Ds is 18 mo. Currently, I put him in a mei tai and nurse while bouncing on an exercise ball to get him to sleep for his naps and bedtime. It usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes. I don't mind this routine, as I do it in front of the computer and browse while we're bouncing. It's sort of a nice break for me sometimes. Once he's out, it's super easy to put him down. He almost never stirs, I just lay him in the bed and walk away.
The books say that babies sleep better if they fall asleep in the same place/way that they sleep at night. Ds wakes pretty consistently 45 minutes after I put him down every night, sometimes naps too, though he usually takes 1.5 hours naps total. He wakes 3-4 more times during the night after that first wake up. When we he wakes, I nurse him back to sleep laying in the bed, which takes 5-10 minutes. I've thought a lot about cutting out the bouncing and teaching him to just go to sleep nursing in bed, but it just seems like so much more work that way! We have a bedtime routine, the last thing we do before bounce is to sit in the rocking chair and read books, but he's usually still pretty energetic after books. It's the bouncing that really makes him sleepy. I'm afraid I'll just have to lay there and nurse while he climbs all over me tweaking my other nipple and I'll get bored and frustrated. I have a lot of things that I just can't do while he's awake waiting for me. I'm sure over time it would get better, but I'm wondering if it will be worth it right now. Did it cut down the night waking for you? I'd love for him to sleep through that first transition, it would give me hope that someday I could put him down and actually go out without having him wake up screaming to a sitter or dh.
I could have written your post, except that my DS is 16 m.o! I'll be anxiously awaiting others' responses.
I also have the issue that DS's antics & noise might wake DD ( 4 y.o.) if I were to try and lay in the bed with him to nurse him to sleep initially. Oh--and sometimes I have to get out of bed in the middle of the night to bounce him back to sleep in the carrier; he has nights where he wakes around 2 or 3 and cannot easily nurse back to sleep!
How's your back? I'm starting to really feel the toll it's taking on me to wear DS on my front.
Set the gearshift for the high gear of your soul
Oh Mama, if I had a routine that was working I wouldn't mess with it. I don't know why nursing him to sleep in bed would make him less likely to wake up anyway. You're nursing him in the carrier, right? So it's not like he's waking up 'cause he's hungry.
Newly Single-Mama. Raising homebirth baby, Josephine, July '09.
We had to do the middle of the night re-bounce almost nightly for nearly 4 months. I was not a happy camper! He would wake up in the middle of the night, nurse actively for a looooong time and then give up and want to play. Some nights he would be up for 4 hours before I could finally get him back to sleep. It's been about 3 weeks since that has happened, and I'm crossing my fingers it doesn't happen again. I think what finally worked for us was to set a consistent wake up time and get outside in the morning to play. I had tried focusing on a consistent bedtime, but that was impossible because he'd be up for hours in the night and sleep in. We've had a couple of longer wakes (an hour or two) since I've been diligent about the wake up time, but we didn't have to get out of bed to bounce! I've also noticed that sometimes he has a hard time going back to sleep in the early morning because his bladder is full and he's not awake enough to pee or he just doesn't want to in his diaper or something. I keep a little potty by the bed and sit him on it for a minute if I suspect his bladder is what's bothering him. He's usually pretty cranky about it, and sometimes I have to nurse him while he's sitting there to get him to relax enough to pee, but it does seem to help after he goes. My back seems fine, but I was getting pretty sore during those months of horrible night waking, sometimes I'd have to bounce for an hour before I could get him back to sleep in the middle of the night. Anyway....
Today for his nap, I bounced like normal, except I moved to the bed as soon as I noticed he was lightly sleeping. He woke up when I put him down, as I knew he would, but he was so close to sleep that it only took a minute of nursing in the bed before I could sneak off. He slept until he was all the way done napping. Maybe that little wake up was enough to get him used to being in the bed so he wasn't startled by where he was when he was transitioning into his next sleep cycle? I'm going to try it again tonight and see how it goes.
I'd still love to hear other's experience.
I also could've written your post! :) My DD is 17 1/2 mos. and we are still doing a similar sling/exercise ball-bounce routine for naps and bedtime. The only difference is that I can't put DD down once she's asleep in the sling as she just pops her little eyes open instantly and I can't nurse her back to sleep. So I currently hold her for 2 naps a day, the morning one about an hour and a half and the afternoon about 40 min. For "bedtime" she sleeps in her sling for about 2 hours until she starts to stir and then I go to bed at that time (she also stirs at the 40 minute mark so I stay on the ball until then so I can bounce her back to sleep). For some reason at the 2 hour mark she's deeply sleep enough that I can lay down with her and nurse her and she falls asleep. And I hear you on the nighttime bouncing back to sleep, although (knock on wood), that hasn't happened for awhile. For DD that only happened when she was on the cusp of some new developmental milestone and then things would go back to normal.
