HELP! My 15 month old son doesnt sleep! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 39 Old 03-08-2013, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, I am looking for advice. I have a VERY stubborn son who is 15 months old. He still needs to nurse to sleep, wakes up 4 times a night and will only nap if I drive him around. Its crazy and I am ready to break the cycle.

I have been trying to decide whether to use the Ferber method or the sleep shuffle. My son hates to go in his crib when he is awake so I know either method is going to be tough. I have tried the Ferber method before and he just throws up after only a couple minutes. I am worried though that if I sit in his room by his crib he will just freak out even more than I am not picking him up. Any suggestions? I need some sleep too!!

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#2 of 39 Old 03-08-2013, 04:15 PM
 
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See my thread on this board "8 months and hard nights". I am currently reading "The No Cry Sleep Solution" and I'm finding some really good advice. My son will also start gasping for air if he cries more than 5 minutes or so, so I feel your pain. 

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#3 of 39 Old 03-08-2013, 05:58 PM
 
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My 2 year old (almost 3) never slept more than 2 or 3 hours in a row in her entire life until we did allergy testing recently and discovered she is allergic to milk.  Eliminated all casein, and she now sleeps.  It's miraculous!!  She also gagged and threw up easily, and had a lot of gas and constipation.  Those were the only symptoms besides not sleeping ever. (As a newborn her poop looked totally normal!) I feel so bad that I didn't realize she had an allergy sooner.  This may not be the case with your kiddo, but it doesn't hurt to consider it just in case!  


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#4 of 39 Old 03-08-2013, 06:45 PM
 
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Time can change everything, and sometimes you just need to wait out a particularly rough stage.

 

The way I look at it, is that I choose to be a parent and therefore choose to not get very much sleep for the first 2 years of each child's life.

 

You can push through this and find ways to cope and change things up so that you don't need to leave your baby to cry.  IT sounds like you know in your heart it is not the right solution.

 

Also, I would consider a 15 month old nursing to sleep and needing to be settled back to sleep 4 times throughout the night to be completely in the range of normal.  

 

One of my children I had to hold through his naps (or car nap) from about 12 months to 22 months (because he would wake if I tried to transfer him.)  And I'm happy we're past it, but I absolutely don't regret the time I spent on the couch holding him.

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#5 of 39 Old 03-08-2013, 08:40 PM
 
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Another voice for it's definitely normal - tough, for sure, but totally normal! hug.gif

 

In fact, I think it's great that you know what will help him sleep, what works - these boards are full of parents trying to figure it out.  I'm not in your shoes, so I don't know how rough the sleep deprivation is on you, but it certainly sounds like training methods are really rough on your lil one.

 

Is there any other compromise?  Can you sleep in his room, or move him closer to you (in your room, or even bed)?  Could you nap while he naps? Can anyone watch him another part of the day so you can nap?  Have you tried a bedtime snack to see if it would help him sleep longer?  What is your current routine like when he wakes at night?

 

I know it seems crazy, and may be different compared to other babies you know that were sleep trained - but each kid is unique, and you know his needs best.  If he's getting that upset, I would worry I was setting him up for some of the problems of CIO techniques - depression and anxiety later in life.  You've listened to his needs and made it this far, which is awesome!  I hope you can find some kind of compromise that helps the both of you keep going!  He won't be little forever. stillheart.gif


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#6 of 39 Old 03-10-2013, 09:15 AM
 
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Hi there as a mom of two and an early intervention person for 20 years Just a quick piece of my experience....When babies fall asleep in their moms arms or any other way they need that when they roll around and wake slightly....He will wake when he hasn't rested fully....So when he is eating and he starts to get drowsy put him down you can go in and rub his back but the end result is that he puts himself to sleep....you can go in his room as many times as you want just dont pick him up.  It may take a long time but he will get this in a few days they may be hard for you but great for him in the long run.   Putting himself to sleep is his first independent milestone and it will make him a happier and more resilient baby.  I know he seems really sad when you put him down but really he is mad he just wants the way he is use to You can change that and its for his benefit.  Message me with questions You can do this because I can tell you are a strong person!!  

