Finding a Sleep Method That Works for My Family

Working eleven days straight without a day off. That’s what set me over the edge. I could hardly function, and my daughter was still waking up every two hours.

About three weeks ago I was exhausted, desperate enough to order “Baby Wise” to see what wisdom I could find within. The next week, I burned out. I didn’t want to be touched, was tired of nursing, pumping, being awake all night then working all day. I couldn’t focus and I broke down.

For the first time since becoming a mother, I felt agitated with my daughter. I distinctly remember looking at her and feeling like I wasn’t as happy as I used to be and felt so horrible for feeling this way. For the first time since having my daughter I seriously thought postpartum depression could be setting in. This wasn’t like me to feel so helpless and unhappy. Of course this wasn’t her fault, she’s a baby and babies needs to eat, but every time she did I found myself feeling more annoyed. I was morphing into a different woman and it had to stop.

People kept telling me babies sleeping habits never last longer than a week or two.

“It’s a growth spurt,” they’d say. Or “Maybe she’s just teething.”

Week after week nothing was changing, and I knew I had to do something about it, try something because I couldn’t give my all around the clock.

“Baby Wise” showed up in my mailbox and I started reading it for ideas. At the same time I started reading “Attached at the Heart” a book by the founders of Attachment Parenting International. It was given to me at a birth expo and I turned to it during this rough time.

I’m not really into self-help books or things like this, so neither kept my interest long but I pushed through. Both books seemed to be bickering at the people on the other side. The tone of “Baby Wise” blatantly knocks on those who practice attachment parenting (which now I can see why so many people who live that way hate it) while “Attached at the Heart” is obviously bias towards their ways.

I decided to take one key principal I read in both–having a routine–and go from there, making my own system.

About the same time I’m coming to this realization, I notice one of my friend’s Facebook status says she’s Ferberizing her baby. Her daughter is a week older than mine and we’ve had a few heart-to-hearts about their sleep habits.

I had read a little bit about the Ferber Method shortly after my daughter was born as a way to help babies sleep. I’d read it wasn’t recommended to start until your baby is emotionally ready between 4-6 months (keeping night feedings going if needed, until 6 months) so I kind of put it to the back of my mind.

I wasn’t sure it would be for me having heard many negatives about the method, but I read a great little article about Ferber Myths and realized there was quite a bit of misconception surrounding what it involves. Some call it the “Cry it Out” method, and assume it means just letting your baby cry while you stand aside with no interventions.

Since I had a bit of knowledge of the method I was familiar with the term “Ferberizing” my friend used in her status. Instead of accusing her saying “How could you do that?” or “I feel sorry for your poor helpless baby” I did what any logical person would do, and asked her how she’s doing it.

I did admit that I am a wuss and probably wouldn’t be able to let my daughter cry. What can I say–The slightest whimper, we jump.

I asked her if she was following the time tables in Dr. Ferber’s book “Solve Your Babies Sleep Problems,” how long she waited to go in and check on her and if she picked her up. Her response was so simple yet so grand.

“I just feel it out,” she told me. “If she cries a long time or really hard I just pick her up and put her back down when she calms down. The point is to help her fall asleep on her own”

That’s it? No stopwatches? No strict rules. She just does what she feels is right in the moment. It’s not rocket science.

I had borrowed “Baby 411” and read about different sleep methods including the Ferber Method and others found in “No Cry Sleep Solution.” We already had a bedtime routine down but the “no cry” factor wasn’t as easy as they make it seem. She cried EVERY night around bedtime because she’d be so overly tired, and then still woke up all night.

I know two years isn’t a long time for some women to live without sleep (because people keep telling me this is a short time and that it will pass) but for me–A working mom who supports her family, sleep is necessary (not that it isn’t for SAHMs too, don’t get me wrong, everyone has their own sets of hardships but we’re talking about ME here). Maybe if I was at home all day and didn’t have any place to be, or could nap whenever I wanted (because on my days off I take naps with my baby and get much more sleep, although I know this isn’t how it is for everyone, I’m talking about MY LIFE  so please don’t get offended), it would be easier for me to handle. Or if was willing to burn my freezer stash and ask my husband to feed her four or five times a night.–But that thought brings on a whole different wave of anxiety.

