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Thread: Trouble nursing 2yo to sleep

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Coquitlam, BC
    Posts
    1

    Default Trouble nursing 2yo to sleep

    After another night of tears for everyone, I am in need of ideas for helping my 26mo fall asleep with no/less nursing. She is very persistent and difficult to redirect, and has resisted all my other attempts to gently settle her into sleep (rocking, massaging, singing, etc.) She nurses to sleep every nap and bedtime, and won't fall asleep with her dad, even if I'm out of the house. (The rare time she has fallen asleep with him has usually been after a lot of crying.)

    The problem is that it can take an hour to put her sleep, and I am starting to find the nursing and dry sucking uncomfortable and very irritating--which makes me stressed and impatient, which in turn makes it harder for DD to fall asleep! I generally don't mind nursing during the day when I can distract myself, but waiting for her to fall asleep at the breast is making me crazy. (Though day nursings tend to go on forever as well, and can end in screaming when I try to end them, even with a gentle warning or attempts to redirect.)

    Any tips for helping an extremely persistent toddler fall asleep more easily and reliably? Or is this one of these "seasons of motherhood" that I just need to wait out?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,746

    Default Re: Trouble nursing 2yo to sleep

    Hi, I also am nursing a two year old who usually nurses to sleep and we also have difficult nights when it is hard for her to get to sleep!

    I am not sure what you mean by 'persistent" though. Persistent in staying awake? I think that in general a child of this age who cannot get to sleep really cannot get to sleep, not that they are purposefully resisting falling asleep.

    Anyway, here are some different things I have tried with my 3 kids who all routinely nursed to sleep at this age.

    1) Rethinking nap time. I think naps are very important, but I am finding that at this age a later or longer nap definitely makes it harder for my daughter to settle at her usual bedtime.
    2) Rethinking bedtime. If my child was consistently taking a very long time to get time to sleep, I would move bedtime back to be more inline with their sleep pattern.
    3) Rethinking bedtime routine: is there too much activity before bed? Too many 'steps?' to get through? Conversely, is there too little of a routine, so child is not prepared, mentally, for settling down to sleep?
    4) What are others doing? This is an age where a child may very much want to be where the action is. This is where one might see some bedtime resistance, and it's not so much sleep resisting but not wanting to miss out on the fun. Is someone else in the house playing a game? Watching tv? Listening to music? Talking? or doing anything else your daughter would like to be a part of?
    5) Rethinking what activities are ok sleepwise and which may be causing issues in the hour or two prior to starting bedtime routine. For example, a recent study indicates any Screen time too close to bed time is a sleep disrupter in children.

    I don't know if this helps but as I said, my two older children also nursed to sleep at this age, and they DID stop needing to nurse to sleep during their third year, although they continued to nurse overall and nursing remained a part of their bedtime routine.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    204

    Default Re: Trouble nursing 2yo to sleep

    We went thru the same thing and basically the things that worked for me were

    - take her off the breast when I couldn't stand it any more, and at that point sing songs or tell story in dark (then once she was more relaxed and I had a break we'd nurse the little bit she needed to fall asleep

    - make sure she was really tired before heading to the bedroom in the first place

    I have never been able to get her to sleep without nursing and like yours she won't go to sleep with my husband even when I am away.

    Meg- can you point us to that study on screen time before bed? I'd like to show it to my husband….

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Central FL
    Posts
    1,575

    Default Re: Trouble nursing 2yo to sleep

    Yea, I think I need some help to reduce the TV or Computer screen time exposure late in the evening, though my Hubby tends not to believe anything I tell him because he seems to think all info a bunk.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,746

    Default Re: Trouble nursing 2yo to sleep

    Meg- can you point us to that study on screen time before bed? I'd like to show it to my husband….
    http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-a...-Children.aspx

    It was also reported widely in the media at that time. For example: http://health.usnews.com/health-news...sleep-for-kids

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