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#7 of 39 Old 03-10-2013, 03:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chrissy collins View Post
Putting himself to sleep is his first independent milestone and it will make him a happier and more resilient baby.  I know he seems really sad when you put him down but really he is mad he just wants the way he is use to You can change that and its for his benefit.  Message me with questions You can do this because I can tell you are a strong person!!  

 

It is actually being proven that babies who are held more and not left to cry become happier, more independent adults.  Before touting cry-it-out, please research the current facts.

 

IT does not take a strong person to leave a baby to cry.  IT takes a strong person to meet their babies needs even when it is very hard.


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#8 of 39 Old 03-10-2013, 04:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chrissy collins View Post

Hi there as a mom of two and an early intervention person for 20 years Just a quick piece of my experience....When babies fall asleep in their moms arms or any other way they need that when they roll around and wake slightly....He will wake when he hasn't rested fully....So when he is eating and he starts to get drowsy put him down you can go in and rub his back but the end result is that he puts himself to sleep....you can go in his room as many times as you want just dont pick him up.  It may take a long time but he will get this in a few days they may be hard for you but great for him in the long run.   Putting himself to sleep is his first independent milestone and it will make him a happier and more resilient baby.  I know he seems really sad when you put him down but really he is mad he just wants the way he is use to You can change that and its for his benefit.  Message me with questions You can do this because I can tell you are a strong person!!  

I respectfully disagree. My 23 month old is just now getting comfortable with falling asleep with me cuddling her instead of nursing her. Putting her down drowsy but awake never worked and I tried! She wasn't angry, she was afraid and couldn't relax without being held. She would go from practically asleep to crying hysterically, needing the physical contact. She now understands "mommy will be right back" and will wait patiently for me to use the bathroom without crying. Even a few weeks ago she would be beside herself if I left her room while she was awake. It takes more work to get her to sleep but it's worth it to know she feels safe and secure and trusts me to come to her when she needs me.
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#9 of 39 Old 03-10-2013, 10:30 PM
 
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Hi mjt80,

It sounds like you have gotten lots of good and varied advice already. I know the feeling of needing sleep and I hope you find something that works for you very soon!

As a general reminder mothering does not allow discussion on "harsh sleep training" including methods which advocate "crying it out". Our user agreement can be found here: http://www.mothering.com/community/a/user-agreement please feel free to contact myself or another forum mod if there are any questions.

I think mjt80 you need to listen to what your heart feels is best and go with that.

Would putting your child to sleep on a mattress on the floor where you can lay down and snooze with them for a bit until you can sneak away work?
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#10 of 39 Old 03-11-2013, 06:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by goldingoddess View Post

Time can change everything, and sometimes you just need to wait out a particularly rough stage.

 

The way I look at it, is that I choose to be a parent and therefore choose to not get very much sleep for the first 2 years of each child's life.

 

You can push through this and find ways to cope and change things up so that you don't need to leave your baby to cry.  IT sounds like you know in your heart it is not the right solution.

 

Also, I would consider a 15 month old nursing to sleep and needing to be settled back to sleep 4 times throughout the night to be completely in the range of normal.  

 

One of my children I had to hold through his naps (or car nap) from about 12 months to 22 months (because he would wake if I tried to transfer him.)  And I'm happy we're past it, but I absolutely don't regret the time I spent on the couch holding him.

 

I really like what you had to say, it definitely resonates with me, I also have a 13 month old who also wakes 3-4 times a night and usually only nurses to sleep (but in the last month he is sometimes settling back without nursing, woo!) and he also only naps in the car or if he is being held. I am wondering though, how did you get him to nap without being held? we are usually able to get a good nap in holding him, but my sister sometimes watches him too and she has 4 other kids to take care of so he just won't nap when she has him. I don't know what I can do!

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#11 of 39 Old 03-11-2013, 07:05 PM
 
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As a mother of three I can totally relate. From what you describe it sounds totally normal, though.

