Sunday, July 22, 2007

Dr. Ferber, I salute you

I have been struggling for weeks with Campbell's sleep problems. He had gone from bad to worse in the course of a week - from waking up one time a night to every two hours Thursday night. Plus he's been waking up at 5:00 and refusing to go back to sleep. I felt like I was back in newborn phase. So I borrowed a page from Liz and did some research, pulling out books she had given me when Campbell was born. I had stashed them away thinking that being a mother of three I was seasoned enough to never need a baby book. Ha!

One book was by Sears, who wasn't helpful at all. He's a big proponent of letting babies sleep in bed with parents. I'm fine with that when they're tiny. Ella slept with us for her first three months - it was the only way she would sleep. But I wasn't about to put Campbell in bed with us at 10 months old. It seemed like that was a path that would just lead to more problems.

Another book had a table with information on all the different sleep training philosophies, from Ferber to Baby Whisperer to Baby Wise. The table was just what I needed. It gave a nice recap of Ferber, which I used with Ella and Lily with great success. It contained information I had forgotten - like increasing the time between visits to the crib by 5 minutes each time. It also reassured me that the baby wasn't going to calm down when I went in to check on him. I had been trying to do Ferber last week, but I kept getting freaked out that Campbell cried harder each time I went in. I thought I was doing something wrong. The book reassured me that it was normal for him to sound "possessed" while he was screaming.

Armed with this knowledge, I decided Friday night was the night. Campbell went to bed without a problem as usual, but then he woke up at 9:30. I knew he wasn't hungry, so I went in and patted him and talked to him for a few moments and left. I went back after 5 minutes, 10 minutes and 15 minutes. Each time he cried harder after I left him. I sat on the sofa, grinding my teeth in agony. But then, 10 minutes after my last visit and 10 minutes before I was supposed to go in again, Campbell stopped crying. The silence worried me. What if he had suffocated on his lovey? What if? What if? What if? B kept me from going in to check, and I went off to bed, so tired I was shaking.

The next thing I knew, it was 4 am and the dog was whining at the back bedroom door because it was pouring. I let her in and realized I hadn't been up with Campbell. I resisted the temptation to go check on him and went back to sleep. Campbell slept through until 6:30! That's the latest he's slept in weeks. And he woke up happy and chattering, rather than screaming, as usual.

Last night I put him down at 6:30 and crossed my fingers. He slept through until 6:30 again! Actually, that's not quite true. I heard him jabbering at one point over the monitor, but he didn't start crying and fell back asleep on his own.


So now I know he's capable of sleeping through, and I know that I can tough it out and do the Ferber method again if I need to. And I'm feeling more rested than I have in months and months.

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