In all our new-parent wisdom, my husband and I chose to start crying it out the weekend my parents arrived in town to meet their first grandchild. My advice? Don't do that. Just don't. It's a terrible idea and tops the list of things I wish I knew before I started crying it out. Almost as important is making sure your cupboard is stocked with enough wine and chocolate to help you cope for as long as it takes, and a mom friend on speed dial to talk you off the ledge when the going gets tough.
Sleep training is a contentious issue that gets parents all riled up about what's best for babies and what's going to send them into a terrible downward spiral of attachment issues for the rest of their lives. I'll be honest, crying it out was one of the hardest parenting decisions to make (and stick with) for those exact reasons. The last thing I wanted to do was permanently scar our precious baby girl, after all. However, we also knew that helping her to find a way to soothe herself to sleep was going to be important for all of us every night and for the foreseeable future.
I think many parents hit the point where they're considering crying it out when their baby won't settle even with your help and cuddling and bottles and attention. I watched my sister bounce on that exercise ball with her 3 month old for hours trying to get her to sleep, only to have my poor niece cry her brains out the entire time. When she was finally put in her crib, she seemed relieved to be finally left alone to work it out herself.
Our daughter was similar. From an early age, she had total FOMO about sleeping if she could see a single interesting thing. Even taking her for a walk wasn't a viable way to get her to sleep; she was mesmerized by the light streaming through the blanket we used to block out the view. After a few months we realized black-out blinds and letting her work it out on her own was going to be the solution. In the end, it was much harder on us than it was on her, only taking a few days of fussing before she could knock out on her own without a peep. Be brave, friends! It's worth it!