January 15, 2011

sleep training, round two

Well, Ferber's book arrived on Thursday, and the sleep training started yesterday.  All day on Friday I was second guessing whether or not I could do it.  When I rocked her to sleep for her naps it took a lot to not just sit there and cry.  I didn't want to make her unhappy, but the current situation wasn't really working for any of us.

Here is an exert from Ferber's book, Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, that is a little humorous, but also really hit home with me on why sleep associations matter.  It's a little long but bear with me.

Perhaps you've had the experience of waking during the night just enough to notice your pillow missing.  Most likely, instead of going straight back to sleep, you wakened a little more, enough to find the pillow on the floor and pull it back into bed before returning to sleep.  But if you couldn't find it right away, you probably wouldn't be able to ignore it and go back to sleep.  Instead, you'd become more fully awake so you could look around for it.  If you still couldn't find it, eventually you might turn on the light, get out of bed, and being searching the room.  You might get angry and perhaps curse-showing the same kind of frustration that a child shows by crying.

Even if your pillow falls out of your bed once or twice every night, it will hardly disturb your sleep: retrieving the pillow from the floor doesn't require you to wake up very much or for very long.  But suppose that you are physically unable to get the pillow yourself, and you have to call someone else-perhaps a nurse-to come into the room and replace it whenever you wake up and find it missing.  The nurse will soon learn that once you have your pillow back you'll fall asleep quickly, but your frequent wakings during the night might still seem abnormal to him or her.

To stretch the analogy a bit further, suppose you discover that someone has been sneaking into your room each night and stealing your pillow.  Once you know that, you might have trouble falling asleep at bedtime for fear that the pillow will be taken away as soon as you're asleep.  Whenever you catch yourself starting to drop off to sleep, you might wake yourself up again to make sure the pillow is still there.

Now imagine that this person, instead of just taking your pillow, actually moves you from your bed to another room, without waking you.  Every night you go to sleep in your bed with everything just as you like it, only to wake up after your first sleep cycle on, say, the floor of the living room.  Unless you're an exceptionally tolerant sleeper, you won't even try to go back to sleep right there; you'll get up and head back to your bedroom.  But now suppose you find your bedroom door locked from the other side.  Now there's nothing you can do but wake someone who can unlock the door for you.  Once that's been done, you can at least get back into your bed and get your pillow and blanket arranged properly, thereby reestablishing the conditions that were present at bedtime.  Once you calm down, you will fall back asleep-but some ninety minutes later you'll wake up again, back on the living room floor and again locked out of your bedroom.

If that happens throughout the night every night, you will not be sleeping well at all, and neither will the person who has to keep getting up to unlock your door.  Soon you might be resisting sleeping the hopes of identifying the person who keeps moving you; in other words, you might have trouble falling asleep even in your own bed because you know that you'll be moved once you fall asleep.  If that happened to you every night, you would not be very happy.

After reading that, it finally made more sense to me, why Ry was having trouble falling asleep, and why she needs me in the middle of the night, even though she isn't hurt/sick/wet/hungry.  So as much as I don't want to leave her in her crib crying, to make things better for the both of us I need to give it a try.

Because I am the one to usually put Ryann to bed, based on the recommendation of the book we decided to have Chris put her to bed the first night (and maybe a couple more nights!), in the hopes that if she thought I wasn't around she would go to sleep easier.

I'm not going to lie, it was sheer torture listening to her.  We skipped the first day intervals, because they started with 3 minutes, and we felt that was too short for Ryann.  She had been alone longer than that in her crib before, and going back in just made her more upset.  So we started with the second day intervals.  Chris visited Ryan after 5 minutes, and then 10 minutes, laying her back down and telling her it was ok and that Mommy and Daddy loved her very much.  The next interval was 12 minutes... Ryann quieted down half way through, and honestly?  We are pretty sure she fell asleep sitting up with her forehead resting against the crib for a little bit.  She started crying lightly again around the 12 minute mark, but we decided it would be best to set the timer again for 12 minutes and see what happened.  After seven minutes she was pretty much laying down asleep.  I say pretty much, because she was asleep, but she fell asleep half sitting up, sort of laying back on the crib bumpers.  Eventually she rolled over and stayed asleep.

