DH and I have had it. It has been over two years since we've had anything close to a decent night's sleep. DD is the worst sleeper ever! (She is our third, so we have realistic expectations). She goes to sleep in her own bed and sleeps fine until about midnight, when she wakes and we get her and put her in our own bed. She wants to nurse all night, which drives me nuts - it is uncomfortable and she pulls and bites and I can't sleep through it all all anymore. If she is not nursing, she is fussing, yelling command: "I want the blanket!" "I don't want the blanket!" "I want Papa!" "Over here mama!" She demands that she be held and fidgets and flops until about 5 am. It is killing us, because we can't get any sleep. I have never used a crib, but I am wishing I had with this one. I dont' know what to do now.
I should have added she is 2 years, 2 months.
If she is biting and pulling she is not nursing. Firmly say," You bit mama -- nursies are going to sleep." pull down your shirt. This will make her mad but firmly, yet gently say I will not allow you to bit me. No more nursing until morning. (One child was OK with this. The other child was not. However, I started using a timer and making her wait. Not just at night or with nursing. She needed to learn to wait and that she will still get what ever. She really needed to her once I am done with XYZ we will do ABC. We also set up signs for her to be able to match the first number to when she could ask. She had a high nursing need and nursed until 4, but I really had to guide the relationship so it could be mutual)
The other behavior keep the same firm, yet gentle tone --when you have to speak to her. Let her know she is more than welcome to play on the floor but night time is sleep time. Pretend to be asleep and "ignore" her. She does these things because she is old enough to understand how to get your attention, even it if is by negative behavior.
"Night time is sleep time. If you want to play do it on the floor. We are sleeping." Is OK to say. Put a gate on your room and baby proof it. Or one of you do it in her room. Keep your interactions as minuscule with as little light as possible.
Tank her up on attention during the day.
Also, I had one child do this about her age. It was a growth spurt. He needed food. Make sure she has a snack that has protein, good fats and carbs before bed.
Yes, I would set some boundaries for sleeping in your bed. She is old enough to understand. I would say that if she sleeps quietly, and doesn't wake you up, she can sleep in your bed. If not, she can sleep on a pallet on the floor in your room. I wouldn't encourage playing during the night while you are sleeping. I would tell her that night time is for sleeping....and that's it. My husband ended up helping me by sleeping with my middle one alone until she realized that she wasn't going to nurse in the middle of the night. I slept with my oldest during that time. She was 18 months old. After a few weeks, I rejoined them. Dh slept in the middle, and she slept on the other side, next to the wall. We told her that she could nurse when the sun came up. Of course, this is only useful if you are open to night weaning.
I would echo the night-weaning suggestion. I night-weaned DD at 20 months and have had a good night's sleep since then. When we weaned, we still brought her into our bed, but told her "not until the sun came up". She screamed bloody murder for two nights (in bed, with us), but then that was it. I was in the same boat as you.... I was not able to sleep and nurse at the same time anymore and I was sick of it. Not-to-mention that I was pregnant and DID NOT want to nurse 2 babies at night.
No real advice, but I'm in the same boat. DS sleeps with us (attempts at own bed / crib sleeping did not work) and we were doing okay with it. But it's been getting harder and harder to sleep with him. He's fighting naps, night-time sleep, and attempts to night wean are really not going well (he screams from the moment I stop nursing until I give in - sometimes hours later). Yes, I realize I'm setting myself up for failure by giving in but he works himself up so badly that I feel like it's almost like crying it out, what we're doing. It doesn't feel right, but then again, I can't keep doing this.
He's also really thin and I worry he's actually hungry; we do our best to get him to eat well during the day but some days are better than others. I want to get through this phase, and believe it's probably a growth spurt / teething, but I'm getting to the point where I don't feel it is safe to drive anymore. I'm so zonked out in the day I feel like I'm under water. Same nursing patterns, too. He'll nurse and fall "asleep" but nurse really sloppily, teeth grazing my nipple, etc, so that I can't sleep through it like I used to. I KNOW he's working on his 2 year molars, so I"m trying to just get through it, but this has been going on for a while and the teeth just won't break through already. There's no medical issue underlying and I'm a crappy sleeper myself. All I know is something's gotta give or mama is going to lose her mind! Huge sympathies to those of you doing it pregnant. DS's sleep patterns are a major reason why we're not ready yet.
Anyway, hoping to see some new ideas here!