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August 25, 2008

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Victoria

I am nice, I promise. My ideas, in no particular order, are:

1. Look for some books about bedtime and read those

2. Or make a book just for her, that tells the story of how she's going to stay in her bed and get xx (whatever the prize is)

3. Maybe start the process by just sitting in the darkened room with her but not laying down on the bed, and not talking to her? That way, you're there but you're not in bed with her. Then maybe work toward moving a bit further away from her and/or leaving the room before she's completely asleep. Yes, I'm sure it will take forever before she falls to sleep the first night.

4. What would happen if your husband puts her to bed?

Good luck!

Janie

Ouch. I have to say (nicely) that locking a kid in the room goes against every instinct I have. I think it creates feelings of abandonment and panic. And of course now Genoa knows that if she carries on long enough, you'll give in. "Otherwise, there would be no way of keeping her in." Of course there is. Been there, done this: You return her to her bed every time she leaves. Silently, calmly, without a reaction. Every time, no exceptions. Even if it takes a hundred or two hundred times or three hundred times. Even if she's screaming. No abandonment issue--she'll know you're still there because you're the one returning her to bed each time. No panic either---she'll know she can get out of the room if she wants to, if only momentarily. And no belief on her part that she can prevail, because the evidence will show her that she can't. You have to resolve to devote an entire night or even two to the process. It's an investment that will pay you back royally. But I think bedtime, not naptime, is the time to do this, so eventually sleep will overcome her (naps can be skipped, overnight sleeping can't.)This actually is the method used on the Supernanny show, if you ever care to see it in action. Good luck! (You don't really need luck, just a steely will!)

laura

ok well we have an almost 3 year old and she has been an awesome sleeper since birth, but i also can not shut the door something about the door being closed with her in there freaks me out, so i bought a gate and she loves it. she can peak out if she wants or she likes to set up camp right next to the gate which is also fine with me, but she knows the quiet rule when it is bedtime. i wish you the best, my son who is 18 months has not sleep good since birth and im nuts because of it...and i think it is awesome you still breastfeed...wish i could have..

Sheryl

I see nothing wrong with letting a kid cry it out, but I think it's obvious it's not going to work with Genoa, there's no point in putting a kid through that.

I think you have to be really clear about what your goal is. You've got several in there, weaning her, getting her to sleep without you, and getting her in her own bed. I would not try to tackle all those at once. It sounds like, if I'm hearing you right, the top priority is that you are able to sleep with Dave without Genoa.
and Genoa's goal is to have you there. So you have to find something that will work for both of you.

Why not put her on the floor or in a porta-crib next to your bed? Or put her in her bed, but instead of lying down with her, bring a book (for yourself) and sit in a chair and read until she falls asleep. Tell her that she has to lie down and be quiet. If she sits up or talks to you, leave the room for a couple of minutes.

Kookaburra

I would say the the thing that worked best for us is having a routine and sticking to it. Consistency is the key because kids thrive on knowing what is coming and what's going to happen.

What we do for our daughter (2 1/2 yrs) is to go into her room, dim her lights down low, change her into pj's, she lays down in bed, I lay next to her and we read 2 books, then we turn the lights off and we quietly sing a few songs, then I give her hugs and say good night and leave her room.

She usually stays there and goes right to sleep. Occasionally she gets up and we just send her right back to bed, without any chit chat.

This is what works for us, may not work for you... or maybe you already do something like this. Either way, the thing that makes it work is that we do this every single night and she expects it and knows what to do and she knows what we're going to do. Consistency.

Henny Penny

I have a kid like that. He's three going on four and after battling bedtime from age 10 months to almost three we gave up trying to get him to sleep on his own in his bed. He sleeps with us and we all go to bed at 8ish. I watch mah shows and read mah blogs when I get up at 5 am.

HeatherK

Honestly, it's totally a personality thing. My first was and still is the worst sleeper. The next two are a dream, but two is a tricky age on top of that. Benadryl? No seriously. I'll probably get my hand slapped for that or my crunchy mommy card taken away, but a night or two to reset her sleep and give her the confidence to drift off on her own when her brain won't shut off? My guess is that she is just a very, very bright kid who is still emotionally a two year old. My 4yo weaned around 3 and I gradually cut back the time of each session until it was literally like 60 seconds. So on I ramble, with no real advice except to be consistent. Oh and the benadryl.