When I heard her start to wake up at 1:30AM everything in my body tensed.  I was so dreading hearing her cry in the middle of the night.  But she surprised me.  She sat up, looked around, relocated herself, and then laid back down.  It took her about 30 minutes to go back to sleep, but she never really cried.  Just sort of did what I call her 'complaining'.  I heard her again at 4:30AM, but she was up for maybe 5 minutes or less.  She woke for the day at 5:15AM.  40 minutes earlier than she usually gets up, but the book said that if they wake an hour or less before their usual time, to just get up with them.  And we've decided we are going as strictly by the book as we can for now.  It is nice to have a plan and instructions to follow :o).

This morning I laid Ry down for her nap at 9:00, 30 minutes earlier than she usually goes down, but since she woke up early I could tell she was exhausted.  She cried as soon as she was in the crib, and I set the timer for five minutes.  At the end of the five minutes she seemed to have calmed down a bit, but she was still crying and standing.  I toyed with leaving her a few more minutes, but decided to go in.  Of course that made her more upset again and I am still kicking myself, wondering if she would have just laid down and gone to sleep, ugh, anyway... At the 9 minute mark of the 10 minute period she spit up, so we had to go in, change the sheet and her pajamas.  Wouldn't you know that really pissed her off.  I felt so bad, but we laid her back down, told her we loved her and said night night.

I set the timer for 15 minutes instead of 12, because for naps Ferber suggests that if they are not asleep after 30 minutes, to get them up and try again at the next nap time.  12 minutes would have had me go in, and then she would only have 3 minutes before I would come back and get her.  That seemed more traumatic than just setting the timer for 15.  After 14 minutes she was asleep... unfortunately sitting up.

can you see her in the corner?  poor thing :o(

After she had been asleep for five minutes, I went in and laid her down so that she wouldn't wake up all stiff from sleeping like that.  I'm hoping that soon instead of passing out from exhaustion while sitting up, that she will actually lay down and go to sleep.  But this was only our second non-rocking sleep session, and she has only cried 30 minutes both times, and she has gone to sleep both times.  So I guess I'll go with progress/success so far.

Another thing in Ferber's book that I appreciated reading, was how much sleep kids need and what expectations you should really have.  I swear I always heard that babies slept 12 hours at night and still took naps.  But apparently that is not the norm, and wanting Ryann to sleep 14 hours out of the day is ridiculous.  So now I am hoping for 12-13 hours of sleep a day, 10 at night and 2.5 during naps.  When we really started looking at it, that schedule/amount of sleep seemed to be what Ry was trying to keep, and something that was completely manageable.  I'm hoping once we get the hang of this, she will sleep from 8-6 or 6:30 at night, and then take two 1-1.5 hour naps during the day.

For anyone out there having any sort of sleep troubles with your little one, be it a four month old or a three year old, I highly recommend reading Ferber's book.  I think sometimes it gets a bad rap, or people hear Ferber method and assume something really harsh, but I am getting some great insight from the book.  He has suggestions for solving all sorts of different sleep problems, and breaking down for you why your child is having a sleep problem.

Wish us luck.  I'll keep you updated as to how all the sleep training is going.


Mrs. D said...

I loved reading this. Like you read in my last post,we are *trying* to do this same thing, but not following it as strict because if her age (i feel guilty I think?). Keep us posted! I really hope Ry catches onto it shortly :)

Megan said...

Is there anything in there about puking babies if theyre left to cry longer than 5-10 minutes?? TF is giving me a heck of a time. He will be 1 in less than a month and still wakes 3-4 times a night. I was giving him a bottle every time just to get him back to sleep but have switched to water which he does NOT want. He wants me to hold him every. single. time. The other night we went 2 hours of him passed out in my arms, then SCREAMING the second I put him in bed. Over and over. I'm SO done with it and ready to have a good sleeping baby!

Kalen said...

We didn't read his book but we got caught in the trap of going in too early (like after 5 minutes) and seriously, it almost screwed crap up royally. So I forced myself to start at 15 minutes one day during her naps.

