How to get toddler to sleep
Ok so I'm hoping that the la leche league crew is into the attachment parenting thing like I am. What I'm wondering is how to get my 19 month old to sleep. She has never been on a schedule. We nursed and slept whenever and have done pretty well with that up until recently. She has started going to bed very late at night (like 11pm-1am) and what's more concerning for me is that everything I used to do doesn't get her to sleep anymore. She fights it tooth and nail. And if I wait for tired signs I am waiting forever. She used to rub her eyes, yawn, ask to nurse and we would go to room with dim lights and she would nurse to sleep. Now she is going a mile a minute and at a reasonable hour I take her up to her room, dim the lights and have quiet play for awhile, then read books, sing lullabies, let her nurse, rock her, lay down with her, but nothing works. She sees it all coming and freaks out and tries to rev herself up to fight sleeping. I just don't know what to do.
I've coslept with her her whole life and always nursed her and tried to make the bedtime experience a positive one but it seems she still hates going to sleep. I am unwilling to let her cry it out and was initially against scheduling her but I cannot handle these late bedtimes bc I'm exhausted by then (I'm a sahm). I would be open to getting her on more of a routine/schedule but just don't know where to start. I can no longer get her to sleep no matter what I do, she sleeps when she wants to, period.
Does anyone have some advice for this tough period?
Re: How to get toddler to sleep
I have been there, and am still fighting this battle. I know how hard it is. My 27 mo has been fighting sleep since she was born, despite my best efforts. I do think it was helpful for me to create a bedtime routine. It's not elaborate, just bath, pj's, brush hair, brush teeth, hugs, ni-ni nuk, then into bed where she falls asleep with my hand on her back. Ok, itsounds elaborate, but its all stuff we need to do anyway, we just make sure to do it in the same order every time. This creates a sense of expectation of what is happening and what is expected of her.
While we were getting the routine down, I was also working on helping her fall asleep without the breast using the Pantley pull-off (taking her off the breast before she is fully asleep). I recommend The No-Cry Sleep Solution (there's one just for toddlers) if you haven't read it. There are many ideas in addition to the "PPO".
What are your daughter's naps like? Some people find it helpful to work on improving naps first. For us, I have to be very careful about how long I let DD sleep, or she might be up until midnight like last night. It's tempting to let her sleep 3 hours when you're an overworked sahm, but keeping them a little shorter and earlier ib the day should set you up for an easier bedtime.
Just because you are not into schedules and are into relaxed, natural attachment parenting, doesn't mean your child wouldn't benefit from routine. I HATE being tied to a clock and don't want to force my daughter to comply with dear aubtie's belief in 8 o'clock bedtimes. But it does seem she likes some routine.
Sorry I'm so long-winded!
Re: How to get toddler to sleep
Hang in there. It gets better. I have been there and done pretty much that SAHM until he was three, cosleeping (Still) and until he was 3 pretty much slept when he wanted to, he would tell me when he wanted to go to bed.
Does your daughter nap and how long? as PP said, if they nap long it keeps them going ;-) with mine it was that from about 18 or 20 monts he was up at least 5 or possibly 6 hours after waking from his nap (depending how active we were). So I learned to make sure he did not nap longer than 4pm, which I hated doing because i did not want to introduce a schedule but it helped me stay sane because he then would go to sleep for sure by 10pm. Around 24 months he stopped napping entirely (his choice) and suddenly his bedtime moved several hours forward.
As PP said, some routine does help so they know what to expect.