Frema

My daughter is only eight months old, so I don't have any advice for you (at least, not any based on experience!). I just wanted to say how much I admire you for being so honest on your blog. These early baby/toddler years are tough, and it really helps to see the problems other families have and how they deal with them. I am a weak soul and couldn't be as honest as you are without getting defensive because I'm still so very new to all of this. Good luck to you!

Rex

I agree with everyone that states that consistency is the key to the issue. Our two older kids go to bed at 8pm (give or take 5 minutes). We have been steadfast in that rule since #1 was about 2 years old.

Daughter number 2 didn't sleep through the night until she was a little over 1 year old. My wife had finally been up nursing enough that she was hallucinating stuff, and decided at that time that enough was enough.

So we bought a night vision camera for her room, stuck her in the crib, and let her scream it out. Took about an hour and then she literally fell over in the crib. I don't remember any issues after that night, but maybe I've blocked them out.

Another thing that helped out with our kids is that I would normally put them to bed. When my wife did it, they would get worked up from being that close to the boob or some other reason.

So the moral of my story is consistency and let your husband put her to bed for a week or so.

shannon

bunk beds? or some other bed/room thing she can get excited about??? Bunk beds worked for my son. He begged for a bunk bed but still slept in our room. We told him after 1 month of sleeping on his own that we'd get him a bunk bed. The same day we said that, he slept in his own bed (still in our room) and has ever since.

Don't worry about the nursing. You'll know when it's the right time.

Tami C

I would try one thing at a time. Genoa has gotten into a routine of nursing, napping, falling asleep touching. Take away one thing, maybe try nursing her, putting her in her bed and staying in the room until she falls asleep but no touching. Also, make sure she's super tired and have some kind of reward for when she wakes up. Or start in small incriments, like if she stays in her room (in bed, by herself) for 1/2 hour (or even 15 min.) she gets a trinket, and the next day its 45min for a reward, and the next day it 1 hour. Even if she dosen't sleep, its 1/2 hour of quiet time. And make a BIG deal out of it when she does stay in bed for the 1/2 hour. Call Grandma, Dad at work, etc and tell everyone that she napped by herself. (even if you stayed in the room) Or better yet, let her talk to Grandma. Then, its her acomplishment. We would talk about it all day, before naptime and after. Also, we used to use other kids as examples. Tell her (constantly/allday) that big girls like (someone she is friends with/admires) sleep by themselves. Good luck!

David

Janie said: "I have to say (nicely) that locking a kid in the room goes against every instinct I have. I think it creates feelings of abandonment and panic. And of course now Genoa knows that if she carries on long enough, you'll give in."

Precisely what I told Amanda when she called me at work to tell me that she had locked our daughter in the bedroom.

Elizabeth

My daughter is 19 months old and still nursing about 6 times during the daytime hours plus a couple of times overnight (and when she doesn't I end up with plugged ducts), so I don't really have advice for you. Someone just recommended "How Weaning Happens" to me, so maybe that book might have some useful information for you? Anyhow, I really just wanted to post to tell you how awesome it is that you have nursed so much for so long and really met Genoa's need for you. She may not need your milk for nutritional reasons at this point, but she is meeting her needs for comfort through nursing, and that can be so hard and I think you have done such a fantastic job.

allie

First , I feel your pain. I may have 3 of the worse sleepers but what worked for us is to sit in the room with them. Not lay down, they were still in a crib so it was easier to keep them there . I had a book light and a rocking chair and would read. I would talk calmly,quietly to them to let them know I was there but did not take them out. Occasionally I would sit next to the crib and hold their hand. It took forever , but Igot a lot of reading done!. They still escape from their room and come into our room and if I have it in my I take them back but sometimes I don't.
I never,ever felt comfortable letting them scream, cry it out or leaving completely. just could not do it. EVER.

My oldest is 11 now. It will get better . eventually. They won't be doing this in high school. promise.

kheatherg

I'm not on board with locking her in her room until she's like 13 or so and then i'm all for it. Girls get harder in their teen years, but to this day my mom says she would raise 5 boys before she would raise another girl so maybe there is some truth??

