how to break habit of nursing to sleep - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-11-2010, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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my DS is 21 months and has almost never gone to sleep without nursing. he is a very busy boy. he gets up around 7:30, naps around 1 and goes to bed at 10 pm.
our current "routine" is that he runs around like crazy til about 9:45, climbs into my lap, nurses and he's out by 10, then I move him into his bed and he sleeps til sometime in the night (sometimes through the night) when he comes into our bed, nurses and goes back to sleep til morning. we've tried so many things for nighttime routines. he just does not sit still, but not in a hyper way, he just likes to be doing things, moving, playing, etc. we've tried moving bedtime back thinking by 10 he's overtired, but that never seems to work out either.

he shows no signs of sleepiness that you would recognize as sleepiness. and any of his signs that he's ready for bed generally involve more movement and busyness, so it's really hard to get him "settled" down for a bedtime routine.

if i try to put him in his bed w/o nursing to sleep he just gets up, or if i take him off the breast before he's asleep, he pitches a huge fit, sometimes i can shush or bounce him through it, but rarely.

any ideas (other than the usual read a story, give a bath, etc) would be great, or support from those that have just kept nursing to sleep til one day their child decided they were tired and went to bed!
Thanks!

treehugger.gifAP mama to lovable, energetic DS born 4/9/08, expecting #2 mid Jan 2012, wife to German Professor, friend to many. namaste.gif

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Old 01-11-2010, 10:16 PM
 
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Can you dh take over bedtime? Ds will not accept going to sleep without bfing from me but for others he's fine.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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Old 01-11-2010, 10:20 PM
 
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I was going to same the same thing... my husband recently took over bedtime and it has gone well. He rocks him a bit, gives him his lovey, and he is set.

Baby Boy 9/08 & Baby Girl 3/11

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Old 01-12-2010, 12:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i think he could only do that if i left the house, ds has gone to sleep for dh on a few occasions when i'm not around. but at 10 pm, that's tricky. in our new house we might have better luck w/ me disappearing, it's a little bigger and we have more doors than we have here.

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Old 01-12-2010, 02:32 AM
 
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my ds3 was nursing to sleep and when ds4 came it became too much for me to do antmore. dh decided he would take over his bed time and i am so thankful! it was hard at first. ds3 would cry for me, for milky, and throw huge fits. my dh found a way to make it work and its been great. one thing i noticed about ds3 is that the more tired he is, the more he is "going". i know you are having a hard time getting him to bed earlier, but changing a schedule takes time. if you do the same things at the same time everynight for your bedtime routine, then he will start to get used to it and it will become natural. whatever you do to get into bed mode, i would bring it into the bedroom. let your dh take him and do it at the same time. my dh stays with ds3 til hes asleep. sometimes its 10 min, sometimes 30 min or longer.
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:37 AM
 
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Can I ask what your concern is with him nursing to sleep? It sounds like you have a nice routine that works for you.

Both my children nursed to sleep every night for much longer than 21 months and they eventually were ready to sleep without nursing. When the need goes away, they will stop.

 

 

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Old 01-12-2010, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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it's not as much a concern as it is a lack of desire to continue...and a desire to be able to leave him at nap or bedtime and know he's still going to get to sleep without causing himself and a caregiver (be it DH, other family or babysitter) a major meltdown. i would like to think about having a second child soon and with this current procedure i can't imagine being pregnant or having an infant. and of course, selfishly, just getting some of that time back in my life, my dh and i have almost no time together in the evenings, if there were some hope that we could "put him down" it would sure be nice.

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Old 01-14-2010, 12:11 PM
 
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As I mentioned above, my husband took over the nighttime routine about 3-4 weeks ago. The other night was the first time he wasn't home to do the nighttime routine. I nursed my son in another room, then we went to his room and read books/did the bedtime routine. And then I rocked him a bit and then put him in bed. I was concerned that I would have a major struggle, since mommy=milk! At first he was like "hey, why are we doing it this way?!" but then he was fine.

I totally hear you OP, I want a second child too and that is one reason why we've been making these changes.

Have you read Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution books? I always get ideas from there.

Baby Boy 9/08 & Baby Girl 3/11

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Old 01-14-2010, 01:32 PM
 
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Could you have him watch a movie/video, or listen to an audio book? That's how I got my son to start going to sleep without nursing. Then later we transitioned to having him get in bed and me rubbing his back for a bit, then just sitting next to him. To facilitate that we went and let him pick out sheets and a comforter that were special to him, and made a big deal about him going to bed on his own.

