Regression & Co-Sleeping

Things around here have been pretty crazy, and everyone in our home is suffering from sleep deprivation. Not only do we have a sweet newborn infant that wakes up a few times during the night for feedings, but Nolan has also started to wake at night, for hours at a time. 
Nolan used to be such a fantastic sleeper, and he used to nap too. He’d nap for roughly an hour during the early afternoon, head to bed around 7pm but fall asleep around 8. He’d usually wake up around 7 in the morning, and repeat the whole thing the next day. But during the summer, he suddenly stopped napping except for the occasional day. He was still a great night time sleeper, although there were a few occasions where he woke up with what I can only assume were “night terrors”. 
Since Archer’s arrival though, Nolan has been having a lot of trouble sleeping, and I feel really bad. I was naive to think that Nolan wouldn’t really be impacted by the newborn, I was foolish to imagine that he would be perfectly fine because we would give him just as much attention as he got before {aka A LOT}. However, I forgot how much time out of the day breastfeeding takes {actually, how much time feeding a baby period takes}, and while I try to engage Nolan while I feed Archer…it’s just not the same. Nolan notices things I didn’t even consider to be a problem, like the fact that Archer is sleeping in our room right now. He notices, and he cries at his door for us and baby and it breaks my heart. I’ve even debated bringing him into bed with us but that’s a habit that Matt doesn’t want to get into, and I can understand why. We’ve never co-slept with Nolan, and frankly the few times where he has crawled into bed with me {like at Miranda’s and Seth’s}, neither of us got any sleep because he’s not exactly a cooperative bed mate {he slept on my head the entire time}.
I think that Nolan fights going down for the night so much because he knows that baby is “awake” downstairs. But would putting baby “to bed” when Nolan goes work, or would he see through that? Besides, if I put baby “to bed” when Nolan goes to bed, then Archer is still sleeping in my room and Nolan is still jealous about it. 
I’ve tried to explain to Nolan that Archer needs to be close because I have to feed him during the night, but I really don’t think he understands or cares. The way he sees it is Archer gets to stay up and Archer gets to sleep in mommy and daddy’s room.
Sunday night was particularly hard. Archer fed at midnight last, we got him settled and sleeping comfortably in his bassinet, and then Nolan started his wake up routine. Matt handled it so I could get a couple hours of shut eye, but when I woke up at 2am with Archer, Nolan was in full force wake up mode, crying at his door for daddy and mommy. I took care of Archer’s needs while Matt tried to settle Nolan. When Archer was somewhat settled, we traded. I went into Nolan’s room and snuggled with him, talked to him for a bit about how we were all sleeping and it was night time and he needed to sleep too. After about 15-20 minutes of cuddling and rubbing his back, I told him I was going back to bed and he needed to do the same. That seemed to work, or at least he was silent.
I’ve been researching this whole co-sleeping thing. I never did it with Nolan, not really. When I was breastfeeding him, he slept in a bassinet in our bedroom beside my bed and I would do our night time feedings in bed so I could rest while feeding him, but when we moved upstairs in that apartment we started putting him in his own room and he slept really good. He still woke up once a night but I would feed him in the glider and put him back to bed. Then August came, and with it my emergency surgery and Nolan went on the bottle and formula and my granny and cousin {who babysat him for me} somehow managed to get him sleeping through the night. After that, he was always pretty good about going to sleep. On occasion we would have some difficulty getting him to sleep and I would just take him into bed with us, hum a lullaby while I patted his bum and snuggled him and he’d fall asleep.
But we haven’t had to do that since he was less than a year old. He just started sleeping on his own, playing quietly in his crib {and later, his bed} until he drifted off to sleep.

 But with Archer, we’re considering co-sleeping because I plan on breastfeeding for quite some time and I like the convenience of having him close at hand. Plus I adore falling asleep listening to his coos, grunts and breathing. And of course, there are benefits to co-sleeping that are very appealing to me.
Matt is up in the air about the whole thing. He’s worried that co-sleeping will equal out to having an older child that can’t sleep on his own, but he admits that the benefits are also very appealing. Plus, Archer would definitely without a doubt wake up Nolan in the night if we put him in his bedroom {which is right beside Nolan’s}. Even with the fan in his room, Nolan still usually hears us getting up and we’re on the other side of the house. His suggestion is to play it by year.
Another plus to co-sleeping instead of putting Archer in his room immediately is that I could hold off on purchasing the crib until after Christmas, thus freeing up extra moneys for Christmas. So, we’ve decided to keep Archer in our room until at least after Christmas.
I’ve been looking at this co-sleeper from Toys R Us…the idea of being able to reach him even easier than when he sleeps in the bassinet is pretty stellar. Plus, it would mean he’d have his “own” space to sleep, and so would we {although I won’t lie, I totally love falling asleep with him in my arms}.
But with this [possible] decision comes a lot of guilt over Nolan, and the fact that we didn’t co-sleep with him {I never really looked into it because I didn’t know anything about it and hadn’t even considered it was something we might be interested in}. If the benefits are legit, then did we harm Nolan by not co-sleeping? Did we hurt his self esteem by “isolating” him in his room? I don’t think so, because Nolan’s always been a very confident and well adjusted toddler {if we disregard his regression in sleeping lately}. I still feel guilty though.
Part of me thinks it would be fantastic to have a “family bed”. I certainly don’t mind snuggling with my babies during the night, and neither does Matt – aside from the whole Nolan not actually sleeping when we try bed sharing, or that he is the only one that does sleep because he’s comfortable on someone’s head. But…I don’t know. For the past two years Nolan has been fine sleeping on his own, and lately he does require someone to lay with him until he falls asleep but those times that we’ve brought him into our bed to cuddle with him, he wakes up more and starts jumping up and down. 
So, yeah. I don’t know! We’ll just play it by year with Archer, and not force Nolan into our bed but let him sleep with us if he wants to? 
And yeah, I’ve heard all the horror stories of kids have difficulty sleeping on their own if they share a bed with parents. But I remember crawling into my parents’ bed as a kid when I couldn’t sleep or was scared, and I turned out pretty rad. It was comforting to know that if I needed them, they were there. It was comforting to know that I wouldn’t have a door slammed in my face or be told to go back to bed.

