I am a mother of two, and believe I have some valuable advice on settling a baby, after having had a 'bad' baby to start with. One of the first questions people ask you after you have a baby, is "Do you have a good or bad baby" - of course no-one wants to say they have a bad baby, but after endless sleepless nights of rocking/patting/singing/putting in the car, sometimes it does seem this way.
The first thing to remember is that everything is just a phase, and your baby and you will get through it all. Everyone needs their sleep - babies and adults alike. Sleep deprivation is a terrible thing, and unless you have a baby that does not sleep, then it is hard to know exactly what the poor mothers are going through. When you have your baby, the most important thing to remember is to get them to go to sleep by themselves. This means putting your baby down for a sleep awake, so that they teach themselves to self settle, without aids such as rocking, patting, feeding or the use of a dummy. (My babies both refused dummies, I offered it to them, but they didn't want one - I believe if you can get by without a dummy, then do so, but of course, it is your baby and your choice, if you need a dummy, then by all means, use one!) A routine is always a good idea, teach your baby to go back to sleep between sleep cycles to prevent any sleep problems occuring. I believe in feeding every 3-4 hours, not demand feeding, however there are many many different theories on this, and once again, it is up to the mum to decide what is best for her child. My children worked well with feeding every 3 hours. This means they can fill up during the day, and then (hopefully) sleep through the night.
I also believe it is important to get your child into bed at 7pm. This gives parents some time at night to unwind and spend quality time together. A lot of debate has gone on about 'crying it out', I think that babies do not know how to learn this until around 6 months old. Any sooner and they are too young. Certainly do not go running to the slightest grizzle or noise that your newborn makes, give them time to resettle themselves, but it is not healthy to just let them cry.
If you can put your baby to sleep without using aids, then you will have a happy and healthy baby who is getting plenty of sleep. If they rely on patting/rocking etc to fall asleep, then after 45 minutes, the baby will just wake up and want the same method of patting or rocking, to get back to sleep again. This results in a very exhausted mum! So, please take my advise and put your baby to sleep without aids, this will help you in the long run! Good luck. xxx