; World of Dennifer: How Ferber changed our lives!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How Ferber changed our lives!

*~*~I started this post about a month ago & never got around to posting it, but the topic is important & one I know moms all over want to read about, so I'm posting I finished the rest of what I wanted to say them & posting it now. PS - sorry for the LOOONG absence - things have been super hectic 'round these parts lately...anywho, more posts coming soon - promise!*~*~

So IDK if I've blogged about it much my kiddo's recent sleep issues. Before she turned 13 months, Amaya was sleeping thru the night pretty consistently with only occasional disturbances when she was getting sick or teething. And at 13 months - BAM. Just like that, she started waking up multiple times at night & not only that, but wanting to stay up for 1-2 hours at a time. At first, I thought this too shall pass, but after dealing with that craziness for over two months, both the hubbs & I were at our wits end...like shoot me now, I'm so tired I can't function end of our ropes. At worse, I got about 3 hours of sleep a night & she was up SIX times. Yah, no beuno.We were all miserable...I'm pretty sure including the dog!

I talked about it with a few mommy friends & everyone suggested different things - just wait it out, let her cry (which I never wanted to do), push back her bed time, etc. & I think I tried just about everything on that list & none of that worked. Then another mommy friend suggested I read Dr. Richard Ferber's highly acclaimed book, Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems & try his method, called progressive waiting. The basic premise behind his method is to break unhealthy sleep associations in your child, so that she can fall asleep (& back asleep) on their own, needing little to no adult intervention. You basically have to put your child down sleepy, but not asleep & let her fall asleep on her own (which normally involves some crying at first) & leave them for increasing amounts of time (with a cap on the third wait time each night). You basically do the same thing when/if the child wakes up in the middle of the night & you have to stay CONSISTENT. Well, I totally understood his concept, but I didn't buy that it would work as quickly as Dr. Ferber suggested it would - in about 4 days you are supposed to see a noticeable difference and by two weeks, there should be little to no crying at all.

Well, here's what I'm looking at right now...

{please 'scuse the quality of the pic - it's a photo of the monitor on my phone}

I kept a log of the first several nights we did of Ferber & as you can see, it worked pretty much like a charm after about 5 nights:

Night 1:
  • Put down: 9pm'ish (Ferber's books suggest starting out with a slightly later than normal bedtime on the first several nights to ensure your child is sleepy & the process will work a bit better)
    • 1 - 3 min. check; 1 - 5 min. check; 1 - 10 min. check.
    • Sleep: 9:27pm
  • Middle of the Night (MOTN) waking: 9:48pm
    • No check, fell back asleep within 2 min.
    • Sleep: 9:50pm
  • MOTN waking: 2:59am
    • 1 - 3 min. check; 1 - 5 min. check; 1 - 10 min check
    • Sleep: 3:41am
  • Up for day: 7:27am

Night 2:
  •  Put down: 8:27pm
    • 1 - 5 min. check
    • Sleep: 8:34pm
  • MOTN waking: 12:22am (sat up without crying; cried out a few times)
    • No checks!! 
    • Sleep: 12:26am
  • Up for day: 7:10am

Night 3: 
  • Put down: 8:40pm
    • 1 - 8 min check; 1 - 12 min. check
    •  Sleep: 9:12am; poor munchkin fell asleep standing up, so I went in to lay her down so she didn't fall & hurt herself at 9:14pm.
  • MOTN waking: 2:12am
    • 1 - 8 min. check (soaking wet thru clothes, so I had to do a jammies change)
    • Re-start checks @ 2:32am
    • 1 - 8 min. check
    • Sleep: 2:50am
  • Up for day: 7:20am

Night 4:
  • Put down: 8:29pm
    • 1 - 10 min. check
    • Sleep: 8:42pm
  • Up for day: 7:38am

Night 5: 
  • Put down: 8:29pm
    • No crying!! She played with her paci for a few min, then...
    • Sleep: 8:34pm
  • Up for day: 7:30am 

