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Thread: How do I get my cosleeping 2 yo to sleep without nursing

  1. #1
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    Default How do I get my cosleeping 2 yo to sleep without nursing

    I'm looking for advice on getting my 2 year old to be able to fall asleep without nursing to sleep. I am not interested in night weaning. We co-sleep and she nurses a couple of times a night while I mostly stay asleep. I don't want to discourage this nursing in the middle of the night yet. I would prefer she drop those sessions out when she is ready on her own, but I would like to help her to learn to fall asleep without having to nurse.
    She will not sleep unless I'm there nursing her. I was out at night last week and hoped that she would fall asleep without it, but she was still very much awake and very tired when I got home at 11:30pm. She usually falls asleep between 9:30-10:30. All of the advice I've been able to find is for night weaning. I think it would work well to tell her that we only nurse on the sofa or some tactic like that if I wanted to night wean, but this obviously can't work if I want to let her nurse at night. Sorry this is long. Any advice will be appreciated. TIA

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How do I get my cosleeping 2 yo to sleep without nursing

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*m11612 View Post
    I think it would work well to tell her that we only nurse on the sofa or some tactic like that if I wanted to night wean, but this obviously can't work if I want to let her nurse at night. Sorry this is long. Any advice will be appreciated. TIA
    I don't think this is a bad idea, it makes sense to me. You could just change the bedtime routine but to be honest I think it would be a lot easier to have your partner put her to bed if you aren't going to nurse to sleep. You could let her nurse during sleep all you want, I don't really think a toddler is capable of making that kind of mental connection. As long as bedtime (as in when she is awake) is consistent, nursing in the middle of the night probably wouldn't be an issue since you want to continue. If you really want to ditch nursing to sleep it's probably best to be firm on that.

    I also think kids are different. My daughter is 14 months and we also cosleep and nurse to sleep and she nurses all night long. On her own she has started rolling over and pushing away after nursing and talks herself to sleep. I didn't teach her that, she taught herself. It could also be that your child isn't ready for that, but it sure can't hurt to try and change the routine since you want to have a social life at night.
    and Mama to two little girls

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How do I get my cosleeping 2 yo to sleep without nursing

    On her own she has started rolling over and pushing away after nursing and talks herself to sleep.
    So cute! You are right each child is different. I'm pretty sure she can make the connection. We have tried having my husband put her to sleep, but she just peacefully stays awake reading. She knows lights out means sleep time and for her at this point it also means bed and nursing. When he turns out the light she cries and cries. We have not yet tested how long she will cry for because I'm not a fan of cry it out.
    You might be right that she isn't ready, but I was hoping to encourage it since it would provide some flexibility for me.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How do I get my cosleeping 2 yo to sleep without nursing

    My son just recently began pushing away and talking himself to sleep, sometimes even cuddling with daddy. He's 2.5. I saw him nursing to sleep for another year at least so was really out of the blue. How often are you wanting to go out at night? I've never worried about the occasional night past the normal bedtime.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How do I get my cosleeping 2 yo to sleep without nursing

    Since nursing overnight is working for you, my suggestion would be to not worry about trying to teach your child to get to sleep without nursing. That will come naturally in time. It is not going to harm a two-year-old to be up a few hours past their bedtime on occasion. With my middle son, when we had a sitter come in, I told her that she could let the baby stay up with her and watch TV or while she read or whatever and just let him play quietly. Sometimes he fell asleep and sometimes he didn't. But even if he did he usually
    woke up when we got home and wanted to nurse anyway.

    When my oldest son was about three, and I was nursing him and his baby brother, I found I really needed him to be able to go to sleep without nursing to sleep at night as I was so tired by the end of the day it was all I could do two nurse his brother. What I discovered is that he still needed to be comforted to sleep – after he had his nighttime nursing session, he was rocked and sung to by my husband. Later When he was ready to lie down and go to sleep on his own, that happened at naptime first. Perhaps because they are less scary than nighttime.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How do I get my cosleeping 2 yo to sleep without nursing

    I guess I shouldn't rush it. I would just like it if she was a bit more versatile in the ways she can be comforted.
    My best friend is getting married and I was hoping to go out with the girls beforehand one night and go to the wedding. I'd like to do both without feeling like I have to get home by a certain time. I used to be out until the early morning frequently until I got pregnant. I haven't really been out or done anything away from her since she was born except when I was working. Thankfully I was able to transition to being a sahm. She used to be able to fall asleep for naptimes for other people, but since I became a sahm she is just out of the habit. I'm fine with her staying up late, but I would hate if she was extra tired and couldn't get to sleep. If I go out I will worry about this all night. I can't stand the idea of her being exhausted and wanting to nurse and me not being there.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How do I get my cosleeping 2 yo to sleep without nursing

