Friday, March 20, 2009

Ferber Sleep Training: Round 2
Sleeping Through the Night

Last week I decided it was finally time. Dorian is old enough to be sleeping through the night. We created some bad habits during the past few months of teething and illness, when I got up with him and fed him pretty much whenever he wanted. After he was feeling better, he sort of settled into a pattern of eating twice a night, around 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. This was not too bad, but I really wanted to eliminate at least the 2 a.m. feeding, and I knew he was finally feeling well enough that he could handle a little tough love. Here is my journal/log of the process.

Day 1. Bedtime is 8:00 p.m. Dorian wakes up a few times around 9, 10, and 11, but goes back to sleep on his own each time. At 2:30 a.m. he is decidedly awake. This is already a little later than usual, but I'm not giving in that easily. I let him cry until 2:45. I have a vague goal of getting him to last until at least 3:00 before eating. I check on him and he has wiggled out of his blanket. I wrap him back up (I have tried to stop swaddling him on several occasions, but keep going back to it because he sleeps so much better this way) and put him back down. He cries for a few minutes, then seems like he is going back to sleep...but is crying again by 3:00. I readjust my goal to at least 3:30. I know I may not get a lot of sleep tonight, but I am resigned to that, reminding myself that this is an investment in future sleep. I go back in, pat him on the chest for a few minutes. He stops crying and looks around, becoming drowsy again after a few minutes. He wouldn't be so easily comforted if he was really hungry, would he? I tiptoe out and start this blog entry. By 3:15 he is crying again, but it is half-hearted. He cries off and on until 3:30, by which time he is starting to get pretty upset again. Now I don't know...have we made good progress tonight, and I should go ahead and feed him, or will I just be teaching him that he has to cry for an hour in order to get me to feed him? I decide we can't do this all in one night, and I let him eat.

While he eats, he reaches his hand up to my mouth so that I can kiss the tips of his fingers. What tastes better than baby fingertips? When he is finished, he leans his head against my chest and cuddles for a few minutes. I will miss this. He doesn't cuddle like that during the day.

He sleeps until 8:20 a.m., at which point he wakes up happy and plays in his crib until 8:50 when I get him up. That was easy! But I know from experience not to start trying to predict a pattern from one night's events. So we'll see how this goes tonight.

Day 2. He is up at midnight, and I let him cry until 12:20 when I go in and wrap him back up. He goes right back to sleep. I stay up talking to Russell for another hour about the herbal supplements website he is launching this weekend. We are really excited. Why are my arms numb as I try to fall asleep again?

I wake up several times during the night, checking the clock and noticing that Dorian has slept past my new goal of 4:30, then 5:30. Finally at 6:45 I realize I am not sleeping. Could it have been this easy? Or is something wrong? Paranoid, I get up to check on him and of course as I open his door I wake him up. Someday I want to live in a house with silent doors and non-creaky floors. Anyway, since I have woken him up, I go ahead and feed him. As I put him back down, he is smiling and laughing at me. I love that big toothy grin. I get to go back to bed for half an hour before we have to get up to get ready for Russell’s little sister’s wedding. I don’t fall back asleep before the alarm rings.

At 9:30, we need to leave for the wedding, but Dorian is still asleep. There are very few things I will wake him for, but I guess Brianne’s wedding is one of them. I go in to wake him and feed him, and he is sleeping soundly. He doesn’t even stir until I start unwrapping him. After he gets over the initial offense, he is back to his sweet and happy self.

Day 3. He wakes up at 4:30 a.m. Not bad, but I have this 15-minute rule, so I wait until 4:45. I can hear him banging around a bit in the crib, so I know he is unwrapped. As I am walking to his room to wrap him back up, he stops crying, so I go back to bed. He is up again at 5:00, and I go ahead and feed him.

He is such a miracle to me, as he leans against my chest and looks up at me with such trust and contentment. I think he says “bye-bye” after I put him down, and I say it back. As I am getting into bed, I notice that Russell’s clock hasn’t been changed to Daylight Savings Time. I would be nice to get that hour of sleep back.

Dorian wakes up for the day at 8:30 a.m.