My negative attitude was developing because my lack of sleep. In my eyes, a few tears for a few weeks are better than nightly breakdowns from me and her, plus an exhausted mom who’s sleep walking resentfully through the first two years of my daughter’s life. I’d give it a try, and we could always try something else the next night.

I was originally ending my post here with the follow up post tomorrow with how it’s working, but to avoid misconceptions of that people THINK I’m doing, I’m just going to post it all here, and make this a super long post.

What We Were Doing
We already had a good bedtime routine down. For weeks I would give my daughter a warm bath, massage her, read her a story, and nurse her to sleep. But when I’d set her down, if she didn’t immediately wake up, she would within an hour and scream like crazy wondering where I was and why she was in her crib. I’d usually give in and bring her downstairs to hang out with us until I’d go to bed around midnight. This was WAY too late for her to be going to sleep, and probably one of the reasons she’d wake up every-other hour thereafter. When I’d give up and bring her to bed with me, I’d be kicked or slapped awake every half hour; and eventually put her back in her crib where the cycle would start over.

What We’re Doing Now
In Baby 411 regarding the Ferber method, the key is to set your baby down awake. 

Exactly a week ago, I decided this was the night we’d change the routine a little. Two hours before her “bedtime” we danced and exercised around the living room using our mommy and me fitness DVD, or some dance thing on Exercise on Demand. We’d get riled up. She’d laugh hysterically and smile the whole way through. When I noticed she was getting tired from playtime, I moved on to bath time.

This was the time we’d still play, but more quietly in a warm bath. She’d wanted to nurse every now and again during her bath and I let her, since I know my supply is lower at night and she needs to cluster feed and stock up before bed.

After her bath I gave her a massage, turned on church music, sang to her and got her in her PJs. I’d also frequently say “it’s time to go night night.”

Then we’d move to her room where I turned on her lullaby CD player, and read her a bedtime story.

After that, her dad would read us a Bible story while she continued to nurse.

We finished off her routine with a family prayer and by then her eyes were drooping if she wasn’t already asleep. This is where I made the biggest change. As I laid her down in her bed I kissed her and told her “goodnight” or “night night.” She woke up, which was expected, and I set her down (awake), turned off her bedroom lamp and turned on her glowing stars.

Leaving the room when she started to cry was very very hard. Being away from her all day makes me feel guilty for leaving her when I don’t have to. But I did have to. I had to at least try for the sake of my sanity.

Usually, I’d always pick up when she starts fussing. I didn’t think I could take it very long but set a goal to give her 10 minutes to fall asleep, unless she started screaming.

By the time I got downstairs and turned on the baby monitor 30 seconds felt like 30 minutes, and I was ready to turn around and go pick her up. I told myself she had a full tummy, a clean diaper and a sleepy head though so I knew she was ok. She just didn’t know her bed is a place for sleep.

After, get this–three minutes–She had stopped crying and started mumbling like she does when she’s tired in her car seat. It’s working, I can’t believe it. I thought. Just four minutes later she was out like a light.

In a total of seven minutes she had fallen asleep on her own, after a loving bedtime ritual.

The best part?–She only woke up twice that night and I got two four-hour stretches of sleep for the first time in over a month. Granted, I had to be to work at 4am the next morning, so I didn’t get to fully enjoy it, but this was a HUGE step.

My Adjustments to Ferberizing
I still fed her when she woke up in the middle of the night. Ferber, doesn’t recommend you let your babies cry themselves back to sleep in the middle of the night until they’re six months old.

