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Do your BF toddlers fall asleep on their own? Really-how do you transition from falling asleep on...

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Do other BF toddlers fall asleep on their own??? I love nursing him but feel this is leading to disaster.

 

My 19 mo old son has never fallen asleep on his own. It is always on the boob, in the car/bike or stroller, walking or bouncing on the ball. I am only nursing 2x/day now, when he wakes and before night sleep. I want him to be able to fall asleep on his own. I know this is a gradual process but am at a loss for how to start.

 

Really-how do you transition from falling asleep on the boob to falling asleep in their bed??? Seems impossible. Help!

 

He still wakes in the night whether it is for just a few mins. to be held and fall back asleep in my or my husbands arms or to be walked or else has to sleep with us to fall back asleep.

 

He is a wonderful happy child except when he first wakes. He cries like crazy, and I find this a bit strange but it has been this way forever. Maybe 3 times I can recall him waking with soft little babble. Has anyone else had this experience?

 

Sincerely,

Carlotta

post #2 of 21

Carlotta,

I have the same question about transitioning.  DS (15 mos) only falls asleep with me while BF for night and naps, we are 3 times a day (morn, nap, and bed) on days he is with me and two on day care days (3 days a week).  I very curious what other people have done.

 

I can tell you that I have the same experience when DS wakes up, especially from a nap. He always cries, but is eventually in  a good mood, I used to think it was because he didn't sleep enough, but now I'm not so sure since he is sleeping better. 

 

 

post #3 of 21

I JUST transitioned my DS from nursing to sleep last week.  Well, for his going to bed time anyway.  He still nurses through the night and for naps on weekends (as I work during the week.)

 

It was easier to transition him than I thought it would be.  I nursed him until he was drowsy and then put him in his crib.  And then I just did not pick him back up.  He cried a bit and fussed, and when he stood up I would just lay him back down and say "night night".  He cried like this the first two nights.  I rubbed his back or his tummy, hummed our night night song and shooshed.  The first two nights it took me an hour to put DS to sleep.  The third night he went right to sleep.  The fourth night it took about half an hour.  And since then it's been about 20 mins to 30 mins including nursing.  I think the key is just to stick with it and be consistent.  And I didn't try to change too much at once.  So I still nurse him to sleep if he wakes up any other time at night.  Just trying to change one thing at a time.

 

Good luck!

post #4 of 21

All perfectly healthy and normal, so don't worry it will not be forever. Our culture just tends to push the process along faster than some of the other cultures. Therefore it may seem odd that your child has these needs, but in reality it really is not.

 

A child craves security. Older children with more developed higher brains can reason, a small child stills works off of instinct and being alone is a threat to their survival. Nursing to sleep is very age appropriate and biologically appropriate. As they grow older, the higher brain is able to reason that mom "is just downstairs, in the kitchen if I need her", but very young children are not capable of such reasoning and rely upon instinct.

If mom cannot be seen or felt to the touch, than she is just not here.

 

 

A helpful article:

 

http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detsleepthrough.html

 

 

 

post #5 of 21

Yes, I think Asiago makes a good point.  I should clarify that I am still with DS until he falls asleep, rubbing his back or just standing by his crib so he knows I'm there), he just isn't nursing to sleep any more.

post #6 of 21

In prep for our transition I have been nursing sitting up (instead of in bed) just before bedtime with low lights, then laying my LO down for bed.  I still lay next to him, and hold his hand or belly and sometimes sing to him.  It's taking longer for him to fall asleep this was as opposed to nursing to sleep, but I think it will help in the long run.  Seems to be working ok for now.  Note that we have a matress on the floor, so it's easy for me to lay with DS as he drifts off, I often drift off too!

post #7 of 21

We did it VERY gradually & without a plan. We found if we made a change when ds was ready it went very smoothly so if it wasn't working we backed off & tried again at a later date.

 

At 15 months we nightweaned introducing a water bottle in the night 'cause it turns out he gets thirsty in the night.

At 17 months we moved ds to his own room & bed for the start of the night.

At 23 months I stopped bfing him to sleep at night 'cause it was not as effective & switched to lying with him but continued to bf him down for naps.

