Transitioning to a Big Kid Bed

Saturday we took the step to transition Abby from her crib to a twin bed.  It was necessary to change because while she still fit in the crib and never (to my knowledge) tried to climb out, she was getting big enough to be too heavy for me to lift over the crib rail and my belly is now too big to comfortably and easily lift her over the crib rail.  

Abby was so incredibly excited when she saw her new bed.  Immediately she wanted to jump on the bed, play with her toys in bed, read books in bed, and pretend that she was sleeping in bed.  The one thing she hasn’t wanted to do is actually sleep in bed.  At least, not alone.

Therein lies the problem.  Each night I have put her to bed she has refused to sleep alone.  If I put her to bed already asleep, she often wakes as I am leaving the room or shutting the door.  If I lay with her until she falls asleep, most of the time she will wake as I get out of bed.  Sometimes it takes two or three attempts to get her to fall asleep and stay asleep.  If I try to put her in bed awake she will get right up and try to follow me out of the room or bang on the door and throw a fit.  She refuses to let Dad lay with her, so each time it is me.

None of the conditions of her room have changed, other than the bed.  I still have her nightlights positioned in the same spots.  I still play white noise to help her sleep.  I still close the door so the noise from the TV or me doing chores does not wake her.  

When she still slept in the crib I could put her in bed wide awake or drowsy and she would lay right down and go to sleep without any problem.

I know that Abby is adjusting to something new and will take time for her to become comfortable with sleeping in her new bed, but it is currently a frustrating situation. 

I spoke with my coworker Sammy about it yesterday.  She said her son had done the exact same thing when he was transitioned from a crib to a bed.  Each time she would put him to bed she would set an alarm and go in two minutes later to put him back in bed.  Gradually she would increase the number of minutes waiting to go back into his room until he learned to stay in bed.  This is basically the same approach I took when I began to place Abby in her crib awake at night.  It sucked for a few nights but eventually got better.  I think I may suck it up and try it again.

Have you ever been in this situation before?  What helped?  What advice would you give?  

Acrobatic Sleeping and a Long Night

Photo by Quin Stevenson. From http://www.unsplash.com

Yesterday we drove an hour from home to see friends we hadn’t seen in over a year.  Abby enjoyed herself and enjoyed running around all wild and crazy, having a new audience to show off for.  The kids enjoyed showing her their cat and rabbit and horses.  

We spent the night at my in-laws’ house, just a couple of miles away.  As much as I was looking forward to seeing my in-laws, I was not looking forward to bedtime.  Abby NEVER sleeps well at their house.  Usually she and I are awake most of the night.  I am ashamed to say that when we slept there at Thanksgiving it was such a rough night that I broke down and cried, begging my child to please, PLEASE go to sleep.  I think my husband thought that I’d lost it.

When I lay her little snoring form in the Pack and Play and covered her with a blanket to stay warm in the chilly basement she instantly sprung awake and shouted, “Momma!”  No matter what I tried, she would not lay back down, instead she clung to me, arms locked around my neck with tears streaming down her face as if she were going to fall down a steep cliff and I was her only hope to be pulled out alive.  I finally gave in and let her lay next to me, although it took another five minutes to get her to calm down and quit crying.  She drifted off to sleep and I lay cuddling her close, marveling at how wonderful she felt in my arms and how delicious the sweet smell of her mixed with the honey scent of her Burts Bees body wash and the apple scent of her hair detangler was.  We slept peacefully until my husband came to bed.  

At that time she awoke and wanted milk.  After she started to snore I placed her between my husband and I and fell asleep again.  My slumber was not uninterrupted for long.  

Abby began to roll around in her sleep. She flung her arms around, several times hitting my husband in his face.  She slept with her feet in the air.  She slept with her butt in the air. She inched forward and somehow pushed both my pillows on the floor between the bed and the wall.  I put my arm up and around her so that she wouldn’t keep inching forward and also fall off of the bed.  This made my already sensitive shoulder have a muscle spasm and freeze in place.  Ouch.  Later she wiggled around and, still asleep, ended up with her feet in my face.  I picked her up and placed her back on her pillow, when she rolled over to where I had been laying.  I tried to push her over and lay back in my spot, but I was stuck closer to the edge of the double bed.  

