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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How long do you feel it's good/necessary to "parent" your baby or toddler until they're completely asleep? My daughter just turned one and does NOT go to sleep easily... we have a nighttime routine (PJ's, stories, nursing) that ends with rocking/dancing to lullaby music until she is completely asleep. I usually enjoy the time, but sometimes it can take an hour of "dancing," which drives me nuts... and some day, she's simply going to get to be too heavy! My question is, will she eventually reach an age where she just "naturally" will be able to fall asleep on her own, or will I need to encourage it to happen, somehow? I would really prefer not to resort to some kind of sleep training, but I am curious exactly how long I might be doing this... do any of you have children who just outgrew the need to be rocked/nursed all the way to sleep without a gentle "push?" Thanks!
 

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our dd is 2. when she turned 1 our nighttimes became nightmares. she took forever to get to sleep. i felt like we were starting over. first she would nurse with me holding her. eventually we moved a mattress on the floor into her room and i'd nurse her lying down and sneak out when she fell asleep. she weaned around 18 mos, so no more nursing to relax and sleep! now she strokes my or dh's pinkie (yes, the little finger) until she's asleep.

she has a friend 2 months older than she is who strokes her mom's face to sleep. this mama just told me that her dd has begun to go to sleep more quickly and doesn't need mama's face to stroke until she's asleep. so, maybe some day i'll get my pinkie back.


on a related note, last summer when dd was 1 and giving us so much trouble getting to sleep i was becoming very angry and resentful that it 1) took so long, sometimes two hours!, and 2) that i lost my evening with dh. a friend of ours died in a car accident a few weeks after our sleep problems began. all i could think about was this friend's mother and how she must be feeling to lose her son. she would have likely been willing to give anything to rock him to sleep one more time (he was 28). i began to appreciate the time with dd instead of being so resentful about it. and, i'm sure it's no coincidence, but dd started going to sleep more easily when i stopped being so anxious about it. (i'm not saying that you're anxious, i just thought i'd share how my perspective changed.)
 

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joe is five, he nursed to sleep until he weaned at almost 4 years, now we lie in bed & watch tv until he falls asleep. i dunno if he would fall asleep on his own or not; truthfully by the time he is ready for bed i am usually so tired that i have no desire to find out!
 

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My ds is 15 m and I still have to nurse him to sleep. I have noticed a change lately in him and am thinking that he may go to sleep without me soon. Sometimes he is really squirmy in my arms and if I lay him down he just goes to sleep, where before there was no way to lay him down unless he was completely asleep. Good Luck, someday she will sleep on her own and then you will miss rocking her to sleep.
 

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I do think there does come a time where they naturally go to bed on their own. It may end up being a little dance in that you may try to lead sometimes and the child may lead others...depending on how you are about things.

And sometimes it may take longer than parents may hope for...I've noticed that for many of my friends children it's been around 6.

It seems like they get to a point where they want to be doing it on their own though...for some that is earlier and for some that is later.

But I have noticed that with most things...when I let go of whatever it is....they usually shift soon after.
 

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My oldest child stopped needing one of us in the room when he was about 4 years old. We rocked him to sleep until age 3. Then we started playing story tapes and laying in bed with him until he fell asleep. Then at 4 he was okay with being left to fall asleep alone. He still listened to story tapes. At 5 he switched to classical music. At 7 it is never an issue. He reads for about 1/2 hour, then turns on jazz or classical music softly and falls directly to sleep alone.

Our younger son is about to turn 4. We still rock him, or sometimes lay down with him. I get the feeling that we could probably put him in bed and walk out. But neither of us wants to do that. It takes less than 20 minutes, and we enjoy parenting him to sleep. Its a nice, comfortable time of day -- and an easy way to ensure that we really connect with him regularly.

