I'm after some advice re my almost 14-month-old son, who has recently gone a wee bit feral. I'm really stressed and unhappy about it. Apologies for the long post.
Unfortunately, we had to start him in daycare 3 weeks ago so that I could go back to work. I'm working part-time but the nature of my job means that I only have one day off per fortnight, so he's in care 4 days a week (with me one day, Mum one day). There were a few tears on the first couple of days, but now he seems to be OK when I drop him off and really happy when I collect him. At first he had trouble sleeping at daycare and they said he was terribly hard to put down, but he would have another nap when he got home; now, he's sleeping quite well there but at different times of the day.
Anyway, this is what used to happen when I was at home with him:
Woke up between 5 and 6 am.
Had a morning sleep beginning between 8:30 and 10, lasting 1-2.5 hours. I would cuddle him for a few minutes, with music, and he'd fall asleep beautifully. [I know some people don't agree with cuddling to sleep but that's what worked for my strong-willed little guy.]
Started resisting the afternoon sleep around 9 months so I gave up the fight. But then he'd recently gone back to having another short nap in the afternoon on some days. I just played it by ear.
Went to bed between 5:30 and 7 pm (usually 6/6:30), depending on whether he slept in the afternoon. Bedtime routine = dinner, bath, milk, then cuddles with Dad which took a little longer. Usually slept through the night but occasionally woke and needed soothing.
Ever since starting daycare, his sleep patterns have gone out the window, he has woken up whimpering or screaming at least once a night, and he has worked his way up to a full-on screaming, arching tantrum every time we try to put him to bed. Two days at home with him this week he has only slept 20-40 minutes during the day; the 20 mins was because he fell asleep in front of TV (I know, don't judge me - that's not typical procedure). He starts carrying on when we go into his room, and he won't let us sit down to soothe him like he used to. A few nights, he's been up all afternoon then had massive tantrums beforel finally falling asleep at 9 pm - once because I sat in front of the tennis with him. He's clearly tired, but he refuses to go to bed. My back is sore from holding him when he goes rigid and arches. But in all this awake time, he's generally pretty happy and playful, even if tired. At daycare he now sleeps (one day for 3 hours in total). They tell me they cuddle him for a little while then put him in cot and pat him when he cries. I don't agree with controlled crying at all, but that's not really what they're doing, is it? He would scream the place down. I'm wondering if he's feeling scared to go to sleep because he feels abandoned by the way they get him to sleep?
Anyway, this is making me tearful and stressed, not to mention physically and mentally shattered. I know he's about to walk, he's starting to be independent, he's been teething at times lately and quite sore ... but really this looks like it's a reaction to daycare. I'm worried he's developing severe anxiety and/or not getting enough sleep. As for myself, I'm a wreck and finding being back at work (I'm a teacher) even harder. To be honest I never wanted to return to work and put him in daycare, but we have no choice and he does seem to enjoy it.
Does anyone have any advice on surviving this stage? He's never been an easy baby - reflux for 8 months, often a bit hard to get to sleep (he doesn't just flake out on the floor!), but a great sleeper once he's down. Now, the sleep thing has become unmanageable.