Now this double bed has seen better days and is slightly dome-shaped.  I never realized how dome-shaped until I was laying and trying to figure out a position where I wasn’t laying on my left shoulder, wasn’t squishing the kid, and wasn’t going to roll off the bed.  I eventually settled for placing my right arm under my butt.  It wasn’t comfortable but I finally felt like I wasn’t going to end up on the carpet.

This whole time Abby had continued her acrobatic sleep.  I wouldn’t have been surprised to see her doing a handstand. 

My poor husband woke each time she moved, each time she would snore or whimper, each time she would fling a body part against him.  I know he had to have slept horribly.  I managed to sleep some, but I had incredibly strange dreams about trying to save little children around town from a demonic entity appearing in the form of a child after some horrible apocalyptic event.  Yeah, I have weird dreams.

After Abby wanted milk about 5:45 a.m. I tried to lay her back in the Pack and Play but she wouldn’t have that.  Dad picked her up and took her upstairs at 6:00 a.m.  Grandma and Grandpa were awake and stirring by this time, I’m sure, with help from the screams from my kid who didn’t want to sleep alone.  I slept for another hour and then joined the rest of the family.  It was nice to get a little sleep in the middle of the bed.  

What a night.  I am so looking forward to getting back home and telling my bed how much I missed it tonight. 

Sleep Training

Four nights ago I made my mind up that it was time to start sleep training.  I have to admit that I came to this decision in the middle of a pity party for one.  I was somewhat reclining on the couch with a squirming, half asleep baby rolling around on top of me trying to get comfortable.  My lower back was aching and my right arm was numb.  I just started going back to the gym during lunch and my whole body was exausted.  I had had enough of sleeping on the couch, enough of nights not spent in bed next to my husband, enough of being uncomfortable.  I broke down and cried like a baby because all I wanted was a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep. 
I decided then and there that the next night would be different.  Abby sleeps alone at daycare, without protest, so I know she can do it at home too.
So, Wednesday evening as I was feeding Abby I decided it was time for a heart to heart. 
“Tonight you are going to sleep in your own bed.  Mommy loves snuggling with you, but it’s time you slept alone like you do at daycare.  We are going to try tonight, and tomorrow, and every night until you can do it.”

Night 1
When it was time for bed I took her to her bedroom and put her in her crib.  She cried right away.  Then screamed.  She held on to the crib slats and jumped up and down.  I turned on her white noise machine and monitor, the closed the bedroom door.
Five minutes later she was still crying so I went to her room.  I bent over the rails and gave her a hug and told her everything was OK.  “You’re not being punished and not being ignored; you just need to learn to sleep in your own bed sweetie.” 
After ten minutes she was still going strong so I went back and repeated what I had just done.  Again she jumped uo and down and pulled at me as I gave her a hug.  At this point the sweet little face looking so upset made me doubt myself.  “I will be back in ten minutes if you are still awake,” I said and kissed the top of her head.
As I waited in the living room listening to her over the monitor I could hear her stop crying and lay down.  She whispered to herself and then started crying again, quieter this time.  When my timer went off I returned to her room and she got louder when she saw me.  I kissed and hugged her, got down on her level and told her that she needed to go to sleep.  I left the room and set my timer for fifteen minutes this time.  In less than five minutes she had fallen asleep and I could hear her snoring.
She woke up three hours later and wanted to nurse.  I placed her back in the crib afterwards.  She cried for about a minute but lay down and went back to sleep for another three hours.  She woke again and nursed. We snuggled for thirty minutes and then it was time to get up and begin our morning routine.
I was surprised at how well she had done the night before and praised her for it.

Night 2
After supper Abby had a bubble bath and nursed before bedtime.  I placed her in her crib and she cried but did not scream or jump up and down.  Almost immediately she lay down and went to sleep.  She slept for almost two hours and then wanted to nurse.  Again she went to sleep right away when put in her bed.  She woke three hours later to nurse again but then slept until 5:00.  I made sure to praise her for sleeping so well by herself.

