I've posted before about the trials and tribulations of Liv and her bad sleep patterns. Now at almost a year she goes down very easy. She has been doing this for a while and on most nights only wakes once between 2-5.
Liv has a few sleep essentials that help her get to sleep.
Binkies-Liv needs a binkie, this option can be controversal, but she really seemed to need it as a baby, and does not seem to be ready to wean at all.
Snoedel doll-this organic cotton doll is Liv's lovey. This lovey was pushed upon her for a while. Since she was such a poor sleeper, waking often I used this to help. It took a bit for her to want this doll, but it works wonders now. I wore the doll under my shirt so it smells like me and for months this doll was only taken out at sleep time and in the crib. Now when she is tired she reaches for this doll and strokes it against her face.
Seahorse- This little glowworm like doll sits in the corner of her crib. I put her in the crib awake and push its belly. Its lights up and plays 5 min of music. This was key when I was trying to get her to sleep on her own and now its just a nice part to her routine.
I needed to this, this is essential for Liv and I forgot it in my original post. I noise machine. Liv sleeps to the sounds of the ocean. It is so relaxing. I love listening to the noise of it over the monitor all night long. I start the sound machine when we go in her room at the beginning of her routine and leave it on all night. It keeps out noises in the house, and is just another cue for her that its sleep time. The machine I bought Liv is the Homedics one, which is very inexpensive and can operate on batteries or with headphones. So its very portable and can be used in many situations, even when she is older if she still needs it.
We co-slept full-time till 4 months and part-time till a little after 6 months. The transtion was actually very easy and very natural. We still occasionally co-sleep on nights when she is having a rough time, like last week when she was sick. These tips might help you transition out of co-sleeping if you want to or if it wasnt working out for you, which was the case for us. I love love love co-sleeping, but my little Liv is a wild girl in her sleep and would wake DH and me up. And worse I think she gets that from both DH and I so we would wake her up often too. This is when I decided to transition her to her crib and started to use some of these things to make it easy on her.
These are essential to our sleep routine and can help get your LO to sleep in her crib, with out resorting to CIO methods.