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September 22, 2009


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I really like the concept of gently patting the child's back as they fall asleep or slowly moving out of the room night by night via the "chair method"... but my kid screams like a demon if I'm in the room and won't pick her up. She's far better off with a "Night night, Mommy loves you, see you in the morning" than she'd ever be with a slow goodbye.

Different strokes for different folks indeed!

@Misc Jenn: My problem was that I had one baby who was cool with the patting and the other who was so NOT. I would sit in between their cribs and be patting and shushing them both at the same time and trying to inch away gradually. One boy would start making cooing noises, turn around and start falling asleep while the other started screaming bloody murder as soon as he'd see my chair even slightly shift. That slow goodbye was just a big mean tease to him. Kind of a ridiculous situation when they're in the same room. But it really drove home the point to me that different strokes are indeed for different folks...

Both my kids have been the same type as @Misc Jenn's. Mine, too, are much happier if you just get yourself out of there (if you're not going to be picking them up). As I mentioned in the last post, this mirrors their general reaction to the "gentle extinction" techniques, as far as I can tell. If you come back in it often gets them upset again, so unless they're really upset and getting more so, it's best to just stay the heck out.

As a side note, they're actually very similar in other ways pertaining to sleep, too. (Neither falls into either the crying tension-increaser or -decreaser category, for example. Sometimes they get wound up, sometimes they wind up and then wind down, sometimes they just wind down.) I'm fine with that--having had one of that type, I know what to do and what not to do, more or less, with the second--but I'm a little surprised. I thought the one thing I could rely on is that they would be notably different! And maybe it makes it harder, sometimes, to understand others' experiences.

We tried gentle methods before moving to Ferber. My husband would walk or bounce the baby to sleep at night, and I would take her for a stroller or car ride for naps. We found that this was effective, but took a long time and was very stressful for us. Our child, who is pretty even tempered, never quite managed to make the leap to self-soothing till we did Ferber. However, working with her so diligently ahead of time made the Ferber process very fast (1 night.) I'm glad we didn't let her cry early in her life, but in retrospect I would have given up on the gentle methods about a month earlier than we did. We were both getting very resentful of the time and stress we encountered around her bed time.

Everything was a gradual process of us encouraging but not forcing sleep habits. We moved from nursing to sleep (under 2 months old) to wearing him in a wrap/carrier and then to rocking. At 7 months old my husband started putting my son in the pack and play when he looked tired with some toys and music while my husband would work on the computer a few feet away. He started to fall asleep for most naps this way.
Then at 9 months old he refused to be rocked or walked to sleep for bedtime. We knew he could fall asleep on his own since he did it already for most naps so we put him in his crib with music and would sit in the room until he fell asleep. Every night we moved further from the crib and eventually left the room.
It took 2-3 weeks for a full transition. If my son whined we didn't do anything but if he cried we picked him up and would offer to walk him around the room. As soon as he would push away from us he went back in the crib. If he cried we picked him up again and repeated. When he cries he only escalates and gets hysterical so it was important to keep him as calm as possible through the whole process.
He started sleeping through the night during this time as well. I don't think what we did was exactly a method listed above but it was tailored around respecting my son's temperment as a tension increaser and respecting my need as a parent to comfort my child when he is crying.

I bought Ferbers book and Pantley's book. Read them both. Ferber takes a few nights, Pantley's takes a few months. Decided to try Ferber, if it didn't work, Pantley was Plan B. My son was a classic Ferber, fell asleep on the boob, then transfer to crib, then woke up EVERY SINGLE NIGHT at 3:30ish. One week of Ferber and he was going down by himself without crying, and staying asleep. He occasionally has bad nights, usually when he is overtired (who doesn't?), but Ferber worked for our kid...

I tried the Baby Whisperer's shh/pat method from when the baby was 6 weeks to 12 weeks old (3 months) and had absolutely no luck. Even now, at 8 months, if I am there, WHY AREN'T YOU PICKING ME UP!!

We tried Pantley's jiggles and stuff, and while we loved her book, we couldn't find anything that worked. Maybe we broke the baby by trying so many different methods.

tried different things with each kid ( I have five) and I found that for us the flexible method works the best....
Enjoying reading the blog

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  • I'm a developmental psychologist and mom to two awesome 3-year-old boys. My area of expertise is social and emotional development and most of my research is on interventions that help make families and friendships healthier for children. More about me...


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