As a random thought: have you tried elevating his head? My little girl sleeps much better with a safe pillow under her head. That is, if I can transition her from my lap to her bed LOL. As for transitioning, try gently pressing his chest with you hand for a few second when he begins to fuss. That sometimes helps them settle back to sleep somehow. Sometimes.

:)

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#12 of 39 Old 03-12-2013, 04:56 PM
 
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I have  few things you can try that worked for us.  I found that after (our) dinner came tubby time (and ,yes, he came to the table in his carrier, just didn't eat but we wanted him integrated into the family from the beginning), followed by some cuddling and j&j lotion (basically a massage with a smell), then a bottle (you may choose to nurse, I just moved them to a bottle as soon as possible), dressing in a clean nightie, put down in clean sheets with Raggedy Andy (a very happy companion) with lots of good nights from the rest of the children and mommy and daddy, then lights out.  It's the routine you set for bedtime.  Yours may be different, but set a routine.  For nap time I put that last one on the couch after lunch with the Flintstones and he was off to sleep very quickly.  No clue what it was with the Flintstones but it worked.  Your results may vary, just be consistent. 
 

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#13 of 39 Old 03-16-2013, 06:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by goldingoddess View Post

It is actually being proven that babies who are held more and not left to cry become happier, more independent adults.  Before touting cry-it-out, please research the current facts.

IT does not take a strong person to leave a baby to cry.  IT takes a strong person to meet their babies needs even when it is very hard.
I didn't think chrissy was touting crying it out as I read it.....I definitely don't agree w that either. but at a certain point, after a reading, rocking, nursing routine, I did encourage my older babies to fall asleep next to me, or in their bed while I stayed next to them, rubbing their backs and soothing them but not rocking/nursing for that final drift off into sleep. It was gentle and gradual, but by them actually falling asleep without a prop they eventually were able to resettle when they woke during the night. Not an instant solution but moving on the right direction. Just a thought that maybe that's what she meant?
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#14 of 39 Old 03-17-2013, 07:23 AM
 
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While a 15 month old waking four times in the night might be normal, it also sounds like it's not sustainable for this particular mama.  Just like all babies are different, all mamas are different in their abilities to cope with prolonged sleep deprivation.  I cannot handle that kind of night waking.  I'm a zombie and it makes me a bad mother during the day.  I also have an intellectually demanding job, so being sleep deprived for 2 years at a time is simply not an option.  Our 7 month old is sleeping pretty much through the night thanks in part to the No Cry Sleep Solution but also to my working very hard to teach my daughter about nighttime activities and what sleep is. 

 

One of the things I like about Pantley's approach in the NCSS is that she asks the reader to assess whether her child's sleeping patterns are really a problem or are just a problem because people are making comments about it.  For some mamas, nursing multiple times a night is no problem at all.  For other mamas, it's torture.

 

The OP reached out because she's frustrated enough that she is debating Ferberizing her child.  Telling her that it's normal for kids to wake this often is obviously not the right answer for this particular mama.  In my opinion though, the Ferber method and any other CIO method is not the right answer for any child.  But there are middle grounds to be found.  I personally liked the NCSS and Pantley's gentle methods.  Other people have have success with the Sleep Sense approach.  There must be other gentle methods folks around here can recommend that don't involve simply saying "suck it up".  I hope the OP finds some rest soon!  Good luck.


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#15 of 39 Old 03-17-2013, 07:49 AM
 
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The OP may be feeling her child's behavior is wrong, and learning that it is normal may help her feel better and make different choices.

OP, it is normal for a 15 month old to need to be close to a parent to sleep. And indepent adults is the ultimate goal of parenting,which can be achieved through comforting and supporting our children when they are very young. I know, because my son is now a very determined and independent teen, even though he needed me during the night when he was small. I hope you find a solution that works well for you and your child. No one else matters in this situation.
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#16 of 39 Old 03-17-2013, 09:04 AM
 
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The OP may be feeling her child's behavior is wrong, and learning that it is normal may help her feel better and make different choices.

