Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Sleep Situation.

Sleep situation. The topic of the day. Actually, the topic for the past 6+ months. Specifically, on the blog, the topic the past two days. Yesterday I talked about how this {sleep time} is a time I cherish with Elliana {very much so}. However, today, I will talk about the "problems" that we have run into with our sleep situation {after we put her to sleep} since Graham was born.

You see, when Elliana learned how to climb out of a crib when she was roughly 20 months old, our lives were in for a drastic change. Prior to this little "situation" Elliana was sleeping 13 hours through the night. She went to bed at 7pm, and woke up around 8am. She would go to be with no problem. She could be wide awake, you set her in the crib, and she would say "night night mama" and then drift off to sleep whenever she felt like it. No rough housing. No horsing around. Quiet as a bird. Er, a quiet bird.

And then the situation happened. And clearly we couldn't leave her in the crib that she insisted on climbing out of. And clearly we needed a big girl bed. So after a few clicks and searches, a bed was ordered and that was that. In the meantime, this meant the toddler would be sleeping with the parents. Us. In our bed. And? We discovered a new found love for this co-sleeping world.

Two weeks later, it comes {the bed}, we set it up and off she goes. She does okay a couple of nights. But since she had grown accustomed to us sleeping with her, it was now a "necessary" thing that we lay down with her until she fell asleep.

Sometimes this took ten minutes. Sometimes 45. Sometimes... I would even fall asleep with her. And often times... she would wake up in the middle of the night and come into bed with us. Okay, like every night.

She had nothing against her big girl bed. She loved it. She just always wanted one of us, specifically me, in there with her.

Regardless, we continued on with this for months. There were even nights that we skipped the toddler bed and would just lay down with her in our bed and that was that.

Fast forward to the baby coming.

I need another cup of coffee for this one.

Lets just try to make this as short and sweet as possible since I have already written a novel and I haven't even gotten to the core of ... the situation.

You see, the baby boy came and we quickly realized that uh-oh what are we going to do with our usual night time routine? How do we put her down? What if the baby is crying at the same time as I am trying to put E to sleep? What if Elliana is crying because she needs her mama? What about when she wakes up in the middle of the night and comes to our room? And HELLO the baby is a newborn which means he wakes up every two hours! What will that do to her sleep?

Oh yes, all the wonderful questions. All the different scenarios. All which pleasantly occurred at our house time and time again.

Let me paint a picture for you of what would happen.

We would do the usual bath time, story time, pj time routine. Then I'd feed and change the baby, and off to Andrew's arms he would go. I would then climb into bed with Elliana {per her insistent request} and we would try to go to sleep. Sometimes this would take the longer time than usual. You know the 45 minutes to an hour that I mentioned. And then I would hear the baby scream. Andrew would run upstairs to try to get me, and just when I think that Elliana is fast asleep, she awakes. And then she screams and cries. And although Andrew tries so very hard to calm her down and lay with her... oh no, it's a MAMA mama MAMA must do it type thing.

So then I find myself running back and forth from baby to toddler until finally she fell asleep. And although I wish I could say that once she was asleep she stayed asleep... that's not quite the case here.

Sometimes she wouldn't wake up until midnight. Sometimes just a couple hours later. Sometimes not until 2 am. Whatever the time, she would come into our room crying. Of course we welcomed her with open arms, gave her kisses, tucked her in right next to us and called it a night. The end.

I wish.

Remember, we have a newborn on our hands. So he's waking up every two hours. Then Elliana will wake up crying. Which turns into screaming. Which turns into wanting to go downstairs and then... you guessed it... more screaming. We were so confused by all this, as it was so new to us. Figured it was just the whole baby interrupting her sleep. Understandable. However, we were running on little sleep, easily frustrated, and did not know how to handle the situation. Send her to her room. Try to lay her down with us again. Talk to her. Hold her. Even got frustrated with her. Nothing worked, nothing.

In the morning, Elliana would wake up happy as a clam and would go about her day as though she had gotten 13 hours of full un-interrupted sleep. Her mama and papa though? Texting and calling back and forth trying to figure out how to fix the situation.

We tried more things. Tried the whole mama sleep downstairs with baby. Nope, didn't work. Tried the whole papa sleep with Elliana. Nope didn't work. She always needed mama... but baby needed mama too... and I couldn't leave one or the other.

