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bedtime routine taking FOREVER in almost 2yo

470 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  sntm
We have always nursed to sleep. Nursing to sleep over the past several months has progressed to taking up to an hour. I've started some gentle mama-led weaning (in preparation for my return to 80 hour work weeks), which mostly includes limiting his time spent nursing to about 20 minutes at night. He is getting rambunctious at bedtime, and I'm not sure how to deal with it.

Our usual routine is pjs and teethbrushing around 7:45 or 8. Then we try to do stories or watch a video in bed for 15-30 minutes, then we say night-night to dad, take the pillows off the bed, turn the fan on and the lights out, and lie down to nurse. After about 20 minutes (he almost never stops before this), I give him a heads-up (we are going to stop nursing in 3 minutes and hold hands and go to sleep). Usually this is met with an "unh-unh" while he nurses. I tell him again when the time is up, and sometimes he will delatch, sometimes I delatch him. He gets upset about half the time, but usually calms down quickly. Then it's time spent with him trying to get me to play or sometimes him getting mad and trying gentle hits (a bad habit he picked up in daycare recently). I warn him that if he does it again, I will have to get up and leave. About 30% of the time I fall asleep in there with him, since it takes a while. About half the time, I get frustrated and pass him off to DH (who also tends to fall asleep in there.) On blessed occasions, he falls asleep soundly enough that I can get up and leave.

It's taking a while lately, probably complicated by teething and prolonged daylight outside, but it's frustrating me, especially when he gets wild or starts to be agressive. Any suggestions?
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How about starting the bedtime routine earlier and/or cutting down on some of the steps? He may be overtired. I notice in my 23 month old that if I miss the "window of opportunity" he will take longer to go to sleep and I will either fall asleep waiting for my escape or get frustrated laying awake in the dark. Good luck. You may also want to check out Elizabeth Pantley's "No Cry Sleep Solution," which talks a lot about bedtime routines. She apparently has a book coming out soon that is geared for toddlers, btw.

P.S. Let me guess -- you are a lawyer with a law firm? If so, been there, done that! Good luck!!
LOL...I was going to suggest putting him to bed later because it didn't sound like he was very sleepy. Just the opposite of Mama Esq!

I only have experience with my DD, but she just gets tired, not "overtired". Yes, she sometimes runs around a lot and makes noise and insists she *isn't* sleepy, but that usually means she is.
And the more tired she is, the faster she falls asleep. Sometimes it "looks" as if she's not ready to fall asleep (ie, she sits up in bed, changes position 20 times, rolls around) but I've learned these are signs that she's about to crash.

I started setting a limit for myself - once lights were out and nursing commenced, I gave her 40 minutes to settle. (Kind of arbitrary, but that felt like long enough to me.) If she was obviously still totally awake by then (talking to me, singing, etc) I would ask if she was sleepy. Usually she said no and we agreed to go downstairs for 20-30 minutes and do something quiet (stories, puzzles, video). Sometimes she fell asleep downstairs during that time; sometimes we went back up and tried again and it went much quicker.
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The one suggestion I have is instead of telling your son you're going to unlatch him or he needs to himself in 3 minutes, you do something like sing a song or count to 10. The little ones have no real concept of time so this might be a little confusing for him.

If laying down isn't working too well, can you try walking him around in a sling? There was a while w/ my dd when nursing wasn't working and she'd want to get up and go into another room or downstairs. I could walk her in a sling and she'd either get sleepy enough or go to sleep.

Good luck.
I'm starting to think it may relate to either being overtired or not tired enough, but I still don't know which one. Last night, he went from insisting "nurse now, nurse now, nurse now, nurse now" to falling immediately asleep with rubbing his back. Of course, I try to get up and he wakes up again. So, everybody went to bed at 9. This morning, he wakes up happy as a clam at 6:15 with me. So, falls asleep fast given the right circumstance -- overtired??? Or wakes up early and seems to need less sleep -- not tired enough???

I'm trying not to be a slave to the numbers, but he already gets slightly less sleep than the average kid his age (usually 12 hours total including naps), so I worry about letting him go to sleep later, since we have to be out the door by a certain hour for daycare/work.

He's getting pretty heavy and is less content to be slung these days, so I'm not sure how that will work. I'll try the singing thing (although that will more than likely just get him to respond "no singing!")

Oh, and I'm a surgery resident -- I've been in the lab for two years on my own schedule so this will be a culture shock again going back to clinical duties!
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