I'm looking for some hope here.
For the past 3 nights my DS has fallen asleep without nursing. It was my suggestion as I felt that it was the next step for us. Up until 22months my DS was an all night nurser. We weaned gently then using the Sally Weans from Night Nursing book and he started to sleep in 2-3hour blocks and settled back easily with my touch. He did start waking before 6am though and still wakes that early in anticipation of nursing.
So ... I better get to the point ... The past 3 nights my son has been taking between 60-90minutes to fall asleep, and that is after our usual pre-bed & bath routine. Can anyone tell me whether this will improve sooner?
During that long transition to sleep, I'm lying beside my son, in the dark, telling him stories from my head. I have a limit of 6 stories and then we try to sleep. I'm just hoping the length of time shortens... Will it???
My DS sometimes takes a very long time to fall asleep. I find myself wishing I could just close the door and leave him alone to sleep when he will, like non-AP friends do, but it's not the path we've chosen! So usually on these nights I pretend to fall asleep, too (or I really DO fall asleep). It seems to cue him to shut things down. It sucks because it means I miss out on a bit of time for myself, but I try to think of it as an exercise in being present. Other times I just get really frustrated and switch out with DH.
Hope this helps. Congrats on the night weaning, by the way! I wish we were there, too.
How old is your DS?
I wonder if by my goal to make bedtime a peaceful and pleasant experience for my son in the hope of creating positive associations with bedtime .... if maybe I'm a bit soft? Don't get me wrong, I have no problem setting boundaries when necessary, but I do believe in choosing my battles. I decided to embrace his sleep needs at 16 weeks due to absolute exhaustion trying to tend to him in a cot.
Last night I sort of snapped and after over an hour of my son chatting away to himself and starting to get restless again I threatened to sleep in another room if he didn't go to sleep. I hate that I made that/any threat. Yes it worked but it's not how I like to parent.
Sorry for the rant ladies. This is just really frustrating. After 19 days, DS has only once fallen asleep sort of easily. I think I'm also bothered the fact that he isn't sleeping in more consolidated blocks or longer like what is often promised if you stop nursing to sleep. 😁
Maybe we could look at this another way. Is your little guy still taking naps? If so, what time and how long?
A late afternoon nap for 1-2 hours can really throw things off for some toddlers so that they won't want to sleep until 10-11pm. One thought is that he may be ready to give up naps entirely. It's a young age for that, but it's not impossible for some kids. (One of mine was still voluntarily napping in kindergarten. Kids are all different). If you don't think this is the case, or you don't feel ready to give up naptime completely yet, there's another strategy.
This may be painful if you like to wake up early and enjoy some solitude. . . but get up really early and get him up with you. If he's like my DS, he'll be crabby and surly, (you too, if you're not a morning person ) But this may help ensure a morning nap around 10 or 11. Keep that nap no longer than an hour, then spend the afternoon exercising the little darling, maybe at a walk or a trip to the park if the weather is nice where you are. If you let him watch TV, make sure there's no screen time in the evening because that can also rile kids up.
I just think if you can wear him out a reasonable amount, bedtime might be a more peaceful experience. As a third-time mom, I've finally learned that bedtime anxiety is less about finding the perfect night-time ritual and more about manipulating their little sleep cycles.
I'm sure it will get better (look at it this way - I don't think he's going to be still expecting you to lie down with him for an hour and a half when he's a teenager!). However, if you're feeling frustrated now, there's no reason you shouldn't at least try to work towards getting him to fall asleep on his own, since the frustrating thing for you isn't how long he takes to fall asleep but having to spend all that time with him while he's doing it.
A pretty gentle way to do it is to tell him you're just going to nip out for a minute and for him to stay there. Then, do literally that - just pop out for a minute, or even less. Short enough timespan that he hopefully will stay there and not get upset or come looking for you. Do this regularly, so that he starts getting used to the idea of you being out of the room and not being there the whole time. Then, start gradually lengthening it to a few minutes at a time, which has the advantage of letting you get a job or two done while you're at it, but keep coming back to sit with him so that he knows you're always coming back. Take it at whatever pace he seems OK coping with, and just increase the amount of time you can spend out of the room.
If he gets frightened with you being out of the room just for that brief period of time, you could check the Aha! Parenting site - I'm just reading 'Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids', and there's some good stuff in Chapter 3 about dealing with kids who don't want you being out of the room at all, so there's probably something on her site (or you could get the book).
An alternative is to gradually increase the amount of distance you put between you and him - move to sitting next to the bed, then to sitting across the room, then to sitting outside the door. I found that worked well with DD when she was a bit older, but I think I remember reading from parents with children the age of your DS that that often just prompts them to get up and come over to you rather than staying in bed. As with most things, it's a case of trial and error and seeing what works. However, if you don't want to spend an hour and a half every night helping him get to sleep, I think it's perfectly reasonable to find some gentle way of teaching him to get to sleep on his own rather than feeling you have to do it for however long he wants.
It just took time for him to adjust to falling asleep without nursing. I also find that a nap close to 12am suits his bed routine better, starting the pre-bed routine 15 mins earlier, and getting outside lots during the day has really helped too.
Thanks Eimer24, our prebed routine is generally as low key in terms as light and stimulation as we can get it... Although my DS is all about pre-bath running and jumping these days.