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September 16, 2009


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My family did this without knowing that "Ferberizing" is what it was! I've heard so many bad things about it now that all I can do is be grateful no one told me before. There's so much advice when you have a new baby and I took way to much of it to be "gospel". Glad to know that ignorance is definitely bliss in this case.

We did this at about a year. It worked in one night because we'd been doing more "gentle" sleep training up until then. I didn't like it, but it was effective then and after major sleep disruptions -- like vacation. It does work, and our family is better now that our toddler puts herself to sleep.

We did this at 8.5 months and it took 2 days to get our daughter to not cry at all before going down. Even those first 2 days weren't bad at all - she cried 3 mins, then for 5 minutes. I think the second day there was a third session of 8 minutes crying, but that was it. After her 7 PM bedtime, she slept through until 6 AM. We were astounded. Previously we'd be rocking her to sleep, waiting for the deep sleep, and then in ninja-like fashion, trying to back out of the room and avoid the squeaky floor boards in a house that is 85 years old!

The 9 month sleep regression hit us at 10 months, and we had 2 months of pure h-e-double hockey sticks. Especially after 6 weeks of bliss. We went back to rocking her and sleep by any means necessary.

We tried Ferber again at 14 months and it again took 2 days and has stuck. Sure, we have nights where it takes a lot longer but it's always due to teething, and even then she is not happy with us holding her.

The one thing I will say is that consistency is sooooo important. I'm often to blame for lack of consistency because her crying can make me so emotional, and I miss holding her while she sleeps. But all it takes is a "bad" night and I'm reminded that sleep training is for both of our benefits!

I applied it to both my children, at 5.5 ( Mr. Easy) and 6.5 months ( Ms. Not So Easy) old. With my 'easy' child who had been sleeping great for months already but started waking up for what seemed no real reason, it took two nights for it to work. In hindsight, it wasn't the best fit for him as he was (is) a tension increser, but I didn't know that 4.5 years ago. Still it proved very efficient and he hasn't suffered any long term damage from it ( she says laughing to herself).

My daughter was the perfect candidate for Ferberizing as she is a tension releaser and even now at a little past 2.5, needs to wail for a while in order to get to sleep. There were results immediately with her and I was able to knock out the wake-up-every-40-minute routine at the beginning of the night after 2-3 tries. The waking up in the middle of the night took a bit longer, but by 7 months she was sleep trained and she was only waking for her 'morning' feed at around 5-5.30. And going to bed drowsy but AWAKE, which is something she continued to do even when other aspects of sleep trainig had worn off.

Not only did my daughter's night time sleep improve 500%, but so did her naps. Perhaps it was a coincidence, but she started sleeping 2-2.5 hours in the afternoon too. So BONUS!

Honestly...I can't imagine using it with my son. However he is a tension increaser and my own personality does not fit well with this method either.

I find no fault with people who do use this method especially if they are consistant and do it at 6+ months old. That being said I do wish that people would attempt other "no cry" methods or more gentle methods first without this being the automatic go to for sleep training.

I tried it. I also tried the Pantley method, the serious cry-it-out time, and nearly every other sleep training trick I could locate. And the first time my daughter slept through the night, she was 21 months old. Now, at 28 months, she sleeps through about five nights out of seven. She's just a lousy sleeper, like me, and no amount of sleep training was going to help.
I'm glad I had her first, though. Her younger sister is champion sleeper. I would have thought I was Queen of Sleep Training, had #2 been first, rather than understanding that it's the luck of the draw.

At 18 months we let our cry it out for 45 minutes without going back in (so, much harsher than Ferber--"total extinction"!). But I remain convinced that it was absolutely the right thing to do and I am now a believer in the sleep associations concept. Over the prior nine months we had gotten into a vicious circle of carrying him around for hours at a time so that he wouldn't cry. By the time we let him CIO he was waking up every two hours and my husband was carrying him around for two or three hours a night ... at least. Because, of course, we'd trained him to sleep while being carried around.

I feel like a total and utter ass for letting it get that bad. I made some dumb choices and didn't realize how abnormal things were. (Actually, the whole "sleep regression" concept really worked against me there, it allowed me to think our situation was normal, but that's another topic.) But I think the technique we used was actually the kindest method of working out his sleep so that we could all recover. Knowing what I do about his personality, I think going back in, even for progressively longer periods, would have made it a lot worse for him as well as us. That "going back in and patting" thing never worked for us. And, after the second night (15 minutes of crying) he has slept through every night since, barring a couple exceptional situations. He's now 2 1/2.

(There was a lot of other stuff. We didn't just plonk him down and say "see ya." We totally revamped and structured his nap and sleep routine, gave him a buddy, the doulas we hired as sleep consultants did the first night for us, etc.)

I am using some of Ferber's ideas to shape my 3.5-mos daughter's sleep habits so that we don't get into that place with her; that is, the idea of slowly working on healthy sleep associations. She cries a little most nights, but not more than I'm comfortable with (maybe 5 minutes--and not full-on crying) and I feel like this time we're doing what's healthy for everyone from the start.

Our 5 month old has always been put down to sleep and left on his own until he would cry or fuss and then we'd go in and reassure him and eventually he'd fall asleep. Ususally we are not in the room when he does fall asleep. We didn't realize that we were applying this method, but after reading about it - we were. Now at 5 months old we don't go in very often if at all. He falls asleep on his own. However I don't think it really is anything we did or didn't do. I think he is just a really good baby. He does not even cry when he wakes up at 4 a.m. for feeding, he just wakes up and you can hear him making little noises - and I go in and feed him and he eats his bottle and goes right back to sleep. No crying at all.

I'm personally too squeamish to have ever tried Ferber out on my son (though knowing his personality, I don't think he's ever been a good candidate for it anyway). I feel like a lot of the "problems" associated with babies waking up all night could be solved if more parents were willing to co-sleep, quite frankly.

Babies just don't have adult-oriented sleeping habits, though I fully understand that the demands of a baby who doesn't sttn are hard when both parents are working full-time - I have done my share of catching up on sleep the next day when my son's been particularly nutty at night.

And I say this after co-sleeping with one of the worst baby sleepers out there, who is just now, at 18 months, starting to be able to go back to sleep without the boob and with minimal patting on the back...sleep training is such a personal family decision, but sleep is treated as one of the first parental decisions that one can fail at (since the first question asked by everyone when you have a baby, is "are they sleeping?").

bkwyrm said it best - your child's sleep habits are pretty much the luck of the draw, not what you do (or don't do) as a parent.

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