My husband told me after I left for work and she woke up, he went to prepare her a bottle but by the time he got back upstairs she had fallen back asleep. He still woke her up and fed her, but it made me wonder if us sleeping in her room is causing her to stir and me to automatically feed her when I hear her.

I also don’t follow the time outline Ferber gives of Day One 5min, 10min, 15min, 15min etc… Day 2, 10min, 15min etc. I just listen to her and go in when I feel I need to. With the exception of Day 2 she’s falling asleep within 0-7 minutes.

I still call what I’m doing a version of “Ferberizing” because it’s using the key principal of setting my baby down when she’s awake, and leaving her room while she falls asleep, even if she cries.

How it Went This Week
I’m not going to lie and say it’s all been easy. We’ve been trying this for a week, which isn’t long but it’s the best week of sleep we’ve all had in over a month. Coincidence? I think not. But I hope this post doesn’t jinx us.

Night two of our modified method was much more difficult than day one. She fussed for about 15 minutes total, but I went in and soothed her every so often until she fell asleep. That was the worst of it so far.

Night three we did the same routine, I nursed her until her eyes were drooping or closed, I woke her up to say good night and she fell asleep within five minutes.

Night four she fell asleep after three minutes. But she woke up after about three hours and I fell asleep nursing her in our bed and kept her there until I went to work at 4am. I paid a price with no sleep, but I was ok with not “sticking to the plan.”

Now get this… Nights 5 and 6 and 7, we did the same routine. But when I woke her up with her kiss goodnight, as soon as I set her down, she closed her eyes and went back to sleep! I’ve never been able to put her in her bed awake and have her do that (except for one time when she was a month old and fell asleep while I went to the bathroom).

She still wakes up to eat at night but instead of the piercing scream she used to give, wondering why in the world she’s in her crib, she kind of does this whimper/babble thing, and looks around. Because she knows she sleeps in her bed, that I’m right there in the room with her and will come pick her up. 

Torture? Damaging? I don’t think so. Do I think because of this she’s going to grow up to me a mass-murdering maniac? No. In fact, she seems happier now. She’s taking a longer, consistent nap for her daddy during the day and isn’t cranky at night.

I could argue that she used to cry more when my husband would try to bounce or sway her down to sleep, or when she’d stay up late with us, fussing all night because she was overly tired. It’s as if she has learned what’s coming next, and now that she’s going in her crib milk drunk and half awake, she knows that’s where she falls asleep and no longer needs to stay asleep in my arms.

My husband and I are having conversations again, actual alone time. And I can function at work.

Contrary to what Ferberizing critics will tell you, the CIO or “cry it out” method, which can be traced back to the book “The Care and Feeding of Children” is not the same as Ferberizing. Regardless, I took a few ideas and developed my own approach. And so far, it’s working great.

I’ve been tweeting about my success with Ferberizing (or rather, my modified mehod), and of course those who disagree have lots to say about my damaging my daughter. But I won’t get into that. The commotion brought me to another mom who says the Cry it Out method is the best thing she’s ever done for her family. (FYI, her post is ‘R’ rated for language, but here’s a piece I love):

“So to all you struggling mothers out there, who have been told how cruel cry it out is, and have so much guilt around the idea that you won’t consider it, don’t. It certainly isn’t for everyone, and I am in no way advocating letting your child scream hysterically while she vomits and hyperventilates, just so you can catch some Z’s. What I am saying is that it’s not as bad as you think, and when and if you’re ready to consider it, know that you’re a good parent for helping your child learn to sleep. I didn’t love it, I still don’t like when it takes her a few moments to settle down, but I love that I can see the light and love my child again.”

Do I think it would work for every family? No. Do I think you should let your babies cry for an hour while you stand by filing your nails? Of course not.

Once again it just goes to show what works for one baby may not work for another. And I’m brave enough to admit that.

So Lil’ J fussed in bed while falling asleep for a few moments a few nights and now there’s not a peep at bedtime. I know this may change some from night to night. We’ll continue adjusting as she grows and gets teeth, and who knows, maybe she’ll just freak out some nights and we’ll do something different. But overall, right now, this small sacrifice on both our ends is making a world of a difference in our lives.

