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Thread: Please help with son who only naps nursing

  1. #1

    Default Please help with son who only naps nursing

    Hi Mamas!

    I am blessed to still be nursing my 16 month old son. Unfortunately he only naps in bed, next to me, nursing pretty much the whole time. He has reflux and as an infant he nursed all the time (fortunately his reflux has been under control for well over a year). For him the breastmilk was soothing. So he napped on me. Soon this switched to side laying in bed. He wasn't sleepin through the night, often ended up back in bed with me around 4am. I was often exhausted so I didn't mind napping with him, plus I love nursing him and snuggling.

    We tried several times over the last year to get him to nap in his crib. No luck. He just cries and cries. So I have kept napping with him. He has started to break off sometimes now. But if he wakes up, ie after a sleep cycle, he will root like crazy until he finds my breast. If he doesn't find it, he will wake up crying.

    I am now at a point where napping with him everyday is not working for me. He is finally sleeping threw the night (thank goodness- it took some minor fussing for a few nights, but nothing too bad- he was just ready). So I don't need the nap. He's also switche over to one nap, 2-3 hours in length. It's difficult for me to be in bed this long (even with my iPhone as a constant companion). I am also starting to work from home part time and need the time off the bed. Finally we have several trips to the beach coming up this summer, and I would love to spend some alone time with DH.

    So I don't know what to do. We have tried getting him in his crib. I've tried nursing him in his room (how he goes to bed), then transferring him to his crib, but as soon as he hits the mattress, eyes pop open and he sits up and starts crying. I can't bear to have him cry more than a couple of minutes. I try again and again. Same result. When he wouldn't nap in his crib, we said, ok no nap, but this led to a terribly cranky baby and recked his nighttime sleep (sleep begets sleep, right?) Over the weekend my DH tried to read him books and rock him, this didn't work either. I feel terrible as I feel like it's my fault. I understand that it must be so difficult and confusing or him, for 16 months napping had been comforting, next to be, with his human pacifier (he never took to a pacifier).

    I'm at a loss. It must change, but I don't know how to get him to nap in his crib. I feel terrible for him and have nowhere to go for advise. Then I remembered this board. So here I am asking for any and all ideas. I really appreciate you reading this long post and providing any advise. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    middle of IA
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    Default Re: Please help with son who only naps nursing

    what about trying to get him to nap on your back in a carrier? i love my boba for this, because it has a hood that supports baby's head. he might just need the closeness to you, but this way you could go about your business, get work done, etc.

    if you're not used to doing back carries, it might take a little bit to get used to it - i'd recommend practicing a lot while he's happy and awake, then eventually trying to nurse him down to sleepy and putting him up at nap time. or nurse to sleepy, put him up, take a walk around the block and he may fall asleep that way.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    272

    Default Re: Please help with son who only naps nursing

    I think napping in a carrier, like the previous poster stated is a great idea, if that works for you! Here are a couple more ideas:

    Does your son need to nap in his crib? Could you put a mattress on the floor in a baby-safe room, get him to sleep there (nursing if that works), then leave once he's asleep? If you've got a baby monitor and he wakes up too early, you could go in and nurse him back to sleep. I don't know what your work involves, but do you have a laptop? Could you get him to sleep and then stay with him, but work in the room? Do you have a stroller, and will he fall asleep in it? Could you take a walk with him to get him to sleep, and then sit by the stroller outside and work?

    I hope you find something that works for you!
    Mom to a spirited DS1, born 2/21/2011, and DS2, born 7/3/2014.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Please help with son who only naps nursing

    It's not your fault! Some little ones just don't nap well. I need to give my 17 month old TONS of exercise before naps to get him down. We go for long walks or run around inside the museum by our house every day before nap time, otherwise it is quite possible he won't nap and be a total crab for the rest of the day.

    If you can swing it carrying him on your back might work (I love my Ergo for backpacking my boy around), but they do get pretty heavy by 16 months to be carrying them non-stop for 2-3 hours. It's worth a try if you have the strength for it.

    You could also try putting a mattress on the floor, nursing him to sleep and gently rolling away. That way there isn't that jarring movement from arms to crib.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Please help with son who only naps nursing

    Didn't see the above comment when I posted! Sorry for the redundancy!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Please help with son who only naps nursing

    Thank you ladies so much for the support and ideas. I'm finally getting myself to a LLL meeting tomorrow night. Haven't needed the support yet, thankfully. Honestly I'd be embrassed to mention this predicament to any of my mom friends, none of whom are even still nursing.