As for the sleeping situation........ It took until kindergarten to get "our baby" in his own bed and even now, Because he only started 2 weeks ago, he still sleeps with us on the weekends. We are not strict with him and we know it. We have shame but he's the baby by 9 years and the only boy out of 4. He's spoiled and it will kick are ass in the future. However, of all the things in our life, my biggest concern is not where he sleeps, just as long as he sleeps. LOL

Good luck!

ktjrdn

I know how much this sucks (almost. we didn't have the nursing at the time we went thought it). Truly, I'm sorry.

What eventually worked for us, was to put Anya in her bed. We read and did all the usual nighttime routine, and then I got up and sat in the hallway where she could see me sitting. She still got out of bed. I warned her that she could lay in bed and watch me sitting in the hall reading my book, but if she got up again, I'd have to shut the door so she couldn't see me anymore. Then I put her in bed again.

I absolutely expected her to get up again, and she did. At which point, I put her back in bed, reminded her, and walked out and shut the door. She cried and screamed, and every minute or maybe even less, I told her "If you lay in your bed quietly, I'll come in and we can talk about it" She carried on for about 5 minutes, but she heard my voice consistantly, and was told over and over again, how she could get to see me again.

When her voice retreated form the door, I could tell she was going to her bed. She hadn't stopped crying, but was quieter, and headed to her bed, so I opened the door, praised her and explained the rules again. If she stayed in her bed quietly, I would leave the door open. We hugged and kissed and settled down, and repeated it all over again. It only took twice for us, but it might take longer for you (if it would work at all), since you've been co-sleeping so long.

After a couple days of sitting in the hall reading 'til she fell asleep, I'd start to invent reasons to leave for a short time. I went to the bathroom, and came back. I put my own pj's on and came back. i had to explain to her where I was going to start with, but it didn't take long before she got used to not seeing me the whole time she was waiting to fall asleep.

But it's really freaking hard to do. You hear her screaming, and you have all that mommy guilt about how you're making your child miserable. I stood in the hall crying about it, but I KNEW that what we were trying to accomplish was the best thing for her. It's the only thing that kept me from caving in.

How ever you decide to go about getting your bed back, I'll be thinking about you. I hope you can find something that works for Genoa's personality. Good luck

And I'm sorry about hi-jacking your comments with this looong comment.

Tracy

Yeah - Janie's got the technique right - if you've ever watched an episode of Supernanny she does it on almost every show. Does seem to work. I would say it's time for the weaning too - but then, it's a choice you have to be ready to make, and you have to understand it's going to be tough for both of you.

Stay strong, Mommy!

Jenny H.

I don't have any advice for you. My issues with my own children involve(d) potty training. But, I did want to leave a comment expressing my support. I think you have a lot of good things to try. Good luck!

Audrey

We go back and forth, back and forth with sleeping with my 18-month-old. I just stopped nursing her - and it's actually helped with getting her to sleep through the night. Full disclosure: she generally ends up in our bed sometime around 4am, with a bottle. (The only bottle she gets - otherwise, it's sippy cups.) Naps have been a struggle, too, but having her in daycare has actually helped in getting her to nap in her crib, by herself. Sure, there are still times I let her sleep on me or lay down with her, but it's not the norm.

Crying it out is hard and does take both patience and a steel will. We had a guest this past weekend who couldn't understand how we could bear to hear baby girl scream and cry. We gave up on the 10 then 20 then 30 minute intervals. If she hasn't tapered off or fallen dead asleep by 30 to 45 minutes, we go in, tell her it's bedtime, that she needs to lie down. We don't pick her up. It kills me a little each time, but I know that if I am repeatedly going in there, picking her up, etc., she learns that the louder and longer she screams, Mommy will come to the rescue. And, I don't think she is going to have abandonment issues.

Genoa is old enough that a reward system would likely work very well with her. My big concern with rewards is how long do they go on before you have to say: nope, no reward this time, this is simply how it's done.

Good luck, stay strong, and let us all know what works (and what doesn't)!!

Tiffany

Your a good mom and thats obvious in your posts about your children, dont let anyone make you feel as if your not. My children are terrible sleepers as well and its the most frusterating thing. My son eventually just got it and we havent had any trouble for year, my daughter on the other hand was the tough one and with her we go in put her to bed and we stay until shes asleep not in the bed with her but we sit by the bed. I figure if they need comfort I would rather it be from me sitting by the bed then having her in my bed. If she gets up through the night we take her right back to her bed. It works, it just takes awhile but stick with it and you'll be sleeping with your husband before you know it.

