Flapjack and Nausicaamom, on the subject of evening sleep, here's what I've been trying...
I've been researching all sorts of fascinating things about sleep and babies, and I was amazed to learn that in a lot of cultures, they don't bother with bedtime routines. Italy and Guatemala were the two places I remember. They just let the babies and children hang out with the adults till the kids collapse in somebody's arms. After so many nights of swaddling, nursing, and FIGHTING to get Anastasia to sleep, I was sick and tired of the bedtime routine...so I decided to try something similar. I've been trying slinging her in the evening and letting her fall asleep when she wants to. It's been GREAT. I'm a social butterfly and want to be out hanging out with people in the evenings, so for me it's been wonderful...I just wear and hey, she falls asleep! She fusses some but not so much that I can't hold a conversation. Some evenings (like tonight) I do end up bringing her in to bed and nursing her there, but I'm not spending hours doing that like I used to. It's twenty minutes, tops, and I'm not spending any time struggling any more. She was doing a lot of fussing at the boob in bed and it was driving me nuts.
I kind of had to give up on the idea of my evenings being baby-free, which was hard (I hear you on that, flapjack!), but as it turns out I'm getting a lot more free time in the evenings, because once she's asleep I can put her down, and while she was falling asleep I can do what I want anyway.
She still wakes every two or three hours at night though.
That's really interesting! We do something similar with Trixie. I just let her set her own bedtime and if she's not ready to sleep, I don't force it. I was starting to wonder if I was being negligent in some fashion for parenting like this. Sometimes I feel like I'm being lazy to let her do it herself, but it works for us. We play and have fun until she starts to show signs that she's tired and then we have a cuddle and she's out. There's no fuss no muss, just a happily sleeping baby. It's nice to know that it's common practice in other places!