My almost 1 year old son has never taken a bottle and will not take enough from a cup to "sustain" him. Because we're a two income family and he's in daycare, he only gets enough milk to get by during the day and relies on reverse cycle nursing to get the nutrition he needs. Similarly, because he's eating so much at night, he wets his diaper a lot and needs changing.
In no way do I want to make my son sleep in a wet diaper if he is uncomfortable, or not give him the nutrition he needs. I don't mind waking for those things. What I DO mind is that when he wakes for WHATEVER reason he can't put himself back to sleep. Getting him to sleep in the first place has really become a trial for us. It easily takes 45 minutes to an hour of nursing and back-patting to get him out and then any time he wakes, it's more of the same.
Is it unrealistic of me to think that I can "sleep train" him to learn to sleep on his own (i.e. lay him down drowsy but awake) but still respond to his needs during the night? Have other parents successfully done this? I would love your thoughts and advice!
I don't have an answer for you, but didn't want to read without giving you my sympathy. That sounds so tiring! Are you co-sleeping? Does it work for you to sleep through your night time nursings?
We are co-sleeping after his midnight(ish) waking. Before that he's in a crib as we are still flitting about the house and I don't feel safe with him in the bed without me. I can sleep during nursings to an extent, but after a while it gets a bit uncomfortable. I think he would literally just sleep while nursing all night and I can't take that. I've tried keeping him in his crib instead of cosleeping and it's about the same amount of sleep (since I don't wake with his floppings) but I miss him... Thanks for the sympathy.
I'm not sure about your cosleeping arrangement but have you tried putting dp in the middle? This made all the difference for us. Around a year we would put ds down in his crib, and then he would wake up at 11 or 12 to nurse, I would nurse him down and then swap places with dh. So ds was on one side of the bed, dh in the middle, and me on the other side. Then ds would wake up, not have super easy access to boobs, and half the time just settle right back down with a little back rubbing/cuddling form dh.
Going longer between feedings like this made him nurse more when he did nurse, and sleep longer, and nurse more, and it was a really great cycle. If ds woke up enough to cry or wouldn't settle after a minute or two I would swap with dh or sit up in bed to nurse him.
Again, not sure if this would help in your situation, but for me it seemed like ds really just wanted to snuggle with all night and if that person was mommy then he wanted to nurse, but if it was daddy he was fine with some backrubs.
Alissa: married to dh since 05/2006 and mama to Solomon (08/2009) and Ezra (04/2012).
I think you can definitely help your son to learn to put himself to sleep while still meeting his night time needs. I'm new here, but we went through a similar issue with my 12 month old son. It was very difficult to put him to sleep in the first place and he was waking up 3-4 times per night, but getting him to go back to sleep was nearly impossible. This started just after he hit 8 months and went on until we did sleep training at 10.5 months.
We started with putting him down drowsy but awake and progressed through a series of techniques to teach him to fall asleep on his own. Ultimately, we chose to do CIO, which I know is frowned upon on this board, but I'm sure you can use other strategies to help your son fall asleep. We used it only for falling asleep and it worked like a charm. Within 3 days, he was putting himself to sleep with no crying or fussing and he's continued this for almost 2 months now.
He still wakes up 1-2 times per night for a diaper change or a bottle (unfortunately, I couldn't bf due to IGT). The difference now is that he goes right back to sleep as soon as he's been taken care of. He still wakes up for hugs sometimes, but again, once he's had his fill of cuddles, he reaches for his crib, and happily rolls over and goes to sleep.