As a mom, we’ve gotta use take our instincts into account when choosing what’s right for us. Doctors and well-(or not so well)-meaning moms don’t always know what’s best for YOUR family. In only a week I’m already SO MUCH happier, feeling healthier, and refreshed, and my daughter is growing beautifully, learning balance and routine.

I attribute much of this to our new method. But who knows how Spawnie #2 will be.

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  1. I’m glad you found something that works for you! I also think it’s awesome that you do your OWN research and don’t take what people tell you as gospel. So many times people just “do” and don’t think about what’s right for them and their family. Babies aren’t cookie cutter and no two are alike. Parenting is all about trial and error and you go forward with what works.

    I applaud your willingness to really feel through things (from a type of birth plan, to cloth diaper trials, to breastfeeding to sleep routines, etc.) taking into account many different sides/views of a topic. I think you should take YOUR experiences as a first-time mom navigating through the world of over-the-top opinions and so called experts on how to raise babies and develop your own book. A sort of “if you’re tired of the extremes this is how I dealt and it may work for you” type of read. Something that isn’t preachy and let’s the reader understand you’ve been there (confused, and overwhelmed with all the information and looked at sideways for thinking or feeling a certain way). It’s your blog only in hard copy form :). I think people can relate more to someone who’s gone/going through the same predicaments than professional Dr. written books.

    Anyway, just an idea. I just think your experiences would really help those other mothers in need. I, like you, don’t usually care for self help books because I think they seem ‘holier than thou’ and use the ‘one size fits all’ mentality, but I think your take on things, is totally different. I wish I’d had as much knowledge and information on hand 16 years ago when I became a mom for the first time that you do now.

  2. I’m glad the Ferber method worked for you. I think that with every method advocated by ‘experts’, you must adjust to fit your family and this is exactly what you did. Good you’re sleeping well again!

  3. Any sleep method not matter what is involved is not for everyone. After 6 months of waking up constantly and having to bounce and rock my son to sleep every night I couldn’t handle it anymore. We did use Ferber but we tailored it to what worked for us. I also started nursing him like every hour 2-3 hours before bed (cluster feedings) so he was “tanked” up in hopes it would help him sleep. And it did and he’s 2.5 and has been a great sleeper ever since.

  4. I absolutely LOVE this post!! Thank you for sharing so much detail. I have struggled for a long time which ‘method’ to use but lately have come to a conclusion you have to do whats best for you family. I have found that taking a little from each method can go a long way and bring peace to Mom and baby. Its so cool so find mom’s that have the same opinion or look on things. As a young mom of 2 soon to be 3 I get alot of criticism. Especially when it comes to letting them self soothe. Your post really encouraged me to keep going and do what feels right. You are doing such a good job with her and I appreciate you giving us some peeks into your life. I learn alot!

  5. I hope that she starts sleeping through the night completely for you! You have met all her needs and that’s what you need to do. You are trusting your instincts! Every baby is different and people need to realize that!

  6. The greatest advice I can give expectant/new parents is to try the Ferber method. I did it with my son when he was 6+ months old, and to this day (he’s going to be 22 months old in a few days), he is a terrific sleeper. It was difficult the first couple of days to hear him cry, but as I said, it was only a couple of days. He is not an unhappy kid now because of it, nor is he scarred for life. He goes to sleep easily, and his parents remain sane! It’s a win-win situation! 🙂

  7. Thanks for this post. I am having some issues with my baby sleeping and I think I will try some of your suggestions. Personally, I get so sick and tired of moms strongly voicing their opinions over others and criticizing, especially when no one asked. We all have a right to raise our children how we see fit. People get so strong willed about their viewpoints that they turn others off. Loved this post! Good luck to you!

  8. Yay for you! To all those Ferber haters I just have two things to say: Have you read the book? Because you need to get where the guy is coming from. You have to understand the method behind it.