The other option might be to explain that he can nurse, but only for a short time, maybe as long as you sign "happy birthday" twice, or the abc song. Then just cuddle. I let my son put his hand on my breast while we cuddled, after nursing, as a transition.
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Old 01-14-2010, 02:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naturechicplus1 View Post
my DS is 21 months and has almost never gone to sleep without nursing. he is a very busy boy. he gets up around 7:30, naps around 1 and goes to bed at 10 pm.
our current "routine" is that he runs around like crazy til about 9:45, climbs into my lap, nurses and he's out by 10, then I move him into his bed and he sleeps til sometime in the night (sometimes through the night) when he comes into our bed, nurses and goes back to sleep til morning. we've tried so many things for nighttime routines. he just does not sit still, but not in a hyper way, he just likes to be doing things, moving, playing, etc. we've tried moving bedtime back thinking by 10 he's overtired, but that never seems to work out either.

he shows no signs of sleepiness that you would recognize as sleepiness. and any of his signs that he's ready for bed generally involve more movement and busyness, so it's really hard to get him "settled" down for a bedtime routine.

if i try to put him in his bed w/o nursing to sleep he just gets up, or if i take him off the breast before he's asleep, he pitches a huge fit, sometimes i can shush or bounce him through it, but rarely.

any ideas (other than the usual read a story, give a bath, etc) would be great, or support from those that have just kept nursing to sleep til one day their child decided they were tired and went to bed!
Thanks!
I have this same baby. He doesn't wind down, he winds up! It is tough! I sort of patched together a routine that works really well for us, involving a lot of little alarms and a WHOLE lot of routine. I know I know. The old routine thing. But it works for our little busy thing so I thought I'd share.

In the morning we do a lot of our super physical stuff. Run run play jump run or swim, repeat. Then exactly at the same time (I set an alarm on my phone) we settle down and read. We read and tell stories and sing abc's, not long after my LO begins to yawn. Then we nurse, and before he falls asleep we move into the bedroom and put him down in bed. I lay with him. He used to whine and roll and complain, not really cry. If he cries I know that he NEEDS the comfort of nursing and I give him a little more to relax him. The first few weeks were tough, for me, but it didn't really bother him as much as annoy him. As long as I lay with him and pretend to sleep he falls to sleep fairly readily now. The better he naps, the better he sleeps at night. Not sure why, but it's true.

At night we have the same system, but two hours before bed I start our routine. I turn the lights down, turn on classical music at 7 (alarm reminds me) and we do puzzles and legos, have a light snack, not any sort of wrestling or running, at 8 we move into the bath, brush teeth etc and by 9 he is yawning. At 9 we say goodnight to the playroom, the kitchen, the living room, the moon, whatever, and go to the bedroom, which has a fan going on high for white noise and is very dark. He nurses, each side, and before he falls asleep I lay him down to sleep. He goes down easily these days

Mind you he isn't sitting still for all of the books/puzzles. Sometimes he jumps up in the middle and climbs over daddy's chair or crawls under the table. I gently remind him to come back and read. Eventually he knows that it's relaxing/chill time and will go with the flow.

Lastly, being consistent really helps. Do a routine for at least a month. Don't give up! It took my LO a very long time to adjust to a new routine, but now he reminds me that it's time to read, bath, etc.! He likes it!

Good luck!
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Old 01-17-2010, 02:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for all the ideas and thoughts. we're moving into a new house over the next couple weeks, once there it will be a good opportunity to create new and consistent routines. even if those routines involve still nursing to sleep most of the time, at least we can work towards a time when it's not necessary. i must admit, i'm pretty bad with routines and sticking to them.

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Old 01-19-2010, 06:43 AM
 
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My ds was just the same at that age too, and your routine was pretty much our routine, down to the times and all (with us perhaps a bit later). I am not a routine person AT ALL, and the thought of having to go through the same procedure for 1 - 2 hours EVERY NIGHT drove me insane. However, I TOTALLY get that you would like some evening time to yourself!

I don't really have much advice, except to say that since ds stopped napping (started dropping the nap just after age 2), his bedtime got much earlier so we finally had some evening time to ourselves. And the time ds would nurse to sleep reduced too - it would sometimes only take 10 minutes for him to conk out at the breast.

Ds is now nearly 4 and still nurses partway to sleep when he indicates he's tired. We USUALLY do it on the bed, because it's more comfy, but sometimes still on the couch. He is also able to go to sleep for dh when I am out of the house - he hasn't ever complained or asked for me, though I get the impression that going to sleep does take longer!

So, just wanted to chime in with the idea that if changing your routine doesn't seem to help much, or you are finding it too difficult to manage, IT WILL GET BETTER by itself! Good luck with your move :-)
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:36 AM
 
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My DD had never gone to sleep without nursing at that age but she started doing it by herself shortly afterwards. By 2.5 she hardly ever nursed to sleep and now at 3.5 she ask occasionally if she's feeling jealous of her little brother, probably less than once a week though and it would be easy to deflect her if I wanted to (I don't really).

grateful Mama to DD May '06 and DS May '09
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:07 PM
 
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I just wanted to add that, in my experience, a bedtime routine doesn't have to be ultra-calm. My son is VERY energetic at bedtime, and our routine is energetic, too. It involves a lot of jumping on the bed--- he jumps so that he lands on his diaper, he jumps into his jammies, and eventually he jumps and lands by the pillow where he sits for us to read him books.

He is still nursing to sleep, but I do hope this routine is adding some flexibility, so that he knows it's bedtime with or without nursing (especially because baby #2 is due any day). He definitely recognizes the routine and looks forward to completing each step.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:38 PM
 
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I had to very slowly start removing my breast from her mouth. First when she was asleep but hadn't been for too long, then when barely asleep, etc...it was a very slow process. Now, when her eyes are closed and she appears to be almost out I tell her we need to take a break and snuggle; she pulls off and leans against my chest.

Single HB mama to 2!
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