Day 4. We are at a friend’s house at bedtime, so we put Dorian to bed in their currently-empty crib. He has some trouble sleeping in a crib and a room that is not his own. We bring him home and put him in his own bed around midnight. I am hoping the poor beginning to his night won’t ruin the rest of the night.

He wakes up briefly at 5:45, 6:20, and again at 6:45 when I feed him. He sleeps again until 9:30. Not bad at all. Why am I still exhausted?

Day 5. He wakes up at 5 a.m. I go in and wrap him back up at 5:15, and he falls back asleep within a few minutes. He is up again at 7:00 and I feed him. He sleeps again until 9:15. Is this the best I can expect, or will he eventually sleep all the way through? I’m not complaining. I know many other babies are up for the day around 7:00, so maybe that is more likely than actually sleeping until 9:00 without eating.

Day 6. Okay, nevermind tonight. He has a fever again, and his cough is back, but worse! He is up about 8 times in the night, and eats twice...No kickboxing for us in the morning; only cuddling. So I am putting this round of sleep training on hold for a bit longer until we can get over this illness. I am really pleased with how quickly he learned that he doesn’t need to eat at night. The one big obstacle we are still facing is the swaddling issue. He has learned to depend on being swaddled as his soothing technique, but he has also learned to wiggle out of his blankets several times a night. I have tried quitting cold turkey, I have tried transitioning him by wrapping him with one arm out, then both arms out, etc. but every time I think we are done swaddling, he kind of stops sleeping. I eventually get desperate and swaddle him again, and he sleeps beautifully. Until he wiggles out. Help!


Ashley said...

You are making great progress. I'm impressed! I hope he starts feeling better soon and maybe you can start sleep training minus swaddling!

I really like the picture of Russell & Dorian at the wedding.

Lauren said...

Coming from a mother who's children didn't sleep through the night until they were 2, I say way to go!
(They it wasn't always an eating issue, but that is a whole different saga. . .) Keep up the good work. It is so nice to win back a few hours of sleep.

Lauren said...

Okay, I just posted that last comment and after re-reading it I realize that there is more than one error in my grammar. This pregnant mommy needs a few more hours of sleep too.

the lunch lady said...

I think you are smart to break while he's sick, but don't give up! it's ok to let him cry a little.

Debbie said...

Abby has always been such a good sleeper, but we did start letting her cry to sleep at about 9 months. It worked wonders and after three or four days she would lay down without crying and fall asleep on her own. So wonderful. I remember thinking, why didn't I do this sooner? Oh well, you learn a lot on your first.

Anonymous said...

hugs to you.. definitely ok to adapt while they are sick!!
it DOES get easier, and you're doing a fabulous job!!
in regards to the swaddling.. if the normal 'de-swaddling techniques' don't work, you could try a Peke Moe sleep sack, worked really well for our little one when doing the sleep training.

JennyFer said...

I feel you girl, you know I've been dealing with the same thing with my little dude. Getting sick just throws everything off, I hate it. Hopefully he is feeling a little better. Hang in there, they eventually do sleep, I think :)

Amber said...

What? I'm sorry, I didn't hear a word you said because I was so disrtacted by the adorable baby whose pictures are all over this website. :)

Anonymous said...

good luck with this. we are working with our 6 month old right now and think Ferber is going to be the way. Just a swaddling suggestion, when we got our guy out of it, we worked it slowly by leaving 1 arm out for about a week, then 2, and then the rest of him. It helped with the transition. Granted I should say though that we haven't had real good sleep since the swaddling was removed, about 3 months ago! But it helped.
hang in there!

Marie said...

The picture of Russell throwing Dorian in the air makes me a liiiiitle nervous!

Kelley said...

Okay, I could have sworn I left a comment here. I'm sorry if I didn't. How's the sleep training coming now? I hope for all your sakes it's going well.

Susanne said...

I was doing a google search on sleep training and found your blog. My son is 6 months old and was swaddle up until recently. He too needed to be swaddled to sleep well. We phased it out by leaving one arm out for several weeks. Then I move to letting him sleep in a sleep sac at night and a swaddle at night. Then recently, we put him in the sleep sac for his naps but lay him on his belly. He seems to sleep better on his tummy if he is not swaddled. I hope this helps! Good LUCK!

Catherine said...

What method of training are you using?

bonnie jack said...


Here is my original post on sleep training.