Ida is now almost 5 and sleeps great but it was a long time coming! She had Cows Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA) as a baby along with multiple other allergies/intolerances. This caused major sleep disturbances because she was in a lot of pain/discomfort. We finally found out what she could and couldn't tolerate when she was around 18 months. By this time I was so over-protective and constantly worried that she was in pain at night. So we developed a lot of sleep dependency habits.
She also suffered from sleep Apnoea due to her HUGE tonsils! They were removed when she was 3 and this has helped enormously. She no longer gets crazy high temperatures, convulsions or snores like an old man!
We've also had the odd confusional arousal awakening when she's overstimulated/excited,
So there isn't much she hasn't thrown at us sleep-wise, she didn't sleep through the night until 2.5 years old, just after Toby had arrived...
Toby is 2.5 years old now. He was unsettled sleeping as a baby and we had a few issues feeding from birth. I always suspected he had signs of CMPA but I was anxious not to jump to conclusions just because of Ida. Eventually at about 9 months we went dairy-free and he settled lovely! Phew!
But again we had sleep dependency issues, he would wake multiple times at night and be awake for hours and hours at a time. Just awake, not crying but not sleeping and not letting me leave his side. I was so nervous he'd wake Ida who had only just started sleeping I did anything to keep him quiet. Oh and he liked to start his day anywhere between 4.30/5.30am!
We tried putting him into a bed at 2 years, big mistake. He was waking more and longer and getting out of bed all the time.
We were at breaking point...
We really needed help, I hadn't had a full night's sleep for 4.5 years!
It was affecting our health. We all seemed to be ill all the time. We were too tired to spend proper family time together. Me and Si were dividing up who had the children at weekends so the other could catch up on some sleep. We'd bicker over who had 10 mins longer in bed.
The real breaking point for me was when I had to drive on the motorway with Ida to take her hospital to have an operation and I'd had 3 hours sleep. I was worried and exhausted. Ida had also started to ask if we could spend more time the 4 of us together. This broke my heart and I knew we had to do something...
We found help and with a clear plan to follow and support we received throughout it has been life-changing! Within 4 days Toby was sleeping through the night. His speech and behaviour improved once he started sleeping consistently. Finally we're all getting the sleep we need and it has given us the family time we needed too. So I'm not perfect and I haven't had perfect sleepers but there isn't much I don't know about being sleep deprived! I've been exactly where you are now. It took us 4.5 years to get help, I so wish I'd done it sooner. Now I really want to help families like us to sleep better and longer!