Bedtime around here is a breeze compared to what it was when they were babies/young toddlers. It is really a pleasant and easy going part of our day. And its very predicatable/regular. I'm really glad that we spent those years rocking and comforting them to sleep. It has paid off. I watch other families struggle, fight, yell, and bribe to get their children this age to sleep at night. Our kids have never learned to dislike bedtime.
 

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I will parent my children to sleep until they don't need me to. I not only know that *will* happen, but that it will happen when they as individuals are ready.

 

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My ds is about to turn two and we still parent him to sleep. It had been a gradual evolution of techniques over the months. For his first year we rocked or bounced him to sleep. Then we gradually started laying down with him. Right now we lay next to him while he falls asleep, but he doesn't want to be touched. NOrmally it takes 15-20 minutes for him to fall asleep, and he usually is very willing. IF he is having a hard time getting to sleep then I get up and rock him for awhile. This usually mellows him out and then when we lay back down he goes to sleep pretty quickly.

We will continue this until he shows signs of being ready to go to sleep on his own. I don't think it is too far down the road since he doesn't want any physical contact at this point. (A few months ago he would need to be nestled with my arm behind his neck.)
 

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My dd is 3 and is still nursed to sleep (sometimes we nurse for a few minutes and then I just lay with her until she is asleep); oftentimes I nurse the 3 year old and the 8 month old and they fall asleep together.

I rocked/nursed her to sleep until she was 2, and then I moved her into her own bed. Since then, I still "parent" her to sleep in her bed and I go in if she wakes up in the middle of the night (still does now and then) and help her fall back to sleep, too. Whenever going to sleep is a struggle, I assume she isn't tired and we stop; we read books or play until she is tired (or I'm tired and we try again). She was going through a phase at about 2 years where she would nurse FOREVER and then read books FOREVER and never fall asleep. I encouraged her to give up her nap, and we went back to 10 minute bedtimes, which is about where we are now.

The best part of "parenting" to sleep is that she LOVES going to bed. She will actually say "no stories tonight, mommy, I'm too tired. Let's go straight to bed"! Not many moms of 3 year olds can say that. I think it's worth it for bedtime to positive and not a struggle.
 

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our dd is 3 now, and she will go to bed by herself and fall asleep by herself as long as we leave the light on. but we had to "put her" to sleep until she was about 2 1/2.
We had to lay down with her in bed and stay with her until she fell asleep. It took me, sometimes, up to a whole hour. but now, it's great, she just puts her jammies on and off to bed!
 

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I get tired of hearing my friends tell me that their children/grandchildren got sleep so easily! I have on pal who has a Granddaughter who eats her last meal of the day at 5, and is put alone in her crib at 7 pm, and she sleeps until 7 am. She was sleep trained using Babywise. My DD goes to sleep lying down with me on the bed, and she nurses to sleep, she is 7 months old. We co sleep, and we get lots of comments about that too! I agree with the PP, this is such a short time in their lives, and one day we will look at our teenage children, wondering what happened to them now that they no longer want anything to do with us!!
It's hard to imagine, when they are stuck to us like velcro now! I wish you all the luck in the world, you are a wonderful, loving Mommy to pay so much attention to your childs needs, in the daytime, and just as importantly, at night time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for your wonderful posts/replies - they are really inspiring (and comforting!) to read. There is so much literature, etc., out there that makes it seem like helping your baby go to sleep is a "problem" - it's really nice to remember that it's not only normal but can be a source of joy.
 

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At 20 months it takes about 30-45 minutes to help our ds to sleep. I nurse him in bed, we read stories, talk about our day and then just lie there quietly while ds throws his arms around us and holds on tight. I'm assuming there will come a point in the future when we will be able to leave the room but frankly I don't think I'm looking forward to it. I love spending that time with ds
 

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i'm thinking it has to do with co-sleeping vs. not. we don't co-sleep & dd has been pretty easy to go to sleep for most of her 15 months. we have a short night-time routine- bottle, diaper, sing 2 songs. sometimes a book if she needs more winding down. she goes into her crib & usually sings herself to sleep. i agree that we have a short time when they're little & need us but i am very grateful for my evenings with dh & the option, though rarely taken, of others being able to get her to sleep if we want a night out. (why we don't more often i can't figure out
) I think when babies co-sleep they're so used to the snuggling & closeness that they do need it to go to sleep. JMO Different things work for different babies!
 

