WHEN I STARTED
Some people sleep train at 6 weeks, some at 4 months, some at 6 months, and some never do it. EVERY baby is different, and every situation in different. I think every mother should do what she feels is best for her baby. I started sleep training Jack last week (so a week before he turned 6 months old). I think there are definitely good habits to start before then, but I, personally, don't like sleep training until 6 months. Last week I felt like he was ready and I was in a good mental place to begin sleep training him, so we got to it.
THE METHOD I USED
I follow @sleepingchildsaneparent on Instagram, who is a certified child/infant sleep consultant. She has a blog, and does live Instagram stories every Wednesday where she answers questions, and goes over tips and tricks. She addressed habits and talked about if you don't want to nurse your baby to sleep, then stop nursing your baby to sleep. You have to implement what you WANT them to do, instead of continuing and hoping they'll just randomly stop one day. It sounds so obvious, but I'd been hoping he'd magically sleep through the night and not want to nurse anymore when he hit X months. In reality, if I always nursed him, or always rocked him, or always swaddled him, then that's what he'll always expect and require. If I wanted him to STOP having to rock him for 20 minutes, then I had to stop rocking him, and teach him how to go to sleep on his own.
She started sleep training her baby at 6 weeks (which is awesome, and if she felt like that was right for her baby, then that's definitely what was right), and she went over the 5, 10, 15 minute method. You make sure they are ready to go to sleep (have had enough wake time, are sleepy, fed, changed, conducive environment etc.), and lay them down while they are still awake. I sing Jack a song, cuddle him, give him a kiss, and put him down. I do/did the same routine, so he knew what was coming and what was expected. Once he was down, I started the method. If he was crying after 5 minutes, I'd go in and talk to him, rub his belly or his back (not pick him up), and let him know I was there. I'd leave again and wait another 10 minutes. If he was still crying, I'd go in and do the same thing...aaand do the same thing after 15 more minutes etc. I also stopped swaddling him (yes, he was still being swaddled haha. He loved it), so he could soothe himself with his hands, and I also transitioned him out of the bassinet and into a pack-n-play (in my room still) so he had more space.
HOW IT WENT
To put it lightly. The first day was hell. I mean it. I almost gave up because he ended up crying through his ENTIRE nap, which resulted in him missing it altogether. He was so tired, but was fighting sleep (holy moly - he's one stubborn baby), which THEN resulted in him crying more and being even crankier. I had no idea what to do, and I figured this just wasn't going to work for us. The next day, I reluctantly followed the same process, and he ACTUALLY fell asleep for his first nap (and slept 2 hours which hadn't happened in the morning since he was a newborn)! Same thing for his second nap, and same thing for his third nap. I did have to go in one or two times to soothe him, but he fell asleep by himself! That night he woke up crying, and I let him cry for 10 minutes (if you're a mum, you know this is THE hardest thing to listen to...especially since he was in the same room as me), but then he went back to sleep.
The third day he fell asleep for all of his naps again, and I only had to go in once for one of his naps. That night he slept through the night (12 hours straight!) which was the first time I'd slept through the night in 6 months. Now, a week later, he occasionally cries and needs me to go in and soothe him maybe once, but he rolls right onto his belly and falls asleep! IT'S AMAZING and he is happier during his wake time. He cries a LOT less now than he was before I sleep trained, and I feel like I'm less of a walking zombie during the day.