Getting my 1-year-old to sleep

Mary Renee - posted on 05/22/2011 ( 10 moms have responded )





I believe in Attachment-style parenting but I also might soon become a single parent as my SO and I are having problems and going on a two month trial separation.

ANYWAY, I have been nursing my daughter to sleep since she was born basically (and we co-sleep). Everybody told me not to do it, but honestly, it was so hard to get her to sleep (it's also difficult to get her to nap and she's only taken one nap a day since she was 3 weeks old) that after hours of trying every other technique to get her to sleep, rocking, swaddling, everything besides CIO which I would never do...I always end up giving in and nursing her to sleep.

However as of three weeks ago, she is a big healthy one-year-old and nursing her to sleep is no longer very effective! We will now do our whole entire routine exactly the same (dinner, quiet play while Mama does dishes/laundry, bathtime, PJs, story time, nurse) but she can nurse with out falling alseep. I tried pushing her bedtime back a half an hour, and it worked for a few days, but now she will just nurse and then afterward sit up and crawl around the bed and try to get off and play some more. A few times she's actually fallen asleep on her own on the bed with out nursing but it's like a half an hour or forty five minutes after she's nurse where I am just sitting there in the dark making sure she doesn't jump off the bed.

I don't mean to sound selfish, but I really can't spend 45 minutes in the dark just making sure she doesn't jump off the bed. I don't mind nursing her for 45 minutes, or rocking her to sleep, but just sitting there makes me go crazy thinking about all the chores I should be doing. However, since we co-sleep, just leaving the room while she's still awake has never seemed like an option because she can get off the bed but she can't get back and on, and additionally they're doing construction on our entire apartment building that adds to the reason I don't want to leave her alone on an adult bed to fall asleep on her own.

What have other co-sleeping parents done to get they're 1-year-olds that were previously nursed to sleep to go to sleep when nursing doesn't make them fall asleep anymore?


[deleted account]

Interesting stuff here, good suggestions to try. My 17 month old and I have always co-slept. Sometimes she just doesn't want to go to sleep, but I just stick it out until she does. I used to get frazzled by it, because like Mary, I wanted to get housework done. I have learned to not care and just enjoy every blessed moment I get with my girl.

I am a single mother, and I work full time, so finding time to do housework AND enjoy spending time with my girl was a balancing act.

Guess what my solution was? Make household chores into a game for her to do with me.

Now whenever I clean, she is my excellent little helper. She puts laundry into the washer for me, takes dishes out of the washer for me, yesterday she had a blast using a little hand sweeper and tray to 'sweep' up the cheerios she'd tossed across the floor. She gets upset if I finish it up without leaving her something to do! She loves to help and do what mum does.

[deleted account]

Yeah, I used to listen to audio books with earbuds (just one earbud in) when I had trouble getting back to sleep or when my son wanted to nurse for a long time. I don't do it much any more, because I'm too exhausted. :P

I hear you about the chores. It's hard to find time to do anything when they're crawling/walking. I either put off the chores until my flat is gross, have his dad watch him while I do a quick clean, or try to involve him in the chores in some way, like strap him in his high chair and then vaccuum all around like it was a game or let him "help" me with the laundry. He actually likes watching us do the dishes, if it isn't for too long. Your daughter is older and walking -- could she help you rinse? She could help you fold laundry by looking for matching socks, stuff like that.

I don't think you're missing quality time by involving her in your daily household routine.

Holly - posted on 06/02/2011




I co-slept with Holly till she was 7mths. and then it just was not working! Same thing i could not get her to sleep on my breast. So i moved her to her own crib(not easy) then to her own rm and she is sleeping ALL night. SOme babies just want their own space at different times. There is NOTHING wrong with moving to a new stage. you can attachment parent lots of other ways as well!!!!!!!!!!! good luck!


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Elizabeth - posted on 07/09/2011




My son did not start doing this until about two. What I did is not for everyone, but I let him stay up and help me or entertain himself with a computer game or video and then he went to bed when I was ready. We went through our bed routine of reading books, lullabies, hugs and kisses. Then he would lay down in my arms and we would both go to sleep. A little later on that wasn't working and I found through trial and error that he started being afraid of the dark even though we slept in darkness every night before. So, I let him have a little flashlight he could hold and have on. He felt secure enough to go to sleep and I would take the light after he was out.