Night 3
I could tell Abby was very tired.  Her daycare had a get together for parents after 5:00 so we stayed about an hour and she got some extra play time in.  She is a very friendly and outgoing baby and had fun smiling and laughing for the other moms.  She happily jumped up and down for almost a whole hour while the other kids played Ring Around the Rosie and Simon Says and wore herself out.  After supper she wanted to cuddle instead of playing with her toys so it was obvious that she was sleepy. She nursed and then I took her to bed.  she cried for about a minute and then fell asleep.
An hour later she was awake and upset.  I nursed her and she fell asleep but woke as I placed her in the crib.  She cried and didn’t want me to let her go.  I told her I would be back in a few minutes to check on her if she was still awake.  She fell asleep in a few minutes.  Thirty minutes later she woke again.  I tried to comfort her and rub her back and she fell asleep.  Thirty minutes passed again and she woke up.  This time she would not lay back down so I nursed her again and then she slept.  Twenty minutes later she woke up.  I comforted her and went to bed myself.  Half an hour later she was awake again. I let her cry for a little while but she didn’t go back to sleep so I got out of bed and comforted her until she fell asleep while I rubbed her back.  Twenty minutes later she woke up.  My husband went in to check on her and she got very worked up.  It seemed that each time I finally fell asleep she would start to cry again.  By this time it was very late and I knew she would be awake and ready to play around 5:00 a.m.  I lost my resolve and did what I said I wasn’t going to do- I snuggled with her for the next three hours.   She slept a little longer than I expected and we got up at 6:00 a.m. this morning.

Naps on the weekends have been a struggle lately.  Last weekend I tried to get her to nap alone and it was horrible.  Encouraged by our success thus far, I was hoping that she would nap as easily today.  After cleaning all the pancake off of her face and hands a little bit ago I noticed that she was rubbing her eyes and yawning.  I just took her back to her room.  She objected but after three minutes she quieted down and is now sleeping as I type this. 

I’m sure we have a ways to go yet, but I think we are off to a good start!

Morning Cuddles

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My little stinker did not want to sleep alone all day yesterday or last night. Twice I tried to get her to nap alone and had so much screaming and tears.  When it came time for bed she woke up and was very upset each of the six times I tried to get her to sleep in her crib.  She woke up every time I put her down.  Eventually my own tiredness won out and we snuggled the rest of the night.  I am not giving up but, man, this teething period is hard. 
This morning she woke with a big smile but I know she was tired.  As I was getting ready for work she fell asleep with her toys, something she hasn’t done in several months.  She was so cuddly I hated to wake her up to put her in her carseat. I wish I could have spent today snuggling with her.

I Need to Get Her to Sleep Alone… But I Don’t Know How

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Photo by Benjamin Combs, downloaded from unsplash.com

It is a problem I have helped create.  I don’t know how to fix it. 
I posted a while back that Abby had slept in her own bedroom.  Prior to this she had been sleeping in our bedroom in the Pack and Play.  I thought we were finally getting her established sleeping in her crib in her own room.  Then she got sick and would only sleep if she was with me on the couch.  After that I thought she was teething and was very clingy.   No teeth ever popped through and she continued to be clingy and only want to sleep on top of me on the couch.  I recently had surgery and with the weight restrictions I was given I wasn’t supposed to lift Abby for two weeks,  but anyone who has a nine month old child will tell you that didn’t last very long.  I could not, however, lift her up and over the rails of her crib so I had been putting her back in the Pack and Play each night when she first falls asleep.
She will sleep on her own for usually about forty five minutes.  After that she generally wants to nurse again and then will only sleep on top of me.  I try depositing her back in the crib or Pack and Play, but as soon as she feels the movement of being put down or as soon as she has been put down she will wake up and cry.  We can literally do it over and over again all night long.  As soon as she is asleep I put her down and she wakes up.  Repeat.  Repeat. Repeat.  Usually I just give up in order to get any sleep.
Why don’t you just try the cry it out method?   I’m sure some of you will ask.  I tried it one night for hours and it was horrible.  Neither of us got any sleep and nothing was accomplished.
When recently talking to my friend, a mother of seven, I mentioned that I would like to stop the cosleeping.  She said that none of her kids wanted to do that until they were one.  One?   I thought.  I can’t wait that long!
I don’t know what to do.  I don’t mind waking up to nurse or change her, but  I want to sleep in my own bed.  I want to sleep next to my husband.  I want Abby to sleep by herself.  I wish I knew how to do it.