Does he just need the comfort of sucking while sleeping?
I wish I had more to offer.
I came here to post almost the exact same thing and came across your post instead. Since I'm having the same (well, similar) issues with my 19 month old too, I obviously don't have any answers, but I wanted to offer virtual hugs and support for what you're going through! This is my third child--my first started sleeping through the night in her own crib at 4 months, my second co-slept with me until he was just over one and then transitioned to his crib pretty well (and the co-sleeping worked well for him), and now my third... I just have no idea what to do!!
It's clear to me that you have TRIED to teach your son better sleep habits! (I was going to scream if one more person suggested that I just needed to co-sleep my daughter--our current issue is that she is SCREAMING hysterically whether she's in her crib, being held, in my bed, etc.) A friend of mine keeps telling me that I need to teach my daughter how to sleep better... um... how am I supposed to do that? This friend means well but all of her cribs simply fell asleep on their own when she put them in their cribs (must be nice!).
I'll be checking back to this thread... hoping someway, somehow, you find something that works for you guys. And if I figure something out, I'll be sure to share here as well.
I'm sorry I don't have any practical advice to give, I just wanted to offer some sympathy and to say that you have not alone with having an extreme crappy sleeper. I totally get that you tried soooo many things and they have not made any difference. Despite what the experts say, I do think that plenty of kids are not "trainable" when it comes to sleep - they sleep the way they sleep and will sleep better when they are developmentally capable.
My son is 2 years old and still wakes about 4 times a night, and needs lots of help to go to sleep and go back to sleep. And now he wakes at 5 or 5.30.Urgh.
I think someone mentioned tag teaming with your husband and taking turns co-sleeping with your baby - this is what my husband and I do and it does help, not only getting a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, but also knowing I can go "off duty" for a couple of hours.
The only glimmer of hope I can offer is to tell you that my son woke about 9 times a night, then around 13 months suddenly started waking "only" 4 times a night, without us doing anything different. I realise your son is older than 13 months, but just to show you that they can change and develop on their own and this will impact/improve their sleep. I can honestly say that going from having a maximum of 2 hours continuous sleep to getting 3 or 4 or even 5 felt like heaven - what I'm saying is that even when the situation improves a little, you will feel like a million bucks.
Yes I too get very depressed when I hear other parents say "oh little Johnny didn't sleep through the night until he was 3.5" and it makes me want to stick a needle in my eye to know we probably/possibly have another year of this sh*t. Urgh......but I take it one night at a time, and every time my son is one month older I think "well that is one month closer to better sleep".
Someone mentioned "the baby sleep site" - and although we didn't pursue this, I reckon it's worth a try, and I believe you can get a refund within a certain timeframe.
Two things helped me get through the tough times......
1. I got into the habit of taking my son out for a walk first thing in the morning. This gave me a focus each morning and reason to get dressed and teeth brushed etc. I found the fresh air and exercise helped me feel better. I stop for decaf coffee, which feels like a little treat for me. My son enjoys the walk and playing in the park. Overall it just helped my spirits. I found it contributed positively to my weight loss.
2. I make sure I get some regular "me" time - usually when my husband comes home, he will play with my son and give him dinner, while I retreat to the bedroom to read, do a workout dvd, or just zone out. It helped me feel that I wasn't on call 24/7.
*Hugs* - you are not alone in this and please don't ever feel that you are responsible for your son's crappy sleep.
And BTW - that Rebecca person who posted early on was completely unsympathetic and did not have any specific information to back up her statements.
It passes. Neither of ours have these problems now and it didn't last past their second birthdays. Although the eldest has trouble getting to sleep, once he's off there's no rousing him. The youngest goes to sleep easily and only wakes once, to come into our bed. I don't even wake up when he does it.
I look back on those days and wonder how I managed to get through each day on so little sleep. Now, I get about 10 hours a night.
It passes. But getting help now means you don't have to go through it running on empty.