The decision to cry it out isn't an easy one. By definition, "cry it out" is letting your baby cry — whether you periodically soothe your baby or not — as part of sleep training. Of course, a supportive partner is paramount to the overall success of any sleep arrangement you might choose. Not only will it make the process go more smoothly, but it'll ease your mind knowing someone has your back. So, what do you do if your partner disagrees with cry it out? It's always good to have options, and a backup plan, for everyone's peace of mind and especially so you and your partner can be on the same page.
If you've researched the different sleep training methods, and are set on utilizing cry it out, getting a partner on board is a crucial next step. Without your partner's consistent support, going through any sleep training program will prove challenging and definitely if it involves letting your baby cry for periods of time. According to the Baby Sleep Site, it's important you don't send mixed messages to your baby concerning their sleep routine. This means you and your partner must agree to the terms of your sleep training plan in advance, so the two of you don't experience any surprises in the middle of the night (or even at the beginning of the process) when your baby starts crying.
Assuming you've waited the recommended 6 months, or more, to start sleep training — and you've incorporated a soothing sleep routine prior to cry it out — having a solid plan may determine whether or not you're successful. This includes having an involved partner. If he or she isn't prepared to try this technique, there may be ways to compromise so everyone is happy, such as suggesting you try pieces of the cry it out method, and gradually, and as opposed to all of it all at once. Remember, any sleep training method isn't an "all-or-nothing, take it or leave it" thing, so by trying a modified version of cry it out for a few nights, with an alternative if it doesn't go as planned, your partner might jump on board the self-soothing train.
The Mayo Clinic advises that regardless or which sleep training method used, it's important to keep things in perspective. There may be frequent stirring through the night, because that's just what babies do. Having a calming ritual beforehand, putting baby down drowsy but not asleep, and staying consistent may help the cry it out method better succeed. With cry it out, be sure it's not used as a "last resort" and that your partner understands your reasoning behind choosing it.
If your partner is truly concerned your baby doesn't have the temperament to handle cry it out, listen. Communication about realistic expectations and how to support one another, while finding common ground, are key. There may be a need to discuss these things with a medical professional or expert for their take, as well as eliminating any medical issues. Some studies have shown cry it out is not harmful in the long run, though it's best to thoroughly read up on all the risks and benefits to talk over with your partner.
The Baby Center cites it's also important to note that cry it out isn't done with the intention of making your baby cry. It's usually just a side effect of trying to teach your child how to self-soothe. It also doesn't mean you leave your baby to cry endlessly and/or until they make themselves sick, as you still check in on them for reassurance for a few minutes at a time, leaving in longer intervals as time goes on. If your partner is bothered by any part of this, have him or her help set the guidelines as to how often you'll comfort your baby, and by what means, so that they feel like they're part of the process.
Sleep training doesn't have to divide your relationship. If you want to use cry it out, and your partner doesn't, choose not to go the all-or-nothing route, and find common ground by choosing a modified version that will help everyone involved get the sleep they deserve.