As I type this post, my child is sleeping soundly, unswaddled, in her crib. It is 2 p.m. This is the same child who, last week, wouldn't nap outside of my lap, had spent only 1 night in her crib, and had begun waking 3+ times each night out of the clear blue sky! How is this possible? Dr. Ferber.
I know that his methods are controversial, and I am positive that just because this worked for us does not mean that it would work for everyone. I, however, was Ferberized in 1 night (according to my mom anyway) and so I naturally considered this method when researching ways to help Evie sleep better. Although I have done many things with Evie that swing more toward the "attachment parenting" side of things like breastfeeding her on-demand, wearing her when possible and practical, and having her sleep in our room at night and on me during the day, my natural parenting style, I confess, is not really so "earth-mother, nurturing" as all that. I am really fine with allowing Evie to experience a little discomfort for a lifetime of benefits, as is the case, I think, in helping her develop good sleep habits.
Evie has been sleeping through the night from about 7 weeks so Ferberizing her was not really about getting her to sleep longer. It was really about getting her to go to sleep at a more reasonable time, like between 8 and 9 as opposed to 11ish when she was in our room, and getting her to sleep in the crib in her room and then go back to sleeping through the night. I'm pretty sure that Nick's and my nighttime trips to the bathroom, coughing, sneezing, shifting in bed, etc. were beginning to disturb her, thus causing her to wake and cry several times a night, all of a sudden. It was suddenly absolutely imperative that she move to her room, something I was not ready for a month ago.
In preparation for the "Ferberization" I set up shop in our guest bedroom, ready to wait out the night, going into Evie's room every 10 minutes. I packed in water, 2, count them, 2 monitors (1 video and 1 sound only placed in the crib), magazines, books, my phone, my Nook, and my computer. I was ready for anything!
Imagine my surprise (and dare I say slight disappointment) when that first night she was asleep within 30 minutes. The next night she went right to sleep, woke around 1:30 and was back asleep around 2, and then last night she slept all the way through from 9pm until 6:30 this morning, then went back down after nursing until 8! We are still working on naps in the crib. Right now they max out at 30 minutes, but I know that this too will improve. I can't believe how non-traumatic this has been for both Evie and me!
I am so happy to have a little time to get chores done during the day and a few minutes to spend with Nick at night before we go to bed. I am crossing my fingers that this continues to work! I am so glad that we tried Ferber. I was scared at first of the "cry it out" approach, but once I realized that I didn't need to let Evie cry long before intervening I was better able to embrace it. It has really worked for us! Wahoo!