Last week we wanted a vacation but I cancelled it because there was nowhere safe to sleep for her at our friends' houses - we couldn't put their mattresses on the floor & she hadn't ever been in a crib. So we had a stay-cation at home to get her used to a crib so that she's safe at night wherever we are sleeping and so that I can still have my snippets of time. So I started nursing her in a chair then putting her in the crib. She slept 40 minutes to 1.5 hours at a time which was quite good and she seemed to transition well. After trying the crib all night (never been so sleep deprived!!) I decided the ideal compromise was to have her in the crib in the evening then to bring her into bed when I go to sleep.
The problem is that she seems to be getting increasingly anxious and reducing the length of her sleeps before she wakes to comfort nurse or feed - it was every hour all through the night last night and I didn't even try to put her in the crib at all due to my grave misgivings about it - I nursed her to sleep all evening and night. The last 2 nights she has cried as if she were alone, even though I was next to her. Breaks my heart. I feel that this last week of a new routine, in the crib, has possibly caused this.
However, she is teething.... if it's just teething then maybe we can resume with the crib... but I'm not sure it is as they aren't cries of pain; she's crying searching for me.
I need my evenings - it's precious time with my partner. He doesn't sleep with us and we tend to work in shifts to take care of her and the house. We hardly spend any time together.
I feel my options are:
1. Forget having a baby bedtime and just have her downstairs with us (in the sling) until we go to bed. My problems with this are that she isn't used to doing this and it will be yet another change and that her quality of sleep would be comparatively poor as we would inevitably disturb her. However, we will have an evening, and if she gets used to it, a very flexible, if somewhat sleep-deprived baby.
2. Nurse to sleep and stay with her. My problem with this is I will feel resentful, trapped, and concerned for my relationship however, she will feel secure and will sleep well. This option will result in the happiest baby but the unhappiest me.
3. Nurse to sleep and leave her on the big bed or in the crib, returning as and when she cries and to trust that at sometime soon her anxiety will lessen as she learns I always come to her. My problem with this is I feel I am causing her harm and her anxiety has grown, not lessened. However, on the plus side, she has good quality sleeps and I am quickly there for her.
1. Can anyone think of any other solutions for me to have an evening with Dad and good sleep for baby?
2. Do you personally think I'm causing some level of lasting harm i.e. increasing her anxiety with changing routine / leaving to sleep alone ?
3. If 8 months is a wobbly time for babies with separation anxiety should I hold off until a later date to leave her alone to sleep in the evening... when or how will the anxiety lessen??
4. What do you think of my assessment that the crib is the way forward for safe sleep wherever we are?