I've been reading on here and I'm hoping some of you might have advice for where to start to address my son's sleeping issues (or non-sleeping issues as the case may be).
He was a colicky baby, hardly slept at all, and only slept while attached to the breast.
He only ramps up, never winds down.
He has trouble getting to sleep - it usually takes two hours, for nap and for night, just for him to fall asleep.
He's restless and fidgets.
No routine has ever worked for more than a few nights in a row.
He wakes at night if he can't touch his Dad or me.
He wakes to pee (thankfully) but sometimes has trouble getting back to sleep.
He wakes with growing pains.
He wakes for unknown reasons.
He wakes up early in the morning, even if he didn't get to sleep until late at night.
He seems to go through cycles of sleeplessness, which can last for a week or more, when he won't take a nap and fights night-sleep. He becomes increasingly hard to manage, but it seems impossible to break the cycle or keep them from starting. When this happens, he becomes a complete terror during the day and often injures himself accidentally by falling (chipped teeth, wounds to the head, etc.) He runs back and forth through the house banging into walls and screaming. He climbs on the furniture, yells and tantrums, etc.
The worst thing about the non-sleeping behaviors is that my husband and I are finding it hard to love him through it. We have a new baby (who sleeps well thank God). We're exhausted from spending all our evenings putting our son to sleep. We don't get any time to just enjoy being with him, because we have to start putting him to sleep almost as soon as we take over from the nanny share he's in. We may get kicked out of the nanny share because he's dangerous around the little kids - not purposefully violent, but he wakes them up during nap and then acts crazy and out of control.
We eat a healthy, homecooked diet. We haven't tried eliminating foods, and don't know where to start. Nothing seems to make him worse, maybe we could just do an elimination diet. He was tested for food allergies by our pediatrician, who said he came back negative for the ones on the basic test they did.
I've suspected some kind of sensory processing issues, though he seems fine if he gets sleep. We don't have a lot of money for expensive testing. I'd be open to trying just about anything you all can suggest. He is such a sweet kid when he sleeps, but he is a monster when he doesn't.
No ideas? I guess we're just screwed. Yesterday it took him 4 hours to fall asleep. With a new baby, my husband and I can't lay with him that long, so we are just making him lay in the bedroom alone and we check on him periodically. He cries, but I don't know what else to do.
Oh, and he was overtired again today because he took so long to fall asleep, woke up early, and couldn't fall back to sleep. I have a hard time having patience for him when he is overtired, because he behaves so terribly.
Unexpectedly expecting a new little one in November!!!
We have sleep issues too. Not as bad as yours and it is really worse for me because I am exausted. I do see her getting...wild, i think form tiredness even when I think she couldn't be tired.
I have been working on having DD eat at 4:30 (then bed around 730 and sleep an hour or more later, ugh.) I think it has really helped her sleep better/longer.
When my daughter was between 12-18 months (so a lot younger than your son) it would take as much as 4 hours to get her to sleep. I found Sleepless in America very helpful, so I'll second that recommendation.
Does he get any screen time in the evenings? How much artificial light? These can both interfere with the natural sleep cycle, and even if he isn't watching the tv or computer, having it on in the same room can be a problem.
Does he get any exercise before bed? Taking my daughter for an after dinner walk in the twilight each night helped.
Is he getting enough exercise period? How much is the nanny able to take him outside?
I have no experience with it myself, but there have been lots of discussions of melatonin on this forum, a search should turn up some advice.