So my 9 month old is a big girl, at 23lbs and I've been walking/bouncing her to sleep her whole life (she doesn't like the rocking chair, no matter how hard I've tried!), and I have a bad back. I'm definitely feeling that I'm going to have to stop walking and bouncing for every single nap and bed time, but I'm perfectly happy finding some other way (that doesn't hurt my back) to assist her to sleep, ideally in the back-rubbing/cuddling department. Any ideas how to make this transition? I've tried just cutting the bouncing short then laying down with her but she pops her head up and squeals and crawls away etc. Should I just keep at it until she gets so tired she is more likely to fall asleep?
It will probably take some time & patience to get into a new routine. Tell your baby that your back hurts and that you'll lay w/her until she falls asleep instead of your normal walking around. Ask her if she would like her back rubbed or if she would like a song. If she doesn't give you any discernible reply do what you think feels good and soothing and if she doesn't like it she'll let you know. If she tries to crawl away bring her back & remind her that it's nap time and that you understand this is new and different, but it's time for sleep. Talk to her when you need to as you would another whole person, not like a baby. She does understand.
I've learned a lot from and really appreciate Janet Lansbury's respect for babies. Check out her blog. This section I've linked has several articles on helping babies to sleep better http://www.janetlansbury.com/category/parenting/babys-day/sleep-babys-day-parenting/
nj-that's such a tough place to be! Have you looked at the no cry sleep solution? It's been a long while since I looked it over, but remember liking some of the points...Hope you can find some things that help soon!
I was also going to suggest the No Cry Sleep Solution. We used part of her pull-off method, basically you rock or nurse, or whatever until they are just asleep, then you stop and see if they stay asleep. If yes, you're good, if not, keep rocking a bit longer and stop a short time after they're asleep. Once you can do that several times, try stopping as they are just drifting off. Again if baby starts crying, etc. then resume for a little longer, otherwise you gradually stop earlier and earlier.
Thanks for the No Cry Sleep Solution advice!! I read that book early on, whilst bouncing a young infant to sleep in a wrap, when we were going through the age of 2-5 months which was quite horrific in the sleep department!! The concept was useless then because she just needed to sleep on a warm body. Then one day she just outgrew that need and napped all by herself for hours at a time. I can give it another look to see if that will help us.
But last night was amazingly wonderful with an earlier bedtime and a little implementation of RIE concepts. No, I didn't have her cry at all but I did use a lot of listening to her frustration while I got her ready for bed (as opposed to the usual hurrying and trying to make her happy asap) and when it was time for sleep I told her calmly that I wouldn't bounce much. Well, she fell asleep calmly and easily while I nursed her and gently patted her arms. She woke when I placed her in the side-carred crib, which she often does, and I sang to her until she drifted off. As usual she woke up every 1-1.5 hours UNTIL she slept a 5 hour stretch!! Unheard of. She put herself back to sleep multiple times as could be seen by her wrangled positioning. I feel so happy because I'm sure she's been struggling and wanting to be able to just fall right back to sleep, but hasn't been able to. Perhaps it's because of the earlier bedtime, but I think it also has to do with the change in attitude about her struggling. Maybe she picked up that it's okay to struggle and doesn't need to be fixed? Perhaps. We'll see how it lasts!
I got chills reading about your success last night, nj!! I'm so excited for you and your girl to get better rest and for a new level of connection!!