    Secondly, I have used this method on all six of my kids and my children wake up in the middle of the night maybe once a year. I put them to bed and they don’t get up and run around or ask for glasses of water. They put their heads down, fall asleep and stay asleep. That’s all the proof I need that Ferberizing works well and doesn’t scar children.

    I also think that routines are super important and it’s vital to understand your baby’s cues. When a baby rubs it’s eyes or yawns, put her to bed NOW. You don’t want to miss that window.

  9. I am so glad you put this out there. Like, the first few paragraphs. FYI – Layla is 3!!!! And she still wakes up about twice a night….I call it a bed check. But, something really has to give. Probably me. I am a sucker….

  10. Your take is interesting. I’ve never used a “method” I’ve just followed my gut. I would put my kids down much like you’ve been, and go give myself 2 minutes. Go to the bathroom, get a drink or something. They were usually asleep by then. I think I shot myself in the foot in the beginning by picking them up too fast.

    The night sleep helped most when I stopped using the monitor. With it, I woudl hear every noise & go rushing in. Without it, I still woke up if they cried, but they were able to soothe themselves to sleep at times. If I used the monitor, I would go in there and sometmies find a sleeping baby just crying out in his/her sleep now and again!

  11. Glad you found a method that works well for you. My son is almost a year and has been sleeping through the night since about 4 months old. The problem is getting him to sleep. I admit that being a working mother makes me cherish every moment with him so we’ve been rocking him to sleep after reading him a story. It’s wearing on me now since he’s 21 pounds and solid as a rock. Some nights he doesn’t want to be rocked and will fall asleep with his stuffed animal. Other night he wails like a banshee if you try to leave the room. We’re still trying to figure it all out.

  12. thank you for sharing this. I have recently began a bedtime routine as well, I will be blogging about it this week also. We typically cosleep, but recently my back and shoulder has been hurting because of the crazy positions I have to sleep in (my child is a wild sleeper). am not comfortable with I placing her down while still awake, but I do put her in the crib which is only a few feet away from my bed. Whatevr, the case may be- Bedtime is a very scary time for many moms, no matter if you are a stay at home home, work at home mom, or work out of the home mom. Its important for us to mold our practices and routines to our babies and family needs, not what everyone else or some book thinks you should be doing. I applaud you for recognizing there was a need to be met in terms of getting Lil J to sleep in a different manner, and giving yourself the space, time, and patience to address the need from an informed standpoint. I also applaud you for blogging about this given all the drama that has surrounded this on twitter. I am not sure I would’ve had the courage to do so. I probably would’ve folded and deleted my blog. 😉

  13. I also used Ferber for my twins when they were 8 months old. People have this awful inaccurate view of what his book actually says and how his technique works when he is actually a rather gentle approach compared to some other sleep experts. I am glad you were able to shake off all those worries about what other people said about it and do what is best for your family. You know you are doing something good. The big smiles after that first night of a few minutes of crying just proves baby girl is not scarred for life.

  14. I think you hit the nail on the head, when you said that the key to any method is routine. Every parent is going to figure out what works best for them and their baby. I don’t think any one method is better than the other, but keeping a consistent routine is important. Good for you in making this assessment so early on. We did something very similar with our twins (I, in many ways, had no choice but to help them learn to sleep on their own, otherwise… with two, I would have been up all day and night). It took us a few days before the little ones knew exactly what to expect and were able to drift away on their own without any fussing. Take care!

  15. Yep well put and that is pretty much the same thing we did. We used healthy sleep habits happy child but it is pretty much the same idea. I too saw some of the Twitter posts about “ferberizing” being abandoning your child. Why does everything have to be such a huge fight when it comes to mothering? Everyone is different and every baby responds differently. can’t we all just get along and support each other motherhood is hard enough as it is.

