My 18 month old sleeps on a mattress on the floor. We co-slept until he was ~8months and then switched him to his own bed for both naps and nighttime. He has done very well with this arrangement until a couple of weeks ago. For naps, I have always nursed him all the way to sleep. At night, DH rocks him to sleep. We have roughly the same routine beforehand: preparing the room (closing the blinds, turning on his sound machine, etc), reading books, and then settling in to nurse or rock.
I am now 26 weeks pregnant and my milk has all but dried up, so even though DS would still nurse to sleep (he seems not to have noticed the lack of milk....) I can't do it for that long any more. It's too painful for me. Even so, I don't want him to wean completely yet as he doesn't quite seem ready for it.
Without nursing to sleep, I'm having a hard time finding a way to help him gently settle down for nap. I offer to rock him or lay down with him and snuggle, but without nursing, he just wiggles or asks to nurse over and over. I've tried simply closing the door to his room and laying down for a nap myself hoping he'll join me when he gets tired. And forcing him to lay down just results in screaming. My "last resorts" have been to give up on the idea of a nap and try sending him to bed early (But then poor DH has to deal with a grouchy mess of a toddler) and leaving the room after giving DS a heads-up one minute beforehand.
Every time I've left the room while he's still awake, he has screamed for nearly an hour. His screams sound more angry than sad, but it still goes against every bone in my body to just leave him to cry like that. I do it when I'm at my wit's end and the only thing I can say about it is that it does result in a nap. After an hour of screaming. Checking on him, even just to let him know that I'm still here/ make sure he's not hurting himself, starts the clock over. It's more agitating for him than just being left alone.
The last thing I tried, that I would like to avoid if possible, was to drag out the pack n play and have him nap in that. He was very tired by that point and it took him about 10 minutes to fall asleep once in there.
The pack n play sounds great, right? It does, although DS is a big, tall guy for 18 months and he doesn't really fit in there anymore. I also worry about him waking and trying to climb out on his own. Plus, I really love the independence he's found with the floor bed and how well he sleeps on it (once he actually goes to sleep!)
So, what would you do in this situation? Better yet, anyone BTDT? Any sage advice?
Oh goodness, mama. I'm so sorry. I have totally been there--and was about exactly as pregnant as you at that time (although we were not nursing anymore). Here is what we did when my guy was just a little older than yours--and it is still working. We stopped saying, "It's nap time." Instead, we call it "rest time." We put on music or audio books (my DS loooooves the audio books of Winnie the Pooh, and they are very mellow). He has books and quiet toys (stuffed animals, not blocks). He doesn't have to sleep. He almost always sleeps.
Here's how we started it:
I went up with him, sat on his floor bed, turned on his songs, and cuddled or talked for five minutes. I stood up and said, "I need to go check on something. I'll come back in a minute." I literally left the room for one minute, then came back for another five, and left for another one. Then I said, "Rest time is over!" and we went downstairs and had a special treat (and he didn't nap and was a grumpy mess at bed time--but stay with me here). The next day, each half of rest time was two minutes, and my visit in the middle was shorter. I added a minute to each half every day. It took...you know, FOREVER, but at some point, we got up to 60 minutes total, with a visit in the middle. Then I started moving my visit later by one minute each day. Because it was all so gradual, he never protested it. At some point, he started just falling asleep within the first 20 or 30 minutes, and having a great nap. In fact, that is what he is doing right now.
Maybe that would work for you? And just remember...this too shall pass. ::hugs::
Mama to Silas Anansi, born 9/9/10 and Petra Eadaion, born 10/1/12.
We tried moving my son to a bed on the floor at 2 and moved him back to a crib after a week or two because he refused to nap. 4 months later he has pretty much officially dropped his naps and we have since put him on a mattress on the floor to sleep bc I am now preg and couldn't lift him up into a crib anymore. We do have a quiet time during which he occasionally falls asleep but at least it gives us all a half hour of down time which is much needed. Now that I am pregnant I sometimes try and extend that a bit so I can nap myself. We usually do put music on in his room as he requests it and he has quiet toys/book available to play with. Good luck! A non-napping toddler is tough work especially when pregnant!
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