Monday, July 25, 2011

Inquisition Monday: Bedtimes

Last week, Lisa asked, "I'm very interested in cosleeping if I am ever able to have children, but I'm wondering how you deal with family members going to bed at different times without being too disruptive to whoever is already asleep in the bed. I'm assuming you and your husband probably don't go to sleep as early as the kids do, and that Isaac maybe goes to bed earlier than Margaret does. If that's true, then how does your bedtime routine for various family members work so that you don't wake up someone who's already in the bed when it's time for someone else to go to bed? Has that been a problem at all? Thanks! :)"

Ooh. You hit me at a bad time because for the last few weeks, bedtime has been quite a struggle. So let's go back to when it was working well and then we'll get to today.

We are pretty free about bedtimes. When Margaret was a baby, she would fall asleep with us at 10 or 10:30, but would then sleep in until 10 or 10:30, so I wasn't complaining. We also lived in a studio at that time and it wasn't really possible for us to leave the room and let her sleep: if we wanted a light on to read or knit or do homework, we were in the bedroom and couldn't get away. That worked great for her first couple of years and then after our move to California and the sudden newness of living in multiple rooms, we were able to get her down by me nursing her or McKay lying with her and then stealing away to the living room for all that reading and knitting fun we had missed out on in Utah.

Isaac is a different child. Early on, we noticed that around 8 o'clock he would just fall asleep. I didn't know what to do! All this time I had had a child who could go with me to late night parties and now suddenly we have a child who can't! We've kept up with that 8 o'clock bedtime. Around 7:30 he starts getting fussy, so that's when we'll change his diaper and wind him down for bed. I nurse him to sleep until he's full, at which point he unlatches and crawls onto a pillow. He really likes lying on his belly on a pillow. All that takes about 15-30 minutes depending on the night.

Then we get Margaret ready for bed: go potty, brush teeth, lie down and nurse. Because I like to take a break between putting the kids down, that's usually around 9 o'clock. Then I nurse her to sleep and unlatch her when she's finally unconscious (or unconscious enough to go to sleep right after the unlatch).

During this time, McKay is working on his thesis. That darned thing won't end!

But lately the sleeping routines have been really off. I think it's due to the fact that both children's nap schedules are changing at the same time. Isaac is moving from 2 naps to 1 nap a day and Margaret is in between 1 nap and 0 naps, but I'm clinging on to the hope of 1 nap. When we went out of town this summer, the naps were extra screwy and so for the past couple of weeks, we've been unable to have smooth sleep schedules. I'm also trying to limit Margaret's night nursing to only once or twice instead of 5 or 6. She's been going through a bout of not feeling well, so her nursing has increased.

Because of Isaac's nap transition, his 1 nap is earlier than his second one was, so he's tired earlier- like 7 or 7:30. And Margaret has a similar issue: she's tired earlier because she sometimes skips that nap. And you'd think this would be great: more time to myself in the evening! Except if I don't get her to sleep at just the right time, she makes it over the "sleepy" hump and go into hyper-awake mode and she won't sleep until 10:30.

As far as going to bed with other people sharing the same space, we have deep sleepers that can be moved to their "side" of the bed without waking up. If I do wake one, a minute of nursing will remedy that. I think it helps that we have a memory foam mattress and the motion of getting on and off the bed doesn't transfer like it would with springs. It's really great when we get them both to sleep early because in their sleep, they'll slowly merge over to snuggle each other, leaving the rest of the bed free. When it's our bedtime, McKay and I can cuddle until I need to go nurse later in the night.

I hope that answered your question! And can I get a "booyah!" for writing this during their naptime today? Booyah!


  1. BOOYAH!

    Thats what it's like here. Our oldest likes to stay up late... our youngest are out between 8 and 9pm.

  2. Thanks! That definitely answered my question. :) Cosleeping just sounds so much easier and more natural to me, and it's good to know that there are ways to make it work in lots of circumstances.

  3. Hi just stumbled upon your blog today and I find it all very inspiring. I recently found out that I'm pregnant and my husband and I are very interested in the idea of cosleeping. We feel it will be a very unifying experience for the three of us. The only concern I have is how we will be intimate with each other in that sort of living situation. If it's not too personal, do you mind sharing advice on how you share a sleeping space with your children and still find time for intimacy? Is it unhealthy to be intimate with my husband while our child is in the room? Would love to have your input. Thanks!!

  4. LeAnnerz- I'll Inquisition Monday this question next week. I thought I had already done a question like this, but I guess not!


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