I posted this on the attachment parenting board, but its a bit slow, so I thought I'd repost here in hopes of getting a response sooner.
We've been having issues with sleep (who doesn't?) and I was hoping someone might have some helpful suggestions. Here is our situation:
DD, age 2 1/2. Most nights I try to do a bedtime routine involving putting lotion or medicated cream (depending on how bad it is at the time) on her eczema, putting her pajamas on, brushing teeth, and reading stories. She doesn't have a bath every night because of the drying effect on the eczema (by the way, if anyone has any good natural remedies for eczema, I'd be interested). Most night we read a few picture books first, followed by something like the classic Winnie the Pooh stories and she falls asleep listening to me read. DH usually watches DS while I do this--if he is in the room, DD is distracted by him and won't fall asleep. Sometimes I'll have DS with us for the first few books, and then give him to DH when we start the longer story. Sometimes I just lie down with her instead of keeping to read. She usually wakes at some point during the night or another and comes into our bed. Occasionally one of us will take her back to her bed and lie down with her. She does not have a consistent bedtime and it varries extremely widely. Sometimes if she doesn't fall asleep while I'm trying to put her to bed, I let her snuggle on the couch while DH and I watch TV. Sometimes it gets so late that I just let her sleep with us. She sleeps in until about 10:00 am most mornings, which is too late, but I usually sleep just as long, so hard to break. She doesn't take naps anymore, but once in a while she'll fall asleep at an odd time early in the evening, which is really frustrating for trying to get her to sleep at night. She also is a BIG snuggler,and will often cry if she is not right up against me--sometimes even if I'm facing away from her, but she seems to be getting over that.
DS, age 7 mo, has fallen into a similar pattern of staying up late and sleeping in. I don't have a bedtime routine fo him. I usually just either rock or nurse him to sleep and it seems like it is usually really late. He doesn't nap much during the day--often waking up right when I try to put him in his crib. I put him in the crib (which is in his room) at night and then bring him into our bed when he wakes up. He also sleeps in until around 10:00 am. It makes it hard for us to get to anything that is scheduled in the morning, but it's tough because I need to sleep, too! And whenever they actually both go to sleep in their own beds before midnight, DH and I need to spend some time together.
We have a king sized bed, but I still feel cramped because I often can't move due to having kids on both sides of me. If I'm having a hard time sleeping, I might take one or the other of the kids to DD's bed and sleep there, but I much prefer our bed because it is more comfortable.
Any advice on how I can still meet my kids' needs while still getting sleep myself? Perhaps ways DH can help? It is hard because DD is clingy and irrational when she's tired and only wants mommy and of course DS needs to breastfeed. Any ideas for changes for room arangements? An inexpensive way we can make extra sleeping spaces in our room? I had considered the sidecar crib option, but the crib we have has an attached mini changing table, so it is quite large, so I'm not sure if that would work. Plus our bed is kind of high. I appreciate any input! Sorry so long!
Sounds like what I'm trying to figure out now in some ways. DS has a relatively set bedtime, although it can vary, he's usually asleep by 9 p.m. He's up between 7-8 in the morning. He sleeps right between DH and I. He did sleep in his crib from about 13/14 months until he was 2. Then came right back in bed with us. I'm trying to figure out what to do for when baby #2 comes.
The only solution I've come up with now is to put a twin bed beside ours to make an extension of our bed. That way DS will have his own space but be with us. Our king bed is pretty high, so if we get a normal twin mattress, then it should be a little lower than our bed creating a nice little space for him (we'll butt the twin bed up to the wall for a barrier). Then baby #2 can be in bed with me to nurse without worrying about DS thrashing around.
I've been sleeping on the couch a lot to get good sleep since I'm starting to get a little uncomfortable with the pg. But DS wakes up and cries out for me, even though DH is in the bed with him. I go back to bed, but DS likes to be completely smashed against me and my neck gets a kink in it and my back and shoulder hurt. I've been trying to get him to sleep on his pillow and while I can get him to fall asleep like that, when he stirs in the middle of the night, he just hops over to mine and takes it over.
We figure we'll just take it one step at a time. If we put the twin bed in our room as an extension, perhaps it'll make him feel close, but give him the confidence to sleep "alone"
I don't know. There doesn't seem to be a "one size fits all" answer, you know? Good luck!
I don't really have much advice for you as far as the sleep thing goes. I am a firm believer in children and fairly strict routines and it doesn't sound like that would work for you which I can totally respect. My kids are in bed at very consistent hours and it works for us, but my BFF's kids' schedule varies like your kids and it works for her so I'm no help really.
