Monday, October 17, 2011

Sleep Training

Well, Aiden's going to be turning 9 months this week and we finally decided a couple weeks ago that he needs to sleep through the night on his own. Yep, he was still waking up for bottles once or twice a night. We tried diluting it so it was mostly water, but he just started relying on the comfort of it, I think. Anyway, he had about four nights in a row that he woke up at least 4 times each night, and two of those nights he was awake in his crib for 2-3 hours before he fell back asleep. Needless to say, Dusty and I were TIRED. We definitely needed to try something . . .

So, since we were at the end of our ropes, we decided to try the Ferber method - it worked amazingly well for Asher, so we were hopeful it would work for Aiden, too. We had wanted to try it earlier, but Aiden still sleeps in our room, and Asher's room is right across the hall so we didn't want him to wake up scared if Aiden was crying. But, we took the plunge . . . The gist of the Ferber method is to let them cry for 5 minutes, go over and comfort with a few words, then leave. If they continue to cry, leave them for 10 minutes, comfort with the same words, then leave. And so on and so forth in five minute increasing increments. The first night was horrible. Seriously. Awful. He cried for a total of about half an hour, which when you're laying in the same room, hoping your toddler doesn't wake up, and wondering how long he can possibly continue, feels like long, long, never-ending hours. But here's the light at the end of the tunnel . . .

Since then, he never gets a bottle at night, and rarely wakes up. The second night was significantly better than the first - he only cried/fussed a total of about 10 minutes, then slept through the night. It was great - we all got some much needed sleep. Aiden has been much happier, too because he's actually getting the sleep he needs during the night. If he does wake up during the night now, he usually just rustles around for a little bit and goes back to sleep on his own.

This method is definitely not for those who aren't sure they want to do it. You really have to steel yourself and wait the time allotted. Going back and forth is confusing for the little one and can make the process last much longer. And trust me, those minutes you're waiting for them to stop crying move at a snail's pace. It's definitely not for everyone. With Asher, we waited until he was 16 months old before we did it, and then we only did because I was so pregnant with Aiden that I couldn't stand hunched over his crib for 1/2 an hour waiting for him to fall asleep. With Aiden, it was the same kind of thing, except it was exhaustion that drove us to it. Like I said, it's not easy to hear your little one cry for any amount of time, but this has worked really well for both of our boys and makes night-time much more relaxing for all of us!

On a Side Note: It's finally feeling like Fall which means it's apple and pumpkin season! I love desserts that use these ingredients so we'll see what I find! Also, we took the boys to Bloomsbury Farms last weekend and had so much fun!

1 comment:

  1. Wow Amanda I wish I had read or known about the Ferber method when my little boy was under a year. He was constantly getting up at night. Once a night by 10 months and it was because he had to have that bottle of milk. He was around 13 months before he slept through his first night of sleep. Let me tell you it was a long year of getting up every night with a little one and no one had any advice or suggestions on getting him to sleep through the night. His pediatrician just kept telling us he must need that snack at night. I think he just got accustomed and use to the habit. Spring came around and playing outdoors I think finally had him exhausted enough in the evening that he started to sleep all night. He is now 20 months and only gets up once in a great while, but never needs a drink of something just comfort and back to sleep. Thanks for your blog. Amber (Sylvara) Eilertson