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How do I get 2 year old to go to sleep without breastfeeding?

(15 Posts)
Babyitscoldouts1de Sat 18-Mar-17 20:11:58

My two year old has always been breastfeeding obsessed. Took a long time for him to start really eating, always refused a dummy and always needed bf or motion eg push chair or car to sleep. Now we are down to bf only at sleep and waking up, but I cannot get him to do that on his own.

I am not prepared to walk off and leave him crying. I have tried getting him to have a feed before bed and then cuddle or lie on the bed next to him. This seemed to work with minimal grumping for about a month, but now just leads to screaming lots of stalling words eg clean teeth, hungry, nappy change. I usually give in before he does as we have things walls and I don't want to piss off the neighbours.

I can't get him to lie down unless I hold him and if he does stop screaming it will only be fully lying on top of me. I can't ever have a night out as dp works late and no one else will babysit a child that just screams for hours and won't sleep for them.

Please help, what do I need to do?

Babymamamama Sat 18-Mar-17 20:18:11

Give up the breastfeeding? Increase food at dinner time? Set up a lovely new routine of bath, Pyjamas, brush teeth, then choose books to read together cuddling in bed. Be prepared to read quite a few very relaxing books in a dimly lit or relaxing room. Stay with him until drowsy then slip off out of the room. Good luck!

Babyitscoldouts1de Sat 18-Mar-17 21:06:24

I am not bothered about giving up bf totally. Like I said, he loves it and it really calms him down. Pretty much the only time he is! Book routine does sound like a good idea. Leaving him awake sounds like nirvana, but he hates being alone, so too good to be true.

HariboFrenzy Sat 18-Mar-17 21:12:44

Has anyone else tried to put him to bed when you're not there? I ask because I bf DS to sleep but he has occasional sleepovers at gps and he will just have a bottle there and they will lie with him while he rolls around the bed before going to sleep.

Babyitscoldouts1de Sat 18-Mar-17 21:42:35

Parents have done a few times, but each time he cried for hours. He is with them often during the day and naps fine for them in the push chair. They won't do evenings any more.

My best friend did a couple of evenings a very long time ago. He was ok then, but as I usually socialise with her and dp can't normally go out on evenings there hasn't really been an opportunity in the past year

OohNoDooEy Sat 18-Mar-17 21:48:37

There is a difference between crying because they're upset and crying because they're shouting and making noise. Putting them down and walking away is fine. Hover outside and when the cry turns into being actually upset, go in, lay them down and say "it's bedtime now" and leave. No lights or eye contact.

Repeat, repeat, repeat and he'll get there. I understand not wanting crying but 2 year olds protest against a lot of stuff, bedtime included.

jessplussomeonenew Sat 18-Mar-17 22:02:37

Could you try cutting the feed a bit shorter and saying that you don't have any more milk just now, have a cuddle while you make some more. This seemed to work with DS because I wasn't saying no, just not yet - so he stayed calm without being fed. If he got distressed again later on I'd offer a short additional feed, but he increasingly tended to doze off before he got to that point.

Babyitscoldouts1de Sat 18-Mar-17 22:16:13

I agree that it is not getting my own way crying, which is different to distressed baby crying. I am not against him crying because he is annoyed with me, I just don't want to walk off and leave him crying on his own.

I think I do need to stick to it. Will try the run out at the moment line. Dp can try putting him to bed tomorrow night as no work. Then it's just which one of them gives in first

patodp Sat 18-Mar-17 22:22:01

Could you give him a bottle of warm (cow's) milk instead to ease him off you gradually? I give my 2yo a bottle of warm milk in one of those bottles with a hard plastic spout, not a rubber false nipple, and read him a story while he drifts off.

TheLongRains Sat 18-Mar-17 22:25:24

I'm currently trying the "you've finished it all, so we'll have to wait while mummy makes some more" tactic... Mixed results! The times it has worked are keeping me going with it. Like you, I don't mind keeping feeding, but it's the dependence on it to get to sleep that's getting to me. I'd rather feed before teeth and story etc, and have drift off on her own.

Does your son nap in the day regularly? I'm thinking of maybe cutting out the nap so that she's exhausted by bedtime (but then I likely will be too, and so will give in to breastfeeding for an easy life!)...

Sunshineandlaughter Sat 18-Mar-17 22:27:07

I'd go with rocking if you can carry him

Sunshineandlaughter Sat 18-Mar-17 22:28:26

And once he's drowsy lie down next to him and cuddle

LakeFlyPie Sat 18-Mar-17 22:29:24

We went away for the weekend and DS had the weekend with grandparents.
Everyone involved enjoyed their weekend and when we came back it was cup of milk and story time instead of bf.
(DS was 3.5 but I think the concept holds at any age >2)
Good luck

Babyitscoldouts1de Sun 19-Mar-17 09:11:44

He usually still naps. When he doesn't he doesn't usually make it past 4 or 5 without needing to go to bed so is then up for ages during the night,or thinks it's morning before 4am.

He's always been a terrible sleeper and just doesn't seem to need as much as other children the same age, so I have always taken the route of least resistance to try and get some sleep for me too. We have never made it to drowsy but awake. It's either drowsy and bf or screaming.

I would be able to rock him on the bed,but not walking around. Too heavy for that.

Sunshineandlaughter Sun 19-Mar-17 09:22:56

Start change with his nap sleep - he'll be more open to going to sleep a different way then. Get your oh to do it.

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