Sleep Training… Sort of

Last Friday night, Rex woke up every 1 hour and 45 minutes. No, not every 2 hours; I know because I looked at the clock. Each time I would sleepily take him out of his bassinet near my bed and tuck him on to nurse. We would both pass out. Sometimes I managed to put him back in the bassinet, sometimes Mark did, and often everyone just passed out for… you know… like 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Now, he has never been one of those great sleepers. And the next person who tells me their kid always slept at least 6 hours at a time is going to get my two fingers jabbed in their eyes a la The Three Stooges.

Saturday morning, I was on the verge of disowning Mark and Vivien as I tried to nap, and their chatter kept waking me up. I finally realized I had to make a mental choice to “wake up” even though I felt awful. All that was left for me to do was to consume a high calorie breakfast. Carbs and fat would have to be my fuel; fortunately there is a restaurant in the family that serves a good brunch.

I also decided, that’s it. Got to Ferberize the kid. I did it with Vivien when she was around 1, and it worked well. But since the move, I haven’t been able to find my book. Then, after brunch, what comes in the mail but the Ferber book! Looking like it had been ordered on Amazon as a used book. I thought, wow, I guess I’m not as totally super out of it as I thought ’cause in a moment of clarity, I bought this.

30 minutes later, my very good friend Bonnie called from Marin county (north of SF), “did you get the Ferber book?”

Good news: I have such a thoughtful friend who has listened to my needs and took care of me.

Bad News: I don’t know if I’m coming or going.

It’s funny how with a second child you sort of think a lot of these issues won’t fell you. You know what’s coming. Honestly, I knew it would be a challenge, so I had planned to hire massive amounts of help. But, um, then there was this Ponzi scheme, so jokes on me!

So, it’s a two part deal. #1 get him off the breast at night. Before we can do the classic Ferber, we need to tackle that. Mark is a trooper at helping, but I need to let him sleep sometimes, so I’m going into the piggy bank–happily this week. Saturday night our sitter/nanny/my real wife Dolly took the night shift. We agree Rex would get a bottle of pumped milk at 1 and at 5. That’s it. She said in her heavy accented voice,

“Missy Daphne, no matter you hear cry, no come in.  My responsibility.” I am a light sleeper and jump to him in seconds. Dolly and Mark said I’m making it worse. Which I sort of resented, but since they are helpful I’ll take it.

Mark took the next night. Thinking we need another Dolly night for his health though. It seems to be getting better. But it is so painful not to take him to my bosom when I hear him cry.

But I’m doing it. I have to. So far.

To be continued…

14 thoughts on “Sleep Training… Sort of

  1. Good luck. Sleep is worth it. My little guy didn’t start sleeping well until he was 13 months old! I tried to night wean earlier, but I was not able to out last his screams, and we all got to sleep a lot more if I just fed him.

    Anyway, good luck with the baby, you will both be happier with more sleep.

  2. Oh Daphne! Looking at that sweet face just melts my heart. I can only imagine how you feel when you hear him cry and “no come in”.

    It’s hard, but you’re doing a great job. And it really is for the best… for both of you.


  3. You can do it! I agree with Denise, sleep is so worth the effort here. I was so sleep deprived I can’t really remember how old she was when it happened (around 8 months) but our bug got put on the Feber fast track when I thought I’d turned the volume on the baby monitor up before going to bed but had really turned it off. I felt HORRIBLE but after that one night of total sleep bliss I had what it took to stay strong the next three nights. I didn’t read the book so I don’t know if I did it right but I’d just go in every 5 minutes or so and calm her. And, just to give you some hope… Our little one wasn’t a great sleeper before Ferber and now we’re all sleeping through the night, bedtimes are a breeze and I’m enjoying time to myself during her afternoon naps. Sure, she still wakes through the night every now and then because she can’t find her paci but I really don’t have a problem with that since she zonks out as soon as she’s plugged up again :) GOOD LUCK! Oh, and BTW, Rex is beautiful!

  4. ah, thanks all for the support. Last night was not so good. ( thanks the night weaning term, so tired couldn’t think of it) Mark came home late so I did nurse Rex when he first woke at 1. he woke back up at 4, but I wake first , run to him and then carried him around while I tried to get tired dad to wake up. I felt Rex must have been like, what’s up? just nurse me. Mark worked with him for an hour, a bottle, calming him. I couldn’t sleep. the house is small and I hear all.
    We hadn’t started the Ferber, leave em part yet. but after last night I think we should.
    Finally, I nursed him at 5 and he slept till 7:30.
    it might be progress, I don’t know . I’m too tired. But, I think it’s affecting my marriage

  5. I hate to say it…. my daughter is 18 months old and frankly I’m still sleep deprived… I find myself still napping with her. She’s still an early bird and depending on the phase of the moon, will wake up anywhere from 5-6:30…. we’re a little lucky in that she’s never been much of a cryer, so she’ll play in her crib with stuffed animals for a good half hour or more before we HAVE to go in…. but I await the days that my SIL assures me are coming where she doesn’t rise with or before the sun….

