We are a bf, co-sleeping family. My 11 mo. old has fought going to sleep tooth and nail since about 4 months. I spend 1/2 - 6 hours on my own putting her to sleep each night and I am beginning to crack.
Background: we had a 2 month window between newborn - 4 months of a blissfully easy routine - swaddle, nurse, zzzz, then it didn't work anymore. For the past 7 months getting her to sleep has been HELL. She pretty much only nurses to sleep (she'll fall asleep in the ergo/car/stroller about 1 out of every 4 x or if very tired, but transitioning her to bed doesn't work anymore at all). If I try and stop nursing when she's sleepy she just sits up and crawls around. I was losing my s&*t for the 1000th time recently and decided we would have DP put her to sleep. So I nursed her down, then left for 20 minute intervals while he cuddled her in bed. The first 2 nights it worked & I was elated. It's been downhill since then (10 days since starting). She now screams bloody murder if he goes in the bedroom with him, and it feels way too much like CIO for my liking. Her night wakings, which peaked when she was 6 mo. at every hour, but had since been decreasing to about every 3 hours, have gone back up to every 1-2 hours since we traumatized her with this sleeping plan. She has also been resistant even nursing to sleep the last couple of days. I'm afraid we've made her scared of sleep.
Also she is a very sporadic/undpredictable napper.
I would LOVE for her to go to sleep in under 1/2 hour with me OR DP, and only wake a few times at night to be nursed back down. Too much to ask??
We have also considered a separate bed for her but haven't been able to figure out how that would work.
Any help is greatly appreciated!
I am in your same boat, so I am looking forward to reading replies. I'm just not getting any sleep any more with this whole bf/co-sleeping arrangement with my son. It was great in the beginning, but he just wants to nurse all night long! He won't fall asleep any other way, though - has to be nursing. Except for sometimes in the car/on a walk/in the ergo... etc. Much like your dd.
I'm at a loss, as well.
My son was also a not so text-book sleeper from day one. I remember when he was a new born that he wouldn't go to bed until 2am... but we were so novice that we thought it was normal! Since then, we have gone thru many a roller coaster ride or sleep antics which do somewhat continue today. And like your daughter - my son was never a scheduled napper (which no doubt had an effect on his night time sleep). I remember going thru a tough patch around the 11 month mark and it lasted a fair while - I think its a busy month for developmental and physical milestones - which cause havoc on sleep. So what I did was I would wind him down by either wearing him (while nursing in our ergo) after is bath. I kept the lights low, the volume low and eventually he would be to the point of wanting to fall asleep. I would then pull some type of hail mary move to get him out of the ergo, onto our bed, and quickly onto the boob so that he would drift off to sleep. I would then take out my ereader and read in bed while he slept because I needed to be there the second that he stirred so that I can put my boob back into his mouth and he would fall back asleep. Or I would rock him in the rocker chair in our room to wind him down enough to fall asleep. (but this didn't work as much because he would get distracted with the stuff in our room).
Ds is now 18 months and a much better sleeper (well other than he will not go to bed before 10pm... but thats a whole other story) . I look back and yes it was challenging but it did pass. Hopefully you can go to bed with your daughter so that you can maximize your sleep for the number of times that she will wake up thru the night.
HTH. Best of Luck to you!
For naps, I found (right around 11 months) that I needed to dramatically darken the nursery or she wouldn't nap at all. She is a morning napper, usually I need to start getting her down 2 to 3 hours after she wakes up. If I miss that window, it's next to impossible to get her to nap.
Good luck. I hope you find something that works.