Alex is only 7.5 months, so this isn't an immediate issue. But after an epic session of nursing to sleep tonight (he's about to crawl, and would really prefer to be practicing his all-fours rock than actually sleeping ), DP surprised me by asking (to be clear, not advocating for) when we'll start letting him cry himself to sleep. Um, never, was my answer.
But what she's really asking is how/when we might expect that we could lay him down after a nice bedtime routine (even one that includes some nursing), and he'll drift off.
And I have no clue what the answer is. What are your experiences in evolving from nursing an infant to sleep, to an older toddler/baby independently falling asleep at night (in the family bed or otherwise)? We currently co-sleep, and plan to for 'as long as it works,' which could easily be another year or two (once he's asleep, it's awesome - barely wakes me to nurse once or twice a night, and otherwise sleeps through to the morning).
Does this mean I'll be spending an hour nursing him to sleep every night for the next 600 nights??!!?? Does this sort of thing evolve when you night wean? Or perhaps when they're verbal, and you can talk about how mama's going to tuck him in, but she won't be joining you to sleep quite yet?
Sounds like we have very different babies - my DD didn't start sleeping like yours until she was around 2 years old - but I'll share my experience.
Around when she was 9 months old, we put her on her own mattress, which was pushed up against my side of the bed. She was trying to walk and way too hard to sleep in our queen with. This allowed her to still be right next to me, but for me to have my own covers and for her to have alittle more room to roll around.
She is now 27 months old and we are still BFing (only a couple of times in the morning and in the evening). Sometime around 18 months she started to go to sleep after nursing, instead of on the boob. It was only once or twice every so often to begin with, but around 20 or 21 months it started being more. Now it's she only falls asleep on the boob if she is exhausted and it's by accident.
But I have to say, the usual bedtime reading books, nursing and then snuggling down to sleep is way more time consuming than nursing her to sleep was... sometimes it takes her 45 minutes to an hour to fall asleep. And we're not at the point where I can leave the room, so I lie there with her in the dark...be careful what you wish for. These days I am thankful when she falls asleep on the boob, because it usually happens within 10 minutes.
I don't think there's a clear answer here - which is probably not at all what you wanted to hear! I only have two kids, but can tell you that they are like chalk and cheese when it comes to bedtime and sleep routines. I'm convinced you can shape a good part of this experience with your children, but also that they come with their own personalities and proclivities already hard-wired.
DS1 would ONLY nurse to sleep...until he was 4. (Yeah, you read that right.) We co-slept exclusively until he was 4.5, when we moved into a bigger place and he got his own room. We splurged on his dream set of bunk beds thinking he'd be all excited about sleeping on his own, but the truth is that he's almost 7 and I can count on one hand the number of nights he's gone the whole night in his own bed. We finally realized we could either work with him on falling asleep on his own, or sleeping in his own bed, but not both at the same time - and we chose falling asleep on his own, because we were tired of never having any downtime as parents when we were both awake! So he falls asleep in our bed, but he does it on his own. This started, reliably, sometime after he turned 6.
DS2 (14 mos.) loves nursing, but doesn't need to nurse to fall asleep. He does require his little routine: books, nursing or bottle in the rocking chair, then either rocking while resting on Mommy's chest or Daddy pacing with DS2 on his chest/shoulder. We can put him down in his crib when he is quite sleepy but not all the way there, and if he is sufficiently relaxed, he'll drift off on his own. He does generally wake around 3 hours later and I just bring him in bed with me and nurse and we fall asleep together, but for naps and initial bedtime, he'll go on his own. He's been like this since birth.
having the same issue...anyone out there with answers????/
my baby is 12 months. i want to wean but i know he does not have skill to fall asleep on his own cause i nurse to sleep. will i be nursing to sleep for the next year?
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
So like another pp stated, you then have to find something else that works, that may or may not take even longer than nursing to sleep.