No tears approach to baby sleep
This school of sleep-training thought is very gradual and lengthy, allowing a more peaceful bedtime experience. Supporters of the no-tears approach (most notably Dr Sears, the attachment parenting guru) believe that allowing the baby to cry can be damaging to a developing sense of trust and cause a negative association to bedtime. Yet cry-it-out experts claim that coddling a baby in a no-tears approach is further instilling dependency, hindering self-soothing sleep. You need to choose whichever method sounds the most logical - there most likely isn't a right or wrong answer. Both techniques can be successful as long as the parent is fully on board and the baby responds well to that type of teaching.
The no-tears philosophy generally centers on patience, comfort and attentiveness, although the specific approaches differ.
One of the most famous supporters of the no-tears approach, Dr. Sears encourages parents to do anything that creates a positive association around sleep - even breastfeeding and rocking. His theory is that a positive experience will lead to a healthy sleeper, although it will take much longer for a baby to learn to eventually go to sleep without those sleep aids.
If you're looking for a more structured yet gentle approach to sleep training, Elizabeth Pantley's The No-Cry Sleep Solution has a step-by-step guide that you can customise to suit you and your baby. A middle ground between the two extremes in thought, she agrees with Ferber that babies should be put to sleep awake but drowsy (after feeding and/or rocking), but sides with Dr. Sears on immediately responding to a baby's cries. Although it takes longer than crying it out, many parents feel more comfortable with the process of teaching baby to sleep without tears.