Adventures in ending cosleeping: Part 2: The DC2ening

It is amazing how different our kids are sometimes.

We’ve ended cosleeping with DC2 a bit earlier than with DC1, mainly because DC2 is bigger so we’ve run out of room earlier.

Here’s what we did with DC2:  Several weeks before ending cosleeping (which we planned to try over winter break), we turned the nursery (adjoining our master bedroom) back into an office and turned the office (near DC1’s room) into DC2’s room, complete with bed (though right now we’re just using the mattress because we don’t have bedrails and DC2 tends to roll off).  We talked up about how this was DC2’s room and DC2 would get to sleep in it.  DC2 didn’t bite right away.  There was some giggly pretending to sleep in hir bed or in DC1’s bed, but never for long.

During this time, we also started enforcing a bedtime routine.  Snack, bath, teeth brushing, some play time, two books, lights out.  Walking or nursing to sleep if ze asked for it, but not encouraged.  A complete nix on hir attempts to stay up later by asking for 2nd or 3rd snack (which would be demanded, but uneaten, and followed by tearful 2nd and/or 3rd teeth brushing) after lights out.

Then we visited relatives over Christmas.  When we came back we decided it was time to try out the bed.

And DC2 was totally on board with it.  First night, after plugging the nightlight back in, we did the routine, put hir in hir bed, and ze fell asleep with DH beside hir.  Second night, ze snuggled right down while I read hir two books and wasn’t yet asleep when I turned out the lights and left, but then fell asleep.  No effort at all for this part, unlike the week of Super-Nanny technique we used with DC1.

HOWEVER, unlike DC1, DC2 doesn’t sleep the entire night.  Getting DC1 to bed in the first place was the hard part, but after that we were fine until morning.  DC2 has nightmares (DC1 had night terrors, but they were mostly over by age 2).  DC2 gets thirsty.  DC2 wakes up screaming regularly at 2am and at 5am.  When ze is cosleeping, this isn’t that big a deal because one of us will hand over the water bottle or explain that it’s all just a dream and mommy and daddy are here and 5 min later everyone is back asleep.  We can do the same thing without cosleeping, but it involves a long cold walk to the other side of the house.

The water thing is easily solvable– there’s no reason DC2 can’t get hir own water.  But we’re not so sure what to do about the nightmares.  Maybe the new daycare will decrease hir anxiety about people taking hir stuff…[Update:  ze has learned how to come back to our bed at 5am… this is infinitely preferable.  The 2am waking time has been jumping around… that part is not so good.]

Anyway, we still subscribe to the Grumpy Rumblings do whatever is easiest (so long as it isn’t actually harmful) philosophy of how to raise your kids.

I doubt this post will generate the 68 comments that our first post on ending co-sleeping did (Is baby sleeping still one of those topics that generates huge wars?), but feel free to chime in!  I can’t think of any good questions though…

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 36 Comments »

36 Responses to “Adventures in ending cosleeping: Part 2: The DC2ening”

  1. Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

    It sounds like you are trying to make the transition with as few tears as possible. Hopefully the new daycare will decrease anxiety all around.

    We never co-slept with our kids, but we have had different issues off and on. Our youngest went through a stage where she would throw a fit if she couldn’t sleep with her older sister. Our oldest would wake up screaming in the middle of the night for no reason when she was about three, and there was a time when I thought I might lose my mind. Our “issue” now is that my three-year-old will creep down the hallway in the middle of the night, open the door, and stare at us. It drives me nuts! One day we will look back on all of this and laugh =) Maybe when we’re getting better sleep.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      The nightmares seem to have stopped, though we’re back to molars breaking through causing mouth pain screams. Thank goodness for Motrin.

    • Revanche Says:

      I almost have to apologize for laughing about your 3yo. I was that kid at 6 or 7 because I had an overactive imagination and petrifying nightmares. I’d creep to my parents’ room, but b/c I couldn’t quite reach the door handle (or because I was too scared to), I’d curl up at their doorframe, quietly sobbing and just stay there. I’m sure that did wonders for their sleep, half hearing the muffled sobs of their kid but not quite.

  2. Leah Says:

    This makes me feel okay that we still sort of cosleep with our 7 month old. She has a cosleeper in our room. I love it — so much easier than stumbling to her room when she needs to eat in the middle of the night. And sometimes she sleeps with us, especially if she’s cold, sick, or just needs some snuggles.

    Hard when everyone around us keeps telling me the fix for getting her to fall asleep easier is to put her in her own room. Yeah, I wish she fell asleep quicker (some nights she does, but many nights it takes 30 minutes to an hour to get her to sleep). But I don’t want to CIO or make her feel abandoned.

    Glad to hear you did otherwise and don’t have to sleep with your kids still. People keep warning me I’ll have to lie down with a 6 year old if I don’t get her in her own room.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me vent my life on your blog :-) I do like hearing what you’ve done! Always good to have positive examples of parenting in all different ways.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      The Grumpy rumblings parenting philosophy of Do whatever is easiest (so long as it isn’t genuine neglect) has stood us in good stead through two amazing children and two full-time careers.

