When TJ was born I was so terrified that I was the one that would do something to harm TJ. He was given so many words while in my stomach that I knew God would protect him but I was just so scared that I would hurt him. That I would fall asleep while holding him, that I would roll over on him and so on. When he would wake up to eat in the middle of the night I would quickly get up, feed him, burp him, then immediately lay him down. I would not cuddle with him in the middle of the night of fear I might get to comfortable and fall asleep too.
The benefit of being scared like this was he learned very quickly to go to sleep on his own. If he cried I wouldn't pick him up. I would sit on the edge of the bed and rock the cradle with my foot. Now he is almost three years old and has no problem going to sleep. He actually loves his bed. Now I'm not saying we have never had any problems. He on occasion will have a hard time getting to sleep, for example if people are over here and making lots of noises or he didn't get calmed down before we started our nightly routine.
Now I find myself trying to duplicate my results with my second child. The fear isn't there which makes it so much harder. When she would cry I would want to get her to be quiet quickly so she wouldn't wake up TJ or other people in the house. I would have to fight myself to keep her in her bed. I would have to do anything to calm her down without picking her up. Pat her back, pat her bottom, pacy, wrap her blanket around her and so on. I had to learn her signs of what she needs, if its gas, if she is hungry or just fighting sleep.
The main thing I have learned is routine. Doing the same routine every night does wonders for a baby. If I would pat her I would start out with a nice good pat and then after she would calm down I would make my pat less and less stronger and eventually stop the patting. I would stand there and make sure she wouldn't start up again and if she did I would start the patting over again.
Anna is officially sleep trained. She can be awake and when I lay her down she can fall asleep on her own. This is key to get her to sleep longer. If she wakes up and isn't necessarily hungry she will fall back asleep on her own.
Some moms love to rock their babies to sleep, I love rocking mine to sleep also but needing to go back to work I can't do that every night. I can't spend how ever long in the middle of the night getting them back to sleep. And since my mom watches my kids I can't expect her to rock them to sleep. She needs to be able to lay them down and them go to sleep so she can get other things done.
This is how I trained my kids to sleep on their own and I'm glad I started this when they first came home, even if the first time it was by accident.
I hope my experiences can help someone. Happy sleeping, means happy babies.