Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sleep training

I love Dr. Ferber. I really, really love him. On Friday Baby Boy turned 3 months old. Time sure flies when you are sleep deprived! He is such a happy boy; we are very lucky that he is so easy going. But the nights were hard; not just the waking up frequently to nurse, but having him in our room and in our bed. I never wanted to co-sleep. I have lots of friends who had experiences with their children sleeping in their beds for a long time and I didn't want that for me. Don't get me wrong, bed sharing is fine if you practice safe bed sharing techniques, but I don't want anyone touching me when I sleep. Not even my babies. But I'm perfectly willing to do whatever is necessary those first few months during the newborn phase, when their little stomachs are too tiny to hold enough food to sleep through the night. But once they have hit that magic weight mark? I'm ready for them to be on their own. Not only will I sleep better, but they will too. Peaceful, uninterrupted sleep without delirious parents trying to figure out what their stirring means. Hungry again? Is his diaper wet? What?
So Friday night I began the Ferber sleep training method. With My Little Helper I actually did it at 2 1/2 months, which in hindsight seems a little early, but at the time everything was such a blur, I was so exhausted that I couldn't go any longer with him sleeping in our room/bed. Mr. W was tired too. I actually thought that when I finished nursing him and gave him back to Mr. W that he was placing him in the bassinet beside our bed. It turns out that most of the time he was letting the baby sleep on his chest so he wouldn't cry in the bassinet. So Mr. W's sleep wasn't very good quality either. The Ferber Method does several nights of checking in on your child while he learns to self sooth for progressively longer intervals of time. Each night it is supposed to get better, and eventually your child will fall asleep with out any crying. With My Little Helper it took 3 nights and on the fourth night he went to sleep on his own without a fuss. The first night with him was pretty hard on both of us though, it took over an hour of me checking in on him.
Baby Boy has been such a cake walk. The first night he didn't even fuss for 15 minutes after I put him in his crib. Then once he started crying and I began periodically visiting him it only took half an hour for him to fall asleep. Saturday night I only had to check on him twice before he fell asleep, and Sunday he stopped crying and fell asleep before I could go in check on him at 12 minutes. The next couple nights there has been a little fussing, but it never lasts long and tonight after I finished nursing him and put him down awake he looked up at me, turned and fell asleep. Sigh! Thank you, Dr. Ferber! It is so nice to be able to sleep in our room with total darkness! No light on in the closet so we can see what the baby is doing. And each night he has slept for 7-8 hours until he wakes up needing to nurse. That is the beauty of them sleeping on their own, he's not waking us up so we're not waking him up. When he really wakes up it is because he is ready to eat.
We have been keeping Our Little Helper up a little later so that the baby crying isn't keeping him up as well as preventing him from interfering with the baby learning to fall asleep. The first night his brother slept in his room with him there was a lot of acting out. He normally goes right to bed after his bedtime routine. But Friday he was out of bed running around and hollering. As I listened to him on the monitor it took all my will power to not barge in there and make him get in bed. If he woke the baby up I wasn't sure what I was going to do. But the baby stayed asleep and eventually his brother settled down and went to be too. Whew!
Now we just have to work on developing a combo bedtime routine so that they both go down at the same time. I also can't wait for this routine to include them bathing in the tub together. How cute will that be?!
Friday night I also learned my lesson with Stations of the Cross. I decided to take them out to dinner beforehand. In hindsight I realized that Stations at 6:30 and then dinner was pushing it. Going into church on a full stomach certainly helped My Little Helper. He was mostly quiet and well behaved playing in the pew. He didn't pester his brother at all. Now the only downside is that I'm not able to nurse the baby right before we go into church and we don't get to have dinner with Daddy. I'll keep working on it.

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