I started putting ds in crib at 6 months & have never let him CIO. I started by getting him to sleep first and then putting him in the crib but you don't have to do it this way. Now I nurse him, lay him on his belly and rub his back or pat his butt (for some reason this helps him drift off). Sometimes I give him a pacifer, too. Other times when we can't get him to sleep, we'll lay down with him in our bed and then move him to the crib once he's asleep.
When he wakes up early in the morning, I still bring him into my bed to nurse and fall back asleep and we get some cuddle time.
"We shape the clay into a pot but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want" Lao Tzu