But, I did want to comment on the eczema. My mom has eczema. When DH and I went on our honeymoon to Hawaii I picked up some KuKui nut lotion for my mom cause it said on the package it was for people with psoriasis or eczema and I thought "what the heck". I gave it to her not really expecting much from it (it was just an inexpensive souvenir), but it actually worked really well for her. There are many companies you can purchase kukui nut lotion or oil from online, but I'd probably look for one that is based out of Hawaii. Here is a website I had found at one time to order my mom some more. I never did end up ordering it for her so I can't vouch for the company or the product, but it might be something to look into. http://www.oilsofaloha.com/cart.php?m=product_list&c=11
I'm no help with the sleep thing either as we too have a really strict bedtime routine that starts pretty early in the evening but works for us. Plus we are having issues with our own 5year old gettting up at night these last few weeks and are currently using a reward chart to get him to stay put. Whole other story.
My DS has had really bad eczema since he was a baby though and we found that cutting out all dairy and sugar really made a difference. I tried using medicated cream on him once but it totally bleached his skin even more than the eczema itself did and it was so sad. The diet modification for him has worked wonders though and we have had very few outbreaks since he was about 1.5years old. After his 5th birthday we started re-introducting some dairy with mixed results. Seems like small amounts are ok but too much dairy brings on a small outbreak, not as bad as when he was smaller though. By age 2 we bathed him nightly using just semi warm water and only bath product 2-3 times a week depending on the season.
~Joy~ DS1-8/5/05, DS2-10/18/10 (VBAC#1), DS3- 4/11/12 (VBAC#2!)
I'm just curious, because I can't tell from your post, so not being confrontational, but just wanted to get more information from you
Are you wanting them to go to bed earlier, fall asleep on their own, stay in bed all night? Some combination of the three?
I've come to find (with my kids) that sleep begets sleep. If a child isn't sleeping well, it sets them up to sleep even worse as time goes on. Here, (at 2 1/2 this is feasible, at 7 months, probably not) we have quiet time. You don't have to sleep, but you do have to sit quietly with a book, or a stuffed animal. (My 9 year old and 7 year old are past nap stages, so this was the compromise hehe) Sometimes they sleep, sometimes they don't.
If you want them to have an earlier bedtime, I would take it in 15 or 20 minute intervals until you are where you want to be. Say you want bedtime to be 9, but they're going to bed at 12. The first night, they're in bed at 11:45, and up at 9:45. Same for the second night. Third night, you go to bed at 11:30, and are up at 9:30. Same for fourth night. Fifth and Sixth nights, bedtime is 11:15, and wake up is 9:15. etc, etc until you're down to bed at 9, and up around 8 or so. That also solves the napping issue, as naptime should start happening earlier in the day so it doesn't interfere with night time sleep. So instead of napping at 6pm, nap happens at 2.
Falling asleep on their own ... I don't do cry it out, so this is CERTAINLY my experience, if you're uncomfortable with it, by all means, it's fine to skip it We would do our bedtime routine, sit down on the couch, and read a book. Get up, get in their bed. Instead of climbing in, I'd sit next to the bed and we would sing soft lullabyes or talk about animals, fun things, whatever softly for 10 minutes. The next night, I'd scoot my butt back just a little bit (couple feet?) and we'd continue from the night before, for 9 minutes. Next night, couple feet closer to the door, talk for 7 minutes. Until I was sitting in the doorway and we would talk for 1 minute. Eventually, they were able to go to bed without me in there with them. I did miss cuddling, but made sure I made up for it during the daytime
With any of these, staying in bed all night included, (Just as a side note, when she wakes up, can she tell you what woke her up? Is her eczema flaring and itching? nightmare?) when she crawls in your bed, each and every time, take her back to her bed and explain that this is her bed, this is where she sleeps. Consistency will be your best friend here, and she will understand that her bed is her bed, and where she needs to be. This one is easy to do even without a strict routine You might try one of those alarm clocks with the red light/green light on it, and explain to her "When the red light is on, you are in your bed, but when the green light comes on, you can come to mommy's room" and set the green light for wake up time.
Coconut oil has worked well in the past for my 7 year olds skin, but breastmilk really, really helped. It's fatty and moisturizing at the same time, and non-toxic I do know that there are studies being done on young children with the benefits of using probiotics, so you might look into that, too Yogurt for eczema? OKAY!
These are certainly only my experiences and the things that I've found to work. I know how hard it is Especially when you aren't an early bird! eek!
