I was personally never a fan of letting my kids "cry it out". Fuss, yes, I would let them fuss. But full out cry? I just couldn't do it.
When I first tried to put Holden in his crib (it was towards the end of nursing, so maybe 9-10 months?), he wouldn't have it. So I put him in my bed every night. Around 12-13 months old, he didn't want to snuggle with me anymore. He would wiggle and squirm and move all about. So, I put him in his bed, and he slept through the night like a champ - he was ready for it! That was my first indication that "cry it out" wasn't right... kids are ready when they are ready!
From the day Harper was born, that (sweet!) child wanted to be held! She came out screaming! Aunt Christie affectionately told Holden that her name was "wah wah" because she was always screaming. From day 1, I said she was a high-maintenance child, but no one seemed to understand. They would come, visit, hold her and leave... and it wasn't until they left and she was PUT DOWN that she began to scream! That started 28 months ago and hasn't stopped yet. She is the most high maintenance child I have ever met.
Tonight, Holden wanted me to lay down with him. That doesn't happen often. Normally, he kisses me goodnight and then goes about his business for the next 1/2 to 2 hours. But not tonight. Tonight was one of those nights when I could tell that he just wanted Mama to snuggle with him. I'm impatient, I can't lie. So the second he seemed to be asleep, I would start to disentangle. And he would cry. The next time I thought he was asleep, I would start to move away and he would whimper. My sweet boy wanted his mama to snuggle with him, and you better believe that any and all plans went flying out the window... that child grunts and he gets.
But it made me think...
How many times do I fall asleep next to Harper when she asks me not leave her? I don't know? But you better believe I don't leave her, ever... because she asked me not to!
I was given the blessing of lying down next to my sweet Holden tonight while he fell asleep. He didn't ASK me not to leave him, he didn't TELL me that he loved me, but when I rolled over, he grunted. When I pulled my arm out from under his, he moaned. And let me just tell you, friends... I LISTENED!
I have been blessed... I have a non-verbal child! I have had no choice but to read his non-verbal signs and cues. My point is... if your infant is crying... he/she is simply non-verbal!!!! Do you really let them just cry it out??? Or do you reach out and hug them and love them on their level until they CAN COMMUNICATE?
It is different for everyone, but I can tell you that if my own non-verbal child so much as grunts in my direction, I will positively re-enforce him asking for candy corn, if that is what he wants. my point... meet your child where they are and challenge them!!!! But what do I know... Harper still doesn't sleep through the night!