How do I get my nearly 2 year old to self settle to sleep?

Sally - posted on 03/08/2011 ( 18 moms have responded )

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He has only ever fallen asleep on the breast or in the car! I am wanting/try to start weaning him but am finding it hard for myself more so than him!

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Aleks - posted on 03/14/2011

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Is it possible to ask daddy to do it? My little girl is happy to go to sleep next to hear daddy and not nurse if I am not around. But if I am around she wants to nurse before sleep. Most of the time she does not fall asleep on the breast (unless super tired) but likes to have it to settle down before she unlatches turns around and snuggles in. She too is 2. However, I am in no hurry to wean so I don't have this problem.
Also, if not a fan of CIO or controlled crying Elizabeth Pantley's book "The no-cry sleep solution for Toddlers" is pretty good. I am currently reading it and I have noticed that is has a section for the bf toddlers who use nursing as a sleeping aid.
Also, if you are finding it hard then one begs the question why are you wanting to do it???? Is it outside pressure? Cos if that is the case, and if you do cave to it you will be regreting it for the rest of your life. Have a true think about why you want to do what you are asking about, before taking steps in doing it, this will also have influence in your success at whatever method you do choose to use, as half hearted attempts don't usually get results in any methods chosen.

Good luck
:-)

Krista - posted on 03/13/2011

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I think it all depends on where you are at with it, and if at end of your rope, then may need to make a change. I think there is a lot of pressure and comparing with other children that are not helpful. I have 2 girls who both were nursed to sleep. It is and was a lot, but felt it was the best way for us. Peggy omara has a beautiful section about sleep that was helpful to me. Find your way that feels the most comfortable. Best. http://www.drmomma.org/2009/09/sleeping-...

Amy - posted on 03/12/2011

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I forgot to add that as time passes by it gets pleasant! She actually just says "goodnight mommy " rolls over and sleeps! so its not always a fight...you just ned to be consistent! blessings, Amy

Sally - posted on 03/12/2011

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I had my husband snuggle with them to get them to sleep when we were weaning from night feedings. He had to do it for about a week before they stopped asking for me. He also had to be the one to get up at night as all of mine wanted to nurse to go back to sleep too. Not a fun week, (especially for him) but it worked!

Lindsay - posted on 03/12/2011

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I would also recommend using Dr. Sears' methods. I did not use cry it out. It takes more time but I truly believe its worth it.

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Olga - posted on 03/14/2011

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My 20 month old has started to finally self-settle about 3 weeks ago. Until then she had to be rocked to sleep.
The way we accomplished that was by putting her to bed with a lovey and they standing next to the crib and keeping a hand on her chest. That made her quiet down and fall asleep. If the hand wasn't there, she'd cry or try to get up. Gradually she has learned to self-soothe and now I can walk out of the room, she may cry for a couple of minutes and then she's out. I always listen to make sure the cries are diminishing, otherwise I come and do the hand trick.

Shannon - posted on 03/14/2011

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my baby is only 7 almost 8 mo but thank you for asking this ? Im ready for this too

Amber - posted on 03/13/2011

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It takes time. You have to stick to your guns and not let him do it that way anymore. It will take a few weeks and a lot of him crying but try to put him in his bed/crib. Walk out of the room after your good nights and wait 20 min.s before going in. When you go in, check on him (DO NOT TALK TO HIM!! it will only wake him up), lay him back down, cover him up and go back out. Repeat. Do this for 2-3 weeks and he will eventually go to bed with out a problem. This worked on my little girl. PS- next time don't let your child fall asleep that way. Feed them then put them to bed. No letting them sleep in your arms (did that with my son and he goes to be with out so much as a peep). Good luck!!

Jenna - posted on 03/13/2011

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Have you heard of the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child"? It has great tips for sleep and self-soothing.

Sara - posted on 03/12/2011

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I think that getting a bedtime routine is really important. Eventually they start to associate the routine with sleeping. Same thing, same time, every night.