Is your DS on 1 nap or 2 during the day? I've been thinking of taking DD down to 1 nap as we traveled recently and due to the travel schedule for a few days she only did 1 longer nap and she did just fine with it. I've noticed that she's a lot sleepier and will nearly fall asleep on the boob (not like her, typically) when she's been up longer - but not so long that she's wired/over-tired. So I've been pondering swapping her over to 1 nap and trying to start laying down with her to get her to sleep for her day nap and the time before bed. Since she's only fallen asleep on the boob a handful of times I don't have a lot to go on, but my worry with that is that a) like you - it may take forever and b) once she is asleep on the boob it's a challenge to get my boob back without waking her up, lol.
I have a gf who started something similar with her DD recently and she says she lays down to get her babe to sleep sometimes up to 45 min at night. I guess if that will eventually buy me an hour "to myself" at night it will be worth it, but I, too, am somewhat hesitant to rock the boat since our routine is so easy currently...
I will be checking in to see what others write! Good luck! :)
Just an update, for those of you in the same boat.
We are still bouncing, but I changed our routine up to try and start cutting it out. I moved from bouncing in front of the computer to bouncing in the dark bedroom at bedtime. I am also laying him down sooner, when his eyes are closed, but before he's totally out, he's usually still humming or twiddling when we go lay down on the bed. For naps I've stayed at the computer, I figure it's light in the bedroom then too anyway. I am making sure I lay him down before he's comatose though, instead of trying to finish the thread I'm reading! For my sanity and patience, I had dh take over the last step of the bedtime routine before the bounce (reading books) so I can have a couple minutes to center myself and prepare so I'm not so easily frustrated if he takes a long time to go out. During this time, I grab my ipod, set it to play a good audio book or some podcasts quietly, and string the earbuds under my shirt in the back. I clip my player to my back waistband. DS loves to play with my ipod, but if I'm sneaky about it like this, and only put one earbud in after the lights have gone out and he can't see, then he doesn't notice it's there. It really helps to have a little something to entertain me.
Since I'm laying him down before he's hard asleep, I expect to have to nurse him in the bed some before I can leave. There have been a couple times I haven't had to, to my delight. I tried laying him down earlier a couple of months ago, and it didn't work at all then! He would be so sleepy, I'd lay him down and nurse him, and he'd get all frustrated and wake himself up and then I'd have to bounce him again for 3 times as long as he normally needed. The only things that are different this time is that he's not quite so sleep starved since I've gotten him on a more consistent bed and wake time, and that I'm bouncing in the bedroom, so there isn't as much travel needed to get him into the bed.
The other thing that I've changed about our routine is that I have started unlatching him sooner while he is falling asleep. I've been using the Pantley Pull Off method to get him to not need to nurse while he is asleep for a long time, but I hadn't pushed the unlatch sooner for a while. My new general rule is, once he takes 3 slow sleepy breaths in a row without suckling at all I unlatch. If he stirs and reaches out for the nipple I relatch him, but as soon as he does 3 breaths together we unlatch. He's adjusted to it well, and will sometimes unlatch himself now when he's ready to settle all the way to sleep. I don't unlatch him while we're on the ball, only after I've laid him down in the bed.
It's been a couple of weeks, and DS has slept a 3 or 4 hour stretch at the beginning of the night almost every night since we started! There have even been one or two nights that he's only woken up twice the whole night! It's a huge step forward for us. Last night dh and I had a nice leisurely valentine's dessert and uh, celebration , and I didn't have to run to settle ds again once! He's also not usually waking up in the middle of his nap anymore either.
I think I'll push up our unlatch again in a couple of weeks, as a step toward night weaning and hopefully even more sleep. As for the bouncing, for now I think I'm happy to have it as it is. I may try and slowly cut down the time we spend on the ball, it's usually about 20 minutes now, but I'm so excited to have things so much better, I almost don't feel the need to push it right now. Good luck to all!
Thanks so much for that update!! It is totally inspiring - and congrats to you!!! Your V-Day celebration sounds especially fabulous!
You are definitely motivating me to start seeing if this is the time for us to make some changes as well. Thanks for all the great ideas!!