She started falling asleep around the 10-12 minute mark. A few days later it was around the 8-10 minute mark. A few days later it was around the 5-8 mark, and now it's within 5 minutes - usually much shorter and sometimes she doesn't cry at all.

It's been a blessing for Everly & our family. People say, "Don't let them cry it out!" but Everly was actually crying *more* before we did this [whether we were rocking her or not, she was crying/fussing pretty much]. She gets much more sleep and is so much happier - it's crazy.

Nicole said...

I'm glad you are trying this. You already sound relieved. I haven't read Ferber's book but read some others like The Baby Whisperer and 12 hours in 12 weeks. We didn't follow all of their schedules and expectations to a T but we started letting our baby "cry it out" a bit at 3 months. She does really well calming herself down now and bedtime is so much less stressful for all of us.

We are guitly of not letting her cry very long when she wakes up during the night. I know it is because selfishly, my hubby and I want to go back to sleep. But after reading this, I think we need to stand our ground and help her learn to settle herself.

Thanks for sharing your progress! Keep the updates coming!

Ashley said...

Good Luck! You guys are doing great. Luckily we never have had sleep issues with Lilly, but when we switched from co-sleeping to crib sleeping around 13 months we had to let her CIO. First night was about 15 min, second night 7, 3rd night less than 5. Now she takes us to her room and says "nigh nigh" when she wants to go to bed. Stick with it and be consistent. I think that's important with all things "parenting". You guys can do it!!!

The Bignon Family said...

Good luck! I haven't read Ferber's book, but read several others (baby wise, whisper, happy sleep habits, etc.) And in the end what worked for us was our own modified version of what we knew about Ferber's method. It worked I think in 2 days. But one thing you said that I didn't realize (since I never read the book) was that according to him babies only need 12-13 hours sleep. I was also under the impression it should be 12 at night plus naps. Nicholas has started waking up a lot earlier in the past month so he is now sleeping from 8p-6a, and then 2 (1.5ish hour) naps. So 12-13 hours. And he is mostly happy all day so I guess that is what he needs. I have been stressing so much to get him to sleep later in the morning and nothing seemed to be working. I guess I just need to get my butt in bed earlier !!!

Nikki said...

I found your blog from the bump. I wanted to say stay strong mama. We had to do some sleep training with our daughter, and she sleeps like a champ. We had to do a "refresher course" last week after she got over a really bad cold because we had been holding her upright to sleep. Pretty soon you'll have a DD that you just lay in bed and she goes right to sleep on her own.

Mrs. S said...

We used Ferber and it worked great! After night two he was sleeping through the night! Currant has a very strange schedule though, he goes to bed anywhere between 5:30-6pm and doesn't wake until about 4:00, we do give him a bottle at 4 because that's like 10-11 hours of sleep with no feeding. He does go back down till 6:30-7am! The 4:00 feeding does stink but he goes down much easier feeding him a bottle rather than letting him cry it out!

Good luck to you! I wish we had a video monitor!

Kayla said...

Good luck!

Ramblings of a Small Town Girl

emily barkemeyer said...

Just wanted you to know that you are a GREAT Mom, and thanks for the book recomendation! I used Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child (I think that's the correct title :)) with Ellen and it was great, we rocked her until 6 months so I understand all or your concerns/emotions. But Maggie has different sleep habits with different problems we need to fix on top of the fact that I don't want her waking up Ellen with her crying. So...I just ordered the Ferber book from Amazon in hopes of a few different suggestions! Thanks for sharing your sleep training journey, it's exactly what I needed to feel "normal" about my life with a 5 month old! Hang in there, sleep training Ellen was the BEST thing we ever did!

Simply Me Art said...

Just had to comment when I stumbled in and read your post. I too read the Ferber book and my husband and I decided to Ferberize our than 6 month old daughter. Within a few days she was finally sleeping through the night and we were a much Happier house. I worried too and second guessed, but I can say 16 years later I realize his method worked and so glad I bought the book. She is a teenager now and Dr. Ferber's book seems like a life time ago. Good Luck, Jamie