I’m Awake! I am moving through life at a different pace now. My son is sleeping. Ah! Little J is sleeping 9 to 11 hours at night now and I couldn’t be happier. First of all, I feel so much better that he’s getting the sleep he needs … and so are we. It’s given me energy needed to get a lot more done and that’s afforded me more precious quality time with my son.
So here is what worked for us in the end.
First let me say I didn’t start sleep training our little J until after nine months. We started with The Ferber Method and hated it. In this method you put your child to bed and then respond to his cries in intervals. You start with short intervals and then move to longer ones until your child learns to sleep on his or her own. I didn’t like this method for several reasons, all personal observations of our own child. If you have tried this method and like it, please don’t take this as a snub of any sort. I am speaking of OUR observations of OUR child only.
I found the Ferber Method a bit of a tease. Every time we went into his room he would just get more upset and I was convinced the only reason it “worked” was because the poor child was so exhausted from crying that all he could do was sleep and he was actually learning nothing. And the “results” didn’t last. It certainly didn’t help convince me this was a good method when I came across articles suggesting that cry it out methods actually “kills brain cells leading to more cases of ADHD, poor academic performance and anti-social tendencies,” (Cry It Out: The Method That Kills Baby Brain Cells Posted: 12/22/2011 11:07 am EST Updated: 02/21/2012 5:12 am EST – Denene Millner). There is plenty of research out there and many articles for and against but I really didn’t want to risk it. The Ferber method had a quick death in my household.
Instead I would go to his room comfort him in his crib and try to get him back to sleep. He would cry and cling and by a year old he started getting worse about wanting to sleep with us and especially sleep in our bed. I was at wit’s end when a friend suggested I leave him alone for an hour without interruption at night. He’ll cry but he’ll learn, she said. Now after all the research into sleep training issues I was sure I’d never try it. But one night when I was exhausted and our little one was determined to have his way I gave in. After all, if he wasn’t getting the sleep he needed that had to be doing harm too! I tried it and I actually preferred it.
It only took two or three nights and he didn’t cry the entire time. The first night, he cried and just when I thought I’d go get him he would put his head down and curl up and settle down. (We were watching on the baby monitor). Then he’d get up and cry and repeat. I could see him trying to get himself to sleep. In an hour he was asleep and by the third night he wasn’t taking an hour to get to sleep. Now he sleeps through the night! We get sleep and he’s a happier child because he’s getting sleep. I don’t think we caused harm because it was just three nights and he wasn’t crying the entire time. If he’d been in distress the entire time I would not have lasted long before I went to get him. He went to bed faster and I didn’t feel like he got nearly as stressed out. I didn’t feel like I was teasing the poor child. Again I didn’t try this lightly knowing the research. I wouldn’t try this if he was under a year old. I am not sure if he was just ready to start sleeping through the night either. Perhaps he was and this was just the right time, right method for our son in particular.
Another thing we did was turn the music off in his room. I would usually have music on for him to fall asleep with and for a while he seemed to like having it on at night but in a conversation with a kind woman at our local Wal-Mart with young kids of her own, she suggested turning the music off. I really think this was a big help. Each child is different. She had one child who loved the music on at night and one who didn’t. Little J loves music but I have learned he likes quiet at night. Thank you to that caring Wal-Mart employee.
I received a lot of advice on this subject from friends and colleagues. All of it good and even if not all of it was applicable to our particular child it was all appreciated. Thank you.
I took Little J for a walk the other day. It was so beautiful out and we had such a great time throwing a ball around. I came in washed his hands and face and then the two of us sat in my office to relax. It wasn’t long till I felt a tickle on my neck and quickly discovered two ticks in my office. Now I didn’t grow up in ND where having a tick on you this time of year is par for the course and I certainly didn’t want any on our son! Little J was taken to the bath immediately where we had a shower and I checked every inch our little one. Once finished I quarantined my office until I found the culprits, burned them, smashed them and vacuumed them up. I cleaned my office after. This amused my mother-in-law thoroughly, who advised quite appropriately killing the ticks first next time. I grew up with centipedes and they are usually too big to miss! It was educational and kind of funny.
More info on ticks in ND check out North Dakota Health’s page on the subject.
A great sense of humor:)
Finally just a note on our little one’s sense of humor…. It’s the best thing in the world to hear your child laugh. Recently Little J’s sense of humor has expanded. It was a pleasant surprise to hear him laugh out loud at something in an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Dropping things is now hilarious and sometimes when we laugh at something, he’ll just join in the fun. It’s the little things! 😉