The first thing one parent asks another after having a baby is "how are you sleeping?" and for me, my sleep is necessary as I don't function well unless I get it. Now don't get me wrong, we had our sleepless nights but at 4 months old we started sleep training Avery. Now, this method isn't for everyone and you should always go with your mom gut and listen to your instincts but this is what worked for me.
It started with naps. For the first few months she would only nap if she was in my arms. If I put her in her crib, bassinet, swing anything she would wake up within minutes and the nap would be over. Around the 4 month mark I started noticing timing habits with her naps, certain times of the day and for common lengths of time. At this point she would be up in the morning around 7am, and would be looking for her first nap around 9:30am. So, the day we decided to do this I was prepared for 9:30am. I fed her, put her in her crib, turned on her sound soother and left the room. I raced back to the monitor to watch the magic but it was everything but magic. She moved around wiggling for a few minutes and then cue the tears. And not normal tears but overtired, confused "where is my mom" tears which was heart breaking. She cried through the entire 1.5 hour nap and every 10 minutes myself or Mike would go in, place our hand firmly on her tummy to let her know we were there but then leave the room again. We did 2 naps of this and by the 3rd she fell asleep by herself within 25 minutes and stayed asleep for the hour. Her nap schedule then became the following:
7:00am - wakeup
9:30-11:00am - nap
1:30-3pm - nap
5:30-6pm - nap
8:00 - bedtime
The through the night training was a much different battle. It is a very hard thing to listen to your baby cry through the night and when you are woken from a deep sleep, 5 minutes feels like 3 hours. I knew it was time for this when her night feeds became very scattered and sometimes she wouldn't even really eat - just soothe herself back to sleep. What I'm going to say next may not be the norm for this method and let me tell you it wasn't easy BUT ... it took 1 night! I very long, very stressful and upsetting night where both of us cried many tears. Every couple hours she would wake up and cry for me so we stuck to the every 10 minutes, hand on belly for reassurance but no picking up, cuddling, feeding etc. just a calm voice and a hand. She woke up 3-4 time that night and this was the routine until she put herself back to sleep and from that night on unless she was sick, sleeping away from home or dealing with a time change we all had great night sleeps!
The overnight always seems to be the hardest with moms - it's what everyone strives for but there are many different ways to get there. Follow your heart and listen to what's best for you and your baby as in the end, that's all that matters!