or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Toddler › Life with a Toddler › Can't fall asleep at night... need advice!!!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Can't fall asleep at night... need advice!!!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

DS is almost 21 mo. and for the last 2 1/2-3 mo. has had so much trouble falling asleep. It would normally take an hour from the start of bedtime routine to the time he falls asleep. Now it's 2+ hours. Our routine is bath, teeth, p.j.s, book (daddy usually reads it) while he nurses (on and off). Then lights out, and I continue to nurse him until rolls over and falls asleep. I then would move him to his bed (crib w/toddler rail) and he stays there until his first wake-up, then to bed w/ us.


At first, a few months ago,  he would need to talk, try to get up and move around for awhile in b/t nursing, but it wasn't too bad. Now, it's trips to the bathroom, drinks of water (we limit it to 3), and just a general I'm sleepy, but I don't want to to go to sleep for anything! Sometimes he will let DH get him to sleep after he has nursed for awhile. If I get frustrated w/ the popping on and off the boob (and sore!), I let DH take over. I will go back in if DH calls for me when DS gets to the point of hysterics and is crying to nurse, as we're not ready to give up nursing at night completely. It's just a very long process.


So far we've tried an ealier/ later bedtime, waiting until he shows signs of sleepiness (which is usually around his "normal" bedtime at 7ish and skipping the bath, or leaving him in his bed (thinking maybe he was ready to go to sleep on his own) until he cries or gets up. Neither of those have made a difference. I thought maybe it's just due to the fact the temps have been in triple digits which has limited our outdoor time, but even on days when we play outside a lot and get plenty of fresh air, it's still a struggle. Is this a normal phase. DH thinks that maybe it will be better when the days are shorter in the fall. His room is dark (blinds + thick curtians), but he has a west window, there is still some light that gets through.


Any thoughts? Suggestions? I think I'm ready to try anything short of giving up nursing. The few times I've told him that the milk is sleeping (after nursing for awhile) he just got hysterical. I'm not strong enough to not give in and let him nurse when he gets that way :( It breaks my heart, so I'd just rather let him nurse when he wants to w/in reason- basically when he's not wanting to pop off and on every few seconds. I'm just tired of feeling so frustrated (as I'm sure that DS can sense it, and it probably makes it even harder for him to sleep).


ETA: He goes down for naps great... usually tells me when he's getting sleepy (at around the same time every day) and wants to dance around and/or nurse. Falls asleep w/in 30-50 min. He sleeps from 1.5-2 hours (before summer he would sleep maybe an hour). Does a longer nap time mean he needs a later bedtime?

post #2 of 6

Two things worked well for us. I was no nonsense with nursing. Either he laid down & nursed quietly or they went away. With ds having to lie still & quiet was as much the success of nursing to sleep as anything else. I just absolutely could NOT stand the latching on & off.


Second was that once he reached the point that nursing to sleep was taking longer & longer we decided to cut out that session. I still continued to lie with him after that (again, I would only stay if he was lying still & quiet) for a few months. We did continue to nurse to nap long after that but as it wasn't working for bedtime & was just causing frustration I figured he was ready for that transition.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice! I guess I've been too lax about things. He gets so sleepy (usually w/ nursing) and then he will just suddenly seem wide awake, and have to go potty,  etc. I'm not good at knowing when he's just pushing limits vs. he really needs to potty, nurse, etc. I guess I'm not good at nighttime boundaries, since we are pretty easy-going and DS is laid back, and we haven't really had much boundary setting to do. I will be working on it, though!!

post #4 of 6

we had a similar issue with my son. he doesnt nurse to sleep anymore, but it was book after book after book, stretching into hours and if we tried to enforce "3 books", he just screamed... what helped us was that during the day we started "playing" bedtime. we would get his toy animals or sth and pretend we are putting them to bed. this serves a two-fold purpose: you can mimic the behavior and routine you would like to establish, and also if something bothers him about going to bed / falling asleep, he is likely to express it during play. our son never really expressed anything, but i think the playing helped a lot. he kept reading books to his animals and after 3 he would get 3 more, so we figured that he's thinking of 3 books as books in incriments of 3, so we had to come up with a different boundary. We set a time limit instead and he is doing much better with it. "playing" sleep was lot of help.

post #5 of 6

I had exactly the same issue last fall, when my older DS was 16 months or so.  For us, the solution was to drop a nap (he was taking two naps of about an hour each, morning and afternoon).  It took about a week to adjust to getting through the afternoon without that second nap, but it really helped with bedtime!  

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tips!


WeasleyMum- I wish we had nap to give up, but he's been on one nap for awhile now. He's actually started napping better (longer) just over the past few months, so I think that has something to do with it.


I read something online last night that said toddlers need about 2 hours to wind down... So, hopefully our problem is not enough mellow time before bedtime. I'm going to really work on that this week. I was thinking that playing hard after dinner would get some of the "antsy" out of him, but maybe that is backfiring. Since DH doesn't get much playtime with him, that is their time and, well, it's not sedentary..haha. What do you guys do to wind down? How long do you have quiet time/reading, etc. before you try and get them to sleep?

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Life with a Toddler
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Toddler › Life with a Toddler › Can't fall asleep at night... need advice!!!