First of all sorry this is a really long rant but its taken me a months to find the energy to actually post anything! Here goes.......
My 12 month old is what i guess would be described as not a great sleeper. I BF him exclusively to 6 months and then started to introduce solids, broadly using the principles of BLW. He feeds frequently through the night, the best it ever gets is 3 or 4 times but more likely 6 - 8 times or more. When I have a night only feeding him 3 or 4 times I wake feeling like a new woman with boundless energy! Otherwise I am completely exhausted. I often feel like I am constantly on the edge of my ability to cope with anything beyond the day to day demands of life and so when anything out of the ordinary crops up it's seriously too much!!
We have tried NCSS and we have seen some improvements but in reality when I did the initial ten day log it turned out to coincide with his first tooth cutting through the gum so it’s hard to say......
Anyway we barely seem able to have a couple weeks pass by without some kind of illness/ teething so its been hard to get any good length of time using the ideas in the book. For instance, since the beginning of January we have had a whole week of cold/ flu type illness for me and baby, one of his top teeth cut through, then OH had Nora virus…. a week of vomiting and diarrhoea, then me and DS got it, then we had two big family weekends away, the latest of which included me getting ill with a bug for 2 days! ...and barely a day has gone by without baby having congestion/ snotty nose since September!!!
DS has slept always slept in our room and has spent almost the whole night in our bed for many months...prob since the summer when his waking increased and it got too tiresome taking him in and out of the cot. He also has never settled himself to sleep, he had reflux as a tiny baby and we did a lot of rocking, walking, nursing to sleep until it got too hard to carry him around; he has been exclusively nursed to sleep for many months now, starting the night by being nursed to sleep on our bed and then I transfer him to the cot which is in the same room. Once I come to bed he spends the rest of the night in the bed with us.
As I am writing I am realising some of the things that have improved in the last couple of months... he sleeps from bedtime (7) til 10/ 10.30 much more consistently; we went through a long period when he would wake hourly after going to bed. And ....when he has finished feeding he will often come off the nipple, roll over and go to sleep. BUT ..I still feel like we are miles and miles (well months and months) away from reducing the night awakenings and from getting him to go to sleep at the beginning of the night by himself. Never mind ten days or twenty or thirty or whatever it says in the book!!!
So I just don't know what to do....I really feel we have left it too long to try anything involving crying...I imagine he would just cry and cry until he made himself sick and there would be no improvement in sleep and anyway I just don't think I could do it. Also my husband is really really not up for anything involving crying though he says he will support me whatever I decide. In fact OH is extremely child centred and runs around the house trying to keep everything tick to make life easier for me so I can keep BF. He is a strong believer in exclusive BF. I am not quite as hardcore about it and prob would have introduced some formula to make things a bit easier but in the end I never did….Anyway that is kind of irrelevant as we are now dealing with a little toddler who is used to having breast milk though the night and whenever he asks for it in the day.
I know I should prob feel very grateful to my husband for all that he does around the house but often this irritates me…he is busy busy running around and I want him to stop. I often feel incompetent that I am at home all the time and not managing to take care of the home myself, and I have visions of my sleep deprivation as some kind of stupor that BF is keeping me immersed in….also OH is endlessly cheerful and positive and gets fed up with me moaning, says I am not nice enough to him…. prob true but I AM SO EXHAUSTED I CAN'T THINK STRAIGHT!!!!!!!
Am I just being unrealistic to expect things to improve dramatically? My husband has done lots and lots of reading about BF and sleep and cosleeping and it seems to be that there’s very little research about older babies in this area…Lots of people say that frequent night waking is natural and will improve as child grows up… but there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of this and I just have all these images in my head of those kids from super nanny who never go to bed and who just keep on keep on getting up…. How do I know I am not heading for this nightmare and the nightmare of having to do controlled crying with a walking, talking, screaming 4 year old???? Also can I manage sleep deprivation for an unknown amount of time until whenever things improve or am I going to drive OH away with my moodiness…and anyway if other people manage it why can’t I?
I am really stuck as to what to do, just feel I need to improve my sleep situation.. any advice really really gratefully received, don't know any other BF mums/ anyone with sympathetic ears!!