I am at my wits' end. Well, really I was at my wits' end months ago. I don't know what to do. Our DS is 12 months and has co-slept at night with us from day 1. He HATES going to sleep! He fights it as if it were life or death. We have to walk him to sleep, no rocking, no sitting allowed, and then we sneak him into his crib. He has never voluntarily laid down and gone to sleep. When he was smaller we had to put him in the Ergo and bounce on an exercise ball. I still do that from time to time. I can no longer spend an hour walking/nursing/soothing him for a half-hour nap. It's too much!! I get irritated and feel trapped. If I move just a little the wrong way, then boom he's awake again. Often times if I start to lay him in the crib he keeps his eyes closed and reaches up for me, instinctively knowing what is happening even though he's asleep. Sometimes he will allow a nap in our bed but then I have to lay there with him and I need to get stuff done when he's asleep (plus I need some time away from him) All this work to get him to sleep and he only sleeps for a half-hour. The whole day feels hijacked by the need for naps. I want to start teaching him to fall asleep on his own.
At night we start him off in his crib and then move him up with us when he wakes around 11pm or so. Sometimes he transitions to the bed easily, sometimes he is up for 2 hours in the middle of the night, super hyper and unwilling to stay in the bed. We've found no pattern. Maybe teeth pain, who knows.
He cries like we are murdering him when it's nap time. He cries when he knows it's bedtime and he feels the ritual starting. He cries when he's in our arms and being soothed. He HATES the thought of sleep.
But he cries just as hard when he wakes up and doesn't want to go back to sleep in our bed. Sometimes he just nurses for a few minutes and then drifts off to sleep on his own, no problem. But co-sleeping does not always make him drift off peacefully. Often we have to get up and walk him then too. I feel like if he isn't sleeping well with us, then why are we doing it? After a night with him up all night, kicking and crying and throwing himself around, chewing on me, slapping me in the face, I think "why am I co-sleeping? He's not appreciating it. He's miserable".
Shouldn't I just push through and teach him to sleep in his crib? But how do I teach him that? I read all the sleep books, and none of that stuff works with him. He will scream for hours, there is no end to it. I always give in first. I just tried to put him in his crib for a nap without walking him to sleep first. He was super tired. I put him in the crib, he wailed, turned red, started shaking, lost his voice screaming. All while I was right there talking, singing, soothing, rubbing his back. I can't leave him alone crying, but I bring him no comfort just being there. After I could take no more, I picked him up and he fell asleep in seconds in my arms literally, seconds.
I feel like we are only teaching him to fall asleep in our arms. We can't keep it up. We are both physically exhausted from all the walking and fussing and crying. DS now lurches and arches and I am afraid I will drop him. At night when he won't sleep, I don't know what to do with him. He wants to be held, he won't allow me to sit down, but I am so tired. Where do I put him? I can't walk forever. I want out of the arrangement, but how? Each time I feel like he is making progress, he regresses in a major way and we have a wicked week. I am losing all my belief in my parenting abilities. I am fighting with my DH because we don't know what to do. I feel resentment when my DH takes him up and naps with him in our bed b/c I feel like it's a step backward and the easy way out. I don't even know what direction I am headed in. I need a plan!