I finally found some time to read the books my mother borrowed for me about sleep training. I was sorely disappointed: neither book mentioned anything about actually teaching the child how to fall asleep on her own.
Both books advocate a "method" that's like trying to teach someone to ride a bike by locking him in the gym with a bicycle. It may eventually have the desired effect, but it certainly doesn't count as training or teaching. There has got to be something different out there.
In my web searches for alternative methods, I found one brief mention of techniques that involve teaching the child how to relax, but there were no specifics mentioned, and now I can't find the site. (I don't remember how I got there the first time, and I can't remember any keywords or other search terms.)
What methods of sleep training are available that teach specific relaxation methods or other tools to help a child fall asleep on her own? I'm looking for specifics: names of techniques or authors, titles of books or websites, or comprehensive summaries of the actual techniques: either something that I can search for online or at a bookstore, or enough information that I don't need to search.
Some details, in case they're relevant:
My daughter is 17 months old. A year ago, I could put her down awake and she'd babble/hum herself to sleep in a few minutes. Then she started teething.... At this point, I'm the only one who can put her to sleep; with anyone else she gets so busy testing limits that sleep just never happens. I sit in the office chair in her room, holding her horizontally in my arms, and rock her gently up-and-down while swaying side-to-side, while she chews on her blankie-toy. It sometimes takes half an hour, but eventually she falls asleep. She often stirs a bit when I put her in her crib, but if I timed it right, she settles down almost immediately.
She sometimes sleeps straight through until morning (with varying definitions of "morning").
More often, she wakes once or twice in the night, but I can get her back to sleep by just patting or rubbing her back, or fixing the blanket, or pulling her back to the middle of the crib. Some nights, she sits or stands up while crying, so I have to pick her up and repeat the bedtime rocking ritual.
Sometimes I can then put her back in her crib and she sleeps until morning. Sometimes she wants nothing more to do with her crib, thankyouverymuch, and after about three tries I give up and take her to our bed. (There's only so much I'm capable of at 4 a.m.)
Sometimes not even that works, and she ends up sleeping on her daddy's shoulder or some such. We're pretty sure those times must have some physical cause, but we haven't figured out what. (Teething is/was our default "excuse", but she had 16 teeth by the time she turned 16 months old, so I can't imagine which teeth she could possibly be working on now...)