I finally decided to pull the plug. I did it slightly before Caroline was 1.5 (maybe 16 or 17 months old). My reasoning for doing this, is I simply need to sleep better. We keep the sound machine on for Caroline just as a comfort if she does wake up. She asks for it and it definitely helps her fall asleep.
I love that she uses a sound machine, because no matter where we are, I can signal to her with the sound machine that it is time to sleep. She obviously understands me now, when I tell her it is bedtime, but we've had several occasions when she was younger, that she may not have understood what we were saying. The sound machine was a consistent presence at home and on vacation. It's really helped her when sleeping in new places, and I know it is a comfort to her, along with her blanky and stuffed animals.
Having the sound machine on, however, means that I am not sleeping as well as I could. I am pretty sensitive to light and sound when sleeping, so this is just yet another thing that is preventing
me from getting good sleep.
It is pretty freeing to finally have the monitor turned off at night! I keep it on until I know she's asleep, then I turn it off. We've had a couple of moments where she's called for us. I easily woke up since her bedroom is pretty close to ours. If her bedroom wasn't close enough, I would have simply moved the sound machine to the other side of our room (instead of right next to me on the nightstand).
I also still use the monitor during the day. I certainly don't need to, but I like to watch during her nap, and love watching during independent play- "room time". She is also very quiet when she wakes up after a nap. She sits there and continues with quiet time until I come to get her. I like to know when she's officially up for quiet time and the monitor helps me to do that.
So, it is still getting plenty of use in this house, but Mama is sleeping a whole lot better at night!