DS2(11 months) has been a lousy sleeper all his life - waking every 2 hours, and starting the day at 5.30am.
We tried all the obvious gentle techniques (weren't prepared to leave him to cry, but were prepared to have him cry for brief periods in our arms or in other physical contact with us). Nothing worked. If anything he got less able to settle himself and more dependent on bfing to get to sleep.
Then I decided to get serious with the Pantley Pull-Off (very gradual withdrawal technique for weaning child off bfing to sleep). He quickly learned to anticipate it and clamped down hard. Ow. Once he'd drawn blood and made me so sore all latching on hurt, I decided I had to do something else.
So I stopped bfing him for napss and put him in the sling and walked up and down with him. He cried on and off for about 5 mins and then went to sleep in the sling. I then transferred him to the cot asleep.
He started waking only once at night (usually about midnight) and then sleeping til 6.30. I still bf him back to sleep when he wakes in the night (tried not, but it meant I was up for an hour and didn't improve his sleep) and for naps if I'm desperate.
I have no idea why it works, since he's still not self-settling. But I don't care - it works!
Posting this, partly to say 'share my joy!' but also to encourage other people to try something even if you don't think it'll work. It just might.