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When / how did your child learn to fall asleep without nursing? Encouragement needed please!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

DS is 20 months. I have always nursed him to sleep, both for naps and at bedtime. When he was a baby I would occasionally work in the evenings or go out and DH would be able to bring him down with a bottle of pumped milk, as well as bring him down for naps during the day if he had him alone and I was elsewhere or at work.


However, after some recent months of me always being the one to bring DS to sleep, it stopped working for DH to do it, and the last several times DH was alone with DS he could not get him to sleep no matter what. DS would scream and cry and complain and ask for me. Each time I came home DH was worn out and felt defeated and useless.


BTW DS has been in daycare since he was one and the daycare woman was also not able to get him to sleep and eventually we had to switch that he only goes there mornings and naps at home.


I am getting kind of tired of him being utterly and completely dependent on nursing to sleep. I wish that other people could help him fall asleep besides me, but lately he adamantly refuses anyone but me, and anything but nursing down. I miss the freedom of being able to go out in the evenings (we have a regular babysitter who comes once a week and DS adores her, but we always have to come home before bedtime due to this situation).


I guess I just want some words of sympathy from more experienced mamas who've BTDT. Please tell me this will end. It scares me to think that he will be nursing-dependent for sleep until he's 3-4 years old and I have to keep doing this for another 1-2 years! At this point I have had to turn down work which I need due to the fact that I have to pick him up early from daycare, and can no longer leave him with DH past 8pm or for naps, not to mention I feel like I am tied to him and can only ever do things for myself in between his sleeping because I always have to be there when he falls asleep. I am considering "training" him to fall asleep without nursing but I fear that would just be too heartbreaking, I don't see him accepting it without a huge struggle and lots of pain. But I am getting weary here. Has anyone had luck with the Pantley method of getting rid of the suck to sleep association? Any experiences, advice, tips, or sympathy is welcome. Thanks!

Edited by P.J. - 2/17/12 at 6:01am
post #2 of 7

hug2.gif Ugh! I totally understand! I'm right there with you!


I am a SAHM so I'm always ALWAYS the one to put 18 mth old DD down for naps and bedtime (DH works weird shifts).   I didn't really mean to "lose" the suck to sleep association, but we have had some success with DD falling asleep without nursing.  (Absolutely no success with anyone putting her to sleep other than me though - UGH)


It all started a few months ago when DD would no longer always be sooo sleepy at bedtime allowing for the quick nurse and sneak away.  Initially I started having to find ways to get her to be sleepy at bedtime so that she would actually fall asleep nursing, which eventually evolved into no longer always nursing to sleep. 


What I took from pantley's book was that it may take a while but if you can start finding ways to help them fall asleep without nursing it will come slowly.... which is how it has worked for me. 


I would often put her in the ergo on my back and do dishes in the dark while I sing (thrilling - I know). I think a combination of water running and the scrubbing motion would get her to sleep. Or put her in the sling and bounce on an exercise ball.  Or worst case scenario - car.  At first it wasn't always, it would just be if she was "wild" at bedtime and needed extra calming down that books and cuddles couldn't do.  But looking back, it has evolved into her just nursing for a bit at bedtime and then rolling over and me patting her back and singing (the same song every time) or whispering a story.


If none of this super long post is very helpful, at least know that I feel for you too being the only one able to put DD to sleep!  I am hoping that this new sleeping habit will evolve into DH being able to help out a bit more... we'll see! 


Good Luck!


post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much! We are working on getting a more extended and involved bedtime routine (with DH doing the first "phase" alone) and I hope it happens as it has for you: that over time the routine itself helps to take the place of nursing.


Has anyone else BTDT and can tell me how or when your child naturally "quit" the sleepytime nursing. TIA!

post #4 of 7

PJ, no btdt, but I'm in your boat!


My dd is 22mo and still nurses to sleep. For about a year I had her napping by just stroller walking, but I quit that and started nursing to nap again because it's not practical to always go out to nap in stroller (and it usually had to be outside... stroller in house would work sometimes, but not as well). 


I know my DD *can* fall asleep without nursing because of that. I'm not sure what I'm going to do either. Sometimes I put her to bed nursing, sneak away, and grandma stays while we go out for dinner, a late dinner. 


Because of the rest of the bedtime routine she usually goes down pretty quick, just a few minutes of nursing, so I don't mind as much (when she was younger she wanted to sleep latched all night). I would love it if DH could put her down... 


I would also like to know when moms who had similar situation were able to get their babes to sleep without nursing... 2 yrs, 3yrs ?!?!  

post #5 of 7
Add me to the list of passengers in this same boat. I sure hope a BTDT person comes along soon to tell us it'll all work out. With my12 month old DS I guess I'm scared both that he'll always nurse to sleep and that one day nursing to sleep wont work but I'll have no alternative in place. I will say that I'm hoping that maybe things will naturally just work themselves out because in the past few months I haven't had to nurse him as often at night when he rustles but isn't totally awake. He'll just kind of fuss then rearrange himself and settle himself back down. Maybe since he developed that self-soothing all on his own he'll also magically one day learn to put himself to sleep at bedtime too. Now who knows how far off that magical day is...
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

I just changed the name of the thread to hopefully attract more of the BTDT crowd.


Thank you all who have replied, it is nice to know we are not alone. Anyone else experiencing this situation currently, please feel free to share.


Anyone who's come out on the other end: your wisdom is appreciated here, thanks! biggrinbounce.gif

post #7 of 7

When I was still nursing to sleep, my dh was able to put our dd to bed by going for a walk with her in the ergo. I night weaned her at 26 months by telling her that na-nas were going to sleep and she would see them again in the sunshine. We nurse, then brush teeth/go potty, and then lay down to bed. There was a lot of crying and tantrums in the beginning, but I just held her through it and would let her sleep on me, then we moved to her falling asleep next to me, then finally dh could lay down with her. Actually, the first thing I did was nurse her sitting up in bed only, no more laying down to nurse. Now, about 6 months later, she occasionally falls asleep totally by herself without either one of us. I never thought the day would come!

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