At 26 months we started the process to have him go to sleep alone (this took about a month).

At 30 months he dropped his nap but I had still been bfing down for it.

 

I was never in a big hurry to drop the bfing to sleep 'cause it was just soooo easy. We were fortunate that if I was not there he could go to sleep cuddled with dh or my mom.

post #8 of 21

My 2.5 year old daughter always preferred to fall asleep breastfeeding, though it wasn't always the most effective way to get her to sleep.  She takes a long time transitioning to sleep with or without breastfeeding.  We are working on not breastfeeding to sleep now and have introduced various other methods along the way.  She often fell asleep being walked (in a carrier or in arms) when younger and I introduced the rocking chair (she never really liked it as a baby but as a toddler started to) when breastfeeding her to sleep wasn't working.  Starting a little after her second birthday, I started leaving the house twice a week at night to leave my husband to putting her to sleep.  When I wasn't home, she normally wouldn't scream for me, but if I was in the house, she would scream for me to put her to sleep instead.  He started with strolling her to sleep (yes, in the dark outside...) and I even used the stroller to lull her toward sleepiness some nights until it just was not practical anymore and then I pushed the rocking chair again.  My husband experimented with different ways of getting her to sleep and after the strolling stopped working, he started just holding her and singing her favorite song (Old McDonald).  He hasn't been putting her to sleep at bedtime lately, but will go to her in the middle of the night and lie down next to her (or hold her for a minute if she is screaming for Mommy) and sing her song.  She falls asleep within 5 minutes for him (or less!).  With me it takes walking, rocking, and occasionally a snuggle (hoping it will just be snuggling in the future.

 

I stopped nursing her to sleep because I was losing my mind after an hour of nursing and trying to get her to sleep.  I have started weaning her to only early morning nursing mostly because I no longer have the milk supply to nurse her more.  I wish it could be on her clock b/c she is not happy with the situation, though adjusting well.  My body just can't do it anymore:(

 

Hope any of those tips help.  Introduce what you are comfortable with... it may just be adding a lulling routine in before or after breastfeeding that also signals sleep for your toddler.

 

Oh... and my daughter is unhappy when she wakes mostly when she is overtired... this is frequently but it is so lovely when she wakes up happy from a good rest...

 

 

post #9 of 21

For us, I switched from nursing DD to sleep around 22 months or so. There were a couple of reasons - the first being that it was taking way longer for her to fall asleep breastfeeding (not really working for either of us) and I also wanted to incorporate brushing teeth after nursing, but before sleeping. For a few days I talked to her about brushing teeth and how soon we would lay together to fall asleep without nursing, but how she could still wake up and nurse during the night (we nightweaned around 26 months). The first night I nursed her for 10 or 15 minutes and then excitedly took her to the bathroom to brush her teeth all the while reminding her that when we came back to bed there would be no nursing but that I would sing to her and tell her stories and hold her till she fell asleep. The first night, she was angry (oh so angry!) and threw a tantrum lasting 15 or 20 minutes but eventually fell asleep laying on top of me. The next couple of nights she protested for a minute or two, but we stuck with the same routine. It wasn't long before she would nurse for just a few minutes, pop off and say 'time to brush teeth' and off we'd go. We eventually added a book between teeth and going to sleep to help her to relax in bed. Now, at 2.5 yrs, it is smooth sailing and the whole routine (nursing, teeth, book, songs, fall asleep) lasts about 30 to 45 minutes.

 

Anyway, I guess my advice would be to develop a new routine, talk to your little one about it and stick with it.  You'll know within a few days (or maybe sooner) if you're both ready for the change. Good luck!

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for sharing that. Does your DD sleep with you or do you put her in her bed after you have fallen asleep together? We have already night weaned for some months now. He still wakes often in the night but most of the time one of us picks him up and holds him then can put him back, some times it's fast, other times it takes a while! Though some nights he sleeps through! 

