It's true that sometimes you just have to jump in. Since Joel was little we have been co-sleeping with him. This happened quite by accident due to the fact that up until 6 weeks he was constantly screaming with hunger as he had an undiagnosed tongue tie which prevented him from sucking properly during his feeds. The only way we could get him to sleep was on Mr B's chest with the duvet pulled up over him.
The sleeping arrangements were really getting me down as Joel now required an earlier bedtime which meant I was having to go to bed with him at 6pm and Mr B and I were getting no quality time together and no quality sleep. I had started reading a book on no cry sleep solutions as the thought of him crying and crying terrified me and brought back vivid memories of those panic striken first few weeks. I didn't want to go back to that place. However the books introduction contained a graphic account of what is going through a babies mind when 'crying it out' which left me shaken and crying when I read it. At that point I decided to follow my GPs advice (and that of Mr B) to not read anymore books!
Someone recently described new experiences as being built up in your mind to stepping off a cliff when really you are just stepping off a curb, this saying could not be more true. Two weeks ago I made the bold decision to put him not only into his cot to sleep but in his own room. Joel settled into his new sleep routine almost straight away. The first night he did cry a bit, but we took turns going and sitting with him so it didn't make the crying seem as painful an experience for all of us. We had his lantern on and the radio on low and sat close by reading him stories in low tones until he drifted off to sleep.
Now he settles down under his covers and usually only wakes a couple of times for feeds, which he will gradually drop. This new found sleep independence has improved our lives and our relationships as a family immeasurably. I've learnt to trust advice given by those close to me and not to picture a cliff but instead a curb.