Crowd Sourcing: A Millennial Mom’s Way of Sleep Training

I’ve been crowd sourcing my way through motherhood since I announced I was pregnant.

  • What should I register for?
  • How do I get this baby to come out of my body? I was 9 days late… 
  • Is breastfeeding the most painful thing you’ve ever done? It was mine…

We are well into the toddler years and I’ve been having two struggles since we hit 1 year.

  1. How the hell do I get my son to stop breast feeding?
  2. How do I get my child to go from 2 to 1 naps!?

These are serious questions. It’s common to hear “No one tells you how hard it is to breastfeed,” but no one EVER told me how hard it would be to stop nursing a little boy.

“Just drop a feed,” or “Slowly reduce the amount of time you are letting him nurse,” people have advised.

Ummmmm… come over to my house and listen to my son scream at me if I take away my boob before he is done or if I say no while he throws a temper tantrum and tugs at my shirt. I am weak. He is a momma’s boy and he owns me. Currently I nurse in the morning and usually one other time during the day typically after his nap. I do not nurse before bed which I hear is the hardest to get rid of.

My cycle still has not returned and is freaking me out a bit. I thought it would have surely returned by now. Is it nursing or is it exercise/diet related?

Transitioning from 2 to 1 Nap

When it came to the nap transition, I reached out via Instagram and was overwhelmed with helpful advice. I also had quite a few moms ask me to share the knowledge I was learning from my followers.

For my non mom readers, babies take a lot of naps. As they get older, they drop one at a time. Most kids transition to just one nap between 12 and 18 months. Tommy will be 18 months in a few weeks and is not there yet.

Tommy Sleeping in Pack n Play

Tommy goes to bed at 7 pm and was waking up between 5:15 and 5:45 am. This is not uncommon for kids this age but it was too early for him (and ME).  He was so tired from waking up so early that by 8:30 am he was needing to take a nap. This nap was actually earlier than it had been the past few months. He would sleep anywhere from 1-2 hours making me think he needed to sleep longer in the morning (obviously).

Still waking up at 10:30 am was too early to only do one nap a day so we had to do a second at 2 pm. This nap again would be anywhere between 1 and 2 hours. He would go to bed easily at 7pm and the cycle would repeat.

This early wake up time was a sign for me that we had to transition to 1 nap but getting Tommy to stay awake until 10:30 or 11 am felt impossible.

Toddler Sleeping In High Chair

Here were the suggestions from you guys on Instagram:

  1. Put Tommy to bed earlier to get him to sleep later. Counterintuitive but it did work, but only very slightly. 
  2. Let him cry in his crib when he wakes up and don’t get him until 6 am. He will eventually realize that is when he should be waking up. Tried to do this… I couldn’t get past 10 minutes of crying without going to his aid. 
  3. Put a cup of water in his crib and a book too. This worked for us for sure! The water was always empty in the morning and he did start sleeping later when he had his water cup. The only problem here was that he would have such a wet diaper come morning that was waking him up sometimes. 
  4. Avoid stroller walks or car rides when he would start to get sleepy and in addition do something stimulating like the park, museum or play date… Yes, this worked for us but he would get super cranky. 
  5. Only allow him to sleep x amount of minutes at each nap… never got a chance to implement this. 
  6. Put him down for his nap at 11 and then move it back 15 minutes each day… lol, he can barely make it to 11, we started at 10:30 no joke.
  7. Eat lunch before the nap and change his diaper so it is clean… this works well to get a good nap!

There were a lot more suggestions but these were some of the ones that stuck out as being potentially helpful. For  our situation, the water cup thing helped Tommy sleep a little later and is now a staple in the pack and play.

Finally, he sleeps consistently to 6 am and twice this week he slept until 7 and then 7:20 am. This feels like sleeping in, crazy right!?

This week, he has done one nap each day except for this past Monday and Thursday. Some people shared that it was normal to have short naps at first and also that he might need to go back and forth between 2 and 1 naps for a few weeks before totally coming a one nap kind of guy. When the one nap is 45 minutes, he often needs an additional snooze in the afternoon. I was told the nap will eventually get longer as he gets used to just one.

What helped us the most in the transition so far?

So for us, what has helped us transition is the water in his crib as well as avoiding anything that might cause him to fall asleep before 11. He also had gotten rid of his sleep sack and now just sleeps in a top and bottom PJ (no footies or socks). He likes to sleep with a lot of stuffed animals too.

Toddler Sleeping

The key to sticking with 1 nap is making sure it’s at least 90 minutes long. I think the secret to the good nap has been when he eats lunch before his one nap. It means eating at 11am and not falling asleep en route home to eat if we are out which is hard! He often falls asleep on our way home from the beach or the park before I can get him to eat something.

I’m not a sleep expert. I’m just sharing my experience and I hope this post helps at least one of you! Let me know any additional thoughts below as well are you weaning techniques!

Crowd Sourcing: A Millennial Mom’s Way of Sleep Training

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5 Comments

  • Rachel Liberman
    Reply

    My twins just turned two. I found with them that a short car/stroller nap could negate a real nap. Even falling asleep for a few minutes made it harder for them to fall asleep at their usual morning nap time. At first this was frustrating but I used it to my advantage for 2-1 nap switch. For a few weeks I gave them 5-10 minute car/stroller disco naps around the time of their morning nap where they would fall asleep, but then I would wake them up to get them out of the car…they would somehow be reeneegized by their tiny disco nap and I could hold off their one nap by a few hours. Once we made the switch they started sleeping later in the morning as well! Good luck.

  • Sarah
    Reply

    My cycle only returned this month, right after I had stopped breastfeeding. My little one is now 15 months old. Before I stopped we were still nursing three times during the day and 1+x times during the night.

    As for the sleeping, I was also thinking about trying the water thing. Which cup do you use? I’m afraid she will wet the whole bed…. During the day she drinks from a normal cup, so I have no clue what I could use at night. I don’t want to use a milk bottle because she always starts to chew on them…

  • Stephanie S.
    Reply

    I have no real advice because too much napping is never a problem with our daycare kid!

    But, one thought- do you have a crib or just a pack n play? He might need more room to move about. My baby is 9 mo and I’m amazed at how much he moves around even during naps.

  • Dianna
    Reply

    I am in the same situation with trying to wean from nursing, only I am still nursing the most at night. My daughter wakes up around 3:00am screaming for “boo boo” and I have no idea how to get her to sleep through the night. She is 19 months old, and I never thought I would still be nursing throughout the night at this point, haha. I may try the water bottle idea to see if that will help!

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