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About J.C. Hannigan

25. Mother. Wife. Lover of words. Weaver of stories. My first book, Collide, is available in e-book for Amazon Kindle and Kobo.
This entry was posted in day to day stuff, decisions, I don't really know, parenthood, photos, random, the boys, thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Regression & Co-Sleeping

  1. Shannon says:

    I don't know if it's comforting at all but Nolan's reaction is perfectly normal. I know this because I have 3 different friends in different parts of the country with different lives and backgrounds and yet all of their 2 year olds have been having sleep issues since the new babies were born in the last couple of months. Refusing to nap, struggling to go down and stay down at night. All of that stuff. As I said, I don't know if it helps because you are all still tired. But truly, it will pass eventually. I'm sure you're doing everything you can and he will eventually get used to the fact that this baby is around and his sleep patterns will return to normal.

  2. Avishan says:

    nolan's reaction is completely normal. what we do (our oldest is almost 2 and the younger one is almost 11 months) is the younger sleeps in our bed with us (even though he is not bfing) and the older's bed is in our room too. we co-slept with him before the younger one was born and even though we still co-sleep sometimes it's not as comfortable. they both need their space and all four of us cannot comfortably fit into our small bed. the oldest still gets out of bed in the night and sometimes climbs up on top of daddy to go to sleep but once he drifts off we put him back in his bed.

    so maybe if you have enough space in your room, you can bring nolan's bed in there? or set up a mattress on the floor for him? he can be in your room but you don't have to share beds.

  3. I feel your pain, babe. Landon stopped sleeping through the night by the time Hannah was a month old. Then he ran into issues with his eczema and it went on for so long that he now just wakes up out of habit every night. It's tough. But it gets better. Landon was once up 4 times a night. AND SO WAS HANNAH. I thought I was gonna die from lack of sleep. But here I am just over a year later, Hannah sleeps through like a champ for 12 hours a night, and Landon most nights only wakes up once or twice for just a minute. There is light at the end of that sleep deprivation tunnel. We just need to remind ourselves that it's a big adjustment for Nolan and Landon too. My advice to you if I may offer it is to co-sleep with Archer. We co-slept with both of our children and even though I didn't breastfeed it was beneficial to everyone. Especially after Hannah was born because she just slept better when she was that close to me, and therefore so did Landon because she was making a lot less noise at night (Landon is a very light sleeper, we leave a fan running in his bedroom too). Landon was a lot younger than Nolan when Hannah was born so there wasn't as much of an issue with Landon feeling “left out” but I will tell you this…he had a lot better of an attitude when he was well rested than he did if Hannah woke him up 3 times a night. I think it would work the same way with Nolan, if you co-slept with Archer. These are tricky situations. It's heart breaking for a mother to have to try to explain to her toddler why one baby can sleep with her and the other can't. But I promise you, Nolan isn't going to develop a complex over any of these issues. You do NOT need to feel guilty for having not co-slept with Nolan. This is a different situation because with your first born child you don't have to worry about his night time noise waking another child in the house. It's all going to get easier. About moving Archer into his own bedroom, well, for me it was very easy with both my babies. I think if you transition them from co-sleeping to sleeping independently early enough, it'll be easier to do. First my kids went from our bed to their crib next to our bed. Then from their crib next to our bed to their crib in their room. We did this transition when Hannah was four months old and it didn't bother her in the slightest. Landon was much older (9 months) and I should've done it sooner because as soon as he was in his own room he slept through the night! He has never slept in our bed again with us since that time because he just WON'T sleep in our bed. He'll just wrestle around and jump on the bed all night, lol. I hope some of this helps you feel a little better and reassured.

  4. Vicky says:

    I never did co-sleeping, as I couldn't get any sleep and neither would my son. To this day, he still prefers to sleep on his own. But maybe you could do a reward system with Nolan. If he sleeps 6 days in his bed, then as a reward on the 7th, you can have a family bed night.

  5. jess ♥ says:

    @Shannon: That's true, now that I think of it everyone I know with a toddler and a newborn is experience the same or similar thing. I wonder how long it will take Nolan to go back to his regular sleep habits?

    @Avishan: Good ideas, but I'm not sure if Nolan would really like having HIS bed moved into our room, because he does enjoy his own space. I think he just gets a little jealous at times. But perhaps the occasional night in our bed would fix that 🙂

    @Danielle-Marie: That's very true, when I do sleep with Archer he makes less noise haha. In February he will be four months, which is when we're planning on keeping him in our room until {although if he stays longer, he stays longer lol}. I'm deeply amused that I spent the entire pregnancy saying baby would sleep in his own room the moment we brought him home…bahaha. I'm naive??

    @Vicky: That's a good idea!!!

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