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Old 02-11-2013, 09:34 PM   #1
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Self Soothe?

Just looking for success stories of what has worked for you to get your toddler to fall asleep mostly on their own without crying it out.

DD will be 20 months in a couple of days and DH has absolutely had it with all the nursing and rocking to try to get her to sleep and honestly, I'm getting there too. Getting her to sleep takes 1-2 hours every night, not including the pre-sleep stuff like bath time, quiet time/story, putting on a night diaper, etc. We've been co-sleeping (but DH wants to move her to her toddler bed) so I lay down in our bed with her and nurse her. If she doesn't fall asleep then DH comes in to rock her. If she won't sleep for DH and starts screaming her head off then I go in and have to deal with rocking her until she finally passes out.

I have no idea how to get her to sleep on her own. (ETA: It's fine for her to stay in our bed for a while longer, but we're wanting to get her to fall asleep without us rocking and nursing for an hour or more). For the past couple of weeks DH has started trying to lay down in the bed with her instead of rocking her but it doesn't work. She just decides she's done playing with Daddy and tries to climb off of the bed and then all hell breaks loose when he won't let her get down. I then have to come save the day (night?) by calming her down and rocking her until she finally falls asleep.

I do have the book "The No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley and haven't found it helpful as of yet. We do not have a crib or a pack n' play to put her in to keep her from escaping. We have our bed and her toddler bed but she's never slept in her toddler bed.

I'm just not sure what to do at this point that isn't harsh like CIO. What have you done to get your toddler to start sleeping?

On a separate note, how do you begin the weaning process? As I said, she's about 20 months but still nurses 8-10+ times a day with each session lasting 30 minutes or more and I'm just exhausted. I thought by this point she'd be nursing 1-3 times a day. I've been very "touched out" since shortly after she turned 1 year and my nipples just can't take the stimulation of tiny hands grabbing at them so often much longer. As much as I have loved nursing and said I'd let her do it until she decided to stop, I really need for it to start slowing down for my own sanity. I will still let her nurse for as long as she likes, I just want it to not be quite as many nursing sessions a day. Any suggestions on how to get her to slow down on nursing and eat more solid food instead?

Thanks!

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Last edited by FriedaT; 02-11-2013 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:53 PM   #2
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Re: Self Soothe?

Unfortunally for us the "cry it out method" is the only thing that worked for all three of my kiddos. It was hard the first 3 nights but then they just started sleeping on their own. I'm sorry that's not very helpful since you are wanting to avoid that method but it does work! Good luck mama!
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:11 PM   #3
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Re: Self Soothe?

Is she napping? She might be overtired or not tired enough.

Have you tried playing dead? Let her nurse like normal and then roll over and act like you're asleep. We had to do this with our son and the first few nights took awhile and he threw a fit or two but he knew we weren't going to play the tag team game, or any game at all really, lol. There's a big difference between leaving a 5 month old in a dark room by themselves to CIO and laying "asleep" next to your 20 month old.
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:22 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by angelisagemini
Is she napping? She might be overtired or not tired enough.

Have you tried playing dead? Let her nurse like normal and then roll over and act like you're asleep. We had to do this with our son and the first few nights took awhile and he threw a fit or two but he knew we weren't going to play the tag team game, or any game at all really, lol. There's a big difference between leaving a 5 month old in a dark room by themselves to CIO and laying "asleep" next to your 20 month old.
We have the same problem at nap time about half the time. Some days she'll nurse to sleep and other days I'll only rock her for an hour before I give up and she just skips her nap that day. Non-nap days will actually allow her to go to bed decently at bed time but she's a terror for the evening.

I have tried pretending to be asleep. She gets bored and leaves the room... Anything we try where we're not holding her she just leaves when she decides she's done.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:02 AM   #5
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Re: Self Soothe?

I'd move up bedtime, she sounds like she's hitting her second wind.
Just tell her there will be no more rocking. She can still lay in your bed, but you are laying down and going to sleep. Close the door, turn off the light, and "sleep". Cuddle with her and feed her, but don't rock/ talk/ stimulate her at all. After a couple weeks of having this down, move her to her toddler bed and repeat. Still feed, cuddle, but no stimulation. With either of these she isn't CIO, she isn't crying because she's lonely or scared, she is crying because she isn't getting her way. And then after she gets that for awhile, work on shortening the night feeds, and I think they are usually the last to go for weaning. For cutting out daytime feeds, switch it with a cup of milk or water, and wear turtlenecks and tuck your shirt. Say no, distract with something else.

