I originally posted this in toddllers but got no response, hoping someone here can help.
My DS just turned one. He recently learned how to walk and learned many new words and signs, more importantly the power of his words to get his wants/needs met. I think these new developments are affecting our sleep routine. He has never been a long sleeper but now it is a struggle just to get him down to sleep at all.
Our routine was this (has been for six months):
I wait until he shows signs of being tired (rubbing eyes, ears, crankiness) and then we change diapers, read books and nurse in a glider in his room. If he does not fall asleep nursing (about 60% of the time) I put him in the mei tai and walk him while listening to soft music until he falls asleep. It was a very peaceful time. He naps and goes to sleep in his crib, but comes to bed with us when we go to bed until morning time. (at night we also have a bath and a nighttime walk as part of our routine)
two weeks ago:
I would put him in the mei tai and he would sign "milk" or say book. I thought it was so sweet and so exciting that I could understand his needs. I would take him out and give him his request and usually put him back in the mei tai until he fell asleep. still peaceful.
go to his room read books, try to nurse, shoos breast away. put him in mei tai screams, cries signs "milk", take him out and again he shoos breast away, offer book -shoos that away. put him back in mei tai - screams squirms will not calm down signs "milk" or says book - take him out - shoos these things away. over and over and over until I or my husband say no book, no more milk, time for night night and he cries until he falls asleep while we hold him in the mei tai. It is very stressful for all of us and has been lasting up to two hours.
I have tried laying down with him which used to work in a pinch but he just squiggles all over the bed and tries to get out, today I tried just putting him in his crib and rubbing his head and back for a minute but he just stands up and screams. He won't let me rock him to sleep either. He is CLEARLY very tired, rubbing eyes, eyes rolling back in his head but will not settle.
I read the mothering article about tantrums on the GD board. I am wondering if that is what this is? Or is he just learning the power of words and trying to exert his independence? Or trying to communicate something I don't understand because he only knows to use those two words at that time?
I am thinking that I should offer books and offer milk several times at night and then just put him in the mei tai and walk him and try to soothe him bu tnot let him out for any more books or nursing no matter what. I plan to just tell him I know he is frustrated but it is time to sleep and let him work it out. Is this ok? Does anyone have a better idea or at least been through this and can tell me it is just a stage that will pass. I feel terrible listening to the crying but I don't know what else to do.
I am already very very tired as he nurses through the night. please help me before this gets out of control, I don't want sleep to be an awful time for my son.