I say it quietly, but you should imagine me shouting it from the rooftops, because it would be hard to overstate how much better our life becomes when Kavi sleeps better.
I'm not going to claim she's 'sleeping through the night' yet, or that this is even sure to continue. I'm not going to tempt fate that way. But here's just a little sense of how things have changed:
BEFORE: Kavi finally fell asleep sometime around 9-10, after a lot of rocking/singing/wailing when we tried to put her down in crib. I stumbled into bed and collapsed immediately.I really can't tell you how much better life is when I have a little time to myself at the end of the day and at the beginning, and when I can mostly sleep for solid stretches in the middle. I'm not sure what's changed here, what's causing this shift. Our pediatrician told us to stop feeding her at night -- to give her only water then, so she'd get out of the habit of expecting food. We've been doing that, so maybe that's helping. (Note: Kavi's nine months now -- I wouldn't try this trick with a young baby, who still needs middle of the night nutrition, and for whom hyponatremia (disease caused by drinking too much water) may be a real risk. Ask your doctor first if you're thinking of trying it.)
RECENTLY: Take Kavi up to bed around 7:30. She has her bath, which she plays in for half an hour very happily while I usually read next to the tub (to ensure lack of drowning). Dry her off, put her diaper and sleeper, swaddle her in a thin blanket, give her her last bottle of milk, turn on the ocean sounds, read her a book and sing a song or two. Usually she's asleep within two songs, and doesn't wake up when I put her down in her crib around 8:15. Tuck a heavy blanket around her. Actually have a little time to talk to Kevin, snuggle, or read in bed before sleeping.
BEFORE: In the night, wake up every three hours to howls of starvation and anger. Stumble out of bed, feed her, try to put her down, wails of frustration, eventually often give up and just take her downstairs to sit on the couch and watch tv while she sleeps on me.
RECENTLY: Wake up once or twice between 8:15 and 5:30 to soft cries of frustration from Kavi's room. Give her some water in a bottle, usually without picking her up from her crib. She drinks for 2-3 minutes, then you give her her pacifier and she falls back asleep. I toddle back to bed, having barely woken up, and go right back to sleep. Around 5:30, I actually get up, make my tea, have some breakfast, take Ellie out and give her breakfast, give the fishies breakfast, write a journal entry, water the plants -- all while Kavi continues! to! sleep! -- until 7:30 or even 8 a.m. Note: she is now in her crib at night for an average of 11 hrs, as opposed to 6 hrs before.
BEFORE: Kavi was underslept and cranky for much of the day, entailing much carrying and attempts to soothe, making it almost impossible to get anything done.
RECENTLY: We have a happy baby, who laughs and claps her hands (new trick -- she learned how on Saturday) and plays cheerfully on her own for much of the day, so that I can sit nearby with my computer and actually get quite a bit of e-mail and other such work done. She also still naps, though maybe not quite as long naps as she did before -- we're not clear on the pattern for that yet.
Maybe it's the ocean sounds soothing her -- they sure soothe me. Maybe it's the bedtime routine, which we've gotten much more regular about in the past month. Maybe it's that we're keeping her warmer at night, with heavy sleepers and multiple blankets (now that she's past six months, I'm not so worried about SIDS). Maybe it's that her bed is comfier, with several blankets piled on top of the mattress and bunched up to make a pillow area at the top (with one blanket stretched over the whole assemblage). Maybe it's all of the above, or it's just her getting older. I don't know. All I know is, I like it. Fingers and toes crossed that it continues.