Being the routined, organized person I am, I will admit the thought of Nora sleeping through the night and having a predictable eating and napping schedule was VERY appealing to me. But looking back I think I felt like she had to be in this schedule when in reality, she was setting her own schedule. And ironically now, her current schedule is not all that different from her schedule when she was younger.
But on to the important part. How did we get Nora to sleep through the night...because she does and has been now for over a month.
I have to be honest, we didn't have success with anything until Nora started at her sitter's. I went back to work on November 1st and prior to that, Nora was still waking during the night to eat around 3 am or 4 am. After my first week back we realized in order to help her sleep through the night we needed to do two things. One, do not change her diaper when cried during the night. When we laid her down to change her she screamed (we think because she wasn't really awake) and she woke up and was up for the count. Two, decrease the amount of milk in her bottle. We went from 3 oz. to 2 oz. and then 1 oz. So in a way, we gradually weaned her from needing that middle of the night feeding. Both of those decisions were a huge step in the right direction.
Nora started with our sitter in the middle of November. When we checked in on her day she let us know Nora did great and napped beautifully. I asked if she laid her down to nap asleep. She said no. Hmm. We had been putting her to bed asleep for months now. In fact, if we laid her down in her crib and she happened to wake up, Hubby and I knew we were in for an hour long battle of getting her to settle down and fall back to sleep. And now our sitter was informing me that she laid Nora down for her nap AWAKE. And she slept. The light bulb was burning pretty bright. We needed to do the same thing.
That very night we did our normal night time routine with Nora (low lights, bath, lotion, bottle, swaddle, bed) but this time we laid her down awake. We shut the door and held our breath. Cries. But it was okay. We were going to wait three minutes, go back in and put her pacifier in for her. Three minutes we went back in, helped her, walked back out and we never had to go back in. A month later we follow the exact same routine and it's actually rare that we even have to go back into her room after we lie her down. She gets it now. When we lie you in your crib, it's bedtime. We've been able to do the same things for naps and it is bliss!
We put Nora to bed between 7:30 pm and 8:00 pm and she usually gets up between 6:30 am and 7:00 am. Granted, there are nights when we hear her fuss in the night. We try to wait about three to five minutes to see if she'll settle herself and if she doesn't, we go in, giver her a pat, her pacifier, and shut the door again. Works nearly every time. And Hubby and I are enjoying full nights of sleep again.