straight to bed. They would sleep until five or six in the morning. (This might sound really early, but my kids, no matter what time they go to bed 5:00pm or 12:am wake up between five and six in the morning so the earlier they went to bed, the better the next day was for everyone!)

Anyhow I found that they need the morning nap more than the afternoon one...

Anonymous said...

Update: Last night, we put the girls to bed at their normal bedtime, about 9pm. We didn't hear ONE PEEP from them all night long AND they slept in until 10am. WOW! That was truly a miracle!

Nancy said...

yay, Kim! That's wonderful!

That's kind of what Rachel did after her sleepless rampage. Just went to bed one night and has ever since. :)

Hopefully the twins do the same for you!

Bridget said...

I also kept the morning nap and phased out the afternoon nap. Eventually, the morning nap got later and later until it disappeared. That worked much better for us.