 

pek64, I understand that's the case for many new mothers who may not know that clusterfeeding, for example, is normal in newborns.  However, the OP asked for help and ended her post with a plea for more sleep.  I think it's important to look at what mothers need to be the best mothers they can be.  If she had said that she didn't mind waking up that much but that other people were pressuring her, I could understand posts saying that it's normal and that she's fine.  But in this case it sounds like her son's sleep patterns are unsustainable for both of them.


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#17 of 39 Old 03-17-2013, 09:15 AM
 
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pek64, I understand that's the case for many new mothers who may not know that clusterfeeding, for example, is normal in newborns.  However, the OP asked for help and ended her post with a plea for more sleep.  I think it's important to look at what mothers need to be the best mothers they can be.  If she had said that she didn't mind waking up that much but that other people were pressuring her, I could understand posts saying that it's normal and that she's fine.  But in this case it sounds like her son's sleep patterns are unsustainable for both of them.

It also sounds as though she is trying to get her child to quit nursing to sleep, and nursing to sleep at this age is normal behavior. If she returns to allowing nursing to sleep, the situation may be sustainable. In any event, we need to hear from the OP about what is going on, what she is doing, why she has made the choices she made, and what are her goals.
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#18 of 39 Old 03-17-2013, 09:26 AM
 
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In any event, we need to hear from the OP about what is going on, what she is doing, why she has made the choices she made, and what are her goals.

That was my point.   Glad we agree.


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#19 of 39 Old 03-18-2013, 08:27 AM
 
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Hearing more from the OP would be immensely helpful.  It is certainly true that a mother's needs are important - but so are a child's.  I think letting someone know this is normal is less about "suck it up" and more about reframing expectations.  A shift in perspective can go a long way to lightening burdens. It is also simply about building understanding.  Every mother has to decide the right balance for her of her child's needs vs. her own.  The first step to getting there, IMO, is understanding that while this may seem "crazy" (and we don't know if that is coming exclusively from its impact on her life or how much it might be influenced by her perceptions, conversations with other mothers, etc.) - it is actually normal, and is a legitimate need for her child - not manipulation or out-of-control behavior or a developmental aberration.  

 

Only when you have a clear picture of the two needs you are balancing, and why they are BOTH valid, can you move forward to find a successful solution for both parties.


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#20 of 39 Old 03-19-2013, 02:05 AM
 
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I agree each baby is different and every situation is too, which is why some moms really work from the get go to get baby to sleep through the night b/c of work etc. The Ferber guy was on THE DOCTORS and basically he doesn't stand by the method anymore b/c when babies cry out in stress for 15 mins- that causes the stress/ toxic hormone release. Dr. Sears stated that distressed babies go into a toxic state which is unhealthy and they won't sleep usually.

 

My LO is 18mos and still wakes up to nurse about 2 times a night. Sleep was always a struggle but getting better.

 

I was told to never let baby sleep more than 2 hrs that 1 hr was best. Let baby sleep on own by self soothing..leaving toys in crib, music etc....none of it worked. I was also told that swings were better than a rocking chair and use a bassinet b/c of nursing.

 

Well at 6 mos I got a mini crib that rocked, against all the objections from family that it would be a waste of $ (b/c amazon has great return policy). The mini crib got us started towards better nights....wish I had gotten it instead of bassinet b/c I am STILL using it since it goes thru doorways easily when moved thru out the house. Baby still fits. I got the mama wonder bumpers that wrap around the crib rails which I think are brilliant (you tube shows DIY videos for those on budget). Finally at 14mos I got a Dutailier gliding chair thru Costco b/c awesome returns BUT it has been the MAGIC GODSEND b/c LO now just nurses to sleep so easily while Mozart/ classical music for baby plays on Ipod/ CD player- got baby classical music on amazon. I also got Munchkin Nursery Projector & Sound System but keep it for the projector since it has timer options 15,30,60 mins AND a voice activation button so when LO cries projector turns on (15 mins for me since that is what I leave it on) again- amazon b/c easier to return. The projector on voice activation is great b/c LO cries out gently now upon waking since projector lights up the dark room and baby can see everything. LO is VERY comforted by that light w/ the animals twirling above on ceiling. B/F the projector LO would wake up screaming/ scared obviously.