 

Though the same thing is happening as with you it sounds, that it is taking a long time to breastfeed and have him fall asleep. Seems all of the sudden he is nursing for so much longer than before...really long. But when I try to take him off before he is totally out he really puts up a fight. So I may try your tactics-if i works it will take care of him falling asleep without the BF but still not getting him to fall asleep in his bed. Maybe I need to be more patient and first get him to sleep without BF then worry about him getting to know that he is safe in his bed with us there next to him just not holding him until he sleeps....hmmmm. There is always so much to consider and how to do it without it being so traumatic for them.

 

Thanks again!

Carlotta

post #11 of 21

 I have nursed 3 of my children till about 3 years old and am still nursing my 2 year old, but I night wean and move them to their own bed between 18-24 months.  I just did it with my youngest about 3 months ago.  This is what worked for us.  She was sleeping with me and would nurse 2-3 times a night.  I decided to move her to a bed in her own room (that she shares with her sister) and for the first month when she would cry I would go in there and rock her and nurse her to sleep.  I didn't want to move her to a bed and night wean all at the same time.  She would usually only cry for me 1-2 times a night once over in her own bed.  After about a month she seemed really comfortable in her own bed I decided to work on night weaning.  When she would cry for me to nurse,  either daddy or I would go over and pat her back and offer her a sippy cup of water.  She took it more easily from daddy of course.  The first week or so was tough.  We never let her "cry it out" but stayed and comforted her and reiterated that we loved her but now she was a big girl and she could have some "nummies" when the sun came up.  Now she's doing great with it.  She nurses to sleep at 8pm and I usually don't hear a peep out of her till about 6am.  She does seem to nurse more during the day now, maybe to make up for it, but I don't mind that.  Good luck!

 

Happy mama to:

7 yo girl

5 yo boy

4 yo boy

2 yo girl

8 weeks pregnant!

post #12 of 21

That's normal in our household. My son is 16 months old and falls asleep with the breast in his mouth 99 % of the time. It normally doesn't bother me. But sometimes, I'm hopeless, exhausted, and just plain need a SECOND to myself and I find myself posting on forums like this asking for advice and just when I think I can't take it anymore it gets better. :) 

post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lotta_earth View Post

Thanks for sharing that. Does your DD sleep with you or do you put her in her bed after you have fallen asleep together? We have already night weaned for some months now. He still wakes often in the night but most of the time one of us picks him up and holds him then can put him back, some times it's fast, other times it takes a while! Though some nights he sleeps through! 

 

Though the same thing is happening as with you it sounds, that it is taking a long time to breastfeed and have him fall asleep. Seems all of the sudden he is nursing for so much longer than before...really long. But when I try to take him off before he is totally out he really puts up a fight. So I may try your tactics-if i works it will take care of him falling asleep without the BF but still not getting him to fall asleep in his bed. Maybe I need to be more patient and first get him to sleep without BF then worry about him getting to know that he is safe in his bed with us there next to him just not holding him until he sleeps....hmmmm. There is always so much to consider and how to do it without it being so traumatic for them.

 

Thanks again!

Carlotta

 

For us, when we first switched to the new bedtime routine, I put her to sleep in our bed (where she had always slept) and then DH and I went to sleep in the guest room down the hall. When she woke up in the night, I would hear her and join her in bed for the remainder of the night. In August, we moved house, so at that point we set up a bedroom for DD. Well, really, it's just a crib mattress on the floor with some books and stuffed animals and blankets. In the new house, we talked to her about having her own room and her own bed and we did the nighttime routine in her room, on her bed. I set up some pillows next to the mattress so that I could lay down with her. In the night, when she wakes, she comes into our room and crawls into bed, usually sometime between midnight and 4am. 

 

With our DD, I found that it was quite a gradual transition to laying next to her to fall asleep. At first, she had to fall asleep laying on top of me, then in was half on top of me. For a while she needed to touch my breast. Now I can usually tuck her in under her blankets and lay down and my presence is enough to comfort her. Our next step is to get her to fall asleep in the room on her own.

 

 

post #14 of 21
OP, I feel your pain. It was a terrible, terrible time. We eventually went to nursing for 5 minutes, then lying down with him in his bed until he went to sleep. After awhile there was no more nursing at night, just us lying down with him till he fell asleep. Hang in there.
post #15 of 21

My daughter still nurses to sleep at 29 months. But, she also goes to sleep just fine with her father lying beside her on her bed with, obviously, no nursing. If it's me she wants the boob, though sometimes (maybe once or twice a week) she will nurse for a bit and then turn over and go to sleep with me spooned behind her. I think she will eventually give up the nursing to sleep on her own schedule, and I am perfectly prepared (at least, at this point) to wait for her to be ready. However I think this is only true because I know she can fall asleep without me on nights I am not home.

