OK so, let me preface this by saying that we haven't really needed to do any sleep training at this point. DD started sleeping in her crib around 3.5 months, and from then to a little after 6 months, she regularly STTN from 7:30 to 7.
Around 6.5 months she started waking up once a night a few times a week. I'd let her fuss for a while (she doesn't really do outright crying unless something is truly wrong) and if she didn't go back to sleep or the fussing really escalated after 30 to 45 mins I'd go in, change her diaper, nurse her, and she'd go right back to sleep.
Now she's almost 9 months and for at least the past month she's been waking up every single night between 3 and 4 am. I'm still letting her fuss and try to work it out for quite a while, up to 45 mins, but she never goes back to sleep until I get up and nurse her. When I do, she eats as if she's starving, and then when I put her in the crib she goes straight back to sleep. We've tried comforting her without the nursing (checking her diaper, patting her back, sometimes rocking, etc) and she might go back to sleep for a couple of minutes and wakes back up.
It's driving me crazy because, for the time I'm letting her fuss, I'm awake, and since she NEVER goes back to sleep on her own, by the time I do go get her and feed her and get back to bed, I've been awake for like 90 mins. I feel like if I just tended to her right away we'd both get back to sleep more quickly, but I also don't want to keep reinforcing that if she wakes up she gets to eat if she truly doesn't need to.
FWIW, she nurses 7 to 8x per day when you add in the MOTN feed, and she also gets solids twice a day. She is up for the day around 7, takes a 2 hour morning nap, a 60 to 90 min afternoon nap, and goes to bed between 7 and 7:30.
Any insights here? Should I take one night and resolve to just not go get her and see how long it takes her to go back to sleep (if she ever does)? Or just keep doing what I'm doing and hope she goes back to STTN on her own soon?
I know one MOTN wake up isn't horrible, it's just that I'm awake for so long during it...