When I'm dealing with these baby sleep issues, it is easy for me to look at my baby and think, "What is wrong with you? Why won't you sleep??" but in this case I think the real problem is me.
After my blog post from last week and a "here's what you gotta do" conversation with another mom who I really respect, I realized I needed to expand my toolbox. It is so easy for me to hunker down and think, "oh well, I guess I just have to suffer" instead of trying to figure out how to improve the situation. I decided to buy a book I had seen mentioned last summer, one that seemed gentler than a straight cry it out approach, but hopefully more helpful than the attachment parenting type books I had read before. (The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight, in case you're wondering)
I read through the first chapters and the chapter about Hannah's age group, and felt hopeful. Finally some other tools! Finally some different strategies! Here was something I could try where I didn't have to just plunk her in the crib and walk away, but I also didn't have to respond to every little whimper with nursing or cuddling either.
I won't go into all the details, but in a week and a half we've gone from Hannah waking at least three or four times a night to barely waking at all. She's napping well, and she's also happier and less fussy during the day too. And there's been remarkably little crying, and she gets happy in the evenings when I get her ready for bed and talk about night-night with her blankies. In just a couple nights, she slept through the night two nights in a row. It hasn't been perfect - she didn't for the next three nights - but she did again last night.
I really feel like we've turned a corner and we're heading in the right direction. Maybe an old dog can learn new tricks after all.