Author Topic: Kara & Alexandra's Story  (Read 33390 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline *Kara*

  • Resident BW Chatterbox!
  • *****
  • Showing Appreciation 184
  • Gender: Female
  • Posts: 11802
  • So little!
  • Location: BC, Canada
Kara & Alexandra's Story
« on: June 02, 2011, 18:12:11 pm »
Admin/GM comment: The purpose of this post is not to invite discussion on the topic but to provide a real-life account of what happened when a mother used Ferber's techniques. 

Hello :)  

My name is Kara, I am a SAHM to a wonderful little baby girl.  We have always had troubles with napping – short naps were the first issue, then we moved to full blown AP requirements.  DD used to sleep in her swing, but then became a much attached in-arms napper.  At first, this was great!  She is my first baby so I didn’t mind holding her and snuggling all the time.  But as many of you know, life has to continue and baby needs to learn independent sleeping.  My struggle brought me to the edge of insanity at times and I tried everything!  Here is our story...

Alexandra was born on November 10, 2010.  She was very much wanted and loved.  We did everything based on her needs at all times.  I read countless baby books – Sears, Pantley, BW... and scoured the Internet daily for ways to teach her independent sleeping.  I decided that I would adopt an attachment parenting approach and things were great... she napped well in her swing during the day and fell asleep on my chest in the evening and went to bed with me.  At three months, she easily transitioned to her crib for night sleeping – albeit, she still fell asleep on my chest each night.  I would hold her for 45 minutes after she fell asleep to be sure she was in a good sleep (just like Dr Sears says!).  She would be then swaddled and popped into the crib.  One night feed and she easily went back to sleep in her crib.  She was sleeping 8pm – 7am.

Sometime around the 3 ˝ month mark, she started to refuse naps in the swing.  I assumed she was no longer comfortable with the day to day household noise and tried to rock her to sleep and put her in the crib – saying that it didn’t go well would be the understatement of the century.  After 2 weeks of this routine of rocking and putting her down, her waking and me repeating the whole thing again, I had a baby who was completely miserable and had started to develop a fear of her bedroom – she screamed as we got close to it, even when I was going to change her diaper.  It was awful.  I didn’t know what to do to get her naps caught up.  She was starting to wake at night again... so I made the choice to hold her naps for a “few days” to get her caught up and try it all over again.  Well, those couple of days went by and we started again.  The 45 minute nap monster arrived and stuck around!  I was getting frantic every time that it was nap time.  The anticipation of her waking early, screaming in refusal etc would bring me to tears multiple times a day.  I was losing sleep at night worrying about the naps we would have the next day... total and utter exhaustion set in.  I started to hate being a mother and even regretted having her some days.   I was so defeated... I decided to just hold her for all of her naps every single day.  It was easier than fighting with her.  I was tired of her crying and I didn’t have any tears left.  We happily napped on the couch together for 8 weeks.  I got caught up on sleep, as did she and everyone was happier.  She was sleeping through the night again!  But... my house was a total mess... I felt completely trapped being stuck on the couch for 4 hours a day with a sleeping baby on my chest.  I was starting to have the same feelings of regret and resentment towards her.  Something had to change. Fast.

I joined the BW site and looked for some ideas.  I found many great ideas but nothing that would “fix” her ASAP.  In my desperation, I decided to try to “Ferberize” her.  

First off, think of the fact that Dr. Ferber’s name has actually become a verb – it has become something that you do to your child.  Almost like how you give them a bath when they get dirty.  When I look back, I can now see that I didn’t need to force something on her - she needed to learn to sleep, as opposed to being told to sleep.

I made the decision to start the process and with Nap #1 on the first day, she screamed for the allotted 2 minutes after being put in the crib.  I went in and comforted her but did not pick her up (you aren’t allowed to!).  Once she had calmed, I left the room.  She again started to cry... 5 more minutes and in I went to comfort her.  Again I left and she cried for 10 minutes straight!  Ugh.  It was heart wrenching.  Again, I went in to comfort her and left the room to wait.  She cried for another couple minutes and then stopped.  Success!  She slept for 25 minutes.  Nap #2 on day one went very much the same except she only let out one holler as I left the room at the 10 minute interval and she went to sleep – and stayed sleeping for 45 minutes!  This was a huge improvement for her!  On the next day, Nap #1 was a little better – I had to go in at the 2 minute and 5 minute intervals... she cried after I left the second time but not for the entire 10 minutes she would have had to endure for me to return.  She slept for 1 hour.  The second nap on that second day was gold – I went in after 2 minutes and she then fell asleep shortly after that, sleeping for 1 ˝ hours.  We had done it!  Success!   It wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone had made it out to be!

This carried on for a week with almost no crying at all.  She would be placed in her crib when she seemed to be tired and would go to sleep right away, napping for up to 2 ˝ hours each time.  How could anyone not see the benefit in a few days of crying for this?!?!  Well, let me tell you the part everyone leaves out...

*There is a relapse at 8 days.  It is horrendous!  Ferber describes it as baby’s last attempt at getting things back to the way they were before all these crazy changes.  Alexandra screamed as if someone was torturing her – and it was longer than any other time before.  An entire nap actually.  More than once.  Her night sleep was disrupted; she started waking multiple times a night for comfort – probably to ensure that I hadn’t completely abandoned her.

*While Ferberizing does “work,” you will have to re-train baby every single time they are disrupted by a growth spurt, developmental leap, milestone, teething, illness, vacation, what have you... in effect, it’s a fast-acting, short term band-aid.

So if you are desperate for sleep and think that “Ferberizing” your baby will solve all of your problems, please think again.  You may get a few weeks of great sleep and peace in the household, but know that it will come to an abrupt end.  Considering how many changes a baby goes through in the first two years that is a lot of “re-Ferberizing” to be done.  And it only gets harder... the baby isn’t learning anything that will get them through changes...

For a moment, try to think of what the baby is thinking... “Where is my mother?  She was here a moment ago... why did she leave me? Will she ever come back? “  The baby will cry and you will not come...  think for a moment what that must be like for a small infant that relies on you solely for his/her every need... not just food.  Comfort and reassurance.  You are taking that away from your baby by using this method.  

It makes me sick to think about how Alexandra must have felt.  I am now in the process of rebuilding her trust in me – she actually got to the point of turning her head away from me when she was upset – she couldn’t look at my face!  Trust me when I say that there is nothing in this world that will bring you to your knees faster than that.

If you are to the point of desperation and you feel that you cannot do it for one more day... get right out on the boards and post!!  There are other options that will work.


Kara & Alexandra (who is happily napping in her crib after a bit of shush-pat... needed only because she is teething and having a tough time!)

NOTE: It is important to know that Ferber has provided some updates to his book.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 20:20:48 pm by Colin Macs Mom »