My 12 month old son has sporadically been getting up for 1-2+ hours in the middle of the night for months now. He doesn't want to get up and play -- he just wants to lie in your arms with his eyes half open/half shut. But he will do it for up to 3 hours without actually falling asleep.
He used to do it as early as 3 months old -- at which point we would just nurse and rock for hours. We have mostly night weaned, however (I don't nurse between 11/12 and 5/6) for many reasons, (one of which is that he was waking up, nursing for 45 mins, then clamping down, and screaming when unlatched, and since it took an additional 30 min plus of rocking/singing to get him back to sleep, I cut out the nursing part, and it actually has worked quite well).
He doesn't do it every night. But we will get several days of it within a week when he's on a streak. Teething tables, baby pain reliever, etc., don't seem to affect it, and he doesn't always seem to be teething when he does it. It is usually in the late night/early morning (2-4 or 4-6). Sometimes he does it after waking up every hour earlier. Sometimes after sleeping soundly for 3 or more hours.
He doesn't seem to have a discernible pattern of sleep; he will go down anywhere between 8.30 and 10.00 (working on narrowing that to close to 9ish, made more difficult by the fact that I work several evenings). He will get up for the day anywhere between 5.30 and 7.30, and take one or two naps for a total of 1.5-3.5 hours during the day. I've been trying to get him on a better pattern, but he is not cooperative with sleep and never has been a good sleeper!
It is incredibly hard to deal with, and I am trying not to lose my patience! His daddy and I have been switching off sometimes, but he doesn't sleep any better for my husband. I don't want to CIO (which everyone is telling me to do), and I actually can't anyway bc of our living situation (we live with other people). He is also a screamer, not a crier, and upon waking up, goes directly to screaming.
We have tried co-sleeping, and it used to work great, but now that he's more mobile, when lying in bed, he wants to get up and crawl around. He actually does sleep soundest in his crib -- when he sleeps.
I am worried about this becoming an unhealthy pattern, but I don't know what to do to stop it. I am also concerned about getting by day-to-day -- it is starting to take a toll on my own health -- but I am also confused, bc I don't really believe in sleep training (the Dr. says he will wake up for years if we don't let him cry; but letting him cry for even 5-10 mins gets him so worked up he can't settle). Has anyone dealt with anything like this? Any ideas for how we could improve it? Thank you!
(ps I've read the no-cry sleep solution, and, unfortunately, in our situation/schedule (which we have arranged so that we don't need to put him in daycare), we cannot implement the full program).