Amy - posted on 03/12/2011

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Well for the last 2 children we have let them cry it out. I DO nurse before bed but I dont let her fall asleep. We bathe , brush teeth , read a book while nursing then I put her down. She cried for about 45-1 hr the first 3-4 nights (and it lessened each nite) and by the weeks end she was sleeping through the night...you have to be consistent , STRONG! and dont ever give in to putting them in bed. Or you'll be back to square one! Good luck , Amy

Christine - posted on 03/12/2011

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Try using a sound machine, or just a plain old fan in the room. my 6 month old loves the vacuum cleaner. They say babies prefer noise since when they are in the womb all they hear is your heartbeat and the gurgles and your voice. So it's a constant barrage of noises. You can also try introducing a new blanket just for sleeping. When he smells and feels the blanket he'll associate it with sleeping.

Lori - posted on 03/12/2011

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My oldest son was very similar. He fell asleep in the car, while nursing, or if I rocked him. He was up all through the night as well. At about 7 months I started to use tough love, and let me tell you, it was tougher on me! I would put him. In the crib, and go in after 5 min if he was crying, pick him up until he calmed down, then put him back down. The first night it was about an hour and a half before he fell asleep. I also limited my words to him after the third visit. I kept doing this until he fell asleep every night. Well about a week and a half later he was falling asleep on his own in his crib. And it was nearly a month that he started sleeping through the night as well. My son will be 5 in a couple of months, and has been a great sleeper!
Good luck, I know it is difficult, but you will get through this. Be strong, and have patience.

Katie - posted on 03/12/2011

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My daughter's 11 months old, and we started doing sleep training with her when she was 4 months old. I read that babies can't self sooth until 4 months. We did use the cry it out method. I HATE to hear her cry, and it did take a little time, but she did learn to self sooth. I stopped letting her nurse herself to sleep when she was 4 months old too. About once or twice a week, I accidently take her off with her last nursing, and she's asleep, but it doesn't happen too often. I can put her in her crib wide awake, and it might take her a little bit, but she will go to sleep. Sometimes, I can hear her in her crib playing, then all of a sudden she starts crying, it's because she's about to fall asleep. Usually once she starts crying (she doesn't do that often) withing a few minutes, she fast asleep.

Karen - posted on 03/12/2011

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We have just been to a sleep seminar because my little girl (10 months at that stage) was doing the same thing and then if she woke during the night she wouldn't settle again, the sleep expert said to make sure she went to sleep awake so she learnt to put herself to sleep and then if she woke in the night she would be able to self settle, she warned us that it would probably take a few nights and lots of tears, because we all have clever babies that know which buttons to push!, but as long as you know that they are fed, changed, etc, there is nothing wrong with letting them cry. It broke my heart the first couple of nights, I so don't like to hear my babies cry, but I distracted myself with other things, and now (she is 11 1/2 months now) we are getting almost 12 hours sleep out of her, and if she wakes in the night she just talks to herself and goes back to sleep. Good luck, it's not an easy process but hopefully (if you can handle the crying method) you will be able to get it sorted soon :)

Sandie - posted on 03/09/2011

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I had that same problem too & he is 23 months old he turns 2 next month. Now he sleeps in his bed when he is tired. We noticed he only fell asleep in our bed without having to feed him, & it was due to our bed was nice & cool for him like the sheets & pillows because we always had our covers pulled back before we go to bed & so we tired doing that to his bed & now when he feels his bed is nice & cool he falls asleep by himself. I don't know if this helps :)

Sarh - posted on 03/08/2011

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My 9m old was like that until about 2wks ago, we laid him in his crib and I told my fiancee if he didn't settle in 10mins or if he got over worked from crying I was getting him, well, he cried for a bit and then started sucking his thumb (his self soothing method) and went to bed, he rarely fusses at all anymore when we lay him down. Only do this when your son is fed and obviously tired of course.
Or if it will be easier on you give him your milk or just milk in his sippy cup and hold/rock him to sleep while he drinks that.
Don't sit in his room with him, it just makes it harder for them. Or at least with my son.

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