Sleeping Issues - is this normal?
Warning... long post ahead.
DD always was a wonderful sleeper. She would sleep 6-8 hours through the night from a couple months on. The only time she ever woke up through the night to nurse was when she was teething or growing through a growth spurt. Now, at (almost) 3, once she falls asleep, she is out for the night.
Now my problem...
DS (16 months old) has never slept through the night. When I say never, I mean NEVER. He had ONE night when he slept 4 hours straight... but other than that one instance, he wakes every 1 - 2.5 hours to nurse. During the day, his naps are about 30 minutes and he wakes up fussing wanting to nurse or play with my hair.
I manage without sleep, but the older DS gets, the more the no sleep is getting to me. I know it's common for moms to feel tired and exhausted, but after 16 months of not getting more than 2.5 hours of sleep at one time, I never feel "refreshed" and I am not the mama I want to be because of it. I am usually grouchy and snappy and I know it shows to my kids. DS has always been a "needy" baby, and although he's happy and smiling, he doesn't have the energy that DD has. I really feel like he'd be a different (and dare I say, "better") baby if he got the sleep his little body needs.
DS always has to hold my hair to sleep (a horrible habit I allowed, but in the beginning, it got me a few more minutes of sleep). He falls asleep nursing and holding my hair, and if he wakes and my hair is not in his hand, he goes into a fit. Even on the rare occasion he falls to sleep by himself, he still hunts for my hair in his sleep and wakes up if he can't find it.
I've tried a variety of different things from putting him down alone and very drowsy to holding him right on me while he sleeps (and not putting him down at all). I've put him in his own crib in our room... everything I try ends the same... he sleeps an hour or two and wakes up wanting to nurse. I've tried to let him cry himself back to sleep, but can't take him crying more than 5 minutes (when I give in and nurse him back to sleep).
I keep telling myself that this will have to pass eventually, but is there anyone out there with a similar problem or who has experienced it in the past? Do you have any advice for me?
Mama to 3, soon-to-be-4