DD is not a self-soother... — The Bump
Attachment Parenting

DD is not a self-soother...

My DD is going to be 3 at the end of April. She has almost always slept either with or in the same room as DH and I. She does still use a pacifier at sleep times only. I feel like I've totally screwed her up.

Anyway...bedtime routine is bath, quality time, books, sing a few bedtime songs, and then I lie next to her until she falls asleep. I have tried leaving and she gets very upset. While we don't mind her in our bed too much, she does have her own room with a full size bed. She was sleeping in it but wakes up most nights and if I'm not next to her, she either cries until I come into the room or gets out of the bed and comes to find me. I would like for her to not freak out just because I'm not next to her everytime she wakes up a little. Any suggestions?

Re: DD is not a self-soother...

  • I'm in the same boat.  DD will be 2 next month.  We have always rocked, nursed, sang, cuddled to sleep.  While I love the cuddles, I also feel like a failure sometimes.  I also have to lay next to her in her room while she falls asleep.  I feel like bedtime takes up so much of our time because we are spending so long getting her to sleep.  It's getting to the point where DH and I would love to have our nights back and not be in DD's room all night until she falls asleep.  Last night she kept waking up and I had to practically be on top of her while she fell back asleep each time.
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  • Glad to know I'm not alone :)

    Fortunately, most nights, DD is asleep about 15ish minutes afte we finish books and songs. But she does wake up and as soon as she notices I'm not right next to her, she cries for me or just gets up. I want her to be able to cope without me being right next to her but I suck at the whole CIO thing and can't lock her in the room (not that I would want to) because I live in an older home and the doors don't latch shut they way they should.

    P.S. No my home is not falling apart, lol. It's wonderful actually but still has all the original doors and crystal door knobs that my great grandfather used when he built it in 1935 so that stuff just doesn't work as well as it did back then.

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  • Toddler night wakings are really normal and don't indicate any failure on your part. They DO grow out of waking during the night, I promise!

    Here are some ideas you may want to try:

    1. Make your toddler's room a place they want to be...day and night! Get one of those turtles that projects stars onto the ceiling, let her choose from a small selection of paint chips you bring home from the store, and maybe let her help paint her room. Let her choose bedding for her bed and curtains, and talk up the big girl room. You may also want to let her build a bear or get her some soft friend that she can cuddle when she wakes...only you will do for now, but eventually it can take over the mid-night snuggles.

    2. When she wakes, go to her. Once kids are in their own room (sickness, etc. excluded) it's better to go to them if they wake during the night than to bring them to your bed. Bringing them into your bed when they wake up during the night can give the impression to some children that they're not safe in their room, or that they need to go sleep with their parents to feel safe. You can show them how safe and comfy their room is by going to stay in there with them when they need you.

    3. When she wakes, go to her quickly. Tell her how close by you are and that you can hear her and/or see her on the monitor. Maybe even install a video monitor the opposite direction so that SHE can see YOU when she wakes up. :) She'll sleep more soundly and worry less when she wakes if she trusts that you are right there and will come straight to her.

  • Great ideas! Thank you.I'm going to let her pick out some new bedding and the build a bear is an awesome idea. We definitely could spruce up her room some. And good point on making sure she stays in her own bed vs. ours. Often, I just wake up in the morning and she's in bed with me. it scares me that she's that quiet about it. I don't want her roaming around the house without me at night.

    Anyway, this weekend we will have a shopping trip and keep on trying to get our DD to soothe hersefl back to sleep. It's not so mcuh that I mind but I don't want her to lack any of her own coping skills.

  • DD's the same.  She calls me, pretty much every single night, and I go into her room.  (She doesn't leave the bed without asking first.  Which is good, and bad...)  She turns 4 in May. She'll grow out of it eventually.
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  • DS is 18 months, cosleeps, and can't self soothe either. I am hoping to slowly work myself out of the room when we are able to transition him to a bed on the floor. Also still gets up to take a watered down bottle every night.
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