I was seriously at a loss. At this point, I was ready to pay someone to figure out how to put me in two places at once.

And then one night, after getting super frustrated with Elliana {although not her fault, it was my lack of sleep}, I decided that we had to come up with a new plan.

So we did. And we have been testing it out the past week and it's been working. Working. Actually WORKING. For now.

I put Elliana to sleep as we always do. A time I cherish and something I plan to do for as long as she lets me. Then every time she wakes up, I run to her and put her back into her bed and climb back in. Usually at this point it doesn't take long for her to fall asleep as she's super tired, and then I sneak out again. This happens about 2-3 times during the night, and then she sleeps in until about 8 {in her own room}, never having to cry and get upset, and getting the rest that she needs. And her mama and papa are getting better rest, not frustrated, and feel better about the situation.

We hope that as time passes and we continue to do this that eventually she will stop waking up in the middle of the night and will continue to sleep in her room.

It's sad to see my baby grow up. Hard to see her have to go through some difficult and frustrating times for her. But also amazing to watch her adapt to these situations and continue to teach us how to be better parents.

Like I told Andrew the other day... "We aren't perfect. We won't always get it right. But we are always learning because we love our children so much."

Being parents doesn't get easier, but our children make it well worth it.


  1. Love that qoute! We are having some sleeping issues with our eight month old too. We are also moving so I can address it more after everyone adjusts to the move. I am def still learning.. Especially when it comes to sleep and babies! It has to get easier right? :)

  2. My daughter didn't sleep well till she was three years ago. Good Luck with the sleeping routine. I think your a great Mom and it will get easier.

  3. Oh man! That sounds exhausting! Glad that you were able to find a plan that helps! Hopefully she gets used to just staying in her bed and sleeps through the night soon! You're doing awesome, although I'm sure you already know that! You are definitely rockin' the two kids Mama situation!

  4. Awwww, this is so hard! I am so happy that you found a great solution though! I hope it continues to work and that she starts sleeping through the night again soon!

  5. She will eventually sleep through the night in her own room! Just be consistent! Taking her back to her bed rather than yours is the best thing to do especially so the newborn doesn't wake her up! Hang in there, it'll get so much easier!

  6. Thank you for writing this one. It's so nice to hear another's perspective on a something that will be very real for our family very soon.

    Hang in there! You guys are doing awesome!

    Bless these sweet children :)

  7. We've had similar sleep issues Connor's entire life. He just CANNOT stay asleep all night by himself.
    We've tried everything we can think of! We do something similar to what you do and it works pretty well. Like you said - it's not perfect, but it's our best solution for now! :)

  8. my daughter as a baby was a wonderful sleeper until we moved when she was 9 months old and it totally messed her sleep pattern up. so she went from her crib to sleeping with us and since then (she is now almost 4) she still has to have me to go to bed either with her in her bed or she has to sleep with me and my husband. i also find that since i am a working mother i enjoy the time and sleeping/cuddling with her as much as she does. i just feel that i am her security blanket and eventually she will no longer need me and when that times comes she will let me know.

  9. Oh girl I totally feel for you! Sav has started waking at least twice during the night, and she insists on us rocking her to sleep (she always just laid in by herself as well). I am so glad you shared this, it helps me to just try and stay consistent with putting her back to her bed. I have it easy compared to you, I cannot imagine having a newborn yet! I will be praying our girls start getting their full nights of sleep again...soon!!!! :)

  10. I could write you an entire novel on this topic. We are in the EXACT same situation!!! Especially when we brought Reece home from the hospital. Night-time was a circus act..you never knew which bed you would end up in at night. One night I slept in our bed, guest room bed, and in Saige's bed with her. We got her a full-size bed just for this reason. She will sleep in her bed all night long now but it took a while for her to get in a routine. It definitely helped to be consistent - if she would wake up in the middle of the night and come out of her room, we would always take her back to her bed and lie with her until she fell back asleep.

    The most frustrating thing for me is that Brandon and I never have any evening alone time together. Sometimes it can take up to an hour for her to fall asleep at night - and one of us will also fall asleep 99% of the time. But I know that I will look back and miss the snuggles so I try not to get too upset about it.

