We are spending over an hour sometimes getting DD to sleep - this is after her bedtime routine which takes about 45 minutes. So from the time we finish reading and turn the lights out it can take anywhere from 30 min to an hour to get her to sleep. The minute her head hits the mattress she's suddenly wide awake and it's driving me crazy!
She nursed to sleep until sometime this past fall she started taking longer and longer to nurse to sleep and my nipples couldn't take it anymore. So we transitioned into a more limited nursing time and then she would go to sleep snuggled between me and DH. That went pretty well, but then it started to take longer and longer for her to fall asleep that way. Then daylight savings time hit and it's just been a total mess since then.
Our sleep setup: her crib has the toddler rail on it and is side-car-ed up to our bed. She has mostly slept in the crib for most of the night since she was maybe 6 months old, but has usually gone to sleep with us in our bed, and would stay in our bed after 5 am nursings. Lately she's been wanting to go to sleep on her own in her crib sometimes, and we've starting really encouraging it, but if she can't get to sleep in the crib I'll have her come snuggle with me to sleep.
So here's our current routine:
1. Jammies starting at 6:45
3. book reading until 7:30 or 7:45
4. Turn out the lights and nurse, prayer while nursing (DH comes and lies down with us at this point if he wasn't the one to do the book reading)
5. (since nursing no longer makes her drowsy !?) we then tell a special story about a little kitten (or mouse or puppy, etc.) that decides to crawl into her own special bed next to Mama and Papa cat and go to sleep on her own. The little kitten sleeps through the night without nursing and then the alarm goes off and it's time to nurse and snuggle with Mama and Papa cat.
6. We ask her if she wants to crawl into the crib and go to sleep on her own or snuggle with Mama and Papa to go to sleep and she almost always chooses to crawl into the crib.
7. I sing her a song and continue to hum it until she's asleep...
unless... here's where the "consistent routine" breaks down
At least half the time she does not go right to sleep on her own. so she crawls back into our bed and tries to snuggle to sleep. Lately this hasn't been working either. So I'll try to rock her to sleep in the rocking chair (this is a new thing for us), or DH will walk her around the house like an infant. We bought a sound machine last week and tried that for a few nights and it caused more problems than it solved so we stopped that. I was trying progressive relaxation with her for a while and she just would wiggle or kick whatever body part I told her to relax so we just stopped that. There's also a lot of trouble with her being picky about what songs I sing too.
I recognize that we need more consistency here but I can't see how to achieve it. We have no way of keeping her on the bed if she's decided she doesn't want to go to sleep, and we actually just have a curtain for a bedroom door, so there's no way to even keep her from leaving the room, so we feel like we have to just keep trying everything we can think of to get her to sleep. We've tried just going with a later bedtime and it was just as bad, plus she was more sleep deprived.
I think the biggest issue is that our previous method of getting her drowsy (nursing) doesn't get her drowsy anymore.
Any insights? HELP!