You name the sleep issue and we've probably had it.
Tannah had a traumatic and violent birth which ended in her being dragged out with a huge amount of force by a ventouse (vacuum extraction). The Dr who did this pulled so hard (with one foot on the end of the bed for extra pulling power) that a whole heap of skin came off my new baby's scalp and completely fucked up the bones in her skull. So of course Tannah didn't sleep. We didn't know for a while but she was in a significant amount of pain. She used to wake up screaming and it would take hours-no exaggerating- to get her back to sleep. The part of the whole situation that irks me is that the hospital (apart from what happened at the mismangaed fuck up that was her birth) told me that injuries like that were pretty "standard" with an instument delivery and that it (the open wound) would just clear up. No mention of pain or distress or long term consequences.
So Tannah went on-waking every couple of hours to feed and scream for a couple of hours. I didn't cope very well and spent a lot of time crying myself and wondering what to do. Then we found cranial ostopathy! Within weeks her sleep was better and she had reached a few milestones that were really late-turns out the ventouse made her neck pretty wrong too, making crawling and pulling to stand difficult. After spending a whole heap of time and money "fixing" what we could about her birth and learning about birth trauma-and sorting out a lot of my issues with what had happened also-sleep did get easier. She was a toddler by this stage and the issues we were having were the going to bed ones-no one likes to miss out!
Now we have Willow. My red headed firecracker Leo. She does not like to sleep. She doesn't like going to bed, staying asleep or sleeping in.Her birth couldn't have been more different that Tannah's-it was at home and magically beautiful. But that doesn't change her personality! We fight every night about her staying in bed. She wakes a lot and usually for the day at about 5am. But I pretend I'm asleep for as long as is humanly possible! What we have found to help is-
-no preservatives or colours in her food (that just helps her not throw wobblys in general lol)
-No dairy or wheat
-letting her get out of bed and really tire herself out if she really isn't going to go back to sleep at night
We don't believe in controled crying AT ALL. Actually it is not just me that thinks this. More and more the research is coming back that it isn't good for babies and works for all the wrong reasons. Also we co-sleep. Yep-all of us. Again, the info coming back now is that it is normal and good for kids to bed down near their parents. We don't ignore our kids at night, even if it is tiring and inconvenient a lot of the time. Their needs are just as valid in the evening as in the day. When I am really getting no sleep, which does happen from time to time, I nap during the day or turn in really early. And I palm off what I can to Luke.
On a positive note-Tannah now goes to bed after I read a book and sing our "goodnight song" with no help from me. She just rolls over and shuts her eyes. Just like that. She is secure in the knowledge that if she needs me at night I'll respond, like I always have.
Willow is another story...I'll keep you posted :-)