Due to Mira's recent sleep troubles, we've installed some blackout curtains in her room and we got a white noise machine to go in there too. So it is always nice and dark and cool and relaxing in her room. So far this has not helped with the frequency that she wakes up at night (still usually 3 times each night), but it has helped her stay asleep longer in the mornings. She's been sleeping till 8:30 or 9am, which is nice for me cuz I get an extra hour or two of sleep. Which somewhat makes up for having to get up 3 times each night.
Her daytime naps are vital to me because it is the only time that I allow myself to truly relax. Up till a couple of days ago, it was difficult to get her from the breast to the crib for naps and then when I did manage to lay her down, she'd only nap for about 30 minutes.
Well, my step sister in-law suggested that Mira might need a pre-nap routine. That made so much sense to me. We have a clear bedtime routine that seems to work for her. She goes to sleep easily at night. So it seems obvious that a pre-nap routine would be good for her also. So now, every time I think she's needing a nap, we go into her dark room, turn on the white noise, change into a fresh diaper, get wrapped up in a blanket, and sit down to nurse in her room with the door shut.
The difference is like flipping a switch. It is now 10 million times easier to get her to fall asleep and then she is very easily transitioning from breast to crib. Her naps are still relatively short, usually about 30 minutes. But she is taking them much more frequently. We've gone from maybe one nap per day if I'm lucky all the way up to 3 naps per day (which is actually the recommended amount of naps for babies of her age).
So now I just need to figure out a way to lengthen her naps. She's still only getting about 2 hours total of nap time each day, and she's supposed to be getting closer to 5. I guess I'm hoping that it will come on its own, because I don't really know what else I can do to get her to stay asleep longer. If anyone has suggestions that do not involve me holding her or letting her cry, then let me know.