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why can't my 2 year old nap without me?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I don't see this one come up much - I have a child who used to wake me every couple of hours at night for the breast.  I kept trying and finally night weaned him (mostly) at 19 months - but some things never improved.  I mean, I am grateful that he (mostly) sleeps through the night now, even though I have some insomnia, but that's another story...


Now he's 2.5 years old, and he doesn't sleep well during naps.  On good days, he wakes up once and needs me to help him get back to sleep.  On bad days, I pretty much can't leave him.  He wakes up several times, or sleeps so lightly I can't leave without him waking.  Oh, and I have to breastfeed him to sleep 90% of the time, or he just won't nap.


I tried changing this (read the No Cry Sleep Solution) - I pretty much can't get him off the breast before he's fully asleep or he protests until he is fully upset and not going to nap; I implemented a pre-nap ritual of books, talked to him a lot about lying still and quiet, etc.


When he wakes up, I've tried sitting on the bed away from him, which occasionally works.  Reassuring him and walking away, or being in the same room folding laundry, is apparently not good enough.


For bedtime, he always wants to breastfeed before bed.  The routine I managed to implement, though, is that he must do so with the light on and not fall asleep there - he finishes falling asleep with the light off, but of course with me right there.


He's always been that "high needs baby," too.  I'm just at another point in my life where I am wondering, what did I do wrong? (like so many of you, should I have let him CIO? I think he would have puked)  Why can't he have a normal nap without needing me at least once in the middle of it, for 20 minutes or more?  What can I do to change this?



post #2 of 5


My 24 mo is very similar. We have tried him sleeping with daddy at nights and boobies sleep when its dark. It is not working as well as I would like since I can't rejoin the family bed, but have heard it works well for many other moms. He's also developed several colds and more congestion since the boobies are sleeping at night, but I can't continue waking every two hours either. He will sleep almost all night for daddy only waking a few seconds for comfort a time or two. Also you could try a solo trip and leave him with a loving family member, this worked well for a friend too. I think similar situations are happening to many of us, so don't feel alone.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I hear you about getting colds.  And waking throughout the night - I'm so glad that is mostly over with for us.  I remember trying to nightwean my son at 12 months, 15 months, and then finally 19 months.  I think teething would start the night nursing up again every time, until 19 months for some reason, my refusals worked.


Getting to sleep at night isn't the problem for me now, just the naps.  Actually, the thing that never works for me about him skipping naps (aside from him being overly tired and acting crazy) and having an earlier bedtime is that I am toast by the end of the day.  I just fall asleep with him usually and don't wake up until morning.  I have my own chronic fatigue stuff going on, and I would rather use the nap time for my own time.


In my experience, only on the weekends, he rarely falls asleep with Dad.  When I am out of the house and Dad is with him, he usually won't nap at all.  Usually, though, Dad takes him out of the house on the weekends before nap, and then he just doesn't nap after that.  He clearly still needs naps, but occasionally he's OK without one.  My son has also never worked on that whole "scheduled nap time" thing.  During the week, though, I am on my own with him during naptime.

post #4 of 5

my dd hasnt napped since 2.5. sorry not want you want to hear. I hate it but compromised by usually having quiet time after lunch. I still feel like I get a break. she stays in her room and plays or reads in bed for an hr.

post #5 of 5

My son only just started being able to fall asleep on his own for naps and at night in the past 6 months or so. I never thought I'd see the day, my son was exactly what you are describing. Just yesterday, he stopped playing, climbed onto the couch and fell asleep all on his own! I thought something like that would NEVER happen. I know how tough the nap thing is, but eventually my son stopped needed that and was able to fall asleep and stay asleep on his own. Some of the things we did were, at night putting him to bed, we would only stay with him for 5 -10 min and then tell him we had to do something and would be back in 5 min. He seemed to handle that much better than just saying "ok time to go to sleep now." We'd come back and start over, but the next time wait a little longer. Most of the time, he would fall asleep while waiting. Now we only have to do that sometimes. We also started telling him when he woke up in the middle of the night that if the sun wasn't up, then he needed to stay and go back to sleep. He's really interested in the moon and sun, and we started teaching him the moon phases as a result of this! He actually recognizes the phases now! I also started doing quiet time in the afternoon for an hour. I allow him to bring books or quiet toys to bed and he listens to a nursery rhymes and lullaby CD. He doesn't have to sleep, but he does have to stay in bed and be quiet. It works pretty well for us, he doesn't always sleep, but he is laying down and resting for an hour. I've seen a difference in his behavior in the afternoons. Good luck!

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