sarahaltman's picture

Help! My 18 month old won't take a nap except when he's on me

Hi there,
I'm new to this site and am desperate for some help. My 18 month old son goes to sleep at night without any problems. We have a routine that he loves, I nurse him just a bit (I'm going to start dropping this feeding and begin weaning) and off to bed he goes without a problem. He's not asleep when I put him down, but doesn't have any issues as I leave the room and he easily falls asleep.
HOWEVER, nap time is a different story. I will nurse for a few moments, he will drift off, and then when I try to get him in his bed, he SCREAMS! Not cries, screams so loud that the neighbors have inquired if he's ok. A couple of weeks ago, I tried just letting him scream. After up to an hour and 45 minutes of this for several days, I gave up. He also began waking in the middle of the night and crying. So I went back to allowing him to nap on me just to allow us all to catch up on sleep. Today I tried to get him in his crib again and more screaming. I only let it go 15 minutes and gave up. It seems cruel to let him scream. But I really don't want him sleeping on me any longer.

Does anyone have any experience with this and other ideas? I'm trying not to judge myself for not taking care of this sooner, but I really feel like I goofed and now I'm trying to back pedal and sleep-train a very strong-willed 18 month old.

I welcome your feedback.

Kara's picture

Hi I had the same problem. I slept with my baby since she was born. and when she was 8 months old i left for work, and the baby-sitter started to get her nap. She did it perfectly in her crib. during week-ends, when i tried to put her into her crib like the baby-sitter did, she screamed like crazy... it continued many months. When she was 17-18 months old (now she's 20 months old), i started to work part-time, and in the morning my MIL took her to nap till the baby-sitter came (i livce with my ils :( ) And when my baby woke up, instead of my MIL, i went to her. And she became sooo happy to see me... it continued a week - my MIL napped her in the morning, and when she woke up, i entered to get her. So in the weekend i put her to bed, and she didn't scream!!! I guess she knew that mommy would be there when she opened her eyes, and it was like that. Now she even sleeps at night in her crib (though wakes up several times at night, as she's teething), but she doesn't want to sleep in my bed at nights and during anp-times any more!!!! By the way, i weaned her on April 7, 2009, when she was 18 months old.
I guess, if you get someone else nap him in his crib, and when he wakes up, you go to him, rock a bit, he'll get used to napping in his crib with you standing by his side... It worked for me... Wish you good luck.
By the way, if you need advice on how to wean a 18 month old (it can be difficult, as he's older and won't want to be weaned), mine was very difficult (i tried several times since she was 1 year old), but at least weaned her 1.5 years of age. I put plastirs on my nipples, so she couldn't see them. she cried a bit, but understood that they're gone... (other times, i tried to smear tomato paste, onion juice, lemon juice, aloe juice (ewww), but she kept cleaning the breast and nursing, lool. The only thing that worked for me were the sticky plastirs sticked christ-shaped on my nipples. I put them on for 2 weeks, and then she grew out of her custom.

Wish you luck
sorry if the post is too long, just wanted to say everything

acitez's picture

I'm so glad you decided to post. I had a son that wouldn't nap except with me, and I just put up with it for 2 1/2 years. Your solution sounds like a good one.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

My youngest son was the same way when getting him to fall asleep. I used to have to rock him to sleep until I felt like my arms were going to fall off. This went on for a while. I nursed both my boys in the beginning, then swiched to formula. Still they wanted the comfort of being held and close to mommy. We did the bed thing too, not every night, but when it got to be too much to hear our kids cry. My youngest son finally started falling asleep on his own. It was my oldest son who wld still wake in the middle of the night for a bottle. We finally did the mean thing of putting water in the bottle. After a few nights of realizing that he wasn't going to get milk, my son finally started sleeping through the night. Hang in there. Things will get better.

Mikutech's picture

Sarah, I know it's been a couple of years, but my situation is IDENTICAL to yours. Could you tell me how it ended? What did you do?? It's been 10 days now and I'm frustrated. My daughter had no issues with naps or bedtime until now.

Thank you for you input!