My husband and I have co-slept with Ayla since she was born and since around 9 months old, maybe earlier, we've had her napping during the day in her crib which works well for us. The issue came at bedtime. I would nurse and cuddle her until she fell asleep then lay her down in the crib. After that she would wake up every 30-45 minutes. Once my husband and I were in bed we'd bring her into bed with us the next time she woke up.
After being worn down by getting my kid back to sleep every 30 minutes after bedtime and at my wits end with the lack of me time or better yet, husband and me time in the evenings, I knew I had to do something. Right in the nick of time my sister in-law gave me a book to borrow. The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy. I have read other books. They either didn't work for Ayla or the entire process was so long and time consuming I didn't have the energy to really give it a try. But this book made sense.
The concept is simple. Your baby doesn't know how to fall asleep on their own or put themselves back to sleep on their own so you need to allow them to learn how. Being more naturally minded when it comes to parenting I am not very keen on the idea of letting my child cry it out so the gentler method explained in this book caught my fancy. You start by laying your drowsy child down in the crib after cuddling and nursing or whatever your usual routine is, but you don't leave the room. You stay there quietly shushing and saying soothing things when needed. Naturally they'll be upset, but your child knows you're still there. Every few days you move further away from the crib until ultimately you're able to leave the room.
This method has freed up some much needed time for me and my husband in the evenings. Ayla typically sleeps in her crib until around midnight then I bring her into bed with us. I know sometime in the future she'll sleep through the night and I'll probably wake up in a panic at 5am wondering if she's okay, but for now I'm getting the best of both worlds. My husband and I get to enjoy having the bed to ourselves for a little while, but I still get to wake up with my little lady next to me. I don't follow the authors advice completely since I do still bring Ayla into bed with us. The author also has different directions for certain age groups so I do recommend getting the book for yourself. It's absolutely worth it!