Ferberizing, sleep training, crying it out,…it’s become a pretty controversial subject in the parenting department. When I first thumbed through the book I thought it seemed pretty harsh. I really never had any intentions of ever letting my baby just cry. I always thought that a baby is not capable of manipulating someone and if he/she is crying, there is a reason for it…and most of the time this is true
When I had my second son I knew that I was going to be in for sleepless nights, I had been through it once and I tried to mentally prepare myself for it as much as I could. We brought him home and as expected we were up every 2 hours or so for a diaper change and a feeding. Sometimes he would even go less than 2 hours before waking and wanting to eat again, but then there were some really good nights where he would sleep a 3-4hr stretch. Now I think what really killed me this time was also having a 2yr old to care for during the day. There was no way I could nap when the baby napped when I had a very bored toddler bouncing off the walls and in desperate need of some attention and activity. I did the best I could to give him what he needed. I tried to get the baby to nap when my older one would go down for a nap in the afternoon, but I would rarely get more than 45 minutes of both of them being down at the same time and I usually had to use that time to eat and shower. I had totally kicked into survival mode.
As the months went by, little brother only seemed to be getting worse in the sleep department. We were to the point where nothing was working. He’d fall asleep on my chest, I’d put him down and he’d wake within 15 minutes. I’d bring him into bed with me thinking that co-sleeping would be easier and I could just nurse him throughout the night and have him close to me. It didn’t work at all. He was such a light sleeper that he’d wake up and scream if I coughed or moved an inch. He would also grunt, kick. and scratch me. He really was unable to get comfortable in bed with us, he seemed like he needed his own space. Then it became impossible to get him to go back to sleep after a feeding. If I tried rocking him, he’d scream, if I put him down in the crib and tried to rub his back, he’d scream. I had a humidifier and a baby sound spa machine and they didn’t seem to be doing anything. I was basically up all night trying different things to try and get him to go to sleep and NOTHING was working. I tried the suggestions in that book, The no cry sleep solution. It didn’t work with him. If he could see me in the room, he’d scream. He actually was more wound up when I was in the room with him.
I took him to the pediatrician thinking that something must be wrong with him and there wasn’t. I was told that he was a perfectly healthy boy. The nurse gave me a handout about Ferberizing or the cry it out method. He started to become increasingly fussy during the day. He was constantly rubbing his eyes and fighting naps and seemed almost as exhausted as I was. I really began losing it with the full effects of sleep deprivation kicking in. I was moody, irritable, and kept getting sick. He was going on 6 months old. I know that this is still very young to expect a child to sleep through the night, and I didn’t. I had no problem feeding him 1 or 2 times a night for however long he needed that, but waking every 2 hours and then taking 30-40 minutes to get him to go back to sleep resulted in literally being up all night long.
I came to the conclusion that this was my last resort. I did not feel like I was able to be a good mother to my children at that level of exhaustion, something had to change. So I did it. By no means was it easy, and I sat in the living room and climbed the walls while he cried. The only thing that kept me going with it was knowing that even if I had him in bed with me, he would most likely not be sleeping. After a few nights, it started working. I was able to put him down while he was still awake but drowsy and he would fall asleep on his own. Once he started sleeping at night and taking regular naps, he actually became much more pleasant and all around happier during the day. I think that he was getting the rest that he needed, and so was I. Over the next few months he would occasionally wake, but it was nothing like before I Ferberized.
He is now 18 months old and has been sleeping through the night consistently for a while now. I don’t think that this is the solution for everyone. I am a firm believer that you have to do what works for you and your family, and for us, this worked.
What sleep training methods have worked for you?