I see so many threads about babies waking frequently, not sleeping through the night, nursing frequently, needing to be rocked/held for lengthy periods of time, etc., and so much frustration surrounding these behaviors.
My son has autism, and has many many sensory integration problems, I will just get that out of the way right off.
He had colic, he had reflux. We had horrible problems getting nursing started.
He nursed 1-1.5 hrs. for the first 9 mos. of his life. He slept for one 5 hour stretch once, and I was terrified he was dead, because he NEVER did that. His bedtime routine took about 2 hours of me rocking and nursing him to get him relaxed enough to lay down.
By 18 mos., he was finally only waking about once a night, still nursing to sleep and taking about 1.5 hrs. to get down.
He's almost 3 now. He still wakes once a night on occasion due to a leaky diaper or being too hot or too cold or whatever. I still have to rock him to sleep, but only for about 30-45 min. now with the use of melatonin.
My point in all this is that some babies (and toddlers) didn't read the sleep manuals.
Some kids NEED nursing/rocking/holding late into childhood, and no amount of CIO (we tried it twice with disasterous results...NEVER do it, trust me
) will "make" them sleep like your friends' and relatives babies (or at least how they tell you their kids sleep
The best advice I can give you is that if you are sleep deprived, try to enlist help from your spouse or partner, or SOMEBODY. Even if it's just having a friend come over for a couple of hours while you nap. Follow your baby's cues, and try to remember above all...a baby is not biologically ready to "sleep through the night," and the rare baby that does is just that...a rarity, NOT the norm. Toddlers still wake in the night, they still need their mamas and daddies. I can remember tiptoeing into my parents' bedroom as old as the age of 8 to sleep on the floor next to their bed, in need of comfort in the middle of the night.
It's exhausting having a "poor" sleeper or a tempermental sleeper. It makes you want to throttle people who have good sleepers.
But just please remember, contrary to what is often spouted off by parenting magazines, television, well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning relatives and friends, and sleep training manuals, there are LOTS of kids out there who are crappy sleepers, by adult standards.
If your child is growing, thriving, and seems to be well-rested despite their erratic sleep schedule, just try to hang in there and remember that this is temporary, and it will pass, and that by honoring your baby/child's cues and needs, you are laying a foundation of trust. Most sleep problems naturally work themselves out over time, and if they don't, there are no-cry interventions that you can take to help your child sleep, just hop on over to special needs and we can help you.
Hang in there.