(Sorry this is so long, but I feel the details are important)
My daughter just turned a year old and we are still struggling A LOT in the sleep department. She is not really able to self soothe and I know why, but I don't know the best way to help her. I also have an almost 4 year old son. When my daughter was born, I did what helped everyone in the house get the most sleep so I chose to co sleep with her, which meant her nursing often through the night. I now see why this was not the best idea as she never learned to self soothe. I am her pacifier basically. She also often slept in her own bed in our room (though she usually did not sleep through the night) with the goal that she would move to her own room sometime between 6 months and 1 year. At around 10 months, I decided it was time to get her sleeping in her own bed as I planned to try and wean her from nursing at 1 year and didn't want too much change at once. She doesn't mind sleeping in her own bed so check Step 1 off the list! Step 2... get her sleeping through the night.. or at least waking less often. Step 3 will be weaning her... though maybe I have this backwards, I don't know. Here is what happens pretty much every night... We put her to bed at 8 pm either by me nursing her to sleep or my husband rocking. She goes to sleep both ways. However, about an hour later, maybe a littler earlier, she wakes up crying. Pretty much guaranteed every night. We wait about 5 min or so to see if she will go back to sleep, but she usually just starts screaming louder and louder. One of us will go back in to her room and soothe her back to sleep. My husband goes in there and she will actually lay back down so he doesn't get her out of the crib. If I go in there, I try the same approach, but she won't lay down and screams unmercifully for me to get her out because she wants to nurse. So, after a little bit, I usually cave and nurse because I don't know what else to do and it also makes me sad for her because I feel like she doesn't understand why she can't do what mommy has allowed her to do for the past year. Anyway, we get her down again and an hour later, she is back up. This goes on until about 12 pm. Then she will sleep until 2 am, maybe 3 am on a good night. After the 2 am waking, she usually sleeps until we have to wake her in the morning (we both work). I know I need to not nurse her in the middle of the night, but I reach a point where I don't know what else to do... We have a night light, a crib soother, we play music for her (she has always fallen instantly asleep to U2 - don't ask, I have no idea), we rock her and do the nursing as the last resort... we try to let her cry it out as much as possible while still letting her know we are there. My question is... is there a solid way to help her learn to self soothe without traumatizing her? What methods have you used that have worked?
Please be kind. This is just one very tired mommy looking for some support from moms that have been there! Thanks in advance!
Side note... my son was a great sleeper from the start. He still sleeps like a rock, which is great since his baby sister would wake him up all night if not. I am very grateful for that, but boy were we not prepared for this! Of course, we didn't cosleep with him and he went in his own bed in his own room at 4 months and never looked back. So... that could be the difference right there!