I could use some advice about reducing my toddler's night-wakings. We co-sleep.
Since she was about 6-10 mo the night wakings got more frequent, I felt that she was waking multiple times/night (definitely more than 5) but was not sure if I was just exaggerating it in my mind.
I read Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution and did the part where you write down when she wakes, and that got me one night of terrible sleep (the worst since she was born), and confirmed she was waking even more than I thought she was.
I tried to encourage an earlier bedtime and a bedtime routine as Pantley suggests. DD now goes to bed (usually) around 7:30 or 8 PM and sleeps until 7 or 7:30 AM. We have not really been able to establish a bedtime routine. Reading books to my daughter makes her screech with delight - it does not relax her, and singing didn't work either (she sings along and dances). If she was already tired, she did not want to do those things and just wanted to nurse. So our bedtime routine is go into bedroom with mummy, close door, lie down on bed, nurse to sleep in dark.
The solution of not nursing to sleep (suggested by Pantley to reduce night nursings) seemed worse than the problem, and my husband was just absolutely not willing to take over bedtimes (also suggested by Pantley). Then we got into teething and I didn't want to reduce her night-nursing when she was in pain....then, I thought maybe it would go away on its own.....and well, here we are at 17 months and she is still waking many times a night and wanting to nurse back to sleep. She cries, shouts "milk", and/or signs "milk" until she gets it. Last night I counted properly and it was seven times.
I do not feel "exhausted" or even overtired during the day, and I know that a lot of mum's do. I usually can go back to sleep very easily after these night nursings. But they do annoy me during the night, I am tired of the side-lying position and I really feel that seven times in a night is a lot of times for a kid to want to nurse. Or is it?
When she was 1 yo we spent several months in a tent (and will do so again beginning this August), and that is a completely different experience, it is HORRIBLE to be woken to nurse in a tent, have to nurse side-lying on a hard surface, and then you can't get back to sleep again. It also sucks to have to spend 12 hours straight in a tent every night so that your boobs can be close to your sleeping child! I found that my work (and sanity) were really compromised by this last point.
Sometimes she has trouble falling asleep again even after nursing (usually it's because I woke her a little more to pee in the potty - she pees 1 or 2 times during the night). Then I rub her back and she goes back to sleep properly. I like this better than nursing because I am then in the position that I can go back to sleep easily in, without my arm falling asleep.
During the day for her naps my husband takes her for a walk in the stroller to get her to fall asleep.
Have you had any experience reducing night wakings without giving up the nursing-to-sleep?
What would happen if I just waited it out?
I am happy to have her in my bed for as long as she wants, DH is also happy with the co-sleeping arrangement.
What do you think?