If you can't stand letting your baby "cry it out" then don't do it. Just because other people had success letting their children cry themselves to sleep doesn't mean that you are a bad parent because you can't do it. I discovered that once I stopped listening to what everyone was telling me I should do with my kids and started doing what I felt was best, I became less stressed.
Here are the reasons why I decided not to let my kids cry themselves to sleep:
1. I want to reinforce in them the belief that I will be there for them whenever they need me, no matter what time of day or night it may be. My mom kept telling me to let them cry themselves out because "I let you cry yourself to sleep all the time." Hmmm... maybe that's why I remember as a child waking up in the middle of the night feeling sick and totally alone and not feeling like I could call out for my mom. Maybe not, but just in case I decided not to do that to my kids.
2. I've cried myself to sleep one or two times in my life and I remember how I felt when I woke up... eyes hurt, head hurt, brain fuzzy. In case that's how my kids would feel and since they can't tell me how they feel, I again decided not to let them cry themselves to sleep.
3. I saw a special on tv about the Russian orphanages where the babies are never held or nurtured. They just lay in their cribs all day and night, only taken out for diaper changes (if they are lucky.) None of the babies cried either. But it was because they learned early that it was pointless. I don't want my children to ever think that crying out for me was pointless.
I am not saying that parents who do let their babies cry themselves out are bad parents. But I do have an issue with parents saying that letting the baby cry themselves to sleep is the only way that children learn to sleep. Humans need to sleep. You don't have to teach them to do it. You just need to create the environment and setting that is conducive to your child sleeping.
All that being said, I have a 2.5 year old and a 5 year old, both of whom now sleep through the night on a regular basis. And I never let them cry themselves to sleep, yet they managed to learn to do it anyway. I know its frustrating and you are exhausted and sometimes it seems like you will never sleep again. But you son will get older and bigger and more active and start wearing himself out to the point he will sleep. And I have to admit, as much as I wanted my kids to sleep through the night because of the many times I rocked my sons at 3 or 4 am, totally exhausted, only to wake up at 5am in order to go to work, I miss my middle of the night snuggles with my boys. I feel a little sorry for the parents who just let their babies cry themselves out so that they can sleep through the night. They never get to experience the pure love you feel as you hold that warm little body against your neck in the quiet of the night, with the only sound his sweet breathing, and his body totally relaxed against you in complete trust. Now, I'm lucky to catch a quick hug as they slow down to run past me.
So hang in there. Believe me, before you know it your son won't be a baby anymore and you will be sleeping through the night all the time.