We've been putting Delphine to sleep in the crib, as Blake mentioned below. We started about a week and a half ago, with mixed results.
The first night we put her in the crib and then sat there like idiots looking at her, thinking our very presence would calm her and eventually she would lie down and sleep. Instead she cried more, probably wondering why the hell we were just sitting there and not rescuing her. Once we lay down and pretended to be asleep she stopped crying within a few minutes, and thereafter cried intermittently for a while before falling asleep. It's quite possible that she slept that entire night sitting up, but we didn't want to look in case she wasn't really asleep.
The next night we did the bedtime routine and then put her down and lay down right away, and it was much better; again only a few minutes -- less than ten -- of crying and then intermittent crying for maybe twenty or thirty minutes until she fell asleep. (When I say intermittent crying I mean one or two wails followed by three or four minutes of silence.)
The following night we moved her into her new bedroom, which turned out well because it meant we didn't have to worry about waking her up when we went to bed. We put her down around 8:30 and then proceeded to go about our evening like adults. Adults with two free hands. Amazing. (For the last fifteen months we have taken turns eating dinner because one of us is holding the baby, we have taken turns brushing our teeth and going to the washroom, and I have spent half my evenings with Delphine, half-asleep, attached to a breast.)
We had one glorious night where I nursed her to sleep and then managed to put her down in the crib without waking her, and she slept the whole night through without waking up. We haven't duplicated that feat, but I have high hopes.
I did a lot of soul-searching before we embarked on this process, probably too much. It made me realize how privileged I am that my biggest worry is whether to let my child cry at bedtime -- not how I am going to pay the rent, or whether I will be able to get drinking water without being shot at or raped, or whether I will be allowed to vote. My mental wrangling over this trivial matter bordered on the masturbatory, and frankly annoyed me after a few weeks of it.
At the end of all that I just decided to get on with it, and soon realized that all the theory in the world doesn't amount to much when faced with a real flesh-and-blood child. It didn't take long to learn that, contrary to my research she actually cries a good deal less when we're not there, and when we don't go and visit her. If we pulled a Ferber and went and visited her every five minutes, she would just get worked up every five minutes and never get to sleep. "Crying it out" doesn't apply to this child because she doesn't cry continuously when she's tired, she cries for a few minutes and then stops, and soon falls asleep.
She does cry for longer if she's not actually tired; we made the mistake of putting her down earlier (got that idea from Dr Weissbluth -- I wonder how long it will be before I just ignore all the "experts" altogether) and she cried for a solid fifteen minutes. We retrieved her and she stayed up for another hour or so before she was really ready for bed.
The crying bothers Blake more than it bothers me. If I deliberately try and imagine how she's feeling I get upset, but if I don't it's just noise. I can easily dissociate myself from my emotions and the emotions of others. Maybe I'm autistic. Maybe I'm just a cold bitch.