 

I now have my LO napping around 1:30PM-2:30PM and let the baby wake-up on own. Now baby's avg nap time is 2 hrs...sometimes little more and sometimes a little less. When LO falls asleep and wakes-up on own (W/O us waking the baby up) we find LO falls asleep more easily, sleeps more soundly, at night the stretches are getting longer & now avg closer to 6hrs b/f waking that 1st time to nurse. Better napping has resulted in better sleep at night! I rock & nurse baby to sleep for naps and at night in the glider and then transfer baby to mini crib. Occasionally we push LO in stroller around the block for naps.

 

If LO fights sleep at night or at nap time and it is obvious LO is tired b/c yawning & eye rubbing then I do put LO in crib- talking w/ soothing tones that is sleep time, have music on, & put projector on for 15 mins w/ voice activation on and I allow her to cry BUT I MONITOR her crying. I make sure that the crying is NOT intensifying and that there are pauses b/c there are occasional outcries after silence but I know my LO is waking back up/ trying to stay awake w/ the outburst, and then usually gets quiet again. If LO is not calming down after 4-5 mins then I go back to check diaper, nurse again while rocking, and try again for LO to fall asleep while nursing. Usually if I have to place LO back in crib the 2nd time then after 4-5 mins cries subside and baby is asleep.

Dr. Sears/ The Doctors Show said 8-10mins if crying is subsiding i.e. they wake up cry hard and then silence cry again then pauses/ silence but baby is asleep in 8-10 mins otherwise go get baby.

 

I think parents need to do lots of trial and error b/c once we let LO set own napping guidelines then night sleep got better.
 

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#21 of 39 Old 03-20-2013, 10:03 AM
 
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There is no normal. It's JUST as normal for a 15 month old to "get it" and sleep through the night (like my daughter did) than it is for one to NOT get it and be troubled with sleeping and such. Case in point: my DS is a HORRIBLE sleeper and has been since birth. Wakes up every 2 hours at night, sleeps 10-20 minute naps once -maybe- twice a day. My nephew was born 16 days after my son and my sister has to set an alarm to wake up to feed him at night. He will sleep ALL night if left be. AND he takes several hour long naps during the day.

 

I think that mom's mental health is so important and if she needs to try everything under the sun to see if it works (including CIO) that's so much better than suffering silently because her kid can't figure out how to sleep yet.

 

And to the poster who said that people who use CIO have depressed and angry kids, seriously....almost all of us were taught how to sleep using CIO since the dawn of time. I'm willing to bet the person who said that above was, too.

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#22 of 39 Old 03-20-2013, 10:20 AM
 
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#23 of 39 Old 03-21-2013, 01:26 PM
 
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Hi All, please keep the following in mind:

As a general reminder mothering does not allow discussion on "harsh sleep training" including methods which advocate "crying it out". Our user agreement can be found here: http://www.mothering.com/community/a/user-agreement please feel free to contact myself or another forum mod if there are any questions.

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#24 of 39 Old 03-21-2013, 05:10 PM
 
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There is no normal. It's JUST as normal for a 15 month old to "get it" and sleep through the night (like my daughter did) than it is for one to NOT get it and be troubled with sleeping and such. Case in point: my DS is a HORRIBLE sleeper and has been since birth. Wakes up every 2 hours at night, sleeps 10-20 minute naps once -maybe- twice a day. My nephew was born 16 days after my son and my sister has to set an alarm to wake up to feed him at night. He will sleep ALL night if left be. AND he takes several hour long naps during the day.

I think that mom's mental health is so important and if she needs to try everything under the sun to see if it works (including CIO) that's so much better than suffering silently because her kid can't figure out how to sleep yet.

And to the poster who said that people who use CIO have depressed and angry kids, seriously....almost all of us were taught how to sleep using CIO since the dawn of time. I'm willing to bet the person who said that above was, too.

