(posted this in baby club too, but interested in a 'natural' parenting approach)
I've always fed LO to sleep and have been quite happy to do so. Know lots of people / books say not to but it works for us.
However, recently she's started to not be as reliable at sleeping at the end of a feed in the day which makes getting her down for naps hard. I'm at a loss of how to get her to sleep without it though! OH and I won't do CIO/CC and when I've tried leaving her in her cot to see if she'll go off to sleep by herself all she does is army crawl around it, look at her toys on their shelf, play with her feet, chat to herself. Even if she's really tired she will find 101 things to do other than sleep.
She won't take a dummy (which is fine as I'm not that keen anyway), patting and sushing makes her angry, rocking makes her laugh, if I take her into my bed and try laying down next to her she hits my face and tries to crawl off the bed - what the hell do you do?! The only way I can get her to sleep without a feed is to put her in her swing (which she's nearly too big for and which I want to get away from) or the sling (which is ok sometimes but a bit incovenient for every nap)
I'm also struggling with the length of naps - we were getting 30 mins consistently 3-4 times a day, with the odd 60 or even 90 min nap sometimes. Now we seem to be down to 15-20 mins and it's definitely NOT enough as she's still tired and cranky when she wakes but I can't seem to get her to go back to sleep.
Ideas? On baby club someone suggested pick up, put down which I tried earlier and it made her so upset - she screamed and sobbed for an hour which left me in tears and OH had to go in and calm her down. I know it's not CIO but it felt a lot like it to me and I wasn't that comfortable with it - I certainly couldn't see myself sticking to it for every nap and bedtime for a week in the hope it would get easier.
I can't really help with the length of naps but when it comes to feeding her to sleep, have you tried not feeding her for a good while before you know she'll be ready to sleep? When they're newborns, any milk can put them to sleep but as they got older I found with both of my LOs that they need quite a big feed to fall asleep and stay asleep. So if I know LO will be ready to sleep at 1pm which is her usual nap time, I try not to feed her at all for at least an hour and a half before (she is 20 months old though so I imagine the time would be quite a lot less for your LO, depending on her feeding habits) so that she is really wanting a good feed when it's nap time. If she asks, which she does, I do whatever I can to distract her. If she is upset I will feed her, of course, but if I can distract her I do.
I don't know if that's any use to you at all... my kids have both been quite snacky with milk so that's probably why it works - it fills them up more than usual so they don't wake for more (so actually, with my kids, that might be why they have always had decent length naps).
ETA - Just to add, if you can get feeding to sleep for naps to work for you (and you would be happy to do that), I think it's great because kids don't take naps forever... perhaps only as long or not even as long as they want to BF for - happy coincidence?
Actually, LO pretty much only takes feeds in the day before naps - she's so distractible that the quiet, darkened bedroom is the best place to feed her. So, usually, she hasn't had a feed since the before the last nap (so often a good 2-3 hours min). So I don't think that's the issue... Thanks for the suggestion though.
I'd love to get back to feeding to sleep working for us - it's so hassle free and I have no problem with it at all. I'm hoping that this is just because she's been ill this week and we can get back to normal next week. The length of the naps has also only been as bad as it is this week so I'm thinking it's not a coincidence....
Some things seem to work one day but not the next, unfortunately...
I nurse her to sleep most of the time, but sometimes it doesn't work and she's too distracted. When that happens, I toss her in my woven wrap and go for a walk until she falls asleep. Those are the only two ways I've been able to get her to sleep.
6 months is an age where things in the sleeping department change. So many things are going on with her life right now.
I nurse and then lay with them until they fall asleep at that age. Then once asleep I sneak out. If they won't stay asleep then I just bring them back to the living room and hold them until they do fall asleep. Babies eventually sleep, don't worry what people or books tell you not to do, you do whatever works for you.
Well we had a really great night sleep wise last night and naps are going much better today. Both her morning and afternoon nap she didn't fall asleep nursing so I laid her in the cot and gave her the dummy - she doesn't suck it she just likes to hold it and rub the 'teat' on her lips (little odd but fine!) and I rubbed her back in circles (she's a tummy sleeper). When she tried to get up I just laid her back down and kept rubbing and both times she eventually dozed off. Nursing to sleep is much easier but at least this works (and doesn't involve any crying or upset)!!
Ordered Dr Sears' 'Nighttime Parenting' to help ease my mind a little about AP methods and sleep. I know it's best not to try and 'train' her in any way but I keep getting told I need to so need some ammunition to tell people where to go!
Oh, and I have both a Connecta and Manduca - I know she's old enough for back carries now but haven't really got the confidence yet and know I'll miss my snuggles! How do you know when LO has fallen asleep in a back carry? And how do you then put the hood up?
He's more of a toddler but I cuddle with him and sing to him for about ten minutes and then put him down in his cot and swaddle him. If he wakes in the night I bring him in to my bed and we just cuddle.
During the day I tend to rock her to sleep or she goes in her swing which has the same affect.
At night we're really lucky in that if she's tired we put her down and she goes to sleep by herself, we always wait til she's tired though its generally around 7pm but can be earlier/later depending on when she's napped.
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