After just over 2 weeks of what I described above, My darling daughter 16 mo, who never slept well at night...is now sleeping in 5 hour or more stretches!!! AND SO AM I!!! I AM SO GRATEFUL!!!
Something has clicked for her! Naps are better too!
Saturday night, to bed at 9pm awake at 3:30am, then nurse and back to sleep till 7am!!!...it took a long time for her to go to sleep, but she did it in a really nice way. Relaxed lying on her bed, being quiet with Mom and Dad on either side.
Sunday night: Asleep by 8:30 awake at 5AM nurse, then sleep till 7am Yahoo!
Monday night: Asleep by 8:30 awake at 3:30 and 5am, nurse, sleep till 6:30!
THIS IS A HUGE IMPROVEMENT FOR US!
What we've done:
We moved our cosleeping to a full size mattress in her room, go through our usual and sometimes lengthy bedtime routine. Story, nurse, let her romp around if needed, get quiet again. Nurse some more. Say our bedtime words, sing a song, sometimes to sleep, sometimes nurse more...say our sleep words again. Tell her time to sleep. Talk about baby doll sleeping...Say Mama Sleep, Daddy Sleep....etc...
Other things we did:
I had a friend who has learned light dream reiki do a distance session on her to help her sleep.
I begged god to help my child sleep.
I had a long heart to heart talk with my girl and explained to her that Mama needs to sleep and why. She really listened. I think she understood in her own way.
We offer her water at night. She asks to nurse and I say... "No all done ba, do you want some water?" Often this satisfies her and she collapses back to sleep. Now we don't have to offer water, she'll ask for it on her own if she wants it, or if she's just mad that she doesn't get to nurse. Its nice, I like that she understands that she can still ask for something and get it. I like that she is learning sometimes you get what you want, and sometimes you get what you need...and sometimes it is a struggle to not get what you want or think you need, but I'm here for her through that, and I love her while she is figuring out the new deal. She does cry sometimes. She got really mad a few times the first few nights. I hold her, or I just practice listening to her if she doesn't want to be held, and am very close, we are in the same bed afterall... I try to be like a friend listening to her cries and talk. When it seems she's said what she needed to say, I'll ask her if she wants a song, and she'll chuckle/whimper and I sing and she'll settle down, or water...or I just say firmly but with love, time to sleep.
Any wake up which happened when the sky got to be light, 4am ish, I would grant her wish for nursing. This also helped me get a couple hours sleep. Which for some days was the most I got uninterrupted.
Husband and I would trade nights sleeping with her, so one of us could go get sleep alone in our bed....(I still woke up when I heard her most times, even with earplugs, mama has superhearing, but it was still beneficial to be "off duty"....
Saturday night I tried giving her a snack just before sleep as well, not that I felt she was hungry and thus waking every 45mins to 1.5 hours, but just b/c it was something else I could try....I haven't done this since, and she is still sleeping.
This was hard, but it was what we needed to do. And I am so relieved that it is working...so far....progress is so inspiring. It is good to feel that breakthroughs happen and that we are going to be okay afterall. Lack of sleep is SO Hard.....Job of Momma, and everything else, is so much easier with sleep. These were also steps that I truly felt were right for me and my daughter at this time. There were times I considered CIO...Mom and MIL both suggested it multiple times....and because I was so discouraged, but it never ever felt right. Not in line with the parent I want to be or what my girl needed. This above felt right, it was hard but it felt right and safe and respectful.
Good luck to all on your sleeping journey! Ours is continuing, but I had to share this first victory.