Night 6: 
  • Put down: 8:20pm
    • Cried 7 min.
    • Sleep: 8:30pm
  • MOTN waking: 4:14am
    • Cried 4 min; no check
    • Sleep: 4:20am
  • Up for day: {I forgot to write down the time - whoopsie} 

Night 7: 
  • Put down: 8:20pm
    • No crying!! She played with her paci for a few min, then...
    • Sleep: 8:28pm
  • MOTN waking: 11:04pm
    • Cried 4 min.
    • Sleep: 11:08pm
  • Up for day: 6:10am

 So, as you can see...it really just got better each night. There have been some regressions here & there, but overall she has done so well on Ferber's program! Now, she goes down without crying at all & normally doesn't wake up at all. When she does., I generally let her cry 10 min., watch the monitor to see if she looks uncomfortable & if so, I go in & do a check...normally she'll fall asleep on her own unless something's up (ie, she's soaking wet thru her clothes, she can't find her paci, etc.). Once she is better &/or I calm her down by patting her, then she normally falls right back asleep on her own. She now gets about 10-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, woot! Goooo Baby AJ!!

A few suggestions for anyone considering using Ferber's method on their child:
  1. **MOST IMPORTANT** - read the book, at least the first few chapters just so you truly understand the method. At first, I thought Ferber was the same as "cry it out" (CIO) & it's not at all - there is some crying involved, but his method allows you to reassure your baby/child that you're still around if s/he really needs you.
  2. BE CONSISTENT - it's very rough the first few nights, especially if hearing your little one cry bothers you ::raises hand::, but you MUST stick with it or it won't work.
  3. Keep a log - it helped me to notice a pattern & see noticeable results.
  4. The method doesn't necessarily work the same at different times of day/night. With Amaya, I tried Ferber for her weekend naps & it was an epic FAIL. The book says that the sleep associations during different times of day are normal & don't necessarily affect each other. Since the first attempt was an epic fail, I just decided it's not worth her {or my} stress to go down for naps without me, so I still rock her to sleep for naps on the weekends...I figure she won't take naps her whole life, but she will sleep at night her whole life, so that's more important to me.
  5. Having a good & well established bedtime routine helps - we had already had one - yaay! Ferber supports & encourages a very consistent routine around bedtime.
  6. You can adjust the plan to make it work for you or make you feel comfortable. For example, Ferber's first checks start at 3 min., but if you feel like that's too long, you can do a check at 1 or even 2 min. on the first night of Ferber. The most important thing is to stay consistent & don't make the checks too long. 
  7. Try to resist the urge to scoop up your baby/child during checks - Ferber says that the child should remain (or be returned to) their crib/bed during a check. With Amaya, we just rub or pat her back & shhh shhh her...calms her right down.

Whew, that was much longer than I expected! I hope this helps some mama out there...I know I always like reading about other people's parenting "hot topic" experiences, so hopefully mine will be useful to one & hopefully more of you out there! I'd love to hear your experiences with sleep training or issues, so just leave me a comment or email me at worldofdennifer{at}gmail{dot}com so we can talk more. 'Till next time!


TheCrunchyGemini said...

My DD is only 4 months but I've totally been there! She got really hooked on nursing to fall back asleep .. sometimes even every 45 minutes! And of course, once you try to set them back down in the bassinet they wake up and the whole process starts all over again - lol. I don't think I could ever CIO and she is way too young but I needed to get more sleep so I used a combination of the Baby Whisperer's "shh/pat" method and the Happiest Baby On The Block swaddling & jiggling while holding sideways method + I think just some pure luck and now she is falling asleep on her own. She still wakes often but it's not a 1-2 hour ordeal in the middle of the night anymore! I just pop her pacifier back in and put slight pressure on her chest to keep her from thrashing around and she falls back to sleep quickly. It feels pretty miraculous compared to before - lol. I'll be detailing it soon in my blog - and hoping I don't jinx myself! :-)