We're combining techniques from No Cry and The Sleep Lady. (In other words we're being our usual bullheaded selves and making it up as we go along. --Jen) She goes down awake, after snuggling and reading, and then rocking until she's pretty mellow. After some combination of leaving the room and letting her fuss a little, coming back and putting her back down (because she instantly flips, sits, and stands), patting her back to get her to stay down, shhhhhing, and hoping for the best, she falls asleep. Sometimes she goes right to sleep without even rolling onto her tummy, other times she needs more help. It really depends on the day and the number of distractions and whether we've hit the perfect timing or missed it by a bit. The routine is pretty much the same for naps and night.
So far it's working, but it is a slow process. She's taking better naps at home (at least an hour, often more, two times a day). (I'd say naps are where the MAJOR progress is. -- Jen) Once we have it down to more of a system, we'll confer with Jen's mom and our babysitter. Overnight she's waking up less and is able to put herself back to sleep sometimes. Other times, all it takes is one of us putting her back down (because, yes, she's standing again), and she rolls over with her froggy and goes back to sleep. We have transitioned to her sleeping in the crib most of the night, but coming in to nurse and to snuggle in the wee hours of the morning. She still wakes up a few times (usually twice) and nurses, but right now we're watching for patterns, and then we'll start working more on reducing the feedings. She's already waking up less than she did when sleeping with us, so that's good.
Things we've learned/tried/observed:
- I don't think she's the type of kid that could CIO. We didn't try, but just noticing her patterns over the last several weeks, we've seen that once she goes beyond fussing to full on crying, it's time to pick her up and start over. Otherwise she gets way too worked up, does not go to sleep, and requires much more assistance to calm down.
- White noise and music are not only good, but somewhat essential for us during the day. The walls in our complex are unfortunately thin, and we have children both above and next door. This means lots of thumping, often when we're trying to get her down. As I was writing this post, a sprinkler pipe burst in the commonhouse. The building alarm system went off. LOUDLY. We're not talking your average smoke detector beep, but a blaring, flashing, institutional fire alarm. If you don't know what I mean, think school fire drill. Natalie slept through it. Go white noise.
- She is getting attached to her stuffed frog, so we've started sending it with her on days she goes to Jen's mom's/babysitter. She still can probably fall asleep without it just fine, but she LOVES it and gives her something familiar to snuggle.
- When we're noticing teething behavior during the day and can't figure out why her sleep is weird at night, it's probably the teeth. Duh. It took us far too long to figure that one out and start giving her teething tablets or tylenol. She seems to be working on about six teeth at once right now. It's not pretty.
- She's a naptime pooper. Not quite sure why or what to do about it, but it's not uncommon for me to walk into her room hoping to resettle her and quickly smell that I need to do something else first.
- Jen has no memory of anything that goes on in the middle of the night. And if I am attempting to communicate something to her in the middle of the night, it is best to be VERY explicit. "She's done nursing" doesn't quite convey what it might during the day. Better to say, "She's done nursing now, and I've been up with her three times already, can you please take her back to the crib?"
- This may be a slower approach than CIO, but so far it seems to be working for us. Which is not to say that it's right for everyone, or to judge any other families for what they've chosen. But we are comfortable and happy with it, and that's what counts.
- Every time we think about writing a sleep post, and especially the times we DO write one, it tanks whatever progress we're making. (I had a "snow" delay last Friday and was cheerfully composing a post in my head about the success of our non-method, only to be stopped short by aggrieved wails announcing the too-early end of the morning nap. --Jen) I have been writing this post all day long and both naps have been more difficult than usual, and she was QUITE difficult to get down tonight. So God only knows what tonight will bring after we hit Publish!