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Wasn't sure if I should put this here or in the family bed forum, feel free to move if you think it would be better there.

Gavin just turned 17 months a week ago. He's NEVER slept as much as baby books/popular advice says he should have slept.

I'm now worried about the effects of one not sleeping "enough" at his age.

Last night, he FINALLY fell asleep around 12. He woke me up this morning at 9.20, fully awake. He FINALLY took a 2 hour nap this afternoon around 2.

Normally, he finally falls asleep around 11-11.30 and wakes up anywhere from 8.30-10. (He has slept in until 11 on weekends when my SO doesn't get up for work and we all sleep in) He usually has one mid-afternoon nap (around 1) that lasts for 40 minutes if I'm lucky.

Very *very* occasionally he'll have an early evening nap. I've tried for months to make this early evening nap turn into all night sleep, but it's never worked.

The other issue is that except for rare occasions like todays nap, he will NOT sleep for more than 40 minutes alone. When he goes to sleep at night, my SO and I know we have exactly 40 minutes to have "us time". After 40 minutes, he'll start crying. If I get him back to sleep in bed (by nursing him until he unlatches) I can get up and have 5 minutes more to myself, at which point he wakes up again. It doesn't matter if I lay in bed with him for 10 minutes or an hour. The "second time" is always around 5 minutes.

Normally I just get him out of bed and put him in my lap. He'll go back to sleep until I'm ready to go to bed. If I try (even when he's floppy) to put him back in bed, he wakes up within 5 minutes and is crying again. (Sitting up crying, not just laying down and crying)

He's really high needs, cranky unless I'm devoting 100% attention to him at all times (only very recently is he to the point where I can have 5 minutes alone time when he and my SO are having a bath) and has always hated sleep with a passion. I actually told my mom today that I'd kill for some baby valium to give to him if it would help.

When we're in bed with him, there is no problem. He spends quite a bit of the night shoved up against me, but much of the night is spent not touching me. I don't think he wakes up very often (or at all) some nights after I go to sleep to nurse, but I always slept through those anyway.

How much sleep DOES a 17 month old need as the "bare minimum"? Is 11 hours a day way too little and causing a vicious high needs circle? Aside from never having "me" time and going to sleep when he does, is there anything else I can do to try to help his sleeping pattern?

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All I can say is dd sleeps as little as your son. She is 18 months old and has never been a big sleeper. Even when she was a newborn, I got two naps a day for about 30 minutes. I kept thinking, "Aren't babies supposed to sleep all the time?"
She goes to bed at night anywhere from 10 to midnight and wakes up around the same time as Gavin. One night last week, we both were exhausted and told her we were going to bed and she could turn off the lights when she came in!
Let me add, the dr told me, it's completely normal. Sleep patterns are a bell curve--some sleep more and some sleep less. I always nap w/ her bc I'm pregnant and exhausted.
What helps us it to completely wear her out. We take her to a mall w/ a little play area at night. Sometimes we're the only family there at 9:30pm. She still doesn't sleep longer stretches of time, but she doesn't wake up in the middle of the night.
I think it's great you don't make him cio. In my experience, children that are forced to cio always hate to go to sleep. I've weaned my daughter (bc I'm pregnant) to just nursings before sleep so she looks forward to go to sleep.
I know a family in our church that has 4 children. They had 2 that didn't need much sleep. They are grown up now and only need about 6 hours. I keep thinking that at some point in my dd's life, this may be an advantage for her.
Hang in there. We're sleepless too!

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Your DS sounds like my DD as a baby. She was a horrid sleeper - even at birth was not one of those babies who slept all the time - she was awake!

It wasn't until around 23 - 24 mos that she started sleeping better. 11 hours is plenty. She goes down now between 8-9 and is up, without fail, between 5:30-6 AM. naps are about 1 hour.
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