Really...I never thought I would be to this point. I consider myself a "hard-core" attachment parent. My first child, who is now 4 years old, was worn 24/7 and we have co-slept with her always...still do. Actually, my husband does and I sleep with the baby in a separate bed. I've nursed them both when they desired....the first one until she was 3 1/2 years old.
I feel like I am crumbling apart. This boy, the 9 month old, is wearing me out! Well...I should say that they both are....my 4 year old, during the day, is super high needs...very spirited and requires LOTS of attention. She doesn't play independently unless we have a friend over. Otherwise, it's "mama, what do you want to do next"...."what do you want to play?". I have actually learned to have patience and acceptance for her temperament and have become quite skilled at including her in everything and playing pretend while I cook/clean/etc.. But, I do lose my patience when I am so lacking in sleep! I am more of an introvert where I process thoughts internally and talk myself through the day, whereas, she is an extrovert and talks non-stop and processes everything verbally....this also wears me out!
So...my little lovey boy, the 9 month old, is a gem during the day (even despite the lack of sleep)! He's happy and laid back, plays so independently on the floor for long periods, lets me know when he's done, and I put him on my back. Naps...I nurse him to sleep in the glider and sometimes have to "walk" him to sleep. He's always been a 30-40 minute napper....just two times a day now. Occasionally, he'll go for 1 1/2 hours. He's doing all kinds of new, cute stuff....pulling himself up to standing, clapping, kissing and waving "bye-bye", so I'm sure this is contributing to his sleep wakings. He is a VERY energetic one...always kicking and moving his legs and very aware of his environment...sensitive to any amount of noise, movement, smell, etc.. He is also teething...has 6 teeth now and 2 of those are still coming in. So...lots of reasons to wake.
The challenge lies in that he will not go to sleep at night without me and wakes every hour throughout the night. This actually isn't so bad. My first also woke every hour until the age of 2 years 3 months when I night weaned her, but at least she went right back to sleep. Little one is so "wild" when he wakes...flailing his legs and arms and nurses for 30 minutes. So...by the time I fall back asleep, he is up again in 30 minutes. It is brutal!!!! With #1, I was able to take naps during the day and share the load with my hubby more fairly. Now...my husband's job is more demanding. He comes home around 6pm for dinner and starts older DD's routine around 6:45 and with her until 8:30pm, then has to come down and work. By this point, DS, the 9 month old, is also very tired. I nurse him to sleep and he goes down (we just moved his crib to his bedroom a few days ago) for about 30 minutes and then up again. He will not go down again...even with nursing and rocking, until I am ready to go to bed. And then, the nursing all night long marathon begins!
I nurse him lots during the day....probably 6-8 times...and offer him LOTS. He's eating some...atleast one meal a day, but I am not very routine about it. In fact, routines are quite difficult with such lack of sleep. I feel like I am dragging along all day! My husband can't wear him while he works at night because my son demands movement. This is doable during the day because I can prepare meals, clean and do lots while moving. He loves being in motion! And...I haven't fed him any gluten, grains, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, peanuts, sugar, legumes, citrus, yeast, or nightshades, so I don't think there are any foods contributing to his wakings.
So...I am exhuasted! I know, philosophically and biologically, that CIO is unhealthy and disrupts the parent/child attachment. I am just to the point of not knowing what to do and weepy from lack of sleep and, quite frankly, unsafe! I don't feel like I can drive safely and I sometimes cuss to the universe at night because I am so frustrated by being woken up over and over! Something has got to give!!!
I borrowed "Good Night, Sleep Tight" from the library and this is the strategy I am considering. It's a more gentle CIO method IMO, but I still feel conflicted about it. I do think my DS will sleep better on his own because he is so easily aroused. I will also sleep well because I don't sleep well with others. I have the "No Cry Sleep Solution" and have tried the strategies in there to no avail.
Do you have any advice? There becomes a fine line where the mother's needs are not getting met and, although the children's needs are, something has to change.
Typing this all out is helpful. Maybe I can get my husband to use the "Good Night, Sleep Tight" method for my 4 year old and then help with the little one? I don't know. I am SO tired!