Marisol started in a bassinet next to our bed. When she was about one month old we put her in a crib in the BEAUTIFUL nursery we prepared for her. It went relatively well for a few months. I went to her when I heard her wake on the monitor, changed her diaper and nursed her back to sleep in our comfy glider, then put her back down. Until she was about 5 months old. Then everything seemed to fall apart (what?! Babies have sleep REGRESSIONS?? What do you mean?!) This period of time was very hard for me - and it coincided with Thanksgiving and Christmas that year.
I think there were a couple of factors. First, I don't think Mike was ready to try anything so "out there" (ha! So funny now - poor guy, he really had no idea what he was in for! To be fair though, neither did I). So I really tried for his sake not to be "weird" about the baby's sleep. I already had a natural birth, was using cloth diapers, and was breastfeeding almost constantly so I think I wanted to do something "normally". Why I wasn't just proud of all those things, I don't understand now, but I'm a different person then I was 6 years ago.
Also, for a couple of months she did ok in the crib. So I think I was lulled into thinking we had sleep "figured out" (I know, I know - what a rookie!)
I remember my father-in-law asking me almost every time I saw them (which was often since we lived in walking distance) how Marisol was sleeping. I dreaded the question and wanted to say, "No!! She's not sleeping through the night! I'll let you know when she is!" I remember calling my mom after a particularly hard night and being so tired but she wasn't able to come over and I thought, "How am I going to make it through the day?" (Spoiler - I did live to see another day.) I babysat a little girl and I remember loving when she wanted to play pretend and it was "nap" time - I lay on the floor a lot at that house!
Fortunately for me, at Christmas time we went to Florida and I was like - "She's sleeping with us!" I didn't want to be exhausted for the whole vacation. It was such a beautiful relief. When we came home from vacation I was not going back to the floor. So I slept with her on the futon for a while and eventually we both moved back to the big bed with Mike. We haven't looked back since.
Nap-time was another struggle Sometimes she slept in the car and I would then continue driving her, she sometimes slept in her in a swing, and I remember one time walking in the rain for an hour and a half because she was asleep in her stroller and I didn't want her to wake! And she never seemed to be on a "schedule" - it was just all so confusing and HARD! Even my mother, who is about as supportive as you can get, sometimes questioned my "methods" (or lack-thereof).
Am I tired sometimes? Yes. But I don't know parents who aren't.
So many people are looking for "solutions" to the children's sleep "problems". Most of what are considered problems are actually a child's natural way of sleeping. That or they really want to be close to their parents. Peter Gray PhD calls our culture's issues with our children's sleep an "Evolutionary Mismatch." I love this perspective (of course!) and highly recommend reading his short essay on the topic.
So - Sleep. We make it way harder then it needs to be. Being tired is a big problem because it makes everything else seem difficult to deal with. When we are sleep deprived there is little else that can be right in our lives. I know from experience. But the more we let go of our expectations, embrace the truth or how children sleep best, and then make our decisions based on that knowledge, the more rested we will be (even if we are still tired!)
ps Sometimes we *will* be exhausted when we have little babies, no matter how we do things. This is not about those times. For those times we need love and support and listening ears to commiserate with us - not people trying to "solve" our sleep issues. These are the times that I wish we had our tribes surrounding us.