I can give you hope!
For a while it took so much effort to get him to sleep, that I just held him the whole time (and came to MDC). Otherwise he slept such a short time. My hope was that he wouldn't think I was going to put him down, so he wouldn't fear falling asleep. So, I just tried to think of that as my rest time -- sitting with the baby in my arms and using the internet or watching TV with the sound off and captions on. I tried not to stress about the neglected chores.
Then around 6 months I started trying to put him down for the first nap of the day. And when he would wake up and cry, I would come immediately and lay next to him and nurse and cuddle and play. At first, he had to be fully asleep to be put down successfully (if I failed, I just held him for the nap like before and tried again the next day). Over time he got used to the routine, and expected to be put down there. When I put him down, he would look around and see where he was (and hear the white noise machine), and go back to sleep. He felt safe there because I made the investment of coming as soon as he called and having happy interactions there. Then as time went on, he stopped waking up after a short time, because as he came out of a deep sleep he could tell where he was (either look around or hear the white noise machine) and felt safe and went back into a deep sleep. So his naps got longer and farther apart, and allowed us to have a life! I could do something for 90 minutes, or nap with him (I couldn't wile holding him, or when he only slept 20 minutes at a time) and in between naps we could do stuff.
Now he takes 2 naps a day of about 90 minutes each. And I put him down at night by himself and can come to bed later without him being upset. If he wakes up and finds I am not there, he cries and I come and I just lay down with him until he falls back asleep. I can also get out of the bed in the morning and sometimes he will sleep another hour-ish.
I read somewhere in a Dr Sears book that you need to make the effort now to create a life of feeling like sleep is a safe state to enter and remain in.
Leigh, mama to Rostislav homeborn Aug 9 2007, and Oksana homeborn Feb 24 2011.