I've been checking out the recent threads on sleep and it all sounds so familiar! Here's my particular wrinkle:
We've been co-sleeping with DD, now almost 21 months, for most of her short life, and she's very dependent on help - principally from mommy - to get to sleep AND to fall back asleep after waking in the night, which happens frequently. Like last night 15 or so times (sometimes it's 1 or 2).
We are now working on getting her out of our bed and onto her crib mattress next to my side, because even though we love co-sleeping she flops and flails around in the bed so much she wakes us up. She's okay with the mattress, but she still wakes up multiple times in the night and needs cuddling to get back asleep (we night-weaned at 16 months in an effort to stop night-waking, with not fabulous results, although mostly it's better than it wa). Here's my problem: I love the cuddling and closeness so much, but I am desperate for less interrupted sleep. DH and I have been trying to come up with strategies, and last night instead of getting on the floor with her I just shushed and stroked her and put her pacifier back in her mouth (wish she would do this more herself!) - and the night-waking was much more frequent than usual.
We will give this more time, but today I'm feeling depressed and in mourning about giving up some of the closeness in our efforts to try to help her learn to put herself back to sleep better. We've talked about separating her further for sleeping (moving her into her crib/toddler bed in our room, or moving it into the living room - we have a one bedroom and can't move soon, so she can't have her own room and I don't think I want her that far away anyway!) and leaving her to cry soon, but I hate that idea. Is there an AP-friendly way to help a toddler learn to self soothe? Is it all or nothing - either I help her fall back asleep every time, or we force her to learn it on her own and never co-sleep again? It feels like an impossible situation: something has to change so DH and I can get more sleep, but I don't know what or how. Any ideas?
Some other wrinkles:
- DH can't really do the nighttime parenting because he uses a wheelchair and has mobility difficulties. DD's mattress is currently inaccessible to him, but he couldn't easily get out of bed to attend to her anyway.
- Going to sleep is a whole other thing - she used to nurse to sleep lying down, but lately has been so revved up at bedtime that I've had to rock her to get her to sleep at a reasonable time. I know we need to start the bedtime routine earlier so we don't keep missing her "window" before she gets so over-stimulated, but as the able-bodied parent I just have so damn much to do in the evenings that it's really hard to get in the bedroom before 8.
Thanks for any input and encouragement you might have!