Apr 13, 2010

Operation Ferberization

Oh yes. I have done it. I have succombed to one of the most popular methods of child sleep alteration. Let me elaborate....

As I might have mentioned before, MC is a passy addict. Seriously. She needs to go to passies anonymous. Now, that is all well and good - except at night. MC was a great sleeper... as long as she had her passy. If it fell out during the night, she woke. This meant that Adam and I were up as many as 10 times a night putting the stupid passy back in her mouth. It was like a magic button though. If the passy went in, her eyes automatically closed and she went right back to sleep. As you can imagine, months of interrupted sleep can make you not-so-fun to be around. Adam and I knew we had to do something. One night, driving home from mass, I passed a Books-A-Million. I remember researching Dr. Ferber (knowing his was one of the foremost authorities on children's sleep) and reading that he had somewhat recently updated his classic "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems" book. I sped into the parking lot and ran into the store frantically searching for a sales associate. I found one quickly and the conversation went as follows:

me - do you have a book by Dr. Ferber? I can't remember the exact title, but its something like how to solve your childs sleep problems...

SA - um, let me check. Yes, it shows we have one. Let me show you where they are.

me- PLEASE!

I scowered the shelves (which, by the way, were in NO order at all!!!) and couldn't find it anywhere!!!!! Back to the sales associate I went...
me - Sir, are these in any kind of order?! Like title, author, SOMETHING?!
SA - well, the are supposed to be in order by author, but people don't usually put them back in the correct spot.
me- I HAVE to have this book and I can't find it anywhere!
SA - losing some sleep huh?
me- do you see my eyes? I haven't slept in 3 1/2 months. This book is my life.
SA - ok... (look slightly scared) we'll let me help you look.

We proceeded to go through the never ending shelves of parenting books until the sales associate finally found it. You should've seen my face. It was better than Christmas (I might have even shed a small tear).

When I got home I read the book and knew what we had to do. The passy had to go. According to Ferber, MC had developed a "sleep association problem". He suggested a "progressive waiting approach" to gradually break her bad association. I knew it would be work, but we HAD to get some sleep. And so operation Ferberization began...

The whole idea of the Ferber method is, yes, to let them cry, however you DO go in and check on them and comfort them at set intervals. The first night (Sunday) we did our usual bedtime routine and when she was drowsy I put her in her crib. She cried immediately. I was overcome with heartache but left the room anyway. I started at her on the montior for three mintues (the first interval for the first night). I'm telling ya, when you have a baby screaming 3 minutes can seem like FOREVER! After the three minutes I went in and comforted her (without picking her up). She was still crying after my alloted 2 mintues of being with her, but according to Ferber I had to leave. Again Adam and I stared at her on the monitor, this time waiting for 5 mintues before we returned. Adam went in after five minutes and did the same comforting and left with her still crying. "Wow. She is never going to stop crying". Then our next interval was 10 minutes. We waited and watched. She was out just moments before the ten minutes was up!!! My little MC was off to sleepy land without the passy!!! She cried a total of 18 minutes. I was super excited, but scared it wouldn't last. I was somewhat right. She woke at 4am and we did the interval thing for 45 minutes before she was back to sleep. It was SUPER hard, but she DID go to sleep without the passy.

The next day she cried 4 minutes at her first nap. That night at bedtime, ZERO crying. I seriously laid the kid down at 8:30 and she slept without waking until 7:45. I don't care what anyone says - this Ferber guy is brilliant. Adam and I had an amazing restful sleep and I couldn't be happier for my BIG GIRL!!! I am loving life without the passy!

6 comments:

Walking With The Wheats said...

I agree! My little one was a binkie queen! (she is only 6 months) But loved her binkie! She had to be admitted into the hospital for pneumonia and during the hospital stay we made the choice (recommended by her doc) to take it away and see if it would help her oxygen level. We did and it did!! Needless to say, we didn't have a choice but to throw it away for good! It has been over a week now but I am happy that we did it early!!!

ashia said...

wow, you have really got my wheels turning here. maybe i should try that?! i hate it though b/c i always wanted her to suck a paci. for some reason, i think they're so cute. but you're totally right... sleep is more important!!!! THANK YOU for posting this!!

Cherry Berry said...

Wow, good for y'all! I never bought the book, but I researched the Ferber thing and it DOES work. We never tried to take the paci away, but I'm thinking it might need to be done after reading this. She still wakes up sometimes and wants her paci, and I have to find it in the crib in the dark and give it to her. She automatically goes back to sleep. I'm glad you wrote this. I might need to get the book now.

Anna Robinson said...

My parents still tell the story of how they used this method on me when I was a baby! My mom said she would cry right along with me the first few nights, but that it was so worth it because it worked!! They swear by it and my mom still tells all new mothers about it. Congratulations!

Hope said...

Excited for you! I will keep this in mind for one day down the road!

Katie said...

wahooo! thank goodness for that! what a great solution!

Sweet Dreams!!

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