DD is 2 yrs 9 mos. About 6 mos ago I more or less night-weaned her -- I nurse at bedtime and then not again until 5 or 6 am. Since then, she's been waking up once or twice a night several nights a week asking to nurse. I would gently tell her 'no, wait until morning' and snuggle her to sleep (she cosleeps the latter part of the night). Sometimes she would fuss, but usually settle down fairly quickly.
This last week or so, things have taken a sharp turn. She'll wake up and ask (demand) to nurse, and I do the same as before, and she instantly goes into a full-blown tantrum. Screaming, thrashing around, demanding hugs from me (NOT Daddy). If I try to hug and snuggle her, she micromanages how I hug her ('no, like dis, mama! NOT like dat!') and insists I'm not hugging her tightly enough. It escalated last night to the point where I (gently as I could manage) carried her into the living room. I told her calmly that it's not OK to yell in bed, everyone needs quiet to sleep, and we would go back in when she could calm down. I don't like telling her to stifle her emotions (and probably could have acknowledged her obvious distress a little better) but I was literally at the end of my rope.
DH and I both work full time and DD goes to daycare -- cosleeping has always been a wonderful way to reconnect, but this is not sustainable! I don't know if this is a phase, but if it continues I'm not sure what I'll do. I'm not at my best at 3am! I'm starting to dread going to bed at night.
Thanks in advance for any wisdom.
One of the first things I would do when my youngest was that age and doing this kind of thing was to tell dh to go sleep in the spare bedroom, or I would take dd into the spare bedroom. I can't tell you how much it helped to not worry about whether we were waking up daddy (though, I'll admit, sometimes the screaming was pretty loud). Most of this happened when she was younger, though, and after her fit I would convince her to nurse and she would conk out. Sometimes just the idea of leaving the family bed (even if I lay down with her) was enough to quiet her down, but not always.
I know this isn't very good advice, but I think you are doing pretty well. I, too, talk about the girls being too loud for a family bed. As hard as it is to deal with this right now, she will settle down. Growth comes in fits and starts, neediness comes in fits and starts, and it is perfectly normal for her to have this need. And even if you settle it now, it is entirely possible to happen again.
In the meantime, if dh can get some sleep I think that will help even you while you deal with her. Sometimes I would feel resentful of his ability to snooze through it, but mostly I just felt relieved that at least I wasn't disturbing him. Strange but true. That's just being a mama I guess--needing everybody to be taken care of.
Thank you for your kind words! Nights have gotten a bit better - she seems to have worked through whatever it was (growth spurt? night terrors? developmental shift? who knows). Although she's still glued to me much of the night, we are sleeping better right now. (I love snuggling with her, but some days it's hard to imagine we'll ever have our bed back...)
I agree - if this happens again it makes sense to send dh to the spare room. While it would suck to be the only one dealing with it, really there's nothing he can do when she's like that, and perhaps it would earn me some extra kindness from him the next day :)
Thanks again! It just helps to know others are out there who have had similar experiences.