Help! I seem to be a bit confused. Since I BF on cue, I let DD nap "on cue" as well. When she's tired, I let her sleep. When she's not, we've not insisted on it in the past. But I think this has been pushing her bedtime later and later. Sometimes she's down for the night at 8:30, other times not until 10:30 with a lot of prodding on our end. And this is when she's tired - rubbing eyes and the whole shebang. DH and I have started to enjoy the semi-regular adult time in the evenings, but DH gets up very early for work, and I want that adult time to not cut into his sleep. That's why I'd like DD to get to bed by 9pm. She sleeps 10-12 hours at night, with 2-3 feedings at night. She catnaps during the day, about 3-4 naps daily, 30-45 minutes each. So she's getting the minimum amount of sleep for her age, and doesn't seem to need/want any more.
How do I continue to BF her on cue while at the same time establishing some semblance of a bedtime/nap time routine?
It looks like your post might have been missed so I'm bumping it up for attention. Anyone have suggestions to share?
I think you can just give her the opportunity at that same time every night. I think she will catch on to sleeping at that time. Make it some kind of bed time ritual... soft music, books, bath, rub down, pjs etc. if she falls asleep, bonus, if not, you can try again the next night. It is nice that you guys sound pretty flexible with her bedtime/ routine. I may also suggest cluster feeding from about 4pm on (offer the breast every 30 minutes or so up to the time you want her to go to bed....)
Questions: How old is your sweet baby? Is she sleeping in your bed/on a separate surface/in another room? What has been your current "method" of putting her down for the night? Is her morning wake up time consistent, regardless of when she goes to bed, or does it fluctuate with the bedtime?
It was harder for me to get my sweet daughter down for bed when I was still trying to hold her in my arms to nurse her to sleep, but since she sleeps in the same bed with us, I started nursing lying down at bedtime, and then just rolling away once she has fallen deeply asleep. She does single-cycle sleeping until I go to bed with her, however, so I do end up nursing her back down once or maybe twice before I'm ready for bed. This has been the case since she was about 3 months old, this month she will be 9 months.
Once we got our bedtime routine figured out (story, massage, fresh diaper and jammies, "Love you forever" song, pray, and nurse to sleep; takes a total of maybe 30 minutes), we found that doing it about the same time every day can bring on the tired signs, even if she's not showing signs beforehand. Bedtime at our house is between 7 and 8 pm, and my baby sometimes won't rub her eyes until we get to her bedtime song, but as soon as I begin to sing she starts rubbing her eyes and she usually goes to sleep very cooperatively.
Another thing I have noticed is that my baby associates the living room with being awake and the bedrooms with being asleep, so it is easier to get her to drift off if we are in one of the "sleep rooms"... She used to nap in my arms in the living room but is now much more interested in playing when we are in the living room, even when she is clearly very tired. Do you help your babe fall asleep in the same place each night?
On the amount of sleep she is getting: My baby also has always been on the lower end of "necessary" sleep, but some babies just don't need all that sleep! The fact that she is sleeping 12 hours at night means that napping is now just icing on the cake, per say. Just keep focusing on a consistent bedtime, and as long as she is happy and interactive while she is awake, you can be assured that she is getting an appropriate amount of rest.
On the cluster feeding: Some babies wake more at night/get fussy in the evening because they are hungry, cluster feeding can really cram that little belly full of the good stuff (without making sweet baby feel overly full, like large meals in a single sitting) so sometimes they can sleep better/longer/earlier/whatever :)
Sorry about the ridiculously long post, I'm just hoping I can be of any assistance at all, and I'm assuming you will get the most use out of me if I provide just all the information I possibly can :)
I just wanted to be sure that I finished with a hearty GOOD JOB to you!!! Listening to your baby can be very tough, and breastfeeding on demand has been the most draining activity I have ever attempted to do. Props for continuing to follow your baby's lead, as difficult as that can be!
Since she is spirited, I would strongly suggest trying a bedtime massage, slow and deep and SLOW, to help wind down.
I definitely had the best luck with the baby sleeping alone by nursing to sleep on the bed and then rolling away once she was asleep. At your sweet baby's young age, I hate to say it (because I don't think it's what you want to hear) but you might just have to settle for single-cycle sleeping while she's alone. That's how my baby girl still rolls, single-cycle (like 45-60 minutes) when she is alone. I think it's part of their survival instinct, and there is no way to break that "habit" quickly without destroying your mother-child bond. But never fear, the single cycle gets longer and longer... When my baby girl was 5 months she would only sleep 20 minutes at a time when alone, and now she's up to almost 75 minute cycles at night!
A random suggestion for the car: I have one of those mirrors in the back seat so I can check on my babe by looking in my rear view mirror, and it so happens that my babe can also see me through this mirror setup! You might try it, if you haven't already, to help her feel like she's not so alone.
Good job, mama! Keep on trying!
LOL!!! My baby too :) She wants to be in on everything, including adult time :)