  16. Thank you for your openness and honesty from your TTC adventure to your sleep method journey. I love how you don’t make everything seem like a bed of roses and are real about the reality. I love how you research all sides of every possibility. I am not a biological mom yet but have learned a lot from what your share.

  17. My son was waking up every 1.5 hours like clockwork to nurse. He had medical problems and several surgeries – so I gladly got up with him each time because I knew he could be uncomfortable from the plastic stents in his nose. After he got the stents out at about four months, he continued waking up every 1.5 hours. I was beyond exhausted as I am a working mom also. I read every single sleep book I could get my hands on, and I too made modifications that worked for us. We started putting our son to bed awake, and he too cried for a few minutes, but then slept all night long and just woke up once to nurse. And then in the morning he woke up in a great mood! This went on until he was 6 months old, which I was thrilled about – bedtime wasn’t torture, it was enjoyable. When he was 6 months I had to be gone overnight for the first time for work. I was so worried about his once a night waking to nurse. My husband got up with him when he woke up and our son cried for about 15 minutes, didn’t want a bottle, etc. The next night he woke up, my husband went to him, and our son cried for 5 minutes. The third night he slept all night long! Since then he has consistently slept through the night. He is now 14 months old and sleeps 12 hours a night plus a nap. I LOVE it.
    Good luck! Do what you know is best for your family.

  18. I enjoyed this post. I, too–a hardcore AP advocate–let my baby cry for 2-3 minutes when I was at the end of my rope. And she did start sleeping better. She no longer needed me to lay with her for 1.5 hours to get to sleep, and she stopped waking up as often. Within a few weeks (she only cried for the first 3 days) she started sleeping 6, then 7, then 8 hours at a time. 4 months later, at 18 months she is finally sleeping 12 hours most nights 🙂

    The only thing I take issue with in your post is this: “I know two years isn’t a long time for some women to live without sleep but for me–A working mom who supports her family, sleep is necessary. Maybe if I was at home all day and didn’t have any place to be, or could nap whenever I wanted, it would be easier for me to handle.” For the record, at AP support groups…on various forums…on Twitter…I hear MISERABLE moms who are about to go insane from lack of sleep. It isn’t ‘not a long time’ for anyone, but some moms just feel they can’t let their kids cry and I admire them for sticking with their convictions (since I didn’t, after all.) I am ‘home all day’ with my daughter, and I can’t ‘nap whenever I want.’ When she naps for 1-2 hours in the afternoon, I’m fixing/eating lunch, and/or taking a shower, and/or doing chores…it isn’t like I have a bunch of time to sit around and rest during the day. I just found that paragraph really patronizing. Stay at home moms work, too, and their families depend on them getting their job done just like your family depends on you doing yours.

  19. Kara,

    I agree with you. I respect anyone who can do what they feel is best for their baby. Especially if it means sacrificing sleep and their own happiness. The blogger I linked to is a SAHM and is an example of someone who had a hard time and she wasn’t working outside the home.

    I can’t speak for anyone else but myself which is why I said “maybe if *I* was at home all day…” because on *my* days off I’m super lazy lol. I just woke up from a 2 hour nap with my baby. Who knows how I’d be though if she and the house were my full time job. I can only speak for myself but with regards to this but I know ALL moms work our butts off!

  20. Thank you for this post! I’m a stay-at-home mom to one, and we co-sleep and snuggle every night. I love it! However, that’s not for everyone. I’ve found that the critics of each style of parenting have never even tried those respective styles. I’m constantly explaining to my AP friends that Ferberizing isn’t locking your kid in a room to scream for hours. Now, I do have friends who let their kids cry for 45-60 minutes, and I couldn’t do that, personally. But letting a little one fuss for a couple of minutes? When mom and dad are attentive and doting all day long, this is not going to ruin your bond.

    Even Attachment Theory books (the science behind AP) exclude sleep training when they talk about the damaging effect of not responding to babies’ cries. I love your balanced approach to parenting! I’ve bookmarked you as a favorite blog. 🙂

  21. I knew you’d figure it out, what is best for every mom and every baby is different but clearly this worked well for you. (It’s pretty much what I did for my son but my daughter never needed it.)