    He might be a little heavy for the back carrier, and he'll sleep in his stroller, but only through one sleep cycle. The floor seems like the best idea for us so far. We don't have a mattress, but I could do a thick comforter. I'm going to try it today. I finally found a lovey he loves (besides my breat of course). I had a terrible problem with him constantly trying to tweak my other nipple, until I found this great little cow that he will play with and hold while napping (and at night now too). I appreciate the ideas, and will start with a transition to the ground. Thanks again! It's had not to feel like its my fault, and somehow I've failed him

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Please help with son who only naps nursing

    Please don't think you've failed your son. You are helping him get the sleep he needs and that is good parenting. My formula fed nephew was a terrible sleeper until he was about 4 years old. At least you have a loving way to soothe your son to sleep!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    272

    Default Re: Please help with son who only naps nursing

    If you have "failed" your son, then I've failed mine as well-- he's 14 months old, and when he is at home with me, he naps best with me. (He's still up a ton at night, though, so I still need those naps!). But, really, I agree with phi-- you are getting your son the sleep he needs! That is GOOD parenting, not bad!

    As far as back carries: a GOOD carrier that fits both you and your son properly will give you much better support. I recently wore my DS (32", 25 lbs) for over an hour and a half with no issues because we got a carrier that fits us both much better than the old one. If you want to go with the floor idea, though, this isn't necessarily an issue for you. But if you want more details, feel free to ask
    Mom to a spirited DS1, born 2/21/2011, and DS2, born 7/3/2014.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    middle of IA
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    Default Re: Please help with son who only naps nursing

    I don't understand why you would think you'd failed your son? It sounds like his napping pattern is inconvenient for you - reasonable that you'd want to change it now - but how on earth is this failing him? He sounds like he's doing great!
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Please help with son who only naps nursing

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*christa View Post
    Thank you ladies so much for the support and ideas. I'm finally getting myself to a LLL meeting tomorrow night. Haven't needed the support yet, thankfully. Honestly I'd be embrassed to mention this predicament to any of my mom friends, none of whom are even still nursing.

    He might be a little heavy for the back carrier, and he'll sleep in his stroller, but only through one sleep cycle. The floor seems like the best idea for us so far. We don't have a mattress, but I could do a thick comforter. I'm going to try it today. I finally found a lovey he loves (besides my breat of course). I had a terrible problem with him constantly trying to tweak my other nipple, until I found this great little cow that he will play with and hold while napping (and at night now too). I appreciate the ideas, and will start with a transition to the ground. Thanks again! It's had not to feel like its my fault, and somehow I've failed him

    First of all You are a GOOD MAMA!! Doing SO VERY RIGHT! It's called AP...and so many mama's lay by their babies sides for the WHOLE NAP..you are meeting the childs needs. My cousin did it with TWINS..every nap, every day! One on each boob, laying in bed for 2 hours. It was her rest time, she read novels, knitted, emailed..texted friends... Whatever. The twins out grew it and are happy and thriving preschoolers! I think I can say I understand your feelings a bit. When you know they COULD be sleeping better but are not, you feel like "what am I doing wrong here?" But nursing babies...(mine included) often do not get the hang of good sleep and naps until after they wean. My big girls still wake up in the night at ages 7 and 4 about 2-3x a week for a drink of water, they get scared, or whatever. Still wanting parental comfort in the night. Now, I can say...my DD3 is 21mos, and I am still working on sleep. She nurses A LOT still, is no where near ready to wean, and still wakes 1-2x a night to nurse. People look at me wide eyed...SHE's STILL nursing? She STILL wakes in the night?? But, I do what works for me and MY BABY! And you sound like this is not working. Many of the suggestions above may work. If I nap with my DD I lay in my bed to nurse and very slowly when she is ready to un latch...I pat, pat pat, and slowly get up. It will take practice but your baby will adjust. I LOVED the suggestion of finding a 'lovey' to hold instead of the nipple...were working on this right now! Anyway, keep up the GOOD work! There are so many of us here with less than perfect sleepers...But they are olnly babies such a short time..and they will not nurse forever...even if it feels like that sometimes!!
    JEN
    Happy Wife of 20 years to J~
    Mommy to DD E~ 9/22/04 BF 21 months
    Mommy to DD H~ 7/2/07 BF 27 months CD'd from 10 mos on!
    Mommy to DD A~ 7-14-10 All cloth, and Potty Trained at 2 1/2. Still Nursing!
    I grow an organic garden, homeschool, and really feel blessed to be a SAHM!

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