I’m the root. I realised that tonight as I watched P2 wriggle, kick, jump, push covers off and attempt to escape out of her bed. I lost count to the amount of times I had to lay her back down and remind her that it’s sleep time. It took hours and that’s when I realised. I’m the problem!
Right from the start P2 fell asleep being comforted by me. By my boobies to be precise. She would always fall asleep having a feed. We coslept and on those nights she’d wake and feed willy nilly. When we were at home she’d spend her naps laying on me and this has only just recently stopped the past two maybe three weeks. Every bedtime and every disturbance in the night was sorted by me, out of choice.
I’ve blamed the dummy and her need for milk in the night as to why we have had 19 months of broken sleep. I’ve frequently said that both these things are her comforters but I don’t think they are anymore. It’s me! I’m the cause. I’m the problem. I’m the issue. So I’ve got to sort this one out.
I can’t just remove myself from the equation and except everything to rectify. That would just be completely cruel. She needs me and in a way, I’ve needed her! But watching her last night and tonight has been upsetting. She struggles because of me. She can’t self settle because of me. P1 didn’t have this problem. I wasn’t like this with her.
After doing extensive Internet reading and posting on my local mums Facebook page for advise I decided to try a new technique in the hope that gradually I’ll be able to do what most parents of 19 month old children do, leave the room at bedtime!! Three nights ago the way P2 fell asleep was with me laying alongside her mattress that’s on the floor, watching her feed herself her milk and then dozing off. I’d stopped holding the milk a few weeks ago when she started having naps upstairs in her bed rather than on me. Back when I was convinced milk was the problem.
Last night, and tonight, P2 has fallen asleep with me sitting up and slightly away from her mattress. It hasn’t gone smoothly, yesterday was actually much better than today but still as awful. I can’t remember the amount of times I had to lay her back down because she’d wriggled out of bed and towards me, or she was sitting up bouncing on her bottom, or reaching up for her sisters bed bars, or trying to make an escape for the door. The first night took 45 minutes. Tonight has taken just over an hour with many many more times where I had to lay her down.
The good thing is, she’s fallen asleep by herself both times. That’s the key to this according to all the sites I’ve read. As long as she begins to understand her own way of settling then we’re on a positive path. My plan is to get her to fall asleep by herself in around 30 minutes before I move further towards the door. It’s going to be gradual, the poor mite will have enough on her plate soon, but I realise now that it has to be done. We can’t keep living like this as a family. It’s just not fair.
Last night we actually got an amazing amount of sleep. P2 was asleep by 8:45 and I was asleep by 9, she did wake at 10:08 but went straight back to sleep. She then didn’t wake until 4am which is just amazing. I had to keep looking at the clock and my phone to make sure that the time was correct. Then this morning I had to physically wake her at 7:20. I’m hoping it’s not just a one off.
Have you tried this technique? Succeeded or failed? I’d love to hear about your bedtime routines.