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Should we drop the nap?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

There are a couple current threads about sleep schedules and bedtimes and this is all related, but my boy (28 months) seems to be in a major sleep transition right now and I need some advice. We wake up around 7:30-8am and he seems on most days to still need his nap, which used to be one hour and start around 1:00. About a month ago he started sometimes napping up to 3 hours, which he had never done before! It's usually around 1.5-2 hours though. I also noticed he often wants to nap later, more like 2:00 or later, which is too late if you ask me. And then there are those days, maybe 1-2x/week, where he just doesn't go to sleep for his nap anymore. Around the same time all this started shifting he also started not falling asleep easily at night anymore. We do our bedtime routine starting around 7 and he used to go to bed at about 8:30. But lately we are lucky if he goes down by 9:30 and it's usually more like 10 or sometimes later! There have been a lot of transitions lately ~ we moved in June, he switched from private in-home daycare to preschool (which he loves!) and still isn't on the full schedule there (which could include a nap but isn't mandatory, he will be staying until 2:00, for now I pick him up after lunch at 12:30). We also nightweaned (which was very easy) and are planning on weaning soon ~as of now he only nurses to sleep and not more, but it's driving me nuts because when he doesn't fall asleep I get very irritated because I have almost no milk and I can only nurse about 10-15 mins and if he hasn't fallen asleep by then I have to take a break.

 

I am utterly confused. I am a little scared to wean him off falling asleep at the breast but it makes it that much worse when he won't fall asleep at bedtime. It ends in me being frustrated and him in tears, almost every night. I also wonder if it's time to purposely drop his nap. DH is against that and feels it's not fair to deprive a child of sleep if they are tired. But I notice on the days he doesn't nap he does go to bed around 8. However, if he doesn't nap it means we can't do anything in the afternoon that involves using the stroller or car because he'd fall asleep on the way home (around 4-6pm) and then that would really blow bedtime. I remember the transition from 2 naps to one took many months, and I assume from one to no nap is similar.

 

Can anyone share stories of how you transitioned out of the nap, or off falling asleep at the breast? How old was your child when these things happened? I feel like it's time to establish a clearer routine because almost every night ends in major frustration for all of us. It just isn't working anymore. Please help if you've BTDT or are there now. Thanks! love.gif

post #2 of 8

As you might imagine, I say keep that nap as long as you can.  I started having trouble getting my daughter to nap at 22 months or so.  We hung on until just after her 2nd birthday.  After that, we dropped the nap at home, but for a while she would still nap in the car if we were in it at the right of day,  That would happen about 1 or 2x per week.  Now (at...29 months, I think?) she won't even do that.  But, as I mentioned in my other thread, I still really feel like she needs that nap.  Many days she can't even eat her supper because she's in "everything makes me cry" mode by 4:45 p.m.  She usually wakes for the day at 6 and is asleep in her bed at 6:15 p.m. 

 

If I were you, I would give him some time to try to settle his sleep schedule before trying to drop the nap.  Maybe he's just in a phase.  Or try limiting the timing of the nap so he can't sleep beyond a certain time. 

 

As far as falling asleep nursing, my daughter still falls asleep on my lap to her bottle on days when she doesn't nap.  But back when she did nap, I'd give her the bottle, put her in her bed awake, and then lie with her while patting her back and singing until she fell asleep.  At some point we weaned from the back patting, so now I just lie on the bed a few feet away and she talks herself to sleep.  What if you try nursing him earlier in the bedtime routine, or limiting his nursing time and then developing a new routine of singing, rocking, snuggling, back-rubbing, etc.? 

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmamalizzy View Post
 What if you try nursing him earlier in the bedtime routine, or limiting his nursing time and then developing a new routine of singing, rocking, snuggling, back-rubbing, etc.? 

 

That's a good idea. I am not sure if I should first try a week or so of nursing, THEN story and then sleep (without nursing), so he can get used to falling asleep without nursing yet he's still getting it. Or just cold turkey and get it over with. ??

post #4 of 8

Hi PJ

 

We had a looooong and painful transition from not nursing to sleep (and weaning entirely) but what we did and what worked was what was suggested above. We switched the routine from bath, books, nursing to sleep to nursing, bath, books then rocking to sleep. It took a while for DS to settle into it, but I also made a point to explain the routine to him often and how it was changing and he liked that and wouldn't ask for milk after his bath after just a few days. It took him much longer to get to sleep and I could never be the one to rock him. (My husband also does the bath and books part so I was out of the room and not dangling the milk in front of him) 

 

NOW we are working on not rocking to sleep. Sigh. redface.gif I think by the time my son is 23 or so, he'll be able to lay down in his own bed, in his own room and go to sleep by himself.

post #5 of 8

Let him choose. We are at that terrible stage too, dd still needs the nap but it messes up her nighttime sleep and if she doesn`t nap she`s cranky. So what I do, I put her down for her nap like usual, I nurse but I don't lay down next to her. So if she's really, really tired she falls asleep, if not we brace ourselves for a long afternoon.
 

