We received a ton of pressure to have our firstborn cry-it-out before he was 4 months old, and I've already experienced the same in our daughter's first 3 months (especially month one!). While we did use the method at our son's 6 month after exhausting all other methods and after we had, I believe, created bad sleep habits, we also held him as often as possible or "wore" him, exclusively breastfed for the first 5.5 months, and kept him in our room for the first 6. We're doing all the same with our daughter except we strive to avoid bad sleep habits (she has slept through the night from day 6).
Our daughter cried more during the day than he ever did. I think this is part temperament and part second-child reality--she's often made to wait while our oldest is attended to. I've been told that she's colic and that some babies just need to cry. That may be true for a handful, but we believed that her cries had specific meaning and that we should give her the benefit of the doubt.
Sure enough, by persevering in my attempts to comfort her I've learned that she's a highly visual person; if she can see, she's going to be active even if she's exhausted. So lights on? Not good. Now for naps I either take her into a dark, dark room or shield her vision with a cloth (though never against her skin/face) as I wear her. At night, it's always a dark room. She also needs a good half-minute to adjust to a new position. And she needs me to be attentive to her sleep cues before she has the chance to reach exhaustion. Though I help her, nurse her, and rock her, the little gal falls asleep in her crib! And I take advantage of that high-interest during her daylight waking periods by talking to her and giving her plenty to experience. The result? Her cries are still powerful (0-60 in no time flat) but very brief and less traumatic for all.
Recently, I came upon this article on PBS's this emotional life page. I found it encouraging and appropriate.
What do you think? I know this can be a hot topic!