My daughter and I have been co-sleeping for 4 months. I love co-sleeping and nap and night nursing and don’t want to stop but I would like to make some changes. Right now I bounce her to sleep and then she wakes up instantly when I put her into bed. She needs to nurse herself back to sleep (oddly enough she won’t settle down enough for me to nurse her to sleep from the start). However, she wants to sleep with her mouth either on or inches away from my breast and she bobs on and off constantly all nap or night. She usually wakes up instantly or at least within 10-15 minutes of me trying to leave the bed. Sometimes I can sneak out at night if she’s been asleep for hours and then I might get an hour on my own but usually I have fallen asleep by then too.
I don't really mind this too much although it's starting to be problematic since 1) we have to be home and in bed for all naps and no one else can get her to sleep for longer than 20 minutes or so 2) and most importantly, I have zero alone time with my husband which is starting to put a strain on things 3) I am going back to work part time when she's 1 (still 4 months away but I'm thinking if I want to be gentle these things take time).
My plan was to chose a time (i.e. 2 hours after she goes to sleep) and not nurse her until that time. So, when she wakes up before that time I will try to get her back to sleep by bouncing her. Although, I know this will cause her some upset and tears. Then, once it's been 2 hours I'll crawl into bed with her and allow her to nurse whenever she wants. If that works, I would try to pick one nap a day without nursing as well... and so on.
Does that sound like it sends mixed messages to her - sometimes she can nurse, other times she can't? My hope was that she will eventually stop waking up during the first few hours of going to bed. Has anyone tried this and had success? I have read several books on sleep but feel more confused than ever about which approach to take. Any ideas/suggestions would be great! Thanks!