Our DS is just about 20 months old and we've not yet been able to help him learn to get himself to sleep.He's still usually up at least once/night, often for 1-2 hours, and he's up every day at 5:30 or so. I work out of the home 4 days a week and am often trying to get by on 5-6 hours of sleep. After 20 months of sleep deprivation, I'm not functioning the greatest, mostly at work! Here's our current routine:
Dinner, bath around 7, read a few books, then rocking while bottle-nursing (yes, still!) and either listening to a lullabye CD or me singing until he falls asleep. He doesn't need the bottle to get him all the way to sleep, just to a very relaxed state, and then he'll put in his pacifier, snuggle in further and start to drift off. It's a pretty good routine in many respects, and he usually is asleep by 8 or 8:30. The problem is that he needs almost the entire routine when he wakes in the night (minus the books). Occasionally I'll hear him able to put himself back to sleep, but most often he wakes up (pretty wet from the quantity he's still drinking just prior to bed). Now that he's verbal, he's yelling, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" and sometimes "clean diaper" (we use cloth, so he notices when he's wet). Then it often takes 1-2 hours to get him back to sleep. Frequently he'll doze off in my arms, but when I try to get him settled again in his crib, he wakes up and immediately starts frantically saying "mommy" again and standing up, reaching to be held.
I'm trying to wean him off the bottle, but it's proving to be very difficult. We went "cold turkey" successfully for 2 nights (he was very tired those days) but then the third night he realized what he was missing and I tried to comfort him unsuccessfully for 2 hours before giving in and giving him a bottle again. Now I'm trying to put less in the bottle, and to water it down, but he often just asks for more. I've tried the method described in "The No Cry Sleep Solution" of gently pulling it out before he thinks he's finished, but he won't have it! It seems really important to wean him off this for 2 reasons: 1) the issue of being so wet sometimes that he's uncomfortable and can't sleep through it, and 2) if he stays dependent on it, he won't be able to consistently put himself to sleep in the middle of the night.
I'm trying some other things from the "No Cry" book: he's getting more attached to a lovey and I'm using some sleep-association words. I'm also talking to him before bedtime about trying to teach him to learn to go to sleep without needing mommy so much, but he understands just enough to be upset by this. I tell him I won't leave him alone when he needs me, but that it's important he learn how to sleep more on his own.
It used to work to bring him back to our bed,which would allow me to get back to sleep faster because I wouldn't try to move him once he was asleep, but now he's so attached to his own room and his own crib that he screams "crib, crib" if I try to take him to our room.
I'm so committed to not using the CIO method (despite some pressure), but I'm also getting desperate. I welcome any ideas you have. Sorry for the long post--I thought it best to give as much info as possible.