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Thread: Nursing to sleep acrobatics

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Columbus, OH
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    210

    Default Nursing to sleep acrobatics

    When I lay down next to my 10 m.o. to nurse her to sleep she often spends 20 minutes or so happily flinging herself around the bed. She babbles and rolls and twists and tries to engage me in smiling, etc. She stops by for a quick drink and goes back to her flinging. I usually try to pretend I'm asleep. Eventually she tires herself out and nurses to sleep.

    So, do I just need to wait longer to try to nurse her down? Or is this just another roll-with-it quirk of nursing a baby who's no longer an infant? Or is this a nip-it-in-the-bud behavior like pinching? It's not a big problem (in fact it's kind of cute when I'm not in a rush), but it does add quite a bit of time to our already pretty elaborate bedtime ritual.

    On nights when I do wait until she's really tired before nursing her down she doesn't do this, but then we seem to have an hour of crankiness instead.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,754

    Default Re: Nursing to sleep acrobatics

    I think this is normal, at least, very common. My three all did this. I think how you are handling it is fine. Maybe some of the bedtime routine can get moved to the bed, for example, books or lullabies or prayers or whatever while baby is flinging herself around?

    When mine did this, I never worried that I needed to handle it the same every time. how I handled it depended on how I was feeling and/or whether or not I was in some kind of time crunch.

    Sometimes, I would just play along until baby settled.
    or Sing lullabies or read a book in bed.
    or pretend to sleep myself
    or give up and bring baby to my husband to be walked down for a while
    or give up and go do something else with baby until she or he settled down more
    One thing I found very effective but which I only pulled out for emergencies was to hold baby close and tightly to me, but (usually) with baby's back to me, facing AWAY from me. Baby would cry a bit and struggle, (this is why I had them face away from me) but I would calmly say it was time to sleep, speak soothingly, sing, whatever. The usual result is baby would struggle for a bit and then want to turn around and nurse.
    I would not do that last one except in cases when I really needed baby to settle faster rather than slower, and I would only do it for a short time. If it did not work after 5 or 10 minutes I would usually give up and get up and try something else. But it tended to work very well, especially if baby was truly tired but just fighting sleep.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Virginia
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    363

    Default Re: Nursing to sleep acrobatics

    I have to comment on this one.. My youngest is now 22 months and rarely does this anymore. I actually kind of miss it! Both my nurslings did it and I have fond memories of the silliness they displayed. Although it was frustrating some nights because my "me" time was after they went to sleep, or I had things that needed done once they were in bed, it's such a comical display of learning at that age. It IS a natural stage. Embrace it as much as you can. PP gave some great tips on how to get them from making it too long of a session.
    I will add that my youngest went through a stage at about 15 months where he would nurse and play then just climb out of bed and head to the living room with my husband or to hang out with his big sister(14yrold). I still find that comical. I was always in bed with him and my then 3 yr old. It was actually nice to just lay in bed with the older one and let the youngest come to bed when he was ready. We do set a bed-time regardless of those shenanigans... just kinda go with the flow.
    FT working momma to a 9/11/10 busy boy and 11/13/12 happy little man.
    Also wife to hubs since 8/23/08, bonus momma to H (girl) -99 and G (boy)-03

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    NY
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    707

    Default Re: Nursing to sleep acrobatics

    Can you nurse not lying down? I nurse him to sleep while I'm sitting in bed (I always nurse sitting so this feeding isn't different from others). He can't possibly fly around if I have him in a cross cradle hold.
    Mom to Samuel J.
    born 7lb. 10 oz. and 22" tall
    on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

    My breastfeeding experiences: http://www.breastfeedinghacks.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Columbus, OH
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    Default Re: Nursing to sleep acrobatics

    Thanks for all the suggestions! The past couple times now I took your suggestion to move some of the bedtime routine to the bed & that seems to work. She's flinging around while we're reading stories and it feels more like hanging out and winding down rather than just waiting for her to be ready to sleep.
    Ruchiccio, we do nurse sitting up a lot of times, but at night I was often nursing her sitting until I thought she was asleep then laying her down and the she'd pop awake again & start the flinging.

    I don't really mind it & it is adorable -- I just wanted to make sure I wasn't setting myself up for something by going with the flow . Thanks experienced mamas!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Nursing to sleep acrobatics

    We have a lot of flinging going on around bedtime at our house too, with our 7-month old. Our solution is that my husband reads my book to me and our daughter calms down with the sound of his voice. Works like a charm! Audiobooks also seem to work.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    NY
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    Default Re: Nursing to sleep acrobatics

    My daughter did this a ton from about 11-16 months, with some evenings taking up to an hour to finish getting all the wiggles out while nursing in our dark room. And then, it just sort of tapered down. Every once in a while, we have flip-floppy bedtime nurse downs (she's 22 months old now), but they are rare and I attribute it to the same sorts of things that occasionally make it hard for me to wind down for sleep as an adult. I mean, I have good nights and bad sleep nights too, despite doing all of the "right" things to wind myself down for sleep!

    I didn't really do anything in particular to address the acrobatic bedtime wind down, because I personally feel that it's normal developmentally--I just kept us in bed with the lights off, let her talk and move and do whatever she seemed to need to do. It helped me to just mentally prepare for the possibility of a 60 minute wind down and expect it every night when we were in the thick of it, then just be pleasantly surprised if it happened quicker.
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    22

    Default Re: Nursing to sleep acrobatics

    My 9mo old does this too! What we've incorporated into bed time is big sisters reading time. After I get Luna all bathed, lotioned, diapered, jammied, and read to, we turn off all the lights and my 6yo comes in with her flashlight and book. We all lay down on the bed while I let Luna nurse as she pleases, while she rolls around, plays with her lovey, or the star pillow and I read to my 6yo. Once Luna starts to get fussy, and not content with rolling around, big sister Winter goes out to start her routine-teeth brushing, potty, fill water bottle, etc and I flip Luna on her tummy, turn the stars off and nurse her down. From start to finish it normally takes about an hour. Sometimes longer, some times less.
    ~Happy Nursing~

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Columbus, OH
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    Default Re: Nursing to sleep acrobatics

    Exciting Update:
    The go-with-the-flow approach that you all recommended has lead to Baby eventually falling asleep WITHOUT A NIPPLE IN HER MOUTH twice in the last week. She nurses and flings and nurses and flops and eventually just flings herself to sleep!! This could be a game changer! YAY!!

    Thanks, as always LLLLadies for your advice

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Central FL
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    Default Re: Nursing to sleep acrobatics

    My younger brother was one of those babies/children who would go and go full tilt until just FALLING to sleep. Like collapsing into sleep mid Fling so to speak.

    So far my LO (6 1/2 months) usually needs a nipple or to be cuddling with daddy to music to fall to sleep. So far still needs warm body contact in any case, no leaving him to fall to sleep on his own in a crib. But he has sometimes taken to being all wound up and wanting to crawl around/explore when we are trying to go to bed. Sometimes when he is just simply wide awake and doing it, not problem, let him play for a while before coming back to sleep but other times he is upset and fighting sleep which is a trial.

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