Forgive this for being long but I need advice. My just barely 4yo has always had major sleep issues. He was diagnosed around 2.5 yo with some health issues and food intolerances. Prior to his diagnosis sleep was practically non existent. The poor kid was so miserable he was waking up an average of 18 times per night and required practically constant comfort. It was not unusual during that time for me to only sleep 2-4 hours per night. Out of pure survival we moved him into our bed. After his diagnosis it took awhile for him to begin sleeping through the night. At first I was extremely reluctant to work on sleep habits or mess with any routine we currently had going because he was finally sleeping through the night and I was terrified to mess with that. Once it became clear that the problem was solved, however, we began providing incentives and pushing him to move to his own bed. We tried the crib he was used to but he wasn’t having it so we tried a toddler bed next to ours. He still refused. We let him pick out new sheets and blankets. This excited him enough to start the night in his bed but within one to two hours he was climbing back in bed with us again. Next we tried adding a big boy bed to his bedroom. We redecorated with big boy sheets and a theme he loved. He was ecstatic but still refused to sleep there, or if he does he crawls right back into bed with us a few hours later.
It needs to be said my son is extremely stubborn and strong willed. Not much happens unless he makes up his mind to do it. We offer and cajole constantly but have made zero progress in moving him out.
The complicating factor is we have a baby on the way in two weeks and out of necessity she will be in our room for quite some time. I am extremely nervous about how all of this will work. We have been pushing even harder in the last few months in an effort to move him out of our bed but so far have had minimal luck. At this point I feel like we have tried everything and don’t know what else to do. Any advice or ideas that worked for you? Any advice if we can’t get him out? I am at a loss as to how this will all work
honeydew / 7463 posts
Wow, this sounds really really hard and I’m sure stressful. I don’t have experience, but ONLY because the birth of the baby is around the corner and you’re on a tight timeline with some desperation thrown in, I would break out the big guns and go with a sleep consultant. I actually have a friend (but she’s not a close friend) who does this and I’ve never worked with her or referred anyone, but I’d be happy to explain your situation and ask how much she would charge for that. She’s in Florida so it would probably be by phone but I know other people who’ve used other sleep consultants by phone and have said it was still very helpful.
Will be thinking of you! xo
pomegranate / 3355 posts
Sorry you are dealing with this. Sounds stressful. I have no experience however I do have a friend who has a newly 4 yo and a 7 mos old and they all co sleep. They never moved their 4 yo into his own room, had their 2nd and just bought a king size bed to accommodate everyone. This isn't really advice, just a more of a you're not the only one type of post. And letting you know that it will work out somehow, even if you're all in the same room. Good luck!
wonderful clementine / 24134 posts
Im so sorry. Honestly at this point I'm not sure you will be able to do much in 2 weeks time unless you are willing to do a hard core CIO type thing. I would start making plans/arrangements for other idea.
Could you maybe put the baby in his room if he's not going to sleep there?
pear / 1521 posts
I would probably just plan to all cosleep. I feel like even if you get him into his own bed now he will probably regress and want to get back in, especially if the new baby is in your room. Or you could plan to sleep with the baby in his room and have your partner sleep with him in yours.
pear / 1563 posts
Our situation is actually quite similar, without the health component you have. Our 4yo has always been a challenging sleeper, and was in our bed part way through the night until last April when I was about 4 or 5 months pregnant. We got her staying in her own room via a reward chart. She would still require a parent visit once a night maybe 2 or 3 nights a week to help her fall back asleep.
Now on the other side with baby#2, baby brother is 8 weeks old and in our room. Sleep is kind of crap at this point for everyone, to be honest. 4 yr old stays in her room but almost every night DH goes in and settles her, sometimes just staying with her. She definitely regressed when the baby arrived. We're not really happy with the setup but are just surviving it right now.
If I were deciding myself what to do I would probably let her into our room and figure a way for us to all be in there safely. DH wants her to stay in her room at this point so we're doing that for now. I'm not comfortable that a CIO approach is right for our family and this situation, so here we are.
Wanted you to know you're not alone. I feel like you don't hear so much about 4+ yr sleep issues so it can be kind of isolating. This is one of the toughest sleep times for us, honestly. I do know from my mom I was a problem sleeper but was sleeping decently and on my own sometime between 5 and 6 yrs old, so I'm holding out hope that our 4yo will mature and develop out of this at her own pace.
cherry / 202 posts
I am in a somewhat similar boat, but not as severe. My 3 year old is in our bed at some point every night. We just gave up on bringing him back to his room at some point during the last few months. Mom fail.
Baby #2 will be here in two weeks. My plan -- wing it. There will be so many changes in the next month for my son I don't want to add extra ones in. My thought is my husband will be spending more time with my son at night, since I will be with baby. Not an ideal situation.
As long as we find sleep, I'm happy
blogger / persimmon / 1231 posts
This sounds so tough. You've been hanging in there for so long and now with the new baby coming soon it sounds like you're ready to have him in his own bed. Since you've figured out the food issues and you know he's physically comfortable, I think it time to be firm. Of course after sleeping with you for so long he's going to prefer that and push back hard... but he's got a safe, comfortable, and awesome bed (good idea having him pick the sheets!) and it's time for him to sleep there. I'm flashing back on old episodes of super nanny where every time the child got up the parent just quietly/firmly put them right back in bed. Eventually they realized that they needed to just stay as they were going to be put back every time. A few rough nights but if it works I'm sure it would be worth it! My friend did something similar with their 3 years old and each night was progressively better until she accepted her bed and stopped getting up.
grapefruit / 4321 posts
@Mrs. Deer: Ditto everything Mrs Deer said. It's time to be firm.
wonderful pear / 26210 posts
What if you tried putting your son to bed in his room, and staying with him in there for a bit, until he falls asleep?
My son is similar, in that he won't respond until he's ready to do it, and cosleeping for him was a security thing. He can fall asleep, but he prefers to have someone there while he is moving to the sleep cycle. Then, I leave.
pomegranate / 3127 posts
I have a friend who's in a similar situation, and I think they ended up having the baby in a crib and the toddler still in their bed. The baby turned out to be the better sleeper.