    You’re great.

  22. I think the misconceptions you described are common and why I’ve heard a lot of doctors call it “sleep training” instead of any one method that has negative associations.

    I think as long as the child is old enough to self-soothe (4-6 months) than it is one of the best things you can do.

    I definitely try to take the middle of the road approach to this and most things with parenting, gathering all the information and then making things work for my family.

  23. My daughter would put up too much of a fight when it was time to sleep because she was so over tired. She would wake up every 2 hours and I ended up rocking her back to sleep. I was never more tired in my life than her 1st 5 months of life. At about 6 months I started with the feeding her and then putting her in her bed with her crib music or her mommy bear and kissing her goodnite and turning off the lights and letting her drift off. Like you it was a bit of a struggle the 1st few nights. The older she got the better she slept. But it wasn’t until about 7 months that she really hit her sleeping stride. She’d go to sleep at 7 and would wake up at about 1am then back to sleep at 115ish. And then she’d sleep until 6am. It was awesome! Now she’s 13 months and she still tosses and turns and whines in her sleep but she sleeps all night from 7pm until 6am. And she’s been doing that since about 8 months.

    It gets better. And you’re doing the right thing by your baby and for yourself. Id hate for anyone to end up like my oldest niece. Still rocking an 11 month old baby to sleep for all of her naps and at night. That’s just too much.

  24. I’ve been following your blog for several months now…haha not to creep you out or anything 🙂 I actually know Emily Dickey and somehow got linked to your blog from hers. Anyway, I absolutely LOVE reading all about your life and experiences and look forward to new posts! My daughter is just a few weeks younger than yours so it’s fun to “compare” what we’re going through. I have a 4-year-old son too, so you’d think I’d know what I was doing, but this little girl has thrown me for a few loops! We too are starting our own version of Ferberizing so when I did my regular check-up on your blog, I was excited to see this post! I SSSSOOOO admire your take on things and I find we are almost the same person in A LOT of areas haha! Anyway, I just thought I’d put in my two cents and tell you that I think you’re awesome 🙂 I truly enjoy your stories and think Lil’ J is absolutely adorable!

  25. Eek! I totally hit that stage hard. I was an uber AP mom with my first born and swore by it. Then I was a surrogate (AP doesn’t work with surrogacy) and then came my daughter. I’ve learned so much from her. Like not to be a pushover. She bullied me while she was still in the womb so of course we had a lot of sleep issues. We finally decided to Ferberize Dollie after seeing the guys on Modern Family do it and researching. By the 4th day (persistent lil girl, I tell ya) Dollie finally fell asleep and STAYED asleep. Victory! She’s 14 mos now and sleeps well. She’s definitely got the bedtime thing down though she does still cry (like if Mama misses the signs and over-tires her). We give her 20 minutes to work it out but I should note (a rather important note) that our dear Dollie is a night pooper. She’ll wait til 40 minutes AFTER bedtime to poop so we extend bedtime to accommodate her pooping but some times we still end up doing a full-on diaper change after she’s been put to bed. Just thought I’d share.

  26. I am so glad you found something that works. I was very skeptical when a friend gave us “babywise”. However, it was a godsend. Our 11 week old lil man started sleeping from 830pm-6am during the first week of using what’s taught in the book. As a mom who NEEDS her sleep I am now a firm believer.

  27. Being a working mom of a 5 month old also, I feel your pain. I broke down a little last night because I am not getting everything done, and I am not getting enough sleep. My baby only wakes up twice in the night, and sometimes I let him cry for up to 10 min.- more often than not he falls back asleep without me feeding him. I think having a method in the back of my head is a great idea for getting him to sleep longer. I don’t have to follow it exactally- but it will give me confidence. Thank you for this post and outlining a few of the methods and ideas that work for you!

