Nearing the end of my tether with my 1 year old's naps(6 Posts)
At night he is pretty okay. Well, sort of. I feed him after his bath and if he doesn't fall asleep then (he usually does) then DP takes him into our room and pats him to sleep.
But naps. Good god I'm sick of it. I am trying to wean from BFing so for a long time have walked/driven him to sleep, or rocked in the pushchair at home if I'm not going out. But lately he just will NOT go to sleep, despite rubbing his eyes, yawning and the other million and one signs of tiredness. I catch it early but obviously it escalates pretty quick into getting upset.
What pisses me off - yes, actually pisses me off - is that at nursery he self settles, with no tears.
It is 4pm. I have been trying to get him to nap since 2pm. He has had half an hour's sleep this morning and I know that he cannot last the day on that alone. And if he does (a few occasions when he has not slept at nursery) then come 5pm he is a nightmare of the epic sort. Tears until bedtime, pretty much. And then a rough night.
He does not sleep through, I have to feed him back to sleep and usually co-sleep from that point on (can be as early as 11pm, as late as 1am)
I am going crazy with it all and don't know what to do.
WHY will he just not put his head down and GO TO SLEEP
He starts/started processing sequences around 13 months, this is the point at which routine becomes critical. His nursery routine is entrenched and he no doubt "self settles" by watching all of his peers happily lie down at the same time and take a nap. It's a different ballpark entirely to "hey now, you're the only one going to sleep while everyone else gets to do exciting stuff." Add to this that you have always parented him to sleep and that your "routine" for naps has previously been something stimulating and you can see why you're in a pickle. So how do you find your way out of it?
1. Accept that your DS will behave differently with you to how he will behave with your DH/MIL/nursery/etc. (This is a good thing.)
2. Get a nap routine that you can work with on the long term, and stick with it.
3. Start the nap routine long before the sleepiness cues.
4. Pick your tolerance for crying - mine is that it's okay as long as it's being responded to (i.e. zero tolerance for CC, but tolerance for crying while being comforted by a parent, even if just vocally/back rubbed).
5. Decide which is more important to you: weaning or good napping. (Personally I take good naps = good nights = I get to put my feet up for a while.) If it's the napping, then start out your New Routine with nursing to sleep included, along with other comfort props (lovey, lullabye or lullabye CD, etc.) and once the routine gets entrenched, move nursing earlier and earlier until it is no longer part of it. If it's the weaning, then introduce these props at bedtime while you're nursing.
6. Does he have all his teeth? Could he be working on his molars/canines? If so, pain relief can work wonders.
7. If you're using a cot, convert to a toddler bed - it's much easier to get in and have a cuddle.
8. Make nap time special, something he looks forward to, e.g. lots of stories, a favourite CD, a special lullabye, etc.
DD2 rarely slept through the day, a couple of 30 min bursts, in which you have no time to get anything done. However she did fall asleep on her own at bedtime and nap time. You do say however that your DP pats him to sleep (which will be a routine for him) and that you have to BF him back to sleep (again another routine). IMO you need to get him into a routine where you put him down awake, close the door and let him go to sleep on his own. He just may not be a day napper (annoying I know). Maybe he would just play in his cot for a while and give you a break. He should get used to it and hopefully a nap routine would take place. If you get him to fall asleep on his own then he will be less likely to awaken in the night. I found this book really really helpful but it does involve controlled crying but it does work, you just need to have a little read about sleep patterns and the examples it gives you and feel confident to get started
I am going to be of no help because I'm going to say that if he wants BF and it gets him to sleep then it is the lesser of two evils and just go for it.
DS was exactly the same and I identify strongly with the anger and resentment that can build up when you can see they are tired and you know they need to sleep but they won't and you're truly Murderous because it's so maddening. BUT he's still only little and also he's experiencing the big wide world and is probably feeling separation anxiety or something like it. therefore my theory is that if you provide the reassurance he seeks (ie BF) he will relax enough and feel secure enough to start selfsettling with you.
I speak from experience - DS is now 15 months and will self-settle but prefers a BF first or if he's unwell/teething/upset. Otherwise I can now plonk him in his cot 5 times out of ten and sit by the cot for 2 or 3 minutes before leaving him to it. The key is staying calm yourself and giving minimal boring reassurance if he complains. IME the initial outraged complaining abates really quickly - if he's still upset after 2-3 minutes then I pick him up again otherwise we all get less likely to sleep.
Resignation is the ultimate weapon when dealing with a sleepless child! Sorry if this is no help if you are really desperate to wean. Good luck
I would cut out the morning nap, mine went down to one nap after lunch at this age and once we dropped the morning one he was much easier to settle at lunchtime.
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