      • Leah Says:

        Yes, I think I like this philosophy :-) We have a happy kid and mostly happy parents. Yay for living life!

      • Rented life Says:

        Before our kid was born I told husband about this philosophy and that’s our approach. Every now and then we feel pressured because we aren’t conventional (or we get criticism) and I have to remind us both of the philosophy. Left alone we are pretty happy and we constantly get comments when we go out about how happy and pleasant our kid is–like people sound surprised because they expect kids to be worse.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        We get/got those comments a lot too (all of them)! I always figure that our kids are amazing so we can’t be screwing up too badly. I mean, just look at them.

  3. Carolina (@braziliancakes) Says:

    We also co-slept with our daughter and still do a few nights a week when she wakes up at 2, 3, or 5am. She starts out in her bed and has since she was 18 months or so, but some nights still needs some snuggles (she is almost 3 ½ now). Thankfully I don’t have to get out of bed, she just walks over to our room. It’s usually not a big deal and she falls back asleep quickly and everyone sleeps well. It has gotten a little harder now that I’m very pregnant and have a very difficult time falling back asleep. But at least she’s sleeping well. I tend to wake up anyways at 2, 3 or 4am and can’t fall back asleep even if she hasn’t woken me up, so it doesn’t change much when she’s sleeping through the night. I’m a bit worried about transitioning to 2 kids (in a few months) when our second is born. We will have a co-sleeper. Hopefully my first will increase her sleeping through the night nights and I will only have to handle one child awake in the middle of the night.

    Cosleeping has also been very nice for traveling when we’ve all had to share a big bed since she was very used to sleeping with us. She would also fall asleep in the big bed and we could go do other things before going to bed ourselves. Some places did have a pack and play she could sleep in, but they weren’t always that comfortable or warm. So she would ask to come lay with us instead.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      A lot of our lack of scheduling is helpful when we travel or go out. We’ve never said no to anything because of a planned nap, because we don’t have planned naps But there’s trade-offs– if there were planned naps, we could plan to get work done during that time.

    • Allyson Says:

      My DC1 is 3 years and still generally wakes about 1am and comes in our bed, but goes right back to sleep. DC2 is 3 months and it really hasn’t been too bad – DC2 has the bassinet next to the bed and DC1 sleeps through the night nursings. I am very grateful to have found the N&M parenting philosophy relatively early in my parenting – I’m not about to worry about the cosleeping for several years yet (or until two kids want in the bed and we run out of room).

  4. Rented life Says:

    Right now LO co sleeps with daddy in LOs room. I had reached a point where I couldn’t do all of us in bed anymore and this actually works well for everyone–hubby gets bonding time that’s otherwise shortened because of his crappy work schedule and I can sometimes sleep (I’m not a good sleeper). I get LO for nursing and parts of the night (depending on hubby’s schedule and a couple nights I have the whole night and sleep poorly. This works for us–it was our easiest path for everyone but apparently we are odd for it. The bed is set up minus rail because it was so short that it served no purpose! Zie plays on it now but isn’t ready clearly. Zie doesn’t seem to be ready to ditch night nursing which sucks on the nights we are up a lot. At 13 months we have a little peanut so extra fat and calories are good really. When did you introduce water for night time?
    Not directly related but we can’t get LO to drink anything but breastmilk and water. Pedi wants cows milk (which neither of us can drink so we just don’t use milk in things). Been a fun struggle.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Re: milk: It is AOK to continue with breast-milk or toddler formula in place of cows milk. Toddlers need cows milk because of the fat, but bm has exactly the right amount of fat in it for your kid. (Keeping in mind that all my knowledge on this subject is from like 5-7 years ago when I actually researched these things.)

      If your baby were to stop breast-feeding (and to refuse toddler formula) then you would need cows milk, but while zie is still drinking breast-milk the cows milk is unnecessary.

    • The Frugal Ecologist Says:

      So interesting that ze did so well with the transition & going to sleep. I bet the sleeping through the night will continue to improve. I have friends who have a similar set up with sleeping as rented life. works well for them. They did wean at 18 mo so Mom could get more sleep. my nephews have slept together since they were 1 & 3 – they still do it most nights at 12 & 14. I think its sweet.

      Ditto to n&m’s comment regarding breast milk – absolutely no need to replace bm with cow’s milk. If you do want to switch because Mom would like to cut down on nursing, I have heard good results from folks who gradually mix cow’s and breast milk and gradually increase the proportion til its 100% cows milk. also cheese and whole milk yogurt are good too – def doesn’t have to be straight milk.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        when I stopped pumping (~18 mo) with DC1, we also did a mix with bm (defrosted from the freezer stash) and cow’s milk for daycare until it was 100% cow’s milk. (DC2 didn’t care so much so long as the cow’s milk was in a sippy, so we still have some bm in the freezer.)

      • Rented life Says:

        I can’t eat cheese or yogurt without hearing a very excited “oooh! Ooh!” from the kiddo. :) it was hard to encourage drinking cows milk when we don’t, and I don’t even like the taste anymore. The pedi said to do soy or something but for now we just bm and water.

