18 month old sleeping and sleep association issues

Paula - posted on 12/19/2012 ( 4 moms have responded )

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My 18-month-old has been having sleeping issues for the past month. She still nurses- usually before naps and bedtime, then anywhere from 1-6 times per night. She also has a pacifier. We moved about 1.5 months ago, so I know some of this has stemmed from the move. A month ago she started not letting me put her down for naps. She will fall asleep in my arms if she is tired enough, but always wakes up when I put her down. (She does usually nap for my MIL who watches her when I work part-time, but I think she is exhausted by then.) I would still leave her in her crib, but then she learned to climb out of her crib! So we had to transition her to a regular bed. It is the IKEA kura bed- her sister sleeps on top. The past few nights I have been sleeping with her to help her get used to the bed/room. Her nursing at night has gotten much worse and is driving me crazy. I know I need to stop nursing and the pacifier, but I am not sure which to do first (or both together?). I think she will naturally start sleeping better once she is not reliant on me/paci to fall back asleep. I am not willing to cry-it-out at all. Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated! Sorry forgot to mention that we co-sleep. She would normally have started the night in her crib then come to our bed when she woke up the first time around 11 or so.

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Echo - posted on 12/19/2012

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I know how it feels to feel as if you're a human pacifier! My son made me feel the same way. He relied on me to fall asleep and to go back to sleep too. Like you, I got to a point where I no longer nursed him during the day, just at night. I also slept with him, like you with your daughter at this point. But at night, I found that he was fine as long as he could feel my skin. It was either my chest, stomach, back, or just an arm. I would lay him on my chest and allow him to go to sleep there, while patting his back. After he fell asleep, I could roll him over and lay my arm over him, just to let him know I was there and wasn't leaving him. He actually still sleeps with me and at night he still reaches out to touch me. Let me know if there is anything else I may be able to help you with.

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Gigi - posted on 12/30/2012

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Great to hear that the pacifier went smoothly! Maybe stopping the nightly nursing will go easier than you think? It will be hard first few nights. but if you stick with it your daughter will adapt soon.
I know what you mean with beeing ready for bed at 5 pm if there is no nap. My daughter is 3 and still naps most of the days. At some point she was also refusing to nap and we tried without but she was just too miserable by 5 pm. Then we went back to napping and after some time she just started napping well again. I did shorten her naps, though, otherwise she would wake up in the middle of the night.

Paula - posted on 12/29/2012

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She definitely gets overtired if she doesn't nap! Clingy, whiny, ready for bed by 5. After I posted this I decided to take away the pacifier, which she has done really well with. She doesn't ask for it at all. The nursing has gotten longer, which I expected. I am going to transition her to sleeping alone in the next few months since I am expecting baby #3 in July. Unfortunately, my husband can't help me because he has sleeping issues. I'm not sure how I am going to get her to sleep alone without nursing, but it needs to be done! I like Echo Tew's idea with the touch- maybe that will help to at least lessen the nursing.

Gigi - posted on 12/20/2012

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I would stop the nursing first, and deal with pacifier later. This could also be the time to transition her to sleep alone - since if she is in the bed with you it might be difficult to refuse to nurse her. Your husband is perfect person to deal with her during the night at least for the first week or so until she comes to terms that there is no more nursing.
As for the naps, maybe she is done with them, some kids stop them completely at that age. Is she ok if she doesn't nap or does she get over-tired?

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