For those who aren't up-to-date with our sleep saga, my Little Beauty is sixteen months old. She began her newborn days in a bassinet, then transitioned to our bed shortly thereafter so that I could nurse laying down (that's a lifesaver, by the way).
Now, we have a bedtime routine that begins around 7:15 and ends around 8:15 (bath, diaper, lotion, pajamas, book(s), "mama's nighttime milk", sleep). She sleeps on a makeshift bed on the floor in our bedroom for the first half of the night and then comes into bed with us when we go to bed (usually between 11 and midnight). After several "wakings" throughout the night (she nurses and goes right back to sleep), she wakes up for the day around 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. - happy and energized.
* The bedtime routine: Our Little Beauty knows that bath time indicates bedtime is nearing and she seems to have a positive association with sleep/bedtime. She'll often point to her bed toward the end of the night or even put her head down on the pillow. Plus, our hour-long routine seems to be just about the right length and it's usually pretty peaceful.
* The closeness, the comfort, the safety, the snuggle, the kisses in the morning - all of the wonders and benefits of sleep-sharing.
* The wake-up time: 7:30 or 8:00 is perfect for our family - not too outrageously early, but not too late either.
* Loss of our bedroom - My husband and I both feel that we'd like to have our bedroom back for the early part of the night. As it is right now, we are basically barred from our own room from 7pm onward, which can pose a problem when we want to grab a pair of shoes, change clothes, etc.
* Too many nursings - At sixteen months old, I know that my daughter doesn't need to nurse at night for nutritional reasons anymore (she doesn't nurse at all during the day anymore - she stopped on her own around 12 months). Yet she still wakes up often and sometimes even has all-night-nurseathons. Surprisingly, I don't mind that much (especially after midnight), but I think it would be best for all of us if we cut back on those wakings and she was able to put herself back to sleep.
With those things in mind, we're creating a new sleep plan with help from Elizabeth Pantley's books - The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night (read my review) and The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers (review coming...).
Some of the things that we will be trying include...
+ transitioning Little Beauty to her own room (on a mattress on the floor) for at least the first half of the night
+ using white noise
+ writing our own bedtime story (read Pantley's books for more info)
+ gently cutting back on nighttime feedings using some suggestions in Pantley's book
I'll keep you posted about how the plan works.
How is your baby sleeping and what "methods" did you/do you use to help baby sleep longer and more comfortably?