Say hello to sleep deprivation! It's a given that this is the trickiest part of having a baby. The chances are you are reading this in a bleary eyed fug, so I'll get straight to the useful stuff.
1) Get a swaddle and use it every night. This is a no-brainer. Babies get totally freaked out by their arms and swaddling provides a cosy a half way house between the womb and the world for the first few months. I tried a few and Olive seemed to get on best with the Miracle Blanket.
2) Don't fear day time naps. For the first three months babies need around 16 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. They spend about five hours of that feeding which only leaves three hours of actual being awake and needing to be entertained time (hello: how easy is that!). So don't stress that your baby snoozing loads in the day will lead to it being wide awake at night. Quite the opposite. A well-rested baby sleeps better at night. The only thing to avoid is long naps post 4pm.
3) Get noisy. Ambient, white noise is a sure-fire way to lull a baby to sleep (and keep them snoozing). They tend to like low-pitched sounds. I found simple white noise, and also airplane noise (both just downloaded onto my iphone for 99 cents each) were the most effective. Also you need to play it louder than you think (imagine the noise level in a bustling cafe and emulate that).
4) Give yourself a half-time treat (and the $3 sleep aid everyone needs). So if the aim is to get your baby sleeping through the night at three months book yourself a mini break mid-way at six weeks by getting a night nurse for one night. We did this and it was invaluable. Just one night with the fabulous sleep expert / doula Mavis Green set me back on track, and the reams of useful tips she gave me the next morning proved invaluable. (Like I shouldn't fear using a pacifier. They are a godsend when it comes to getting a baby back to sleep in the middle of the night. These are the best ones to buy according to Green).
5) Read up before they arrive. My favourite two books were The Sleep Solution (which basically extols the virtues of feeding your baby every four hours during the day: they feed more and get used to lasting longer between feeds, thus longer night sleeps) and Secrets of The Baby Whisperer (a great go to for working out everything from deciphering the meaning behind a particular kind of cry to how to structure your day).
6) Pick a sleep coach. Choose a friend who has proven success at getting their baby to sleep through the night and seems to just have it nailed. For me this was one of my BF's, Emily whose two kids were both snoozing blissfully from 7pm to 7am at around 3 months (I know I'm already jealous). Treat them as your go-to for advice and don't be shy of just finding out their exact schedule and copying it. You'll end up tweaking it of course as no two babies are the same but it's a good starting point if you find yourself floundering (as I most definitely was).
Please do post any tips you have in the comments section. ZZZ & Sweet dreams!