I do not want my babies to sleep through the night. I have always been afraid of sleeping babies. I feel a sense of relief when my babies awaken. That’s part of why I breastfed my own children (Breastfed babies are sometimes more wakeful when close to their moms.) and sleep near all my babies at night.
I also try not to expect more of my children than I expect of myself. I don’t always sleep through the night. I sometimes awaken thirsty or uncomfortable. Then I walk with my two feet to get a drink, or massage my calf because it has a cramp…but my baby can’t do that. I would imagine the dark can be scary when you’re the only one awake. I know I’m afraid of the dark. I think I am less likely to be able to “sleep train” a baby than to “wake train” him. I can’t teach him how to sleep; I can teach him how to be awake. As in, “your pacifier is here, put it in your mouth.” “Your sippy cup is here, take a drink.” “Your blanket is here, cover yourself up.” DH and I don’t expect our children to sleep through the night, alone, until they know what to do with themselves when they are awake. DD1 hated the crib. Our solution was having her sleep on the floor in her room so she could walk into ours and lay down next to our bed. (We had a rule about not waking us.) When DD2 started climbing out of her crib, we embraced it. Rather than lowering the crib, we lowered the side so she could get out…and onto the floor in our room easily. DS only started taking a pacifier at 5 months, so we had to wait until he got used to it and figured out how to find it and put it in his mouth at night. (Multiple pacifiers do help.)
This all boils down to: I sleep close to my baby so it is easy for me to hear his cues, so hopefully it does not escalate to crying and so I do not have to frantically run to him. (Our oldest and youngest actually did not cry when they needed to nurse at night.) If a baby is not cueing to eat, I make sure his pacifier is in his mouth and try to get a sense of if he might be too cold. We also introduced DS to a blankey so he might be less reliant (physically) on a human to sleep.
At six months, I also felt that although they might have started solid food, they were not getting enough of it to sustain them through the night. I actually thought DD2 was afraid she was being weaned when we started solids, so nursed more. The same child also did not take a pacifier or suck her thumb. That was no one’s fault but she still needed comfort, so I chose to nurse her when she needed help. (I often differentiate between breastfeeding for nourishment and nursing for comfort.)
All that said, I found with each child that at a certain time, I get tired. With our own children, my husband then took over. With our girls, he slept in their room with them; with our son, I left. It gave me a sense of if they really needed to breastfeed at night, or if they just needed help going back to sleep. My husband called me if he was unable to help them. When DS turned one year old, I nursed him before I went to sleep (when he’d been asleep for a couple of hours, already), then left the room. He would sometimes wake to have his pacifier put in his mouth, ask for some water, or just needed his back patted or to be snuggled with. He was a light sleeper and/so if someone slept close by, they could help him in the middle of the night without much waking on ANYBODY’S part.