I've been mulling over a post on sleep since we returned from our vacation.
I've been waiting and waiting for Second Daughter to sleep well. I'd hate to tell you what worked for us if it wasn't working.
Well, it's still not really working, but I'm getting tired of seeing this post in my list of drafts, so I'm going to modify it a bit and publish it.
Maybe then she'll sleep.
We were having lots of trouble with both daughters, specifically in getting them to go to sleep (Second Daughter during the day for her nap and First Daughter in the evening who would talk and sing for hours). I was so happy to discover the biggest part of our problem in Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems: New, Revised, and Expanded Edition: we were expecting them to sleep too much. Second Daughter, in particular, was sleeping about eleven hours at night, so of course she wasn't tired for a nap during the day. We delayed bedtime an hour (from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm), encouraged earlier waking, and saw immediate benefits. I found much of interest in Dr. Ferber's book. Our sleep training methods (when we employ them) are a combination of his suggestions and those found in The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night. (You'd be surprised how well they can be blended.)
Mostly, though, our kids have been relatively good sleepers, so we're not very well-versed in sleep training methods. Mind you, I write "relatively" for good reason. I think it's unreasonable for a parent of very young children to have undisturbed sleep at night. Even First Son will occasionally wake at night and need reassurance.
The main problem we have now is how often Second Daughter wakes up to nurse at night. (And by we, I mean mainly me.) One of these nights I plan to pay attention to the time and limit her. I expect after a few nights she'll get used to it and eventually sleep better all night long. It's just so much easier to nurse her to quiet her down and I'm usually too sleepy to think straight. The real problem is my hope that, all on her own, she'll just start sleeping without nursing. First Son did, so I know it can happen, but I think it's rather on the rare side. I should decide to either night-wean her or happily night-nurse her.
Eventually this time will end and then I'll probably be sorry to realize how quickly she's growing. I think that's partly why I haven't taken more action.
But mostly I think it's because I don't think about not nursing her until after I realize she's nursing.