*Disclaimer: I don't think that sleep training is what's right for every family, but it worked wonders for us, and I'm glad we did it*
Sleeping is one of the hardest parts about a baby. They aren't good at it usually, and as a parent, especially a first-time one, you have no idea what to do to help them.
Sophie slept well for the first 2 months of life. She went from waking up every 4 hours to eat to sleeping 7 hours straight. I had read sleep books like "Babywise," and thought, "Man, this sleep training stuff is easy. Why did they have to write a whole book about it?" Well, that changed at 2 months. She started waking up more often. I couldn't do much about it since we lived with family over the summer, so for the next 2.5 months, I just fed her when she woke up. By time we came back to school, she was waking up 2-3 times every night (roughly every 2-4 hours). I was also nursing her to sleep for bed and every nap. And often, she started not even falling asleep and she was getting overtired. Once I started classes again, I was tired and it was too hard trying to nurse her to sleep and be in class. I decided that something had.to.happen.
The first thing I decided to try to tackle was to get her to go to sleep without needing to nurse. Which meant cry it out (CIO). CIO was hard, but SO beneficial. The first night she cried for 45 minutes. The 2nd night she cried for 10 minutes. Since then, she always goes right to sleep or I just have to go in to give her her pacifier.
The next thing I decided to tackle was the 12am time that she was waking up. She had more of a whimper cry for this one, so I thought it might be easier to drop this one. My "rule" was that I would let her cry for half an hour and then if she was still crying, I would get her. I turned off the baby monitor and set my alarm just incase I went back to sleep (if I heard the monitor, it was too hard not to go to her). Often she went back to sleep. Occasionally she didn't, and then I would nurse her. She dropped this feeding in about 2 weeks.
Then she was just waking up around 3am. This one we never necessarily dropped, we just kept pushing it back. I did the same with this one- let her cry for 30 minutes. Sometimes she would go back to sleep, but often she didn't. But over time it got pushed back, and within a month, she was waking up between 5am-6am consistently.
Now she goes to bed at 8pm. Wakes up at 6am-7am to eat. Goes back to sleep and then wakes up for good around 8am. I am positive she wouldn't sleep this well if I hadn't done sleep training.