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?