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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
dd (19 months) has always nursed to sleep. Lately though, it's gone from her falling asleep peacefully in about 20 minutes to her nursing for over an hour and still not going to sleep. It's like she can't relax or something. However, she will lay with dh and goes to sleep with not much fuss and it sure doesn't take an hour! She is teething...maybe that has something to do with it? She nurses to sleep for nap without a problem at all. Thoughts?
 

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my dd eventually just stopped falling asleep and would stop nursing and then I would just cuddle her to sleep. She's been great with falling asleep very quickly, in 1-2 minutes. Maybe naps needs to be adjusted. It is a sad day when you find you can't just knock them out with a boob any more.
 

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From my experience, when dd nurses and nurses and doesn't fall asleep it is when she is really not tired/sleepy enough. That happens when she had too long nap or wasn't too active during the day.
 

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I truly believe my child would be nursing until she left for college if I had not started to wean her at age 2. I do not mean that to be flippant, but she really loved nursing. I did too, for a long time. But, when she turned 2, I started to not enjoy it and want her to be able to go to sleep not completely on my body. I wanted my back aches to end and I wanted to be able to sleep through the night. So, we worked on it slowly and respectfully and I never forced it and she was weaned by age 2.5. Now, at age 3.5, she misses it occasionally but we still cosleep and snuggle.
 

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Teething could definitely be affecting your DD's sleep. Those molars can be killer. I also agree with a PP who said that taking an hour to nurse to sleep is often a sign that the child isn't tired enough. Is your DD still taking two naps a day? If so, it may be time to transition to one. If not, she may need a shorter nap, an earlier nap, a later bedtime, or more daytime vigorous activity.

However, once in a while, my DD will be quite tired but still seem to have a hard time nursing to sleep. It is almost like the act of nursing is keeping her from falling asleep. In those instances, I will ask her, "Do you want to just hold ummies instead?" If she says no, we'll keep nursing as long as she needs, but she will almost always say yes, put her hand on my chest, and drift to sleep almost immediately. I'm not sure what's causing it or why it is so rare, but it does happen maybe once a month. It didn't start occurring until she was over two years old, though, so maybe it's just one of the earliest stages in her nightweaning process.
 

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With DS, nursing to sleep gradually led to nursing for a while, then snuggling to sleep.

If he's nursing for an hour and not falling asleep, I'd look for other causes. Maybe he's not tired yet? Maybe he's hungry and would settle down faster if he had a meal before nursing?
 

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i agree with Ruthla - when my DS nurses and nurses for a really long time and still won't settle - he's almost always hungry. he's trying to get more milk out, i think, and satisfy his hunger... but i just don't have *that* much milk to make up for a skipped dinner, say. so if he's been picky at dinner time and then not settling at night, we get up and get him a plate of snacks, turn on the light and hang out and watch him cram his face with food
and then brush his teeth and he goes to sleep very quickly...

as for when he can go to sleep without nursing? i dunno... we've had DH doing bedtimes since 6 months, so i know most of the time he can physically go to sleep without nursing, though some nights nothing else will do. our routine is DH at bedtime, me for night wakings. once in a blue moon i can get DS down without nursing, but it hasn't turned into a pattern yet.
 

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If you want to possibly set yourself up for an addiction
---you might try a pacifer instead of nursing to sleep. My son still nurses once or twice a day, but goes to sleep with his binkie since I introduced it at to night-wean at around 18 months. He's 3.5 now and does NOT want to give it up, but what the heck...It's just for sleeping, not walking around with during the day. And he can 'nurse' to sleep with his dad now--another beneficial side effect.
 

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My DD made this switch in the past couple of months (she does still fall asleep nursing about 1/2 the time) She'll ask for daddy as soon as she's done nursing - or if I can hear that she's stopped swallowing, I'll unlatch her and then get daddy. She falls asleep for him pretty quickly! If she does still want milk, she'll ask for "more milk". Usually though she gives me a kiss and hug and says night-night. Then she's ready for daddy to sing to her!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the useful advice! Perhaps I should have also said in my OP that I'm totally NOT ready for dd to stop nursing to sleep.


With a newborn in the house, it's been hard to keep dd active (ds and I spend a lot of time nursing...but it's getting better, we have more of a loose routine), so I'll definitely try that. We do give her a snack before bed most nights, and we're treating for teething pain. I'm pretty sure dd is tired when we start to nurse...she'll be staggaring around and rubbing her eyes and pretty much begging me to take her to her room to nurse.

This too shall pass, right? We'll just keep on keepin' on.
Thanks again!
 
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