I have a very bad sleeper and from all my readings these are some tips that have worked for me.
1) sleep with white noise, ocean sounds all night long
2) A lovie, Liv has the Snoedel and I slept with it for several days to get my smell on it. So far she loves it and it helps her put herself to sleep.
3) A specific bedtime routine. For us, massage, change into pjs, nurse, read 2 stories, turn off lights, on nightlight, on humidifer, on white noise, sing 2 songs, all while rocking.
4)Then I put her in her crib awake. (this only started after I got her used to her crib after the first 3 months co-sleeping, for about 3 weeks after I put her in more often asleep) If she cries I go in and pat her hopefully to calm or asleep. I am not a big fan of CIO, especially at this young age, so if she is not doing well I will rock her either to sleep or try awake again. Awake in the crib works well if she is not overtired and had an easy day.
5) Key words. I have key words I say to her at the end of our routine "shhh swee'pea its time for sleep" I am trying to build an association to these words so when she is older then will calm her along and I will be able to calm her in her crib better.
6) Try to calm in crib before picking up
7) Only awake for 2 hr blocks, she can't handle more then 2 hours awake. This means she needs to be asleep by that 2 hours mark, so 1hr and 45 min or so we start a nap routine. This has helped the most for us. Liv seems to know now that sleep time is coming since I have been very consitent with the 2 hour blocks.
I also have a nap routine 2 books while rocking, one song, in crib and the better naps the better night is.
I sing the same song last at naps and night, and read the same book last at night.
Liv used to take an hour or more to fall asleep naps and night, now it is pretty smooth on most nights. I think she was often overtired and got that "second wind" and did not want to sleep. We have set backs and I just let her fall asleep in my arms those night and put her in her crib. She is still little and learning the process of falling asleep on her own, so I am not to concerned yet. Since I am not doing CIO it takes longer to learn this, its a slower, but more gentle process. It took about a month to get me happy with her sleep. It is not perfect but it is so much better. No more crying baby, because she is so over tired and can't calm herself. This mean a much calmer me.
She still gets up a lot at night, every 3-4 hours. So some days I take a nap with her. Its a nice cuddle time for us. I always bring her Snoedel with us to get in more associated with sleep.