You sound ..... angry.
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#25 of 39 Old 03-21-2013, 08:53 PM
 
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Maybe more desperate than angry. And tired of hearing/reading the gentle gentle talk that you can find everywhere on mothering.com. But then, she doesn't have to read it either.


French Canadian living in the Big Easy. Happy mama to Jaxson Lee born on 9/16/12 and loving wife to Denis Lee since 11/03/11

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#26 of 39 Old 03-21-2013, 09:34 PM
 
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My ds1 was waking every 2hrs at 14 mths, I was and still am very much an attachment parent but just wasnt able to function on broken up sleep for any more than 14 mths so, at 15 mths I decided to stop feeding him during the night. I still nursed him to sleep for naps, at night and as soon as he woke in the morning but during the night, when he wanted to nurse, I started to tell him that there was no milk till morning but that we could cuddle. I would rub his back, cuddle him, lay my hand on him, whatever seemed to calm him most till he fell asleep again. I stayed with him and explained what was happening.
At 15 months small folk should be able to understand 'no milk' so you shouldn't need to leave him to cry without an explanation.
Anyway, I digress, after the first week ds1 was waking up less and easier to get back to sleep and after two weeks he was mostly sleeping through or waking up only once. He also became much more interested in eating food during the day after he stopped nursing all night, although I nursed him whenever he wanted during the day.
I felt that for me it was important that he heard the no milk thing from me as I didn't want him to suddenly be deprived of milk, AND his mum. I do know people who have used his type of approach and the dad has been the one to say 'no milk' but that just didnt work for me.
Anyway, for us, it worked really well and within a month I started to feel like myself again.
I generally find in my parenting experience, once i decide to do something, really decide mind you, not just trying out. It happens quickly and fairly easily. Good luck with your decision, either way, I hope you get some sleep soon!
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#27 of 39 Old 03-21-2013, 10:51 PM
 
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Reading this thread makes me feel sick to see what mothering.com has allowed itself to turn into.  It use to be a haven for those of us that raise our children gently and instinctively. and a resource and a support place for those inspired to move in that direction.  Now it is just like every other forum where people are allowed to discuss and advocate their harsh treatment of their own children.  I will no longer lend my time and experience through posting here.  I really miss the old mothering.com.  What is the alternative forum now that mothering.com has lost it's gentle instinctive parenting focus?


Julia, mama to Bumpa 2008, and The Mole 2011

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#28 of 39 Old 03-21-2013, 11:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by goldingoddess View Post

Reading this thread makes me feel sick to see what mothering.com has allowed itself to turn into.  It use to be a haven for those of us that raise our children gently and instinctively. and a resource and a support place for those inspired to move in that direction.  Now it is just like every other forum where people are allowed to discuss and advocate their harsh treatment of their own children.  I will no longer lend my time and experience through posting here.  I really miss the old mothering.com.  What is the alternative forum now that mothering.com has lost it's gentle instinctive parenting focus?


If you go, you are handing mothering over to those who advocate harshness.
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#29 of 39 Old 03-21-2013, 11:25 PM
 
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Maybe more desperate than angry. And tired of hearing/reading the gentle gentle talk that you can find everywhere on mothering.com. But then, she doesn't have to read it either.

Why post here if you are looking for different advice?
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#30 of 39 Old 03-22-2013, 12:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by goldingoddess View Post

Reading this thread makes me feel sick to see what mothering.com has allowed itself to turn into.  It use to be a haven for those of us that raise our children gently and instinctively. and a resource and a support place for those inspired to move in that direction.  Now it is just like every other forum where people are allowed to discuss and advocate their harsh treatment of their own children.  I will no longer lend my time and experience through posting here.  I really miss the old mothering.com.  What is the alternative forum now that mothering.com has lost it's gentle instinctive parenting focus?
My experience has been that moderators step in quickly when someone advocates harsh methods. It works better though if we alert them to potential issues by flagging such posts. Most of the advice I've read and gotten has been about gentle methods and I feel supported in my choices to AP and use gentle techniques. I'm sorry your experience hasn't been positive. I'm sure many mamas could benefit from your support if you decide to stay hug.gif
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