    It is helpful to hear that other people are going through the same sleep scenario and that it will get better!!

  11. This is one of my fears with having another anytime soon. My son sleeps pretty now but I have a feeling if we had a newborn in the house he would be up just as much. The funny thing is that he actually refuses to sleep in our bed. When he wakes up super early on the weekends we'll try to bring him into our bed so we can all get some more sleep and he either cries or just wants to play.

  12. I truly LOVE these posts since you have had Graham as My little girl is 3 and our new baby girl is due in 3 weeks. It has been so great to read how you have adjusted with 2 and how you have made things work, etc.... as it puts my mind at ease a little more and gives me great ideas. So really, Thank You for writing and being a great mama for us other mamas to learn from!

  13. That sounds so tiring. We just sleep trained our 17 month old at the beginning of the month and she's doing great but I don't know what's going to happen to that since we're moving soon, she will probably move to a big girl bed and then in the summer little brother or sister is coming along.

  14. Very helpful!! Such an amazing mama!!

  15. We struggled with the big boy bed as well. Ethan is soooo not a co-sleeper in any way. He just won't have it, so we couldn't go your route. It took months and months for him to actually get it, but finally...he got it. He's waking up at 5AM, but he got it. Oh, I so miss those 8AM wake ups.

  16. Hang in there---right when my second was born (my oldest was right around two), we had SUCH major sleep issues---waking at night repeatedly, etc. At this moment, do what you have to sleep because you have the newborn and just stay consistent. You will make it through these moments, but I know it doesn't feel like it! He's now four and my second is two---they now share a room and sleep all night long! (Just in time for another one due in two months to start the whole process all over again!)


  17. Hang in there lady...you're doing an amazing job! Hope the sleeping keeps up and you're able to get some rest!

  18. Noah's a horrible sleeper, so the thought of it getting worse, SCARES ME! Co-sleeping has helped us lately, but it's not what I wanted. I want to put him in his own big boy bed, but he's only 1 and that's just not possible. I'm glad that things are looking up for you. E need's her mama and I'm sure as frustrating as it is, it just makes your heart melt! :)

  19. I could have written this entire post until the baby comes. Our little guy is doing that now. I sleep lightly and hear him walk out of his door then go lay with him in his be. I'm trying to figure out what to do before my second baby comes. and worried that it will affect his sleep. Siblings- a whole new ball game.

  20. Oh my goodness!!!! So many of the same issues in our house! I think G was almost 21 months when the sleep hell started in our house. His little bro was not yet 5 months. We've been doing much of what you have (except I'm on my own with both boys 2 nights at a time bc of my hubby's job) but getting him a big boy bed. I'm hoping to have some of the success you have once he gets a bed I can fit in. Fingers crossed they just grow out of needing a mommy crutch to sleep (and then I'll be sad he doesn't need me, go fig!)

  21. That is my fear for baby #2. Happy to hear your plan is working.

  22. Oh I can't even imagine! My daughter, 13 months, still sleeps horrible - wakes up several times at night, usually wanting to nurse - and I can't imagine mixing a newborn in that mess!

  23. Your the bestest momma! I am so happy to hear ya'lls new plan of action in mission sleep is working whoop! whoop!

    I still do the reading of the books laying Kelcee down and waiting until she falls asleep and then sneak out! She has now gotten used to going to the bathroom back to bed by herself and asleep she goes. Ellianna will too!


  24. You are not alone girl. I think you are going about it the right way. It's so hard to meet everyones needs. I think that was always my biggest prayer every single day when I brought the twins home (with a then 2 year old as well)...just for God to help me meet their needs. It's so hard not to get frustrated with them when you are tired. I did something similar to what you did. And I still will do this when she goes through a phase where she is waking up (she is 4 and now she wakes up because she is "scared"). We just all do the best we can right? Whatever we can to get the sleep we need so we can be happy mamas!

  25. glad you found something that works. we had a similar issue with kids waking each other when we tried to get the kids to share a room. my little 2 year old would always wake upand then decide to wake up his baby sister. end result? toddler bed in the parents room. when he wakes up, he sees us, is comforted, and goes to sleep without a peep. and baby sister gets what she wants: her quiet time in her own room. seems to be working for now!


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