Before vacation, she was taking 1-2 hour naps in the afternoon. Now, thirty minutes, although when they are shorter, she does take about three or four naps. The trouble with shorter naps is that she is a little grumpy butt when she wakes. When you add that to a mommy that has not had good sleep and a little girl that has become so tied to her mama that she screams whenever she can't see her, it can be an equation for disaster.
I've generally avoided discussing Amelia's sleep history, how we handle her sleep patterns, or the reasons for my decision to co-sleep part time. This is mostly because I don't care to hear other people's advice or their admonishments about how I am further screwing her up by letting her sleep with me. But I'm not going to lie, I definitely have my moments where I doubt our decision to let her nurse to sleep and co-sleep. That is, until she starts screaming at midnight and practically turns purple by the time we get upstairs. Then, I remember that we have to do what's best for Amelia, and I'm pretty sure that letting her cut off her own oxygen supply is not super healthy.
I do have the dream that someday, like maybe when she's 12, she will actually go to sleep on her own or someone else will be able to put her to bed other than me. With that in mind, I decided to put her on a bedtime routine. At 10 months old.
That's right, I'm the irresponsible mommy that has been letting her little girl go to bed whenever she wants. During the first few months with a newborn, life is all about survival. I had sworn that by three months, she would be on a schedule. For various reasons, it didn't happen. Surely, though, by summer she would be on a good, solid nighttime routine.
I've been so thrilled this summer that she has been fairly easy going-- at least until recently-- that I started doing all the things with her that I couldn't do or didn't have time for when she was fussy and I was working. Bonfires with friends, baseball games, vacations-- all things that would mess with a schedule if one was in place. And, due to her melt downs when she is separated from me, along with her refusal to sleep for anyone else, a babysitter is not a very good option. Of course, she would survive without me in the evening, but that person would probably never be willing to watch her again and I would worry about her the whole time we were gone. So, she's been on lots of adventures this summer.
Now that school is in, people are busy and things are settling down, so here we are in a nice evening routine. I like it to a certain degree. Giving her a bath every evening, as opposed to me giving her random baths whenever I could remember and notice grime around her neck, is a nice way to end the evening together because she enjoys it. She is also going to bed every night by 9:00, which is better than 10:00 or 11:00. The downside is, it's not helping her sleep more soundly, and for her, early to bed means early to rise. People who recommend earlier bedtimes for baby sleep to improve need to spend a week with the my little contradiction to every sleep theory that ever existed.
And so, the sleep battle continues, but at least I know when each battle is going to occur.