I'd also start a good bedtime routine, start 30 minutes before bed, get bath, Jammie's, teeth brushed, story time, then bed. Rinse and repeat
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:29 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Tris
I'd move up bedtime, she sounds like she's hitting her second wind.
Just tell her there will be no more rocking. She can still lay in your bed, but you are laying down and going to sleep. Close the door, turn off the light, and "sleep". Cuddle with her and feed her, but don't rock/ talk/ stimulate her at all. After a couple weeks of having this down, move her to her toddler bed and repeat. Still feed, cuddle, but no stimulation. With either of these she isn't CIO, she isn't crying because she's lonely or scared, she is crying because she isn't getting her way. And then after she gets that for awhile, work on shortening the night feeds, and I think they are usually the last to go for weaning. For cutting out daytime feeds, switch it with a cup of milk or water, and wear turtlenecks and tuck your shirt. Say no, distract with something else.

I'd also start a good bedtime routine, start 30 minutes before bed, get bath, Jammie's, teeth brushed, story time, then bed. Rinse and repeat
We do have a good and consistent bed time routine. We start at 7:30 and lay down at 8. 8 seems to be where we need to stick. When we move it up earlier or let her stay up later, it has taken even longer every time.

For the weaning, the numbers I listed are just for nursing. She doesn't like milk (aside from breast milk) and drinks several cups of water a day. Distraction doesn't work but I do try almost every time. If she just nursed 30 minutes ago and is crying and pulling at me again, I'll say no and offer her other things or try to play but it just seems to piss her off. I usually have to just go do something else and try to ignore the screaming and pulling at me. It's frustrating and exhausting for both of us.

ETA: I feel like I've created a monster by letting her nurse and co-sleep. I'm wondering how much of it is her though. I also have always had a very difficult time sleeping and my dad and grandpa both have to have prescription Ambien to sleep.

As I said, DH has been just laying down with her so I won't go in and "save" her anymore. He's going out of state next week though.
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Last edited by FriedaT; 02-12-2013 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:12 AM   #7
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Re: Self Soothe?

I don't have much advice about the naps - Levi still naps while cuddling with me or laying on me. Since I've had 2 pregnancies with him doing this, I don't actually mind it that much - it forces me to sit down and relax for a couple hours every afternoon.

For bedtime, I used to have to nurse and cuddle him until he was really asleep (like sleeping in my arms for a good 20-30 minutes), then carefully lay him down. If he stirred and woke, I did it all over again. That was really getting old!
Through my first trimesters, I get extremely exhausted, having to get to bed before the kids usually, definitely by 8pm. When I was pregnant with Elli (so Levi would have been 16-17 months old) I was just too tired by that point to do the whole nursing-cuddling-waiting for deep sleep-laying him down routine. So, I started getting him all ready for bed, then taking him into our room and nursing him while lying in bed - as long as he laid still and quiet, I let him cuddle in bed with me, as soon as he started squirming or whatnot, I gave him a hug and kiss and put him in his crib (a couple feet from our bed), then I laid back down to go to sleep myself.
He didn't like that at first, not surprisingly, but because I was right there in bed, he wasn't scared, just ticked off that I wouldn't pick him back up. I would "shh" him and tell him to lay down, I was right there, etc. After a couple weeks, he started just laying down and going right to sleep once he saw me get in bed.
By the time the first trimester exhaustion was over for me, he was used to this, so we went to a story, a few minutes rocking in the chair in our room, and just laying him in bed. No problems now.

Like I said though, naps are still a cuddletime!
As for the nursing, when I got to that "touched out" point I would just tell them that they couldn't nurse right then and would have to wait a bit - usually trying to find a "time" to give them (not actual time, but some activity or something after which they could nurse, kwim?). Definitely offer water to drink, snacks, stories, cuddles - everything except actually nursing. She's definitely old enough to understand that she has to wait a bit, and that there are other options - she won't like it, but she can understand it, lol.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:48 AM   #8
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Re: Self Soothe?

If she takes a nap, when does it usually end?

We have hard time getting our DD (2 yrs) to sleep if she naps later than 4. Ideally, her nap would end at 3, but we have to work on getting that moved back.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:06 AM   #9
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Re: Self Soothe?

http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html
I found this, and I am going to give it a try. I have much of the same situation with my 19 month old. I would ask when do you get up in the morning and when does she sleep for a nap? Try not to let her nap too long, that messes it up for me at bed time. Wish you all the best. It is exhausting I know!!!
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:25 AM   #10
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At that age, she understand a lot and you may be able to reason with her. We moved DD1 to a twin bed. I would suit in a glider in the dark room until she fell asleep in her bed. I told her I would only stay in her room if she stayed laying down in her bed. I would remind her to lay down and close her eyes, but not talk with her. It worked for us. I also had a cd player with lullabys in her room.
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