Just when I am ready to turn to Ferber

Thursday, October 31, 2013

...my little one throws me a curve ball.  Two out of the last 3 nights he has slept for 7 hours straight, no crying it out necessary.  Now to some of you this may not seem like a big deal, but to my husband and I, this is the definition of bliss.  Seven whole hours.  I didn't need quite as much concealer today.  What did I do differently?  Basically, what everyone tells me not to do...  

Last week, out of pure and utter desperation, I bought "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems", by Dr. Richard Ferber.  A friend of mine, who had similar sleep issues with her children, recommended the book to me and told me that it took 3 nights to get her kids to sleep through the night.  B had been sleeping 2-3 hour stretches at night and I was paying the price during the day.  I was tired, groggy, agitated, foggy, and starting to get depressed.  Every time I would hear a friend tell me how their baby slept 10 hours a night (straight) I would quite literally, start to cry.  What is wrong with my baby?  Why won't he sleep?  How can he function all day without sleep?  Will it be like this forever?  What am I doing wrong???

Back to the book, I started reading it on the train and before bed.  I gathered some interesting information that I had never thought of before.  All babies have multiple waking during the night.  The problem comes in when the baby cannot self-soothe back to sleep.  Thus, B's issue.  He wakes up and gets so upset that he can't fall back to sleep.  The book recommends the let the baby fuss 5 minutes, go and check on them (without any skin contact) and then leave.  Wait 7 minutes and then do the same.  You just keep making the check-ins farther and farther between until your baby falls asleep on his/her own.  Also, you are not supposed to give them a pacifier (or at least not replace it if it falls out) and you are not supposed to nurse them before bed or during the night.  It isn't straight CIO, but a modified form of it.  How hard could that be, right?  We decided to give it a try.  Desperation speaks...loudly.

Oh man.  I know that being sleep deprived sucks, but listening to your baby cry and seeing the baby tears is awful.  I think I'd almost rather gouge my eyeballs out than listen to that awful cry.  They say that CIO is worse for the parents than it is for the child, but I don't know, B was really upset.  The first night that we tried it totally sucked and most likely backfired because he slept worse than his normal 2-3 hours at a time.  Seeing me check in on him made him even more upset.  He had started to develop a cold and was teething so I decided that night wasn't the night to start "Ferberizing".  By the time I picked him up snot and tears were streaming down his face.  Bad mommy.  :-(

Well the next night his cold got worse and his sleep got worse, too.  He cried and wouldn't let up.  Upon giving in and picking him up, I noticed that his top left tooth had cut through his red little gums.  Poor baby.  I felt like a jerk for making him cry for so long.  I am sure he was crying because he was in pain, not because he was being a difficult baby.  Bad mommy.  :-(

I decided to table the "Ferberizing" for the time being and try a few different things that I am more comfortable with for the time being.  First of all, I started completing his whole night time routine in his room, rather than my room.  After his bath, I now read to him in his room, nurse him in his room, and then rock him to sleep to the soothing noise of the  sound machine (I can just imagine the eye rolls).  If he gets up at night, I let him fuss for a few minutes (twice he has fallen back to sleep), then I go get him.  I offer him snuggles first, if that doesn't work then a pacifier, and if that doesn't work then a boob. I realized that I actually like this routine because I work all day and this is the most quality time that I get with him.  I want to soak it up.  He won't be a baby forever.  He won't let me snuggle him forever.  He won't be nursing forever.  You get where I am going with this?

The past few nights our routine has gone as described above and I can tell you that my stress level has been much lower.  Oh and two out of the three nights the little man has slept 7 hours straight.  Last night he didn't even sleep in our bed at all.  He has cut nursing at night down to one time or less.  Maybe this is a fluke that will last just a few days or maybe he still needs a little more of his mommy at night.  I don't think that is the worst thing in the world.  ;-)

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One Response to “Just when I am ready to turn to Ferber”

  1. We stressed and stressed about sleep. I too felt I should do something. I them found my local le leche league and met with a sleep educator (not trainer) who explained normal infant sleep development. Yes it is hard waking up every sleep cycle....but gentle sleep leads to gentle sleep. You are teaching your baby how to sooth by soothing him. Sleep training does impact babies...it is necessary for some parents..
    But for us the process was harder than waking....now I am a zombie mommy working and co-sleeping and night nursing....you are right. They are only young for such a short period of time!