Be aware of your shark music. Sometimes if your child has been sleeping well and begins waking, you panic and a soundtrack of horror music is telling you, "She's never going to sleep again." and "I'm not going to get any sleep tonight..." When you catch yourself having those thoughts, calmly remind yourself that it will take your child time to learn to sleep. This is only temporary. Continue to work now with your long term goals of healthy sleep habits. Just because you feed, pick up, or comfort your child tonight does not mean you will be doing this forever.
What I might say if my infant, who normally sleeps through the night, woke in the middle of the night:
"I can see you're really upset. You were sleeping and you woke up. I'm going to pick you up. It's still night time but I am near." Offering a little physical touch or cuddles is my first course of action. "You've been thinking about a lot of things when it's still time to sleep, I'm going to sing you our goodnight song and lay you back in your crib." (Sing and Cuddle) "I love you, I will see you in the morning."
What I might say if my toddler who normally was sleeping through the night woke in the middle of the night:
"Hey buddy, I heard you calling for me. You woke up. Do you see it's still dark out? I'm near." Offer physical touch or a hug. "It's still night time. I know sometimes it's hard to sleep. What might help you back to sleep? Rock-a-bye baby or Twinkle Twinkle? Ok, I'm going to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle", then kiss you goodnight and see you in the morning."
Hold in your mind empathy for how hard it is when you wake up and can't get back to sleep. Try to stay flexible and clear. The expectations are clear, it is still time to sleep. The strategy is flexible, two hugs, a song, sit by me, etc.