Our First Night Ferberizing Our Baby
We swore we wouldn’t do it. We scoffed at the idea, acted all high and mighty…
“Oh we could NEVER let our darling child cry.”
(But cry he did. Granted, Itty Bitty had a serious case of colic until he was seven months old.)
But if we had any choice, we would never facilitate any crying fits or chicanery as it related to our little boy. He is perfect in our eyes, and we were ABOVE any of that other crap parents subject their child to.
You know how smiling is Buddy the Elf’s favorite?
Well crying is my kid’s favorite…
Thanks to the wonderful and aforementioned seven long months of colic, Itty Bitty had developed some extraordinarily bad habits when it came to sleep (or even calming down to go to sleep.) Unfortunately, it reached a point where there were only a select few methods I was able to use when it actually came to soothing my darling Itty Bitty:
1. I could wear him. (Great for him, but as he chunked up and became the Andre the Giant of babies, this proved to be murder on my poor back.)
2. Skin to skin contact. (I still love doing this. There’s nothing quite like feeling his little heart beat on my chest. But, this method is clunky and SUPER awkward in public. Some people may like the peep show, but Tall Dad certainly wouldn’t.)
3. Or, we could always fall back on ol’ reliable: lie next to him when he napped. (Also, still love doing this. His tiny little cuddles are an elixir made up of wholly awesomeness. But, I am an adult, and, despite my fervent protestations, I have to do adult things like clean, pay bills, watch trash TV, and use the restroom every once in a while. And while I would love to remain a Toy’s R Us kid, I also know this method is not conducive to being a productive grown-up.)
We love Itty Bitty, but sleep is really important and, because of these extremely time consuming constraints thrust upon us by Itty Bitty’s bad sleep habits, we just weren’t getting any. Wait, strike that – we were the proud beneficiaries of maybe an hour and a half a night. Something had to change. Tall Dad and I were reaching our breaking point.
But, we also had some good news too. Upon the seven month mark, we noticed that the colic had ended, and Itty Bitty’s demeanor had really changed for the better. It was like a light had gone off. This was our chance. We decided that it would be a great time for me to gain a little bit of my sanity back. I mean, I hadn’t slept well since my second trimester – which was A YEAR AGO. Obviously, Mamma needed some help. That help was going to come in the form of some real sleep training for Itty Bitty.
Tall Dad and I tried out a few different sleep techniques. Some seemed to slightly work, but nothing had made a big difference. Through the grapevine, however, we heard many parents had success Ferberizing their baby. It’s a pretty controversial method, but it does seem to work very well.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Ferber Method, (or, Ferberizing) – the idea is that you put your baby down to sleep without any coddling/nursing/rocking/holding, and check up on them at specific intervals until they fall asleep. A lot of people call this the Cry It Out Method (or CIO).
The first night of Ferberizing is supposed to look like this:
-Put baby into his/her bed without any assistance (ideally no pacifiers either, but you can cheat if you need to).
-If baby doesn’t cry, congrats. You have the holy grail child. Now shut up and stop telling me how your child sleeps through the night. I’m exhausted.
-If your baby cries, check on him in 3 minutes. Do NOT pick him up, do NOT nurse/rock/etc. Just pat him, give him back his pacifier if he needs it, and tell him it’s time to sleep. Do not spend more then an minute in their room. Leave.
-If baby continues to cry, do the same check up 5 minutes later.
-If baby continues to cry, do the same checkup 10 minute later.
-Continue checking up on the crying baby every 10 minutes until he is asleep.
Once asleep, pat yourself on the back, have a glass of wine, (or a double of your favorite whiskey) and get ready to go through this whole cycle again when your baby wakes up during the night. It sucks. It’s terrible. You’re gonna feel awful. But, hold true to the Force.
Supposedly, within 3-7 days your baby will start going to sleep like a champ….or so I’ve heard.
So, back to Tall Dad and I. We were desperate. And despite our self important opinions of ourselves and our parenting abilities, like Princess Leia pleading to Obi-Wan Kenobi, we knew this was our only hope.
So we finally decided to come down off our Ivory Tower, tuck our tails between our legs, and give that blasted Ferber Method a try.
Here’s what our first night looked like:
7:30 – We put Itty Bitty down, and he began crying as we left the room.
7:33 – After 3 min crying – I checked up on him, patted his back and told him it was time to sleep. This just made him cry more.
7:38 – We waited 5 more minutes, and Tall Dad checked in on him. This brought about the same effect.
7:48 – These 10 minutes were AGONIZINGLY painful. Terrible high pitched screams were coming from Itty Bitty, and when Tall Dad went to check in on him, he found our baby sweating and covered in snot and tears.
At this point, Tall Dad had a meltdown. He came back extremely upset, and I comforted him, reminding him that we needed to give this a good try before we ducked out. I told him I would do the next check in.
Six minutes later, at 7:54, Itty Bitty’s crying became a softer whimper.
Many minutes when by, he rubbed his eyes, sucked his fingers, and whimpered some more.
When 10 solid minutes of whimpering went by, I debated about checking in on him. I realized that he was calming down, and if I went in, it would only upset him more. So I waited.
14 more minutes went by, and he rolled on his side and began screaming.
8:20 – We had one pissed off baby yelling at us
8:30 – I did a check in, and he yelled at us with a furious rage as we left.
8:40 – Thumb sucking began again
8:47 – An hour and 17 minutes later, Itty Bitty’s breathing slowed down, and he fell asleep.
Thank you God!
9:07 – he woke up again.
I’ll tell you what…this Dr. Ferber has a lot of explaining to do….
I’ll let you know how the rest of our experience goes. Please feel free to send copious amounts of coffee, earplugs, (or whiskey) and tissues our way.