  5. anandar Says:

    Our oldest is also a much sounder sleeper and never wakes us up in the middle of the night, while our youngest (now age 3 1/2) is much more likely to wake up and “need” something (usually just reassurance). I think (hope?) she is improving, but it is a very gradual trend.

    My 2c would be to see if leaving a sippy cup of water nearby would help to discourage requests for waiter. Or in the alternative, try to cut out the mid-night water entirely; when I was reading up on good sleep hygiene for adults (I have a lot of trouble going back to sleep if I am woken up in the middle of the night), one of the points that was made was to try hard not to get into a habit of drinking, eating or using the bathroom in the middle of the night, because your body will adjust its circadian rhythms to accommodate that habit, and you’ll start waking yourself up for it.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I don’t actually think there’s anything wrong with waking up in the middle of the night to drink or use the restroom. Sleeping habits were very different prior to electricity and people used to sleep in shifts. (Plus, if I do wake up in the middle of the night for whatever reason, all I have to do to get back to sleep is to use the restroom because my body associates using the restroom in the middle of the night with falling right back asleep.)

  6. Debbie M Says:

    I like the part about “giggly pretending to sleep.”

  7. Ana Says:

    Our 3+ year old still comes up to our bed at some point every night and sleeps the rest of the night with us. Sometimes its 5AM. Sometimes its 11PM. I prefer this when he was in his crib and we had to go downstairs and bring him up every night. We are trying to incentivize “staying in your own bed” because he isn’t as quiet and unobtrusive as he used to me and we are not sleeping very well anymore (and we need ALL our sleep to deal with our kids these days).
    I am a big fan, though, of do what’s easiest for everyone.

  8. Revanche Says:

    My favorite advice on parenting (subtopic: sleeping) was: do what lets you all survive, so obviously I’m enjoying everyone sharing experiences here. It’s nice to know there are a fair number of reasonable and balanced parents out there.

    (It’s amazing how full of advice everyone is, like the one relative started hammering away at how we have to CIO at ONE MONTH, when they don’t live with us and won’t have to raise our kid(s). Hold your horses on the bad advice and let the kid get here and settle in, good grief.)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We don’t say much about CIO on the blog (other than you don’t have to do it– one of our most popular google search posts), but the CIO experts all say not to start until 6 months because of brain development connections stuff. I hope people giving that dangerous kind of advice don’t use it on actual kids, just hypothetical ones.

  9. First Gen American Says:

    I never thought I’d say this but I actually like my co-sleeping cuddle time with my son. I was convinced that I would never succumb to the temptation when the kids were little. Nowadays I don’t see my kids for the bulk of the day so the extra hours at night are like bonus time with them.

  10. omdg Says:

    Reading these comments has made me see how very much worse we could have had it. OMG I cannot imagine getting up every night for three years, or having another body in the bed for that long. Thanks for the incentive to not have another!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      *shrug* We definitely have not gotten up every night for three years, and if having another body in bed was a big deal earlier, we’d have changed things earlier. Whatever works.

  11. gwinne Says:

    I have not read all these comments :)

    Tiny Boy starts in his toddler bed now and comes in with me at some point in the middle of the night (usually 2:00ish). I wish he would walk himself in but he doesn’t. Still, bringing him back to my room is better than dealing with him repeatedly. But a work in progress.

  12. Cloud Says:

    I’ve got nothing! My older daughter just magically started sleeping through the night in her own bed at one point, when she was about 2. We have no idea why. It certainly wasn’t anything we’d done. My younger daughter (now 5) still joins us part way through the night most nights, but honestly, I sort of like snuggling with her and I suspect this will end when she starts kindergarten and the day time naps enforced at day care end… so I haven’t even tried to think about how to stop it.

    The only sleep “advice” I ever found actually useful was the Bedtiming book, which described various developmental phases and helped me understand why things suddenly went all cockeyed. It also helped us decide when it was worth trying to change something and when it was probably better to just wait it out. Plus, I find child development interesting, so it was just fun to read.

    OK, maybe one idea: when my older daughter was having a hard time falling asleep because of “bad thoughts” (i.e., worrying about things), we told her that the stuffed zebra my parents had just given her would scare the bad thoughts away, because zebras are very fierce and protective or something like that… and that actually seemed to help. I think she was about 3? I can’t remember.

    Anyway, good luck figuring it out!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      … we’re not having any problems…

      • kt Says:

        To be grumpy, it seems like maybe you’re declining advice in this response, but in the post you said, “But we’re not so sure what to do about the nightmares.” I feel a dissonance.

        Cloud’s zebra comment definitely mirrors my childhood, though. I had a stuffed wolf that became my fierce protector. This wolf also gained a good deal of social capital with my sibs, since I was the oldest. When we were a bit older, if I said, “We should empty the dishwasher! That’s what Mom said!” my sibs would refuse. “Who made you the boss?” But, “Wolf says we need to empty the dishwasher!” got that dishwasher empty! Don’t underestimate the power of a good stuffed animal.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Ze’s not having nightmares anymore now that ze’s at the good daycare (though that is only mentioned above in the comments). And ze does have stuffed animals.


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