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Um, we toyed with not parenting to sleep at about two (nurse awhile, lay down, a few songs, and out). It went well initially, but then DS got sick and we found ourselves nursing to sleep again for the better part of six months. He just wasn't in a good emtional place to try again for awhile.

At 2 1/2, I sensed that DS might be ready to give it try again. So we tried it. It went well. Very well in fact. Same routine as before, no problems. He gave up naps at about 3 and for a time he as falling asleep nursing before I could even get him down. A couple of months ago however, I started putting him down awake again, and he fell right back into the routine, no problems. I should add, that on the rare day that I'm gone or he's taken a nap, he'd been putting himself to sleep during this time.

While I've never had any philosophical issue with parenting to sleep, I was feeling internal pressure for DS to put himself to sleep because it was taking SOOOOO LOOOONG for him to nurse down anymore, and frankly, it was driving me a little crazy--hours! Initially, when having dropped the nap, that changed and I was happy to go back to parenting to sleep. Until, of course even without the nap, nursing was starting to take awhile again. Honestly, if he'd continued being an 'asleep in 10 minutes guy,' I'd probably still be parenting to sleep if he so desired. I do love our new routine. Our conversations while he's laying in bed. I love saying goodnight and going through the ritual of kissing all of his animals, BUT . . . to be quite honest, I am beginning to miss the days of having him asleep in my arms and laying him in bed all floppy and snoring. *sigh* So for as long as we went parenting to sleep, no regrets.


We did not co-sleep btw... except for DS coming into bed with us in the morning hours to cuddle or go back to sleep.
 

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DS is 2.5 and I "parent" him to sleep every night and I don't know when he'll be able to go to sleep on his own. Some nights, when our nighttime routine has just seemed to go on forever, I really WISH he would be able to do the going-to-sleep thing on his own, but I can't imagine not helping him with this part of his day.

Some nights I ask him if he'd like to try it "on his own" and then he usually asks for daddy or some other change for that moment. I am expecting another baby in August and I know that some of our routine will change, but he still needs me and I'll be there!
 

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Well tonight DD took 2 hours to go to sleep and by the end of it all I was so fed up and irritated at her nursing that I finally pulled her off my nipple and told her to go to sleep. She finally did. I don't know. I am now so irritated with this whole experience tonight that I wish I would have babywised her so I COULD lay her down and she would just go to sleep. I know I never could (obviously) but a child who has always been hard to get to sleep and now at 27 months it's not any easier - UGH! I just want to yank my hair out. I stormed out of the room and told DH how much I HATE night time parenting. He has never been able to get her to sleep and it's all on me and this is just one of those moments I am fed up with it.

*sigh*
 

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Hang in there Lucky Lady. I just love your screen name, and your signature. It just goes to show, that even tho' you were obviously frustrated (we've all been there, right ladies??
: ), you just knew you could never BW your baby! I get tired of it too, my DH totally supports nursing, but it does mean since we don't bottle feed, the bulk of the night time stuff is on me. I told him tonight that since the baby was born, I never take my makeup off at night any more (I work full-time
otherwise I'd never bother with the stuff!), and I have noticed I am starting to get acne! I just don't have time for ME in the p.m. DH told me to just tell him when I need help, and that I need to still take care of myself. Even tho' your hubby can't nurse, he can still parent at night by getting DC ready for bed, change a diaper, and give YOU some time for yourself. I only had 20 minutes to myself tonight, but it really helped. Otherwise I'd go crazy


I hope your hubby will see you just need a little help. I'm rooting for you LL!
 
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