Posting on behalf of the lovely wife, who as we speak is (finally) sleeping with the little one. Our DD is 14 months old, co-sleeps with us, always naps with Mum, and feeds quite frequently under normal circumstances.
However, in the last couple of days things have turned a bit crazy. DD picked up a cold that DW has had for a few weeks. A trip to the doctor said it wasn't an ear infection yet, but it could turn into one. She's all blocked up in the nose and I'm sure she has a bit of a wooly head (Yes, that's a medical term!) and as a result she is struggling to feed (if she doesn't point blank refuse), and every time my wife takes her anywhere near the bedroom she starts crying, which is very much out of character.
Today she woke at 5:30am, took a nap at 10:50 for 40 minutes and then stayed up and refused to sleep until 7:30 at night, by which time she was acting very strange and looking like a zombie. We tried putting her to bed for an afternoon nap, but she wasn't having a bar of it. Decided to try for an early bed time, and the crying started. We tried pushing her around in a pram inside (would have gone outside but it is pouring rain), carrying her in a sling, taking a shower with her, and numerous attempts at feeding her. Everything made her cry, and the only thing we could do was put her back on the loungeroom floor where she would brighten up, with her eyes hanging out of her head like something out of the Addams Family. In the end it came to a head, she became quite distraught, wife took her off and basically sat with her through a massive crying fit until she finally ran out of steam, fed at the breast and went to sleep.
The wife is a very gentle soul and she really struggles with the crying, so her friends suggestion of elevating one end of the (purely decorative) cot and going for a bit of CIO wasn't going to fly. However, I think she's feeling like tonight's effort wasn't far away from that in the end. She's starting to worry that the little one might get a bit of a fear of bedtime as a result of all this.
Any suggestions? Is it better to bring things to a head and get her to sleep at the right time whatever it takes, or is it better to let her stay up until she crashes and cope with a little bit of tired thrashing at the end? Is there anything you would have tried?