 

Now if only she would let Dad put her to bed when I am home! I work and he is the SAHP, and she always wants Mommy to put her to bed if I am there.

post #16 of 21

I don't have a reply in the way of an answer but I can tell you, you are not alone.  My son is EXACTLY the same. He has not totally mastered the art of self soothing.  Does your son sleep longer then an hour or so? If so then when he goes through his sleep patterns (I believe they are 1 hour or 1.5 hours at that age) they wake so slightly (as we all do) but they soothe themselves back to sleep, that's a good sign that he can do it himself.  He probably needs the same soothing to go back to sleep as he orginally was put to sleep, he's associated sleep with nursing or vice versa. I'm assuming.

I wish I could offer some advice, just know that there are others feeling your pain.

post #17 of 21

no unless im baby wearing and go for a long walk...

post #18 of 21

I have always sung to my daughters while lying with them, and I still do.  DD2 nursed well into toddlerhood.  It was never a relaxing activity for me, sending nerves "schwinging" in a really unpleasant way, so I was eager to have her wean at bedtime.  But I would sing.  I could never figure it out until I realized that I stopped singing before I stopped nursing, so when I'd pop her off when she was sleepy, that meant I was leaving the room.  AWAKE!  So I finally reversed the order, popping her off and lying down and singing her to sleep.  She got comfortable with this and we could nurse for shorter periods and she never balked.  Then I just stopped offering the breast.  At first, she didn't even notice, and we sang and rocked then lay down together.  2 weeks later she asked for mamamilk and I said "no more".  There was a quiet fuss (no tears) which tore my heartstrings, but it didn't last very long.  This was the only time of day she nursed.  She was 2.75.

 

I sing every night, but they can fall asleep without it, though that wasn't true for a while.

 

It's been a while since the first post, how's it going?

post #19 of 21

Elizabeth Pantley's No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers deals with this. She managed to transition all four of her nursing babies to falling asleep without the boob. We're just starting on this, so no ideas yet, but I have lots of things from Pantley's book to try! :D Good luck with it all.

post #20 of 21

We are in the process of this right now (DD 14mo)

 

We decided to start the transition because she was nursing allllll night long and would wake if I tried to unlatch her, yet her latch was getting lazy and shallow overnight which was causing me a LOT of pain. The more she would nurse, the worse the pain got. Plus, her constant wakings was waking me up. We were both sleep deprived and grumpy. She starting to take over our bed to where I am having a some difficulty getting comfortable. If DH joins us, it is a long night for all, LOL. So we hope to eventually move her into her toddler bed across the room.

 

We started last weekend, just working on setting limits to the night nursing first. I nursed her to drowsy, unlatched her, and said "milk is all done". She was very angry about this the first two days. She'd roll away from me and sob, but she did eventually allow me to cuddle her and rub her back, and soon she'd sleep. For her night wakings, I offered her more back rubs and cuddles. She could nurse again when morning came.

 

By Day 3, she took it all as a matter of course. She disapproved of milk being "all done" but quickly settled into our new routine of cuddling. She woke twice that night. 

 

Day 4, she slept all night long. For the first time ever! Last night she had a couple night wakings, in which I allowed the boob.

 

Naps have been a little more challenging. She goes down no problem without needing the nipple in her mouth, but will wake after an hour obviously still tired, and no amount of soothing will get her back to sleep. 

 

For the most part, it is going well.

 

Once we are established in this new routine and she is reliably sleeping with <2 wakings, we will work on transitioning her to her toddler bed, at first for the beginning of the evening, and then for most or all of the night. It will be done a similar way as night weaning. I'll nurse her in bed (or in the rocker), milk will be "all gone", and then I'll lay her down in her bed with me sitting next to her on the floor, rubbing her back, shhhhing, etc.

 

 

 

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