I was struggling a lot with getting John to sleep. I would spend up to an hour laying with him and nursing him to sleep. Many times, when I got up to leave, it would startle him and he'd wake up! =(
I've been tinkering around with ideas from the book "The No-Cry Sleep Solution." The main idea I gleaned from that book was that I should try other ways to get him to sleep so he doesn't associate nursing with going to sleep (and staying asleep). It's like he didn't know how to go to sleep on his own - he always had to be nursing.
I'm not sure exactly what I did, but over the last week, we have made a lot of improvement! Andrew and I are both so pleased! Now all I do is lay down and nurse him, and when he stops nursing and starts suckling then I get up and leave. If he starts to fuss, I lay down with him and just lay there pretending I am asleep. I don't want him to "cry it out" on his own, but I don't mind him crying while I am laying there. For the first few days, he would cry and I just stayed with him. I usually turned away from him and read from a book while he fussed. Yesterday and today, for both nap time and bed time, I have gotten up and left him on his own. He hasn't cried at all! He just lays there for a little bit and I listen to him talk for a few minutes. Then he gets very quiet, so I check on him... and... he is asleep!! =)
Praise the Lord! Bed time has been one of the most stressful parts of my day and now I feel so at peace. I'm sure we will still have rough nights here and there, but I really think we have accomplished something overall! I'm glad we've worked this out now, because I hear that it gets harder to change sleeping habits as your child gets older.