I've thought about this a while, and finally felt a need to post. Maybe someone like me will read all of these posts, see mine, and it will help. BW emphasizes that her books are guides which provide you with tools, but when it comes to doing it I feel many people forget the "guide" part and try to do EXACTLY what she says, to the letter, rather than using it as a tool to understand your individual baby. I see it all the time in posts on the nap board, moms crying out in desperation because the formula doesn't work and they feel like failures. My heart goes out to them; I was there. My daughter naps like a champ, now. I used the BW principles, but I didn't do it just like it was written. Things I learned:
1. Spend the first 6 - 8 weeks just getting to know your LO. If you can set your LO in the crib to sleep, great. If it results in crying, then hold, rock, whatever. It really won't ruin everything; your LO is too young to form permanent or difficult-to-break habits at that age. The most desperate posts come from moms during this time period, so if you listen to nothing else I say, heed this: just let go a bit, just learn, don't worry so much about doing it "right", just give yourself time to adjust to parenthood and your LO time to adjust to life. You'll cry a lot less.
2. When they say use white noise, they mean hairdryer loud! You'll go mad reproducing this with your lips. Get a good white noise disc or machine and turn it UP.
3. If your LO doesn't like something at first, try it again a week or so later. Lots of LOs change their preferences as they develop. My daughter disliked patting at first, but now firm pats on the butt work wonders. Don't throw away your tools, just pack them for later.
4. Pacifiers are a great sleep tool. Transition to the thumb when your LO figures the thumb out, so your LO can self-soothe (I just nudged her elbow to put her fist in front of her mouth, and after a bit of fussing she'd take her thumb). Worried about teeth or 8-year old thumb sucking? Don't be. It's normal and natural to suck the thumb, and it usually only becomes a big deal if you make it one (search thumb sucking and the American Dental Association if you don't believe me!).
5. When training, don't put your LO in the crib too early in the falling asleep process. So many are worried about setting down too late, that you do it too early (I did!). When first training, I found it helped a lot to wait until she was just on the edge of sleep to put her down, and then over a two week period I'd set her down earlier and earlier. Made the experience go much more smoothly.
6. Use the clock as a GUIDE, not a rule. Trying to make your LO sleep when they are "supposed to" is an exercise in frustration. Trying to make your LO sleep the amount of time he/she is "supposed to" likewise. Use your child's happiness as a key. Woke up from a 45 minute nap happy and alert? Don't try and extend just because she/he "ought" to have slept 1 hour 30 min.
One day you'll be struggling to get your child OUT of bed. No matter what you do, the important thing is to love your child, foster trust, and enjoy this time in his/her life. You don't get it back, so don't be so rigid, don't fret so much about doing everything right, and remember that you WILL figure this out. Build some good memories along with a good sleeper.