  6. I finally broke down and bought the Ferber book after buying every gentle sleep book out there (and borrowing every other sleep training book I could find). I can’t stomach the whole cry-it-out thing and I am very pleasantly surprised by the Ferber book. I think I can do this. There is some crying but it is reasonable and my kid is now 15 MONTHS OLD. Yep, I haven’t slept all night long for that long. Good luck, Daphne. Please wish me luck as well!

  7. Argghh.. my heart aches for you!! My partner had to do the whole sleep training, I just couldn’t bare it… I just want to run and hold my little Max in my arms everytime he cried! I’m now soo glad we did it ( though it nearly killed me) life is a little easier :)

    Good luck.. I’m sending positive vibes your way :)

  8. Daphne, it’s much easier to have someone other than the milk supplier attend to the baby in the middle of the night. Those little ones can smell you from anywhere, so forget about it if you’re the one trying to put him back down, at least at first.

    Some book we had when my kids were little recommended waking the child (I know, it sounds unnatural) when you went to bed yourself and feeding him/her then. So if you fed Rex at 9 and you were falling into bed at 11, then you would wake him and feed him at 11. That would (theoretically) top him off and allow him to sleep thru that 1 o’clock feeding and possibly go for a longer stretch until who knows when.

    It’s not foolproof, but it worked for each of my three kids. Good luck. It ain’t easy to get through those times.

  9. You are doing the right thing! Keep it up! But I can’t share my experiences cause you’ll poke me in the eyes. 😉

    He is big enough now that you are not depriving him — he is just in the habit — I know it is hard to listen to the cries. But you can do it and you will be so glad you did. Let us know how it is going!

  10. I really recommend Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr Weisbluth. I find it goes hand-in-hand with Ferber, and I buy it for all my pregnant friends. We followed it to the letter with our second and I had no idea sleep training could be so easy.

    And I would have to disagree with Jean and say never ever ever wake a sleeping baby. Ever. Waking them in the night to top them up doesn’t work, because they’re waking out of habit, not because they’re hungry. They need to learn that they can put themselves to sleep on their own.

    I know it’s so hard to ignore your crying baby! But when everyone sleeps the family is so much more functional…..
    Good Luck!

  11. Meg, yes, I think the wake to top off is good when they are very new, but yes, I have read that it’s habit and Ferber says feeding actually upsets there sleep.
    I think I read the weisbluth book a long time ago. he doesn’t go in as much as Ferber, i think.

    Last night I did make some progress. I hope. Twice I let Rex cry himself to sleep after I nursed him. I did do shorter nursing and the crying wasn’t more than 10 min. I lose sleep doing this, but keeping my eye on the prize!

  12. First time posting, Daphne! But I just watched all your videos and you are great! I relate to a lot of topics you talk about. I love your facial expressions. You are animated, like me.
    Anyway, this picture of Rex is a-DOR-able! How cute is he?

    Ok, about the sleep thing:

    I have an almost 4 year old son and he slept horribly as a baby. I nursed until he was 10 months old. Ok, so get this….I went back to work FULL TIME when he was 3 months old…and he would wake up every 2 hours ALL NIGHT LONG to nurse until he was 8 months old. So I had to get up for work at 4:45 am after getting 4 hours of sleep every night…each in 1 or 2 hour increments…it was like torture trying to go to work every day. I was the happiest woman alive when he miraculously started sleeping through the night at 8 months old! AND….my husband works nights so I was the only one to ever take care of the baby each and every night. Let’s just say it sucked!

    For some odd reason, with my 2nd child, who will be 1 on Thursday….he is a completely different sleeper.

    Letting them cry is very hard, but there were times I definitely did it. I run a box fan in my room and at times I thought I would go crazy if I didn’t get any sleep, so I would just drown out his crying. Sad, I know. But once you change their diaper, feed them, and everything seems taken care of, sometimes they just need to cry. It would never last long, thank God!!

    Anyway, this period is hard and I hope it gets better. It’s especially hard when you nurse and they find such comfort in it, even when they aren’t hungry!
    Good luck!

  13. Oh Daphne! I’m in the same boat- but my husband travels 90% of the time for work. So it’s me and baby all the live long night. I’ve gotten into the terrible habit of bringing him into bed with me because it’s just easier. We’re in the same room. How do you Ferberize like that? Lord only knows, I can’t take this much longer either. Where is my Russian night nurse?!

    I’ll be thinking of you when I wake up at 1am tonight. Hope it’s going well!

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