Hi ladies. I will try to keep this as short as I can but I'm not known for being brief.
I have an almost 13 month old DS. When he was younger he would sleep in the crib/swing but I always would nurse him to sleep and put him down completely asleep. He would get up several times a night and I would nurse him in my recliner and then put him back in the crib after he was asleep. Then I started working again. (I work seasonally but very long hours.) I was having trouble getting him to go to sleep plus I couldn't handle the night wake ups anymore since I was working so I started bed sharing. I will admit I am a reluctant bed sharer. It was never my plan to bed share but I just did what was the easiest thing to get some sleep and figured I would deal with consequences of bad habits later.
Well I am done working for the rest of the year and I would love to get him to sleep in his crib again. I read about all these techniques and I get overwhelmed and don't know where to start. We have a lot of issues.
First of all, he always has to be nursed and rocked to sleep in the recliner. Then we move him to the bed quickly before he wakes up too much and then he usually nurses back to sleep and usually we are good for the night. Sometimes he wakes up to comfort nurse for a second. Oh also he has to pretty much have his hand on my boob or nipple all night long. Sometimes I can sneak and roll over but a lot of times I wake up aching from having to sleep in one position all night long. Last night was awful because he was half asleep and wiggling around I guess trying to get comfortable and he was squeezing my boob for like an hour and I was so tired and frustrated. I honestly think my boob/nipple is his lovey.
I also nurse him to sleep in the recliner for naps and I hold him for his naps. The other problem is he never has been on a schedule. He tends to stay up late and I never know when his naps are going to be so I feel like I can't go anywhere.
I guess my first steps should be to get him on a schedule and also get him attached to a lovey. From what I have read a schedule or routine helps him to know when it's time to go to sleep and I have read I should have a routine in place before I totally change his world by making him sleep in the crib. I need him attached to a lovey because I know he will just wake up looking for my boob all night long.
Also the reason I feel like we need a schedule is because his meals get messed up too. Right now this is what happens. He gets up anywhere from 7:30 to 9:00 depending on how late he stayed up the night before. (He generally sleeps 9 to 10 hours a night.) then I breast feed him. I wait a little bit to make him breakfast because he tends to not eat much I think from being full of milk. Even though I wait he still doesn't eat much at breakfast. Some days he is tired pretty quickly (like after about 2 hours of being awake) but other days he goes a little longer. So I try to get him to nap. Some days he goes down right away and others it takes awhile. Because he sleeps kind of late in the morning plus since it takes me a while to get him to sleep for his nap, his lunch is always very late, like 3:00. (He sleeps about 2 1/2 hours for his nap.) Dinner isn't usually until about 6 or 7 and then we give him a bath (every other day) and then we try to get him to sleep around 9:30 or so. (We have tried getting him to sleep earlier. It either doesn't work or he sleeps like 45 minutes and wakes up as if it was a nap.) Other nights he stays up until 11:00 or 12:00 because he just won't go to sleep.
I enjoy breastfeeding still and so does he, so I don't want to wean entirely. I would like to breastfeed him morning and night and before his nap still but I would like to be able to put him down drowsy in his crib.
How should I go about implementing all of this? Should I start with naps or nighttime sleep? What should the bedtime routine be? And also any ideas for a lovey for him? He definitely needs something where he can knead his fingers.
Re: One year old Sleep issues....what should I do first?
Then a bedtime routine - even a short one. So if dinner's at 7, he's in bed by/at 8pm. (Personally I would - and do- aim for a 6pm dinner instead of a 7pm dinner if you have the ability. For me, that means prepping the meal at night after he's asleep, so I just have to warm it up after work) The routine we do is bath, pajamas, story (at your son's age we nursed) then bed. He doesn't get soap every night, but the warm water helps key him into the schedule.
This is not an overnight fix. But consistency will help his body adjust to the schedule. So if he wakes after 45 minutes, keep the room dark and rock/nurse him back to sleep. Eventually he won't wake up. And it might take a while to get him to fall asleep at an earlier time, but again, that's not going to be a forever thing. Really, with sleep, nothing is a forever thing.
I'm no help with the lovey - my kid never took to one. He has a pillow he loves, but he actually uses it as a pillow, so not quite the same.