McKenna Lyn 6/01
Amelia Loren 8/03
Delaney Anne 4/09
Benjamin Jeffrey 12/10
I'll admit I have limited experience, but I also find that with Beni (she's just almost 6 mos) a set bedtime did wonders. We're still working on getting naps sorted, but of course, she's young and we have time. And, yeah, I hear you that it sucks when they go to bed early and therefore wake up early, but, happy babies are better than fussy babies that aren't getting enough sleep. So yeah, we do bedtime at 7 now and she's down (and she goes down easily) by 7:15- and then DH and I have all night to be alone! And yes, I have had to learn to go to bed a little earlier myself, because she does wake up earlier now... that said, she wakes up early, but is down for a nap within an hour of waking, so often I go back to sleep with her. I know that might not be possible for you with two kids, but, at least if DS goes back down early on, you won't have to be quite so full on with the parenting in the early hours.
Also, I have to say, I know it's really hard to establish routines, when you're not used to them. In the beginning DD used to just fall asleep in my arms at some point at night and then we would just put her down...or I would just hold her until I went to bed myself! When she stopped falling asleep that way and would just start getting super fussy, we knew we had to change things. DH and I are still working on it- it's me that is really bad at the routine thing, so, there have been several times lately where dinner is ready right at the same time that Beni goes to bed, and I just have to suck it up and do what she needs first, and then worry about myself. I don't know why I find it so difficult to start dinner earlier, but, like I said I'm working on it. Living by the clock isn't so easy, when you're not used to it, but like I said before, it really did wonders for Beni- she goes down so easily, and even though I nurse her down, it only takes about 10-15 minutes.
I really like the idea of a twin bed on the floor next to the adult bed. That sounds like something you would have to work toward with your DD, but, I think it's a good solution. My SIL said to me once, "I don't like to sleep alone, why would my kid?" Admittedly, people are different, but, if you have a kid that doesn't want to sleep alone, I can hardly blame them, because I'm the same way- I'd much rather sleep next to someone!
As for the exczema, have you heard of hazelwood necklaces? I haven't used one myself, but have heard pretty good reviews from people who have. My diaper lady sells them, and has a blurb about them here: http://www.ecobuns.com/Baltic-Amber-...ces_p_121.html
I hope you can find a solution that works for you in all of these things!
Mara & Joel, 2009
This is something DH and I have talked about recently. I read an article on Yahoo that stated that something like 30-40% of couples don't sleep in the same bed, but not necessarily because they are having marital (or relationship) problems. DH thought it was crazy, but I had to remind him, that in this country, the vast majority of parents teach their children to go to sleep in their own bed and most sleep by themselves until they go off to college. Then say they get married after college...that's 22 years of sleeping alone! Not that it's bad, it just made sense when reading the article to me that if we expect our children to sleep in their own beds, then it's not so crazy that some people don't like to sleep with their significant others!
So it actually eased my mind about having DS still in bed with us
I saw a poll once on another message board I used to post on- the question was do you sleep in the same bed as your SO- and overwhelmingly, on that board the answer was no! I was very surprised! Many people said that in the beginning of their relationships/marriages they loved having only a double bed because it meant they were always so close to their SO, but, over time, many people kept upsizing the bed until they finally went to two beds! My DH and I have been together 4 years/married 1 year, and I guess I'm still in the early phases, but I can't imagine not sharing a bed with him!
Uh, sorry for hi-jacking your thread, Brittany!
Mara & Joel, 2009
DS had a rough start as a baby and had surgery when he was about 6 weeks old. After that, we began a routine for him (and ME!) and it made a huge difference. He became so much more contented that way.
I too am a person who likes consistency in nap and bed times for the kids. Their nap times turned into "quiet times" as they got older. It had real benefits as they learned to enjoy their own company, reading and so on.
At night time they had to be in bed at a certain time. They were read to (by me or DH) and then it was up to them whether they slept or read books late into the night!
With a half hour to an hour's trip to school each morning, they had to wake up and get ready rather early. (The same time as DH did for going to work) There weren't many problems getting started each day because they already had their routines established. (Mind you, all that changed when they became teenagers! )
So I found consistency a true help!
Leo (3 1/2) with Malcolm the cat
We have a twin bed off of our king. It has been working really well for us. Its not "flush" with our bed so he can't just roll over and end up in our bed. He has to get up and crawl up. He usually makes it all night now and then comes up to snuggle a bit right before we get up. I think its a good transition for us. He was in our bed until he was about 22 months and I think we are going to continue this when the new baby comes and have the new baby in the bed as we did with him.
Tyler James born via c-section May 29, 2008 7lb 8 oz 20 inches
Bradley Christian born in the water April 10, 2011 8 lb 6oz 20.5 inches