Ok so we are not perfect. I know that I don't have all the answers to the woes of the parent. I don't mean to brag, because the next baby will be different I'm sure. I am constantly being served humble pie.
But we have achieved Sleep through the night with our kids. But my definition of sleep through the night might be different than yours.
1st I would just like to say that natural mothering instincts, not those created by science, are the best thing for your baby. If your baby cries sooth him. Seriously anybody who tells you that soothing your baby is wrong is just plain stupid. Sometimes babies are inconsolable, then you might have to let them cry, because what can you do?
But if you are like me, a co-sleeper with the talent of sleep nursing, and nursing solves 90% of your babies problems do it. Nurse that baby as much as he wants. My kids have all been nursed like crazy and through the night. I have made mistakes, being influenced by modern society with my first, and my second, but my third is probably more naturally mothered than the other ones. I cannot say our experience is the complete result of our parenting, because her personality is different, there are different things going on in our lives, we have different schedules than we had with the first two. But I'm sure that following mother's intuition is a factor in the current sleep peace we have.
For us sleeping through the night means a good five hours of sleep for us, the grown-ups, uninterrupted by crying, and we have been getting a good 6-7 hours of non crying sleep with an additional 5 hours all to ourselves to just watch tv or do other grown-up things. I honestly don't expect ever to sleep completely through the night uninterrupted again as long as I have little children. I just think it is unreasonable to expect anything more. And when you expect more you feel entitled to it, lets face it when you are a mother you are entitled to nothing, but your child's unconditional love.
My first kid was harder to wean to his own bed because there was no role model. We had to use rewards when he reached a certain age, but we never punished him for comming into our room or into our bed. I did not want him to think that being scared and needing company is a bad thing. Now if he has a nightmare he'll come and sleep on the floor in my room, but he sleeps in his own bed through the night 12/14 days.
Our second still comes into our bed occasionally, because she is more needy. That is her personality. I'm starting to try to encourage her to sleep on the floor if she comes in, but it is an idea to her right now and not practical. At night I read her a story, say prayers with her (she shares a room with her older brother), and then pray my evening prayers with the light off. She falls asleep and stays asleep in her own bed 12/14 nights. I did have a problem with her because for a long time she woke up screaming in the middle of the night. I discovered after a long time that it was a bowel inflammation issue (not a scientific diagnosis, my own so it is only still a hypothesis) which was cured by an enema. After that enema her personality change and she hasn't woken up with stomach cramps since. I can get into the full story in another post. And it was after that she began to sleep really well.
Now my third. She likes to sleep. She seems to not have any bowel or teething issues. Her body works well and she is healthy. I nurse her. She sleeps for 5 hours some times 8. When she wakes up (she is 1yr) I bring her into my bed. I nurse her back to sleep. and I don't know how many times since she nurses because I'm asleep, or mostly asleep. I have always allowed her to sleep nurse, because how would I sleep otherwise?
She wants to nurse and I think she knows what she needs, she is still a baby. My instincts say crying baby nurse her. That is what people did before science got involved in parenting. People I think where much happier being parents before they had to force the schedules of a grown-up world on developing baby.