We co-sleep (my hubby, 21 month old DD, and me) and we are having horrible sleep problems with our daughter. She doesn't want to nap by herself and I generally end up nursing her to sleep every day and then have to hold her while she takes her nap. If I try to put her down, she wakes up. I'd like to get her to sleep on her own.
At night, she still nurses 5-6 times and it's starting to drive me batty. I don't mind her nursing a couple times but if she wakes herself up she has to nurse back to sleep to get herself to sleep again.
Ideally I'd love if she would go to sleep in her toddler bed for naps by herself so I can get stuff done! Generally she naps about 12:30-1:30 or so, goes to bed about 9pm, and wakes between 9am-9:30am.
Any tips? I'm at a loss here :(
At 21 months, she could be old enough to be told that she can have stories at nap time. I would read my babies a story just over their head a bit and a little boring, and they would fall right to sleep around that age. In terms of night time, we would talk about nursing at bed time and then "when the sun comes up." This eliminated nursing in the middle of the night. It was a bit of an adjustment but everyone slept better afterwards.
Instead of holding her for naps, start laying beside her with your arm around her. After a few days, last beside her not cradling her. Every few days move farther away on the bed until you can just lay her down.
As for nighttime nursing, my kids nursed all night long at 21 months and then at 24 months magically STTN. Hang in there mama... each phase is short in the grand scheme of child rearing.
I second the advice that blessedwithboys gave.
How I cope is by surrendering to it. I'm going to try to gently reduce night feeds soon. Just yesterday, I started reading Sally Weans from Night Nursing with my DS.
Wishing you the best.
I hear ya! I'm totally in the same boat with my 21 month old. And I'm starting to have a rough time handling all the night time nursing. I didn't mind nursing for nourishment but now it's just habit to have a boob in her mouth whenever she gets restless. While I love co-sleeping with her, I think we are going to try to transition her to a toddler bed this weekend..... :( though I'm not entirely ready for it. She seems to be taking her longer to fall asleep, even nursing, and waking more. It seems its just not working any more.... I'd love advice to make this easier too but I think we just need to do what feels right for each of us.
I agree with skipping the toddler bed. My kids never slept all that well in them, but a mattress on the floor or on a boxspring (depending on the age of the child- I wanted to eliminate scary falls when they were first adjusting to a bed) always worked wonders.
However, my kids all hate sleeping alone. So, when they shift out of my bed, I will often find them curled up together in each other's bed. My 4 and 5 year olds always sleep together at night now, and I don't see that pattern changing any time soon. Even my oldest (12) likes when one of her siblings comes in at night for a snuggle.