The last two nights have been great. She actually falls asleep faster when she isn't nursing to sleep. My theory was that the nursing was preventing her from falling asleep because for the past several months she has to stop nursing to fall asleep.
She isn't happy about this but she isn't traumatized or throwing big fits. Last night she didn't cry at all she did say "no no no" but that was it. Tonight she was grouchy well before bedtime so she did cry a bit but quickly stopped and fell asleep. I just tell her "put your head on the pillow" and that seems to do the job.
I am so pleased with our progress I have been plotting out a plan so that hopefully by the time we have another baby night time shouldn't be too big of an issue. The next step in my plan is to stop nursing her if she wakes up when Daddy and I are still up. It is SUCH a pain that she often wakes up within an hour of falling asleep, so I am hoping eliminating nursing there might encourage her to sleep for a few hours straight. I have no intention of night weaning yet. I am fine with that.
The final step will be to distance myself as she is falling asleep. So when I tell her to put her head on the pillow first I will put space between us, then I will sit up a bit, then I will sit further and further away, until hopefully eventually, one day, I will be able to turn off the lights, give her a kiss goodnight and leave. I am happy to let this happen at Pookie's own pace but I feel like if I don't take the initiative it will not happen for a LONG LONG time!