Monday, February 28, 2011

A post regarding Mr. Ferber

OK, fine Dr. Ferber. But he's a mister too, so both work, right?

Anyhow, I digress. I must first paint a picture of what sleep in this house has been the last week.

Imagine getting used to the sweet, sweet sound of silence for 11 hours every evening after 7 or so months of no ok, hardly any sleep. Then, imagine one day waking up to high pitched, inconsolable, fervent screaming starting at 11 p.m. and going on every couple hours for the rest of the night. Ahhh!!! Guys, she was sleeping though the night for like a month and a half and then poof! Now she was screaming even when we tried to put her down at night, something she never did. What happened?!

Well, she had a cold. Two weeks before. But she still sounded a wee bit congested so when she cried out in the middle of the night and couldn't be consoled for the life of us, we brought her into bed with us. And there she slept. Beautifully. Like an angel. We, however, did not. Because her angelic sleeping involves intermittent kicks to our ribs (what have gotten much more painful less charming than the rib kicks I was feeling a year ago when she was in utero), and a rearranging of herself so that she is perpendicular between us, a sleep position that even our Cal King sized bed doesn't accommodate comfortably. Coupled with the fear that she would up and crawl out of bed and jump out the window or something equally horrific, we barely got any shut-eye.

But I'm not gonna lie, we were conflicted. I LOVE having her in bed with us. I love the snuggles. I love that she sleeps SO well with us there. Not a single cry all night long. I love being able to smell her and hear her right there, and watch her sleep so peacefully. But we also knew that we needed sleep! But not just us, we knew that she needed her rest, too. We had assumed she was teething, but wouldn't she have cried with us there too if she was in pain? Then we assumed it may be separation anxiety setting in. And we were afraid of this turning into a new habit that would take decades to undo (a wee bit dramatic?).

So we decided we would try some pseudo-Ferberizing. I say pseudo because, well, I never bought or read the book, so I don't have the details down. We had the weekend ahead of us, so we knew it would be the best time to start since we could always catch up on a little sleep during the day if it was a total bust. We decided to let her cry for a bit and then check on her at certain intervals, progressively letting her go a bit longer between checks. Night 1 we went in after 5 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and before 10 minutes was up she was asleep. She woke up at 3 a.m. and cried for less than 10 minutes and was back asleep. Night 2, I went in after 7 minutes, and before the next check she fell asleep. And she slept straight through until 7 a.m.! Last night was night 3 and again, she fell asleep between the first and second check (we started with 7 minutes last night). She did cry a little around 3 a.m. but fell right back to sleep within 7 minutes.

So what do I make of this whole Ferber thing? Quite honestly, I think it works. I will fess up and say that I may have had a mindset beforehand that letting a baby scream her head off is just plain cruel, but that's not really what this whole thing is about. It's about reassuring your little one that yes, you are there for them, but it's also being firmer in establishing that at night, there is no need for extra socializing! See, there are so many things that people say "I will never do that!" as a mother but, really, once you're in the game, the rules change!

Is there anything you thought you'd so never do, and then end up doing as a mama?


yeah but not really said...

We have the Ferbs to thank as well. Our daughter had turned 7 months and was still not sleeping through the night so we decided it was time. Literally, we did it for one night going in at five minute intervals to reassure her; in total she cried off and on for 75 minutes. Since then, with the exception of a few nights where she had a cold, she has slept through the night. What a treat! Continued success to you :)

Kristina said...

Luv your blog! Lexi is there anywhere I can e-mail you? Or should I leave my e-mail here?

Mrs. Lexi said...

@Kristina - sure! bennybuttons (at)

Brandy said...

Ferber has given us soooo much more sleep! I highly recommend it and am glad it is working for her! The crying is hard to listen to, but now Kendall goes down without a peep at night. Awake! That would've NEVER happened prior to Ferber.

She still wakes up about once a night. Sometimes will go back down, sometimes needs fed.

It is much better than before though.

Much, Much better!