Ferberish Method Part 3

 - by Brittny

To read the comic strips in this post just click on them to enlarge them. I’ve noticed that since becoming a parent Baby Blues has become my favorite comic strip…

I started to write about our adventures in sleep training in another post and realized that it really deserved a post all to itself. This doesn’t really pick up where our last post on sleep training left off. So let me give a brief rundown of what’s happened with sleep training since then.

  • After our sleep training efforts in October and November things got better for a little while. And then Thanksgiving and Christmas came and between all the travelling, shoppping, projects and general upheaval that comes during that time of year sleep  went by the wayside. In the end Sam was still sleeping in our bed, but getting bigger and squirmier by the day.
  • We suffered through a lot of sleep deprivation for the next couple of months before we’d had enough, we finally bought Sam his own bed and decided it was time for him to sleep there. We decided to get him a queen sized memory foam mattress because Wal-mart had a great deal on them (and we know how we feel about memory foam) and we figured that a queen sized mattress would give us a good place to put guests when they come, as well as give us the flexibility to sleep on his bed with him if when needed.

Since then we’ve slowly transitioned him to sleeping in his own bed, although it was a battle at first.  But it didn’t take too long for him to get used to a different bed so long as mom was there too.  We tried a few nights of the Ferber method, but after a few nights of crying he didn’t really get much better about sleeping on his own, and I just felt miserable about leaving my baby to cry, so that went by the wayside.  Plus, he got sick in the middle of it, which meant it was put on hold.

A month or so ago I decided that the next major step was to cut Sam off from nighttime feedings, but allow him to be cuddled, or held or whatever he wanted so long as he was in his bed and not being nursed. That was a HUGE step for us, and didn’t take as long as I’d feared it might. Of course, it still meant that I was in bed with him all night and not getting the best sleep, but at least Eric had our bed to himself and getting decent sleep at night. One for three right?  Plus, not being an all night bar definitely made it so that I could sleep much better, and encouraged Sam to be better about eating solids and other food during the day.

After we got out of night time feedings we started working on him sleeping alone at night. We’ve gotten strict about his bedtime and bedtime routine which has helped a TON. Around 9 or 10pm we change Sam’s diaper, put him in pajamas, read him Good Night Moon, read scriptures as a family and then he gets nursed to sleep. Once he’s asleep I lay him down in his own bed, and most nights it seems like he’s so far gone at that point that I could just throw him into his bed from the doorway and he’d still stay asleep! Ok, so that’s a bit of an overstatement, but he generally is so deeply asleep that laying him down on his own isn’t a problem (this in and of itself is a major change, I haven’t really been able to just lay him down on his own since he was born without a revolt). He’ll usually stay asleep on his own from 1-3 hours before waking up, but it’s usually a quick pat on the back or a snuggle to get him to sleep again. Then another couple of hours on his own before he cries and I have to come in.

The experience at this point is very varied. Sometimes he is super ticked and won’t calm down for an hour or so, and sometimes it just takes some cuddling to get him back to sleep. A few nights ago after an hour of trying me trying to convince him to sleep, and him trying to convince me to nurse him (which I obviously wasn’t going to give into), Sam pushed me out of his bed and proceeded to guide me down the hall, into the kitchen and up to the fridge. When I opened the fridge he pointed to his sippy cup which I gave him. He then snuggled down with me on the rocking chair content to drink some juice and fell back to sleep. If only I’d known that he was really *thirsty* and not just looking for comfort I could have had him to sleep much earlier! Oh well. Anyways, I almost always end up sleeping in his bed with him for the rest of the night at this point, but I don’t mind that too much. He’ll wake up usually around 5 or 6am hungry, so we’ll go out to the front room and lay on the couch and I’ll nurse him and then we’ll get a couple more hours of sleep out on the couch together.

I do have to say though that we’ve had a couple of nights this week where Sam slept through his middle of the night wake up and slept all the way through until 5 or 6!  He’s also been teething this week, poor kid, so I think his waking up also coincided with when his tylenol wore off.

Naps are a totally different battle and we really haven’t figured out how to work through those. He naps great if I let him sleep on my lap – for about 3 hours some days! This isn’t a terrible solution since I can get work done on the computer – although I think “work” usually ends up being “facebook” since with Sam on my lap it’s difficult to get into a good position to type – but it doesn’t allow me to have any time to myself to get things like dishes done. So we’re really working on naptime being on his own in his bed. Unfortunately if he doesn’t nap well during the day, he doesn’t sleep well at night so it’s been a balancing act. This is of course how we ended up with him falling asleep mid-macaroni and cheese in his high chair as shown in Eric’s last post :) I’m still working on being strict about him napping in his bed, but most days he just walks out of his room all tired and cranky and just wanting a hug within 15 minutes of me laying him down. It’s really hard to resist a baby that is cute and wants to cuddle. Oh well one step at a time :)

So, in the end, we’ve still got some work to do but we’ve come a long way.  Thank you so much to everyone who’s been praying for us, it is very appreciated and we’ve definitely felt the effects of your prayers!

For anyone who is interested I found this article about sleep training right after we had started to apply a similar methodology. It was a great article, and I especially liked his idea of deciding what 7 hours of sleep you were most concerned about getting and focusing on those hours and being super attentive to the baby the rest of the time. That has been the principle that I think has helped me most in sleep training. Rather than expecting Sam to sleep for hours on end on his own, deciding that he doesn’t get fed from 10pm – 5am and then being more lenient at other times has helped us to have more realistic expectations.

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