I don't even know where to start... I am so tired, and frustrated. My DD1 will be 4 in May. She has always been a higher needs kid. I always think of her as a "more" child. She is just more of everything. So while she is needier she also is filled with so much joy, humour and creativity.
We have always co-slept and I never really worried about getting her to sleep through the night. I figured it would be something she would do when she was ready (or at least get to just waking up once). She has ALWAYS had sleep issues. When she was an infant sometimes she would wake up for hours in the middle of the night and there was nothing I could do to get her back to sleep. Or she would wake up really early. Then when she was 2 she would wake up screaming - like a night terror but it didn't seem to be. When I was pregnant I was able to get her to stop nursing between bedtime and 5am. She was also in her toddler bed, with me in a twin beside her.
When DD2 was born shortly there after we started having to live with various family members while my DH got the our new home ready. During that time I would just let her nurse as much as possible so she wouldn't wake up other people.
When we moved into our house DD2 was 3 months. I thought it would be a good time to get DD1 to sleep in her bed again and to stop nursing at night. I tried to cut her off for a week and it was the worst week. She would SCREAM all night. Basically it was like she lost her mind. I won't go into details but I can't think of any child having a bigger, longer meltdown. I tried to stay calm and sympathetic but it was useless.
I have tried various techniques since then to get her to stop nursing at night. Including making sure she isn't getting gluten, dairy or eggs which she is sensitive to.
If she was waking up once or even twice to nurse for a couple minutes and then going back to sleep it wouldn't be a big issue. Instead she is wanting to stay latched on. When I try to get her to stop she starts throwing a fit most of the time. Sometimes my DD2 who is now 8 months will get restless and then DD1 might be kicking me and grabbing at me. It takes every bone in my body not to throttle her. :( Often I get stuck sleeping with both girls on top of my arms nursing.
DD1 also seems to have a bit of tactile defensiveness. She insists on sleeping naked, and often she will start kicking the covers off of her and me even though our room is cold! Sometimes she will try to get me to not touch her at all (except for my breast). I find this really hard to deal with. (she also often freaks out about how her clothes feel and hates sticky things - however other then that she has no other sensory issues).
I am working from home about 10+ hours a week while DD1 is at preschool in the mornings. I do this while watching DD2. It is hard, and even harder when I am tired. I am also teaching ballet for another 7 hours, and I am doing an accounting course from home. I can't afford to be tired!!!
I just want to get DD1 sleeping at night!!! I don't know how to do it. I can't afford to take time off work and my DH is more of a hinderance. In fact ideally he would go away while I started the night weaning process, which even if I try a gentle approach will be met by protest.
DD2 who is a good sleeper is now having her sleep disturbed by DD1, and I am worried it is setting her up for bad sleep habits.
I have PPD and when we have bad nights it just gets so bad. I have a history of self-harm and eating disorders, and when the PPD gets bad all those thoughts come forward.
I don't really know what I am asking because I just feel like there is no solution, at least nothing to help with the immediate future.
Thank you for listening.