I haven't read all the replies, but I thought I'd answer b/c 1.5 months ago I never, ever thought I'd be able to join such a thread! DD was an absolutely miserable sleeper the 1st 6 months of her life. She refused to sleep anywhere but on me or DH (starting day 1 in the hospital), never slept more than 2 hours (up anywhere from every 45min-2 hours), barely napped, and basically had me at the end of my rope. I actually did join the sleep boot camp thread, but was too depressed about how horribly DD was sleeping and how much I was hating life b/c I was tired to ever post.
Now, DD (who is 7.5 months old) sleeps anywhere from 6-8.5 hours at night, with anywhere from 1 to 4ish brief wakings (literally, a squawk or two) that DH handles by rocking her briefly (she sleeps in her car seat, however, so rocking her means just rocking the car seat).
(I'm actually kind of terrified to post about this, for fear I'm going to jinx myself...)
So, how did we get here? I'll answer the questions you posted earlier and see if that helps explain how we got to where we are now.
If your LO STTN, what kind of naps do they take? Cat naps? Long naps?
Both. She's still an inconsistent and generally crappy napper. On a great day she'll nap 45min-1hour in the AM, 1-2 hours in the afternoon, and 30-45 min in the early evening. A great day like this happens maybe every few weeks. Some days she takes one really long early afternoon nap. I work part-time on a crazy, inconsistent schedule, though, so that probably contributes to her all-over-the-place naps.
Do they have an early bedtime, late bedtime?
My guess is that her bedtime would probably be considered late. We get the process started with her dinner, at 6:45, then either walk the dog or walk down to meet DH at the train (or both at the same time). Then, when we get back, DH does the rest of the bedtime process: she has her bath (just water--we only do soap once a week, when we both bath her in her tub), baby massage, and a story or two while DH puts on her diaper, her onesie, and her Woombie. Then he wraps her in a blanket (if it's not too warm) and brings her out to me in the living room, where I nurse her in the chair until she falls asleep. Then DH takes her and transfers her to the car seat and turns on the white noise. Then we tip toe around for the rest of the night.
Breastfed, bottle fed? Do you feed them at night or soothe them other ways? Do they use binkies or loveys or blankeys?
Breastfed. I tried to do the Pantley pull-off to get DD away from falling asleep at the breast, but I failed. Now she nurses until she falls asleep, sometimes still nurses while asleep, then drops off herself.
She does have a pacifier (one of those Wubanubs), and DH will use that to soothe her if she wakes up in the transfer process between my lap and the car seat, but he takes it out of her mouth after she's back asleep. We found that she woke up more if she had the pacifier in her mouth.
Are they co-sleepers or crib sleepers?
Part-time co-sleepers; when DD wakes up between 3:30 (on a bad night) and 5 (on a great night), she comes into bed with me for the next 1+ to nurse and sleep.
The rest of the time she sleeps in her car seat. She refuses to sleep in the attached co-sleeper or the pack n' play. We only have a 1 bedroom apartment, so no space for a full crib.
We found that co-sleeping all night just didn't work for us; DD is a very light sleeper, so any movement I made woke her up and she immediately reattached to the boob (if she wasn't already attached). I noticed she didn't sleep as well when she nursed the whole time she was asleep; even now, she'll sometimes nap on me and nurse, and she's usually not as well-rested afterward.
Do they sleep with a night light or music?
We had night lights until they all broke...but we'll get more soon.
She also sleeps with white noise--it's a loop of my hairdryer I recorded and put on my iPod.
What's your LO eating?
We just started solids about 1.5 months ago, so not too many different things yet. We decided to do purees rather than BLW, and she loves it.
It might be coincidence, but she started STTN about 3 days after we made 2 changes: we moved her into the car seat and we started her on solids. For dinner she gets 1/2 an avocado and about 2oz of sweet potatoes mixed in. I'm convinced that the combo of fats and carbs has helped her immensely. So much so that she pretty much gets the same dinner every night, b/c I'm terrified to mess up what works!
How did your LO who STTN fare through the rough times (4 mos, 6 mos, 9 mos)?
She wasn't STTN at 4 months, so no regression there.
At 6 months was when she started STTN. We had a spell of about a week or so around 6.5 months where she woke up between 2:30 - 3:30 and wouldn't nurse back to sleep, so I held her and rocked her for a while, then nursed her in the chair, where she and I fell asleep for a few hours. Then she went back to her usual sleep routine.
We haven't hit the 9 month mark yet, so we'll see how that goes!
Is your LO really active during the day? Really relaxed during the day?
She's quite active (or as much as a non-crawler, non-walker can be!) She goes to daycare for half days 4 days a week, where they do lots of activities, and she's always needs to be engaged in things during the day. She's also a high-needs baby, so I think that helps explain her intensity and need for activity.
Do you wear your LO a lot during the day?
I'd have to say yes, although a lot of that is just carrying her. Since day 1 she's been a super-clingy, high-needs baby, so I've carried her and/or worn her a lot (and have the elbow pain to show for it, unfortunately...)
What do YOU think helps them sleep so well? Is it just their temperament? Did they learn to sleep well over time?
Patience and pure dumb luck. It's definitely not her temperament--she's an intense, high-needs baby who doesn't tend to sleep very deeply. She also has reflux, which I think has really worked against her sleeping (and I think is why she generally doesn't like to sleep on her back, unless she's next to me in bed. I also think it's why when she was next to me in bed, she nursed constantly--I think it helped soothe any acid pain she was feeling.).
I think three things helped her:
1. Her avocado and sweet potato dinner. It filled her up, helped her reflux, and had lots of good fats to keep her feeling content. (I know some folks say solids=better sleep is an old wives' tale, and it may be, but it worked for my girl!)
2. The car seat. Not only do I think the angle helps her reflux, but I think she feels really cozy and snuggled in. She's a snuggler and a cuddler, so she needs that contact around her. There was a post not long ago about creating a "nest" for baby in the crib, and I remember hoping someone had good suggestions for creating a safe one, b/c that's what DD needs.
3. DH. He is in charge of her night-time sleep (and, at first, naps that didn't involve DD sleeping on me). He puts her in the car seat, and he sleeps with her out in the living room, on the couch, so he can be the one to rock/shush her to back to sleep when she squawks at night. This, I think, was key in the beginning of our sleep adventures, when Mama = milk. Now I can put her down for a nap (also in her car seat), and can rock/shush her back to sleep as well.
Sorry for the novel; I'm just so amazed that I'm getting any sort of sleep at night now, and am happy to share what we've done if any of it will help you.
(Now off to cross my fingers, toes, and any other body part that I didn't just completely jinx our little sleep set-up!)