Michelle

Echoing what everyone said about routine, consistency, etc. Also, when you nurse her to sleep and then carry her to her bed, that means you were there when she went to sleep but not there when she wakes up in the night, so that's probably freaking her out. What if you nurse her, then go to her room and read books on her bed, kiss her (insert whatever bedtime routine you want here) and then leave when she's awake, reassuring her you are in the house and will get her in the morning. Some things that worked for my screamer are that I kiss her stuffed animals ("Filling them up with kisses" is what she calls it) and then at night if she misses me she squeezes her animals and gets a "kiss" from me that way. Also, when her big sister is sleeping, I will tell the screamer that although she doesn't need to sleep, she does need to be quiet so that big sister (and mommy) can sleep. To my amazement this completely ended the screamfest.

Arwen

Maybe you've already mentioned trying this and I have just forgotten about it, but what worked for us was having Daddy take over. Just two months ago Camilla was sleeping ON ME and nursing every two hours all night, and now she is sleeping through in her own bed (next to our bed, but that's fine with us for now). She is very mama-attached (maybe not as much as Genoa, though) and was royally ticked at the fact that she kept waking up, looking for Mama, and getting Daddy. We had many nights of screaming. It was rough. But unlike when you put a kid in a room by herself and can't be sure what's going on with her (thus the temptation to go in and "rescue"), I knew that Camilla was with her Daddy while she was screaming, and as mad as she might have been, she wasn't scared and was fine. Eventually she figured out that no matter how much of a fuss she kicked up, she didn't get Mama, so she gave up eventually and started sleeping. She was still allowed to nurse before bed and in the morning, but since she wasn't sleeping on me anymore I didn't mind at all.

Incidentally, I don't think weaning completely is the way to go. It seems like weaning her before she is ready might actually set you back on the whole sleeping-away-from-you thing, since she might react to having nursing taken away by becoming more insecure about your presence in general. Obviously you're okay with still nursing her if you haven't weaned her already, and it's totally developmentally appropriate, so I'd say let her keep it up if it seems like she needs it. You'll probably have an easier time changing other parts of her routine if you keep that a constant.

Good luck! She sure is a cutie.

yasmara

Same as the commenter just above, my husband had to take over bedtime for my youngest. We decided to tackle night-weaning and sleeping at the same time since they seemed to feed (ha) each other.

I actually took my older son to my parents' house and the two of us spent 3 nights away while my husband did bedtime/nighttime with the 16 month old. I physically/mentally could not stand to listen to the screaming, but we knew it had to be done. We came home during the day and the kids took their naps at home like usual (my parents only live 20 mins away from us). Younger nursed as usual during the day - we decided that nighttime was really what we were focused on.

After 3 days he was going down for bed easily and waking up maybe one time. Now, 4 months later, he reliably sleeps through the night with no wake-ups, although we did have some back-sliding with the bedtime routine. It sometimes takes 3 or 4 visits for back-patting, etc. to get him to settle all the way down to sleep, but he does sleep once he's down and that has been the biggest relief. It was a hard weekend for my husband to get to this point, but it worked for us!

Ali

What seems to have helped my daughter learn to sleep through the night on her own was to pick a soft, small stuffed animal and put it in her crib to sleep with during naps and over night. Eventually she became attached to it, and it is a source of comfort for her.

My husband does the nightly routine of a bottle, fresh diaper, then lays her down in her dark room with a fan running for white noise. Most nights she goes straight to sleep, or only fusses (not crying) for a minute or two, then to sleep.

She is almost one and we've been successful with this for a few months now. :)

Andrea

I know you don't want to wean her but I think as long as you continue to nurse her, she will continue to be attatched to you. I don't think any type of bedtime routine is going to work until that happens.Also, maybe you need to take steps in having time away from her. Play dates, have a babysitter come a couple of times a week so you can leave the house etc. Sounds like she has extreme seperation anxiety and like I said I don't think its going to lessen until you wean her. And its not "mean" to do that either. Its more healthy for your relationship. (I am sure your husband would appreciate it also.) Its obviuosly going to take awhile so I would start sooner then later. and I know its easier said then done but......

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