I've mentioned before that we've been working on having good naps. Mainly that meant getting her to be able to put herself to sleep at nap time so that she has the tools to GET herself back to sleep when she inevitably wakes in the middle of the night. Think about it. We probably wake up 2-5 times a night but we know how to get ourselves back to sleep...but babies have to learn how to do it. That's what I've been trying to do during nap time.
The most natural step was to then start putting her down for bed at night while she was still awake so that she could try to get herself to sleep. We decided to finally take that step, last Monday. I prepared myself for her to cry quite a bit. Boy, were we both surprised when she whimpered less than 5 minutes and then fell asleep. And we were even more shocked when she slept 10.5 hours straight without waking up!!!!!!! WOOHOO!!!! Since then she has been sleeping 7-8 hours, eating then sleeping another 2-3 hours before getting up for the day. She takes her morning nap (about an hour) and then her afternoon nap (usually at least 2 hours) and then she's up until she's ready to go to bed which is getting earlier and earlier. Right now she is falling asleep after eating and it's only 7:30! So crazy! I hope this keeps up! It's so nice to put her down for the night and get to spend a little time with Chris...just the two of us.
After all my self-doubt about whether or not I was really tuned into what "works" for Claire I think I have my answer. Granted, not all days are great regarding naps and I'm sure night time sleep will be harry at times. But for now, I feel pretty good about how Chris and I have problem-solved and worked to find a good system in order to help mold Claire's ability to sleep successfully. A BIG help was a book my friend Chelsie gave me called "Goodnight Sleep Tight: The Sleep Lady's Gentle Guide to Helping Your Child Go to Sleep, Stay Asleep, and Wake Up Happy". It was a good start for someone like me who had no clue what to even try. We didn't follow the advice to a "t" but rather restructured the pace to be a little more gradual and tweaked it to how we felt would be best. But it was definitely a helpful start!