  28. Way to go! Your experience is so so similar to ours, right down to the second night being the worst one we’ve had!

    I hope Lil J keeps up the good sleeping. I will tell you, we’ve had many nights when we’ve had to go in and try again. I usually end up nursing (her daddy does actual bedtime). Sometimes it’s a tooth, other times it’s development, and others I guess she just wants me. In the beginning, I panicked and thought our system didn’t work, but we found if you just stick to the routine and, as you said, judge what you need to do on a night by night basis, she will go back to the easy sleeper.

    Enjoy your time together with your husband. I know it was a HUGE change for us when we put Everly into her own room and had some time back together.

    Is Lil J still in your room? With Everly, we were waiting for her to sleep better before we moved her, but we decided to move her and do our method at the same time. Turns out, she was waking SO MUCH because I was right there. 80% she sleeps through now!

  29. Jenn, I love this post! It’s perfect timing for me as I’m about to start sleep training when my daughter turns 4 months old in 2 weeks. I did take some of your suggestions about routine and start implementing them. I’m going to ease her into a routine. We usually do baths in the morning, but I started last night with turning down all the lights, talking quietly and getting her bath ready (she started yawning!). By the time she was done I wanted to read a book to her, but she wanted to nurse. I let her, but before she could fall asleep I put her over my shoulder to burp, laid her down (AWAKE) and she went right to sleep! Thank you for the inspiration =)

  30. More power to you GIRL! Let’s support the great mothers out there like Baby Making Mama and watch Minute TO Win It on December 7th at 8/7c on NBC. Two moms wills be competing to win 1 million dollars to start a charity.

  31. You make it sound so good. Really. I never had to do anything to get my oldest and my 2 year old to bed. All they ever needed was a little music, a sippy cup with a little water and they were out like lights. My 13 month old though? He wants nothing to do with his crib. He cries whenever any part of his body touched the mattress, and then I nurse him to sleep. He wakes up several times in the night. I’m exhausted. I’m a SAHM, but my brain is so clouded and I’m so tired I just can’t function during the day to get things done. I want some sleep! I’ve been trying the No Cry Sleep Solution and it’s just not working. At all. I’m still tired and cranky, and so is he. He won’t nap. I checked out Ferber’s book from the library, and I’m going to try and give it a shot.

  32. good for you for finding a solution that is right for your family – I think that developmentally this is a great age for you to be sorting out sleep issues. You are doing a great job as a mother 🙂

  33. Good for you! We did the same thing. You need your sleep to keep your sanity and your job.

    I love the way you so fairly research all sides, experiment to find what works for you and report your findings. Putting your work skills to work there! :+) You are such a good resource to new moms.

  34. I really applaud you for your efforts! I am not a mother yet, but hoping to be in the near future. I think what you are doing is a great way to help not only yourself, but your baby as well. As a former teacher, “experts” stress the importance of having a routine and a set of expectations for students. Everyone functions better with knowing what to expect, and it sounds like that is what you setting up. What a great post, and I love your blog.

  35. I’m definitely going to give my own version of the Ferber method a shot with my next baby. My first didn’t sleep through the night until 8 1/2 months, and I went a little insane! I hope you continue having success, with only minor, short-lived sleep struggles. Worn down mamas are no fun, whether you are one or you are living with one!!!!! 😉

  36. I really love your posts. I love how honest you are and careful to not offend people of differing opinions. I have been thinking of putting my daughter in her own room now. She’s 8 months old. But I am a SAHM and my husband works out of town, so he’s only home 2-3 nights every other week. The one night I tried her crib, she slept just fine from 6:30 (her bedtime) to 11:30, when I missed her too much! I am sure if I worked or if my husband was home during the weeks, we’d be changing her sleep routine. I am glad to hear what is working for you and hope lil’ J continues to get good rest. My pediatrician’s tag line is, “If Mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy. And if Mom’s tired, Mom’s not happy!”

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