On that note, I've already learned that I have a hard-headed, stubborn baby. :) She gets it from her momma and I'm pretty sure it's God's sense of humor in works. She's so sweet-natured and laid-back at the same time (that comes from her Daddy). Her temperament is honestly more perfect than we could have even asked for. As Justin said the other day, we honestly couldn't have ordered a better child. We didn't even know the extent that God could bless us. The proof is in the other room right now sleeping like a little angel.
Sleep has been one area where she's shown her stubbornness. And honestly, to a less A-type, OCD, organized, person, her sleep would probably be amazing. To me, though, it hasn't quite been as predictable and in order as I would like for all of our sanity.
With the first three months, while I was on maternity leave, we started some loose sleep training. It worked pretty well. Minus the nights that I sobbed on the couch as she cried and Justin would go get her and bring her to me because I just couldn't take it. "She's only this little once," you could often find me saying through my tears. He agreed. We've honestly always been on the same page. Another blessing.
Her sleep was great by 3 months. Waking up only once and often sleeping through the night. Naps were still hit or miss because we hadn't been intentional in working on a set nap schedule. However, I went back to work right around then and she started waking up numerous times during the night (I still say it was she missed her time with me and needed Mommy time.) Her naps were pretty much just as she wanted to take them...cat napping...and often happened by the time she was too exhausted to take a successful nap. We have been so, so blessed to have my mom keep her most of the time while I finished the school year, my aunt and grandma watched her a couple weeks, and my in-laws watched her on occasion as well. We realize the blessing this is and absolutely wouldn't have it any other way. However, all the place-to-place the past few months haven't allowed us to get into a routine.
In the meantime, she continued to sleep in our bedroom in her pack-n-play. Mainly for all selfish reasons on our part. I am still nursing and she is exclusively breastfed with no bottles unless needed. Therefore, it's just been easy to keep her in our room so I can feed her during the night. I also had the worries of SIDS and had read numerous places where it is best to have your baby in your room until 6 months, when the risk of SIDS drops dramatically. Add to all of this, about a month and a half ago she started sleeping on her belly because she had learned to roll over. Well then I was worried and wanted to check her little breathing and make sure her head was to the side constantly. And Justin wasn't in a rush to have her in her bed either.
So here we are now at 6.5 months and I feel like I can say we finally have a schedule (I use that loosely) that has invited better sleep for our sweet girl. I think she's like her Mommy and likes routine, consistency, and to know what's going to take place. She seems to be thriving with that while also being such an easy baby (her Mommy isn't an "easy" person like her ;)
So here's where we stand with her sleeping as of 6.5 months. (Now that she's finally sleeping in her room! It was such an easy transition for her. No issues whatsoever!) I share this for my sake, to have something to compare to with the next one(s), while also wanting to share with other Mommies. I am always looking for other's advice and stories in order for inspiration to either do something one way or know I don't want to do it that way at all. :)
-Bedtime routine starts at any time between 7:30 and 8:30. ("naked time" --she loves being naked-- on changing table which includes lots of kisses, peek-a-boo and often some crazy time with Daddy, California Baby calming everyday lotion on legs and cheeks, diaper rash cream on bum, disposable diaper b/c she pees like crazy during the night, PJs on, sleep sack zipped on, rocking chair with Mommy for vitamins, gas drops, and nursing (she loves all of this and is like a little bird with each stage opening her mouth for each), she falls asleep nursing, she goes down in her crib on her back, Gentle Giraffe wave white noise, monitor on, door closed, and Mommy is out of the room). All of this takes about 30 minutes at max. If it's bath night, that comes right before all the other steps.
-We check on her occasionally during the night based on hearing her toss and turn on monitor on occasion.
-She does a little mini cry a couple times during this time some nights. Usually the paci in the mouth works. She's not awake, just stirring.
-On occasion she is waking for a 5 am feeding, but that was the habit that was started to help with my supply while I was at work. She's moving on from this and didn't wake for this last night.
-She's now sleeping about 11-12 hours. Whoo hoo! She wakes for her first feeding and to start the day at about 8 am.
-2 to 3 a day
-Morning nap starts after nursing, and awake for about an hour which includes rice cereal and fruit while Mommy eats breakfast too. Nap starts around 9 or 9:30. (Naptime routine when we are at home: diaper change, sleepsack on, calming lotion on cheeks (I am sure this helps thanks to switching to natural, herbal lotion), paci in mouth, rocking while singing and/or reading a short book--usually Goodnight Moon, down in crib with Gentle Giraffe on and her mobile moving with light but without music.)
-Naps take her everywhere between 7 and 20 minutes to get to sleep. Some naps include more crying than others to get to sleep. However, I can tell she's getting more and more comfortable just going straight down. Praise the Lord! This has always been her biggest fight.
-Up until just recently, she has been awake crying after 30 minutes...that's changing! She's easily making it 45 minutes to an hour asleep without doing this.
-Naps are everywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours (on a rare occasion).
-Afternoon nap starts about an hour to hour and a half after nursing. Same routine.
-On occasion she takes a solid nap or cat naps in the evenings. She's in-between here at this stage.
-I am not a stickler at all for her having to sleep in her crib. No offense if that's your opinion, but I've always thought that was silly. Sleep is sleep wherever she is. If we are out and about, she takes these naps in the car, or in the cart while I'm shopping, or in the stroller while we are running errands, or even in one of these while we are eating out. Now, I am trying this summer to plan our activities around her naps and I always attempt to plan us being in the car during a "nap time" if we have to be out. However, she is so good at taking her nap and going with the flow if we are out and moving. And of course, if we're home, her naps are always in her cribs.
If I could share one piece of advice, it would be to RELAX. Pinpoint what is most important to you when trying to implement a routine and take it one step at a time. Make sure you and your hubby are on the same page (that's tremendous!) Take your time getting there and celebrate every little success along the way. I've read and shared on here before...your baby is a human, not a project. Let your baby be human. Remember you are human. Do things the way that works for you, your hubby and your baby. Not just because a book says so. Not just because your family says so. You'll get there (whatever your goal is your working on with your little one).
Of course, every baby is different! And if it's taken over half of her first year to get here, that's fine with me. We finally have found sleep success in our own way!