Please help! My husband and I have generally practiced attachment parenting (without knowing it) throughout my daughter's first year. She typically sleeps in her crib in her nursery for two daily naps (morning/afternoon each about 45 minutes) and starts out there at night (7ish). She usually only sleeps for a few hours (1.5-2) at which point we move her into our bed and she sleeps perfectly all night. We have a good consistent bedtime routine established (bath, pjs, story, pray together) and then I nurse her and rock her to sleep. Before she falls asleep she stops nursing and just takes her paci.
Recently, with the onset of her walking, she has started demanding to be on her tummy - in my lap while being rocked to sleep! Needless to say, she never got comfortable (after 45+ minutes of fidgeting, repositioning), I got frustrated and sleep has been hard. We tried bringing her to bed with us immediately and that didn't seem to help. After a week of this, we decided it might be a good time for her to begin learning how to fall asleep on her own and stay in her crib throughout the night (I am OK if she wakes and needs to nurse at night, so at this point I'm not concerned with night wakings/feedings ... but guess it depends on how this turns out).
I have strongly opposed CIO but felt at a loss. This past Friday night (two nights ago), I did what I now know was "walk in/walk out" where I'd get her to sleep, put her down, she'd wake immediately and scream and I would leave the room. We only let her cry for a max of 5 minutes before I went back in to comfort (but didn't pick up). However, she is a strong-willed little girl and very spirited. At one point, she was shaking, pointed to the rocker and asked to be rocked. Broke my heart! Of course, I did so and the rest of the night, picked her up and tried to rock her back to sleep before putting her down. It didn't happen! We ended up bringing her back to bed for two hours before daylight. Last night, we were more attentive. I picked her up every time and calmed her down by rocking, singing and at times nursing. But EVERY time she'd fall asleep in my arms and I would go to put her down, she'd wake up screaming. We let her cry in intervals of 5, 10 and 15 max minutes before going in again. She normally gets 12 hours of sleep at night and last night got 6 (three "naps" of 2 hours each). I feel awful about it.
After reading some info here, I'm back to feeling opposed to CIO (why did I ever let myself get so desperate to go against my heart?!). I'm compelled to stop letting her cry but not sure where to go from here?? My current thinking is to get her to sleep, try to put her down, if she cries, pick her up and repeat all night. Basically it might mean I never get to go to bed, but at least I'm not leaving/abandoning her. At this point, she doesn't go down drowsy but has always gone down totally asleep so I fear we have a looooong road ahead of us.
Have I caused her permanent damage already?! I hate to think we've jeopardized the trust and security we've so sweetly developed over this past year. Any encouragement, advice, suggestions are welcome and appreciated!!!