Posts Tagged ‘ Ferberizing ’

Is it Time to “Mom-Up” About Sleep Training?

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

At 7 months, I decided it was finally time to say goodbye to my “hired” village, and as my friend and Babble blogger Cassandra Barry likes to say, “Mom-Up.” I had to get rid of my night ladies. Places in Africa needed water wells for god’s sake. I think I could have built/dug 20 so far if I hadn’t employed my gals.

It’s just that with Fia, I was such a wreck from no sleep and no hired help, that I kinda lost my sh-t. We Ferberized her at 4 1/2 months. I became evangelical about the beauty and benefits of sleep training. With Emmett, I’ve done the opposite. I have managed to find all sorts of excuses–some valid, others not–to put it off.

He has reflux. He has gas pains. He’s farting too much. He must be in pain. He’s pooping too much. He must be in pain. He’s not pooping enough. He is constipated. He ate too much. His tummy hurts. He didn’t eat enough. He must be hungry.

This little dude has me weak in the knees with his ridiculously happy temperament that it’s been hard to think about letting him cry.

But the real reason I haven’t done it is I’m not tired! I think in order to go full throttle on sleep training, you have to reach the brink of insanity and misery. Or be falling asleep at red lights. Or have your husband threaten to check you into the psych ward.  Instead, with 8 hours of sleep a night, I have bounced happily through his infant stage, feeling pretty damn good as our bank account dwindles.

Phil and I both started talking about sleep training oh, about 4 months ago. Emmett would sleep happily on one of us while we watched every episode of Storage Wars, The Daily Show, and Breaking Bad. I wasn’t frantically going to bed at 8 pm, hoping to get a 3-hour stretch of zzz’s.

“When are we going to sleep train Emmett?” Phil would ask. “Soon,” I’d say, sipping my wine, not taking my eyes off the TV.  Neither of us were exactly motivated.

At 10 pm, we’d hear the knock on the door and in came our night help.

Frankly, with that set up, I didn’t want to “Mom-Up.” I mean, no one gets an award for lack of sleep, so for me, this was the right decision. To a point. But then it became a bit ridiculous. A little too easy. And I knew it was also in Emmett’s best interest to learn to put himself to sleep. Not to mention we needed our house back. And to some extent, our freedom. I didn’t want to travel anywhere because I knew I’d be the one losing sleep. Having a night nurse does get limiting–in an upper-class-problem kind of way.

So, with this 3-day weekend, we decided it was time.

Night 1:

This one was pretty bad. We put him down at 8:30 pm. He was up at 10:30. I changed his diaper (was only wet). He was up again at 11. I went in and tickled the back of his perfect neck (god I love that boy). He fell asleep until 1:30. Then started to wail. Fia woke up and started wailing too. Phil was running one way, I the other. It would have been comedic if it weren’t the middle of the night. Phil got Fia back down then came into Emmett’s room. I was sitting there rocking him.

“What are you doing?”

“I thought he pooped,” I said, knowing he hadn’t.

“Look, we are either doing this or not. If you can’t handle it, go down and sleep on the couch, and I’ll do it.”

“No, no, you’re right. Okay.”

I put him down (asleep) and walked out. He slept until 3:25. Then we let him cry for an hour. But before everyone freaks out at my cruelty, it wasn’t like he wailed for an hour. He would calm himself down and have 5-10 minute bouts of sleep. Then gear up again. Neither of us went in.

He slept until 7. The worst night was over.

Night 2:

Much better. He woke up at 10:30. I changed his diaper. He slept until 4 a.m. Cried for 7 minutes. I didn’t go in. He put himself back asleep until 6:30.

Night 3:

Down at 8 pm. A small crying fit at 3:30 for 5 minutes. Not a peep until 6.

I think we are there. And I am feeling this tremendous sense of freedom. I’m already planning our next two trips. As happy as Emmett was, I think he’s even happier now. He too is getting the sleep he needs. I also get to say I’ve “Mom-ed Up.” At least in the nights. No way am I getting rid of my daytime help. I still think Cassandra will be proud.

It also goes to show that there isn’t just one “right” way. This is a good lesson for my judgmental self. I was so sure that Ferbering at 3-4 months was the only way to go. Until I read Bringing Up Bebe. Then I thought I should have done everything differently to have my kids sleeping through at 4 weeks via “The Pause.” I was cursing myself (though by Chapter 6, I was annoyed by the book).