Kat - posted on 07/05/2011




Mary has putting your LO to sleep gotten better? Barbara, Julia, and Liz do your LO's put them self to sleep after you nurse them?

Julia - posted on 06/30/2011




yepp, including the kids into the chores and not having the goal to have it all done quickly and overly neatly has worked great for me and my son. i think in our culture we have too much emphasis on quality time and entertaining the children, but I have figured all they really want is to be a part of our ordinary everyday lives, they want to observe and learn and try the things out that we do. by now my son (2 1/2) has become a real big help just like Barbara is describing above. When i am in bed with him to nurse him to sleep i always try and use the time to either relax or think about things that i usually don't have the time and space and patience to. or i just really consciously enjoy the closeness to my son. Occasionally when I get impatient or just have a strong need to have some space for myself I try to remind myself that I am the one who is a lot better at being able to cope with situations of discomfort and that I have all the time in the world to fulfill my own needs once my son is asleep. I must admit sometimes I can be excellent at ignoring the chores..... ouch!

Mary Renee - posted on 06/02/2011




Hmmm, some of the suggestions here are interesting but I don't know how they would work. Do you listen to audio tapes on head phones? She definitely won't sleep if she hears music or tv or talking, she just wants to investigate. I've thought about things like kindle or something but I don't think I can afford that and it would have to be something with it's own light source because she won't sleep with the lights on either.

Doing the chores with her in the carrier isn't really an option anymore either as she is now walking and HATES being constrained (not to mention she's 21 pounds and I'm a 100 pound woman with scoliosis)

I understand that the house can wait and she's only going to be my baby once, but the problem is these are things that CAN'T wait. Like she threw up on the towels and they're washed and if I leave them in the washing machine with out putting them in they dryer they're going to stink. Or she needs clean clothes, or I just have to vacuum so she's not eating yesterday's crumbs off the floor - if I don't do it when she's asleep, I'll have to do it when she's awake and then I feel like I'm missing spending quality "awake" time.

Also her father doesn't come home from work until after 10pm, so I can't really enlist in his help.

Thanks for the suggestions!

Sally - posted on 05/31/2011




If she's crawling around anyway, just go do your chores. If you want her to rest during that time pop her into a carrier. She knows that you're stressed. She knows that you have no intention of staying with her. She's staying awake to be with you so just take her with you. Hopefully she'll fall asleep in the carrier. My girls usually do.
Good luck

Tameka - posted on 05/28/2011




My heart goes out to you as I understand your frustration. My daughter decided that at 16 months nursing to sleep was no longer going to occur. She is self weaning. Having said that, she wouldn't go sleep without a massive protest tantrum about sleep. What I would do to pass the time while my daughter drifted off was read. Once a month I would go to my local library and borrow a stack of books. I would also use the internet on my phone. I love to read and have found a couple of good fiction sites that keep me happy.

I also found that just my presence was all my daughter wanted. If I interacted with her in anyway it would aggravate her and the settling process had to begin again. If I could get my daughter to fall asleep in less than half an hour I would be ecstatic. It usually to my daughter around 1-2 hours every night for her to fall asleep. It drove me bonkers but it worked.

Try white noise too. It made settling much easier. I would put the ceiling fan on reverse (so not to make her cold) and the noise really helped. The times I forgot made things interesting.

I've also had to re-evaluate what is truly important. Making sure that everything is in its place or ensuring my daughter has a good sleep. There has been times when my house looks like 5 teenage boys have swept through it but at least my daughter has had 5 hours sleep because I tried instead on 1-2 hours. A house can wait, children grow up so fast and before you know it you're packing their lunch for their first day at school. :)

[deleted account]

I don't really have the answer; my son is 8mo and becoming this way too. Most of the time I take him out of bed because I don't want him to associate it with frustration, and let him do something else until he's tired out. A lot of the time he will sit in his dad's lap and listen to music. That seems to get him calm and sleepy.

If it drives you crazy just sitting there in bed, listen to an audio book or something. :)

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