DS is 19.5 months old. He has always been a "frequent waker": he's gone through long periods of waking every 45 minutes to an hour. With RARE exceptions (like ear infection, stomach virus, and random other instances), he always wants to nurse back to sleep. He'll have nights now and then where he's only up 2-3 times, but they are the rare exception, and I can count on two hands how many times that's happened since he's been born (with fingers left over). We co-sleep, and we co-nap on weekends (I work during the week). His bedtime is around 8pm, and he falls asleep around 9. We've tried an earlier bedtime, but for some reason, that seems to wind him up and then he won't go to sleep until 10.
I work 5 days a week, and DS is in full time daycare. He nurses when I pick him up, as much as he wants at night before bed (usually another 2-3 times), then to sleep, and then at every wakeup. He also nurses first thing in the morning as he's waking up. He is a picky eater, and sometimes he won't eat dinner at all, even if we are having something that he really likes.
We have a consistent bedtime routine: brush teeth, etc., pjs and diaper, 3 books, singing, then listening to the crib soother while nursing to sleep. I've read NCSS and we've implemented as much as we can. I try back-rubbing or shushing or cuddling or singing when he wakes, but most of the time he won't have it. I am so tired, I am considering trying night weaning, or partial night weaning. I have no idea if that would make any difference at all, but I think it might be worth a try.
The only time we did any kind of "sleep training" was mostly an accident when I had food poisoning and DS was almost a year old. I was so sick that I couldn't sleep with DS. I slept outside the bathroom that night. DS was up every 45 minutes, like usual. DH got him back to sleep as much as he could. I ended up nursing DS at midnight and then again at 6 am because DH really thought DS needed it. After that, DS would sometimes sleep in 2 hour blocks. I have no idea if it was because of that night or if it was something else.
I am afraid of night weaning because I am afraid that then I'll have a night weaned kid who still wakes up every hour to two hours most nights, and it will take way more work to get him back to sleep. Plus, his 2 year molars are not completely in yet, and I remember how rough the 1 year molars were. Since he's not a great eater, I wonder if he is really hungry. Usually, the 12 am and 5 am nursing sessions are long-- about 60 minutes. The other ones are usually comfort nursing and are 30 minutes or less. He will sometimes go back to sleep by himself if I unlatch him, but not always.
DH is completely on board for this, and he knows that he will be the one handling DS at night. I know I can't be there or I will just give in because I'm so tired.
Am I nuts to try this? If we did a couple nights and DS clearly wasn't ready, I'd go back to what we're doing now: nursing all night on demand. My original plan was to just let this go and let his sleep evolve by itself, but I need a break! I just want one 5 hr stretch a night, and it doesn't even have to be every night, but more nights than not. Is that too much to ask for at 19 months, do you think?