Dd doesn't nurse to sleep, so I don't have any advice re:nursing...

post #6 of 8

Gosh, OP, does your situation sound familiar! We were in the same boat a few months ago, when our dd was your child's age. She was in the sometimes naps/sometimes not phase, and when she didn't nap, between 4 and 6 she really wanted to sleep but if she did, wouldn't sleep at night. We nursed to sleep for naps and night too, and it was beginning to be an issue with her sleep -- it actually seemed to be keeping her up longer/making it harder for her to fall into deep sleep because of her fitful search for boob.

 

We finally weaned cold turkey about a month ago. We were only nursing before sleep and nap, so there wasn't anything left to drop slowly, and when I tried to cut back (ie, only 10 minutes of nursing, then put her down) it frustrated her to tears. We finally just had to explain to her, "We're not going to nurse to sleep anymore." (We prepared her for a couple of weeks ahead of time, telling her that soon she would not drink Mama's milk anymore). I thought it would be a very hard transition, but she accepted it surprisingly well. The only issue was that she had to learn to fall asleep without it, which did take awhile.  At the same time we weaned, we started a new, more strict routine for naps and bedtime (Mary Kurcinka's book "Sleepless in America" was extremely helpful for scheduling, sleep cues, and routine tips). She settled in quite quickly for bedtime (we had Daddy do the bedtime routine so the lack of nursing wasn't so frustrating) - after maybe a week she was going down peacefully and getting more solid sleep all night. Naptime took longer. For the first two weeks or more she just would not nap at all. She couldn't figure out how to get to sleep without the breast during the day, and even with me next to her, cuddling, singing, patting, she would just bounce around and kick her legs and talk and fuss and want to get up. But we just called it "quiet time," and we stuck with the strict routine -- exactly the same time every day, same amount of reading and quiet rest whether she wanted it or not, and we ended at the same time every day. And then one day she rolled over and fell asleep during our quiet time. And now she sleeps not every day, but several times per week. It's been a month, and she finally really knows the routine and accepts it (there were a lot of days in there I wanted to give up, but I'm glad I didn't). She is more likely to fall asleep on a day where the morning has been full, with errands or a hike or playdate or park. On days when we've spent a quiet morning at home, she usually doesn't fall asleep, but at least she rests some and seems recharged enough to get through the afternoon.

post #7 of 8

Falling asleep at the breast is no different than needing a binkie to fall asleep or other things like that which don't teach a child how to fall asleep on their own. I'd say that you should empower your toddler to fall asleep on his own. He's going to have to learn how to do that, and it may be tough since he is older and just now learning. My 25 MO DD was weaned at 15 months, we took her binky away at 23 months, and she learned to fall asleep on her own at 24 months. Bedtime takes less than 30 seconds from when she enters the room and when we leave (books and teeth and such happen outside her bedroom). We have also adopted the idea that we can't MAKE our daughter take a nap. We put her in her room for 2 hours or so each day around nap time. She either falls asleep or she doesnt. More times than not she laughs, sings, plays the entire time, or she will do that for awhile but then fall asleep. It gives her the opportunity to sleep if she needs to but we dont sweat it if she doesnt. They know what they need to do. Give them the chance but don't be upset if they don't take it or need to take it. I'd strongly encourage taking the breast away, though, especially if it's a negative situation. That's the sign that youre ready and he's ready. No one says to keep them tethered forever. It's a GOOD thing to transition to independence for your toddler. Be proud of how far you've gotten and then empower him with the next stage of life :)

post #8 of 8

Both my Children learned to fall asleep on their own with out weaning and both were nursed at night untill it plain did not work. My oldest who nursed till she was 4 was putting her self to bed by 11 months we did teeth a story and a song and she'd just lay down and sing her self down, she was in a toddler bed at the time. My youngest is 2.5 and she'd been putting herself down for about a year now, she does sometimes nurse but she is aware of her body and her own sleepy signs and just tells me mama bedtime ussualy we jsut do a book and a song and she is good to go, sometimes she does ask for a bit of numies kinda like an older child having a last sip of water. 

 Now saying all that I don't necessarly think that EVERY area of gently sleep training is bad, we have had various stages where some transational help was needed, but I do disagree that somehow they can't learn if nursed we are 2 for 2 proving that wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by graciegal View Post

Falling asleep at the breast is no different than needing a binkie to fall asleep or other things like that which don't teach a child how to fall asleep on their own. I'd say that you should empower your toddler to fall asleep on his own. He's going to have to learn how to do that, and it may be tough since he is older and just now learning. My 25 MO DD was weaned at 15 months, we took her binky away at 23 months, and she learned to fall asleep on her own at 24 months. Bedtime takes less than 30 seconds from when she enters the room and when we leave (books and teeth and such happen outside her bedroom). We have also adopted the idea that we can't MAKE our daughter take a nap. We put her in her room for 2 hours or so each day around nap time. She either falls asleep or she doesnt. More times than not she laughs, sings, plays the entire time, or she will do that for awhile but then fall asleep. It gives her the opportunity to sleep if she needs to but we dont sweat it if she doesnt. They know what they need to do. Give them the chance but don't be upset if they don't take it or need to take it. I'd strongly encourage taking the breast away, though, especially if it's a negative situation. That's the sign that youre ready and he's ready. No one says to keep them tethered forever. It's a GOOD thing to transition to independence for your toddler. Be proud of how far you've gotten and then empower him with the next stage of life :)

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