But now I have a baby who is sleeping through the night, who can still take naps on me during the day or sleep on us occasionally while we watch TV. I have flexibility to do what I want when I want. And for me, that’s the true definition of “Mom-ing Up.”

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Milestone Monday: Sleep Training Revisited?

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Author’s Note: Join me every Monday as I share Fia’s ongoing milestone (mis)adventures–from potty training to talking to everything in between.  Mayhem and mischief guaranteed on Milestone Monday!

Okay, so I’m a self-declared sleep Nazi. At least I have been since Fia was 4 1/2 months and we did Ferber. Worked like a charm. Got a few hate comments from my blog on it, but I stand resolute. I believe sleep is the best thing for her and myself and I have never backed down. I haven’t had to. She has consistently slept through the night. Until now.

I can attribute it to a few things: a huge move from Brooklyn to LA; having her routine completely uprooted; having my in-laws here the last 10 days showering her with constant attention (which I have no problem with). But in the midst of all the chaos surrounding us, we have lost the sleep. It could also be that this is a milestone regression. I hear that some tots hit a certain age and you have to re-Ferber. She is 23 months now, and I’d say the sleep started to go downhill a month ago.

I have held off on re-training because I wanted us to settle in. And here’s my dirty little secret: when she wakes up at 2 or 3 a.m., the only way to get her down now is to lie with her. In other words, co-sleeping. Gasp! And whereas before, in those early months, I was terrified of rolling onto her and never slept, now I actually cuddle into her warm little body and doze off nicely until 5:45 (which blows, but she goes down at 7 pm, so I can’t expect much better).

When my mother-in-law was here, I could hand her off and go back to bed until 7 or so, feeling rested. Now I don’t have that luxury. And with the new baby on the way, I know I can’t begin co-sleeping. It just isn’t our thing. Sleep is far too important to Phil and me.

I guess my question is: do I start tonight? Or wait another week until we have a little more routine? I fear that the longer I wait, the worse the habit will become–like it is with her pacifier now, which I swear I’m going to get rid of before her two-year old bday next month (that’s another one I’ll be looking for advice on).  Maybe I just dive in tonight??

So for today’s milestone, I feel like I’ve gone backwards a bit and am looking to you all for advice and insight. I have a crib tent that I will put on so that when we do re-Ferber, I won’t worry she’s going to climb out.

 

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Sleep Training–It’s a Gift

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

sleep training, pacifiers

yeah, I know. I gotta tackle the pacifier thing soon....

If there is one thing I am evangelical about in motherhood it’s sleep training. I want to spread the gospel far and wide. I want to convert those who don’t believe. I simply don’t get why moms (or dads) would rather suffer and put themselves through Guantanamo Bay-sleep torture by choice.

In fact, I don’t think you should complain about being tired/up with your baby at 3 a.m. if you choose not to sleep train (this excludes the first few months when you hunker down and deal with it). And there are exceptions: illness, special needs babies, adjusting to travel, etc. But at a certain point if you choose not to sleep train it’s like complaining about you’re unhealthy diet and eating donuts all day. Makes no sense. Especially because you’re not doing your child any favors–I mean, babies need sleep. Humans need sleep. We need uninterrupted sleep.  It is essential to life, to our well being.

I didn’t always feel this way. When I first had Fia and my pediatrician suggested letting her cry it out all night, I gasped in horror. And changed pediatricians. By three months I was the walking dead. By four, my husband threatened a padded room and straightjacket. Our strong marriage foundation was getting weaker with each anguished night. Many of my friends had sleep trained. They were gentle with me and would simply say, “If you do it right, it works.” I thought they were monsters.

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My Baby Naps in Bathroom

Monday, July 18th, 2011

My baby sleeps in the bathroom. It’s perhaps my best trick of motherhood. But before the sleep Nazis get all over me, let me smugly clarify: she goes down like an angel for 12 hours in her crib at night. Ferber is a genius. With naps though, his methods fall short for me. And Fi.

For months I’d get anywhere from 29-31 minutes, at most twice a day, in the crib. Hardly enough time to wash a dish, pet the cat or write a blog. Our Brooklyn apartment is very loft-like and her room and the downstairs bathroom are the quietest places in the house. But the bathroom has something her bedroom doesn’t: total darkness (if I make her room dark, I can’t run the a/c window unit).

I happened upon my baby-in-the-bathroom trick when a guy was coming over to install a safety gate (this, after my husband threw his drill across the room in frustration, proclaiming KidCo had “ruined his day.”) I knew the handy man would be pounding near her bedroom. Desperately I tried to think of where to put her.

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