    Well you know your child best, but I can't imagine a child this young would stay up all night long if you wanted or needed to be out that long. Unless the child were unduly frightened, eventually sleep would overtake her. It might be helpful to have a trusted sitter or family member who would lay down with your child or rock them or read to her or something in order to comfort her to sleep rather than expecting her to just go to sleep on her own. I don't know how far you have to travel for these events, but you wouldn't be the first mom to sort of leave it open ended how long you were going to stay out. If the sitter is handling everything fine and your child is okay then you can relax and enjoy your evening if not you could go home.
    However I would say that your feelings of concern for your child are entirely normal. Young Children do typically have a strong need for their mother, for nighttime especially. It just makes sense that is how they feel safest. Mother is comfort to a young child. Children are this little for such a short time, that need can be overwhelming to us but they do grow out of it.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How do I get my cosleeping 2 yo to sleep without nursing

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*m11612 View Post
    I guess I shouldn't rush it. I would just like it if she was a bit more versatile in the ways she can be comforted.
    My best friend is getting married and I was hoping to go out with the girls beforehand one night and go to the wedding. I'd like to do both without feeling like I have to get home by a certain time. I used to be out until the early morning frequently until I got pregnant. I haven't really been out or done anything away from her since she was born except when I was working. Thankfully I was able to transition to being a sahm. She used to be able to fall asleep for naptimes for other people, but since I became a sahm she is just out of the habit. I'm fine with her staying up late, but I would hate if she was extra tired and couldn't get to sleep. If I go out I will worry about this all night. I can't stand the idea of her being exhausted and wanting to nurse and me not being there.
    Definitely go for it! Yes, your child is important, which it's clear you already know since you've nursed her to sleep for over 2 years. But you are important too, and if a few nights out really late is what you want, I say do it and enjoy yourself.

    And LLLmeg is right, I really can't imagine a 2 year old being able to stay up that late without just falling asleep, even from sheer exhaustion. A newborn, well that might be a different story, but from my experience a toddler will fall asleep. My daughter fell asleep at the dinner table face first into her high chair when she was that age, so I'm guessing yours would do the same if she was really that tired.

    If you have time (weeks, months) until those events then it might be a good idea to work up to changing things for the routine, but then again maybe it wouldn't even matter. And I would say definitely make it a comforting, relaxing night for whoever is going to stay with her, that way she won't be alone or very upset (hopefully).
    Last edited by @llli*karrieperry; February 18th, 2014 at 08:00 PM.
    and Mama to two little girls

  9. #9

    Default Re: How do I get my cosleeping 2 yo to sleep without nursing

    I had never considered that my daughter might not be ‘ready’ to give up night nursing or nursing to sleep until I read this. I started getting her to self settle at bedtime as it was suggested on one website it would help with her waking in the night. Now I feel selfish.
    (I give her bedtime milk downstairs now after her bath, then go up to bed, put her in her cot and sit in the room until she drops off herself (gradual retreat).
    So you could try that, the first night I laid her in bed and just laid my hand still on her back. Of course some nights we then had another cuddle, and then back into bed. Then she started pushing my hand off! So I’d sit right beside the cot until she fell asleep. I don’t talk or make eye contact (try not to laugh when she sits up and says ‘hiya!’) I then say night night darling I love you sleepy time. She lays back down then drops off.

    We still nurse in the night if she wakes up and asks for it

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How do I get my cosleeping 2 yo to sleep without nursing

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*zoeuk View Post
    I had never considered that my daughter might not be ‘ready’ to give up night nursing or nursing to sleep until I read this. I started getting her to self settle at bedtime as it was suggested on one website it would help with her waking in the night. Now I feel selfish.
    (I give her bedtime milk downstairs now after her bath, then go up to bed, put her in her cot and sit in the room until she drops off herself (gradual retreat).
    So you could try that, the first night I laid her in bed and just laid my hand still on her back. Of course some nights we then had another cuddle, and then back into bed. Then she started pushing my hand off! So I’d sit right beside the cot until she fell asleep. I don’t talk or make eye contact (try not to laugh when she sits up and says ‘hiya!’) I then say night night darling I love you sleepy time. She lays back down then drops off.

    We still nurse in the night if she wakes up and asks for it
    My daughter just started being able to go to sleep with Dad every night vs me, we did the same as you, we nurse on the couch right before bed. She goes to sleep much faster, so I could tell she was ready and she never cried once. She still wakes up asking for "Bee bee" all night, so we keep nursing at night.
    and Mama to two little girls

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