The early days of parenthood are often so exhausting and so confusing, that it’s a wonder any of us are able to make coherent decisions about sleep. Perhaps this is why sleep-training sparks so many discussions, evokes so many opinions, and has so many different prescribed options available to parents; what sounds good and what works for one family may or may not work for another. When it came to my own son, I’m so glad there were certain pieces of sleep training and cry it out advice that we ignored, since my partner and I ended up using a hybrid of methods that suited our family.
That's usually one resounding aspect of getting your kid to sleep through the night, that so many people ignore. Rarely is one "option" every used in it's totality. Usually, a parent or parents will mix and match, adding one aspect of one sleep training method with another, until they find the combo that works best for them and their baby. Our combination was basically one part snuggling, one part back-rubbing, one part creeping-slowly-out-of-the-room, and then one part cringing as our son started crying whenever our hand reached the doorknob.
Seriously though, there were elements of cry it out that we adopted, and some we didn’t. Our son is now two and a pretty good sleeper (knock on wood), so at some point something clicked. If we had to do it again, I probably would have spent less time focusing on what I’d heard about each particular method, and more time trusting my instincts (and my partner, who was much better about managing our son’s middle of the night tears than I was). I also would have let go of these ideas about "cry it out" much, much sooner: