I'm desperate. After a brief stint of STTN from 7-11 months, my 18 month old is a horrendous sleeper, and it's to the point where a lot of the time, I'm unable to manage life in general, or take care of my other kids, and it's affecting our marriage. She won't nap unless she's in the ergo, or in the car. Sometimes I can get her to sleep on a mattress and sneak away, but she'll wake up numerous times and I'll have to lay down and nurse her. She wakes up if I make any slight move or attempt to unlatch her. So I have zero breaks from her during the day, or time where I can sit down or do anything at all with two hands. All of this would be completely normal for a 2, 6, 9 month old, but 18 months is a bit much.
Bedtime can take 3-4 hours of rocking and nursing, first to get her to sleep, then to get her into the crib. It is usually 10-11pm before dh or I are done with her and can finally eat our dinner, and she wakes up again within an hour, and multiple times during the night, and by 5-6 for the day. DH takes care of her mostly at night, rocking her, giving her water, etc to get her back to sleep. If it really won't work, he brings her to me and she restlessly nurses and thrashes all night long. Maybe 1-2x a week she'll go to bed easily and sleep most or all of the night. She's been teething nonstop since she was 6 months and nearly has all her teeth now.
Complicating this is that I have a sleep disorder- I cannot fall asleep without medication most of the time, once I'm woken up at night I am unable to fall back to sleep, I cannot nap during the day, and am physically incapable of cosleeping (I'll literally be awake the entire night and am not able to care for my other kids or drive safely, and get into a frightening emotional state and do crazy/potentially dangerous things.) AND our older child is high needs/special needs and is a terrible sleeper as well, and is up most nights wanting to sleep with dh. My poor husband is a walking zombie.
Having her attached to me 24/7 and me being horribly sleep deprived and weepy means that most of the time I do not get to eat, pee, spend quality time with my other kids, and I definitely get no time at all with my husband, even for brief conversations. I had to give up the part time business that I was starting because I'm so sleep deprived and emotional most of the time that I can't trust myself to act professional around clients. It is really not a healthy way to live and honestly I am resentful.
I have always been strongly anti-CIO, and while cosleeping is tough for me, I am an advocate of it, and definitely believe in responding to babies/kids at night and meeting their needs, knowing that eventually they'll move on and it's all temporary. I think I have reasonable expectations- i don't expect her to STTN every night or never need to nurse or get comfort at night. I don't expect to get a great night of sleep every night or that parenting will be easy. But having a huge chunk of my life devoted, fruitlessly, to getting her to sleep to the point of seriously affecting my mental and physical health, my marriage, my relationship to the other kids, and our family life is just not acceptable to me.
At this moment she is crying in her crib while I eat because I just do not know what else to do. I tried all day long to get her to nap and she wouldn't. I tried for 2 hrs to get her to sleep, it is past 9pm and I haven't eaten and my other kids are running wild because they need to be put to bed. I got her drowsy, said night-night, I love you, put her in the crib, and she absolutely flipped out. I don't know if there are any other solutions but if anyone has any encouraging words, I'd appreciate it.
Edited by Awaken - 5/29/11 at 6:51pm