The Ferber Thing Again - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 1 Old 12-29-2001, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
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The Ferber thing again....

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Author Topic: The Ferber thing again....
Member posted 06-29-2001 09:50 AM
Okay. I know there has been discussions about this before, but I wasn't really paying attention. But I recently met a lady who has an infant only a few weeks old. They are pretty alternative people and I assumed this would make them 'AP'. Well, I noticed to my dismay that she let's her baby cry all the time, when he's obviously really hungry, she makes him wait and wait. I thought maybe she was too embarressed to nurse in front of me.
Then she lent me "A great book that has really helped".
'Solve your child's sleep problems' by Richard Ferber.
I read a few pages, and the only bad thing I read was his bizarre way of describing night-waking as a 'medical disorder' and 'abnormality' that 'responds well to treatment'.
SO has anyone read his books? Do they contain anything useful, or should I accidentally burn this woman's copy?

Member posted 06-29-2001 11:40 AM
Burn it

Member posted 06-29-2001 12:24 PM
If you burn her book she will just buy another one. A nice antidote would be to give her Nighttime Parenting by Dr. Sears. Also there are lots of great scholarly (big words ) articles about the benefits of cosleeping at

Member posted 06-29-2001 02:05 PM
I have never really heard of this guy.....but I can't imagine my baby crying and me not being there comforting. It seems so abnormal to let your innocent baby cry. Share the Sears book with her.

Member posted 06-29-2001 02:46 PM
Anyone have access to the artical Ferber wrote RECANTING his position and advice?

Member posted 06-29-2001 02:53 PM
I would love to print THAT out and give it to her. Is that too meddlesome?

Member posted 06-29-2001 06:08 PM
Leave it to me to stir up trouble, but I love Ferber. I don't use this method until at *least* 4 months, but it's never taken more than 1 or 2 nights and a minimal amount of crying and then... poof! Baby goes from sleeping only 1-2 hours at a stretch to 8 or more.
I love the family bed for the first few months, but I find that I really need solo sleep after a while or I am bumping into walls and driving with one eye shut. For me when nighttime parenting is affecting my daytime parenting, it's time for a change.

I found his book to be compassionate. He doesn't find any value in crying, but recognizes that some crying will take place while a child learns a new sleep association. Believe me, I used to be adamantly opposed to the book until I actually read it... with an open mind born out of sheer necessity. He's fine with cosleeping if it's working for everyone.

I've done it 4 times and all 4 of my children are healthy, happy and totally attached to me and I to them. I'm not recommending anyone employ this method who doesn't want to. But I think we should recognize that this method does not entail the kind of trauma that we AP moms think that it must. (at least in my experience... I'm sure someone else can vouch that it was a terrible experience for them)

Member posted 06-29-2001 06:26 PM
I, too, "ferberized" my firstborn. For me, IT WAS AWFUL! The crying went on for hours, with me checking in every so often. In between I would sit on the bathroom floor, rocking, with my fingers in my ears and the fan on. Why didn't I listen to the still small voice within that said "pick your baby up!" Because I really believed that it was "for his own good." I fell victim to the common (and selfish) belief that *I* deserved to sleep through the night.
Having said all that, quite dramatically too , I think that the Ferber method can work. I think the key is to recognize when it is *not* working for you and your baby. I probably will never do it with my second son.

Little J's Mom
Member posted 06-29-2001 07:30 PM
Burn, Baby burn!!!!

Member posted 06-29-2001 08:30 PM
Wow, I wouldn't touch the idea with a ten foot pole. They stop crying because they have given up. I don't want to teach my dd to give up on her mom and dad. She needs to know she is worth responding to, day or night. And I want to make sure she knows we're there for her no matter what the time and no matter what her age.
When she's at a party at 17 and has no ride except a drunk person or strange guy she can call, when she comes home at midnight after a fight with her boyfriend and is sad and wants to cry on momma's shoulder she can wake me, just the same as if she's teething or has a scary dream tonite, at 10 months old.

And, I have that article printed out, somewhere. I got it from a link I found here, I'm almost positive.

When I have more time I'll see if I can find one or the other for you!

Member posted 06-29-2001 08:38 PM
Leaving your baby to cry it out is totally inhumane. Your baby needs you and the only way they know how to communicate this to you is by crying. It is a need for the baby to be with it's mother and protectors, ecspecially at night. The Ferberized baby will learn to sleep on her own, because she has learned that her needs are not important enough to be met and she gives up. This will deeply impact a child's self esteem. I think that putting Ferber and compassionate in the same sentence is an oxymoron.

Moderator posted 06-29-2001 08:41 PM
We tried it at one point, but I would never, ever do it again. Plus, it seemed like as soon as there was a change, you'd have to start over. Well, I couldn't do it to ds or us again. And it totally didn't ever work for naptime -- a total waste of tears. And lots of horrible guilt.
I've read the book and I don't think it's compassionate really. Dispassionate would be the word. And I agree with MilkyDay -- just approaching an infant with the idea that nightwaking is abnormal is, well, abnormal! I think sleep patterns change with age and a child will sleep alone and through the night when s/he is ready to.


edited to add: There's plenty of discussion about Ferber on the Nightwaking and the Family Bed board (surprise, surprise). Also, Ferber recanted his stance on family bed. In his book he does not support it, however, now he does.

[This message has been edited by cat (edited 06-29-2001).]

Member posted 06-30-2001 04:22 AM
It was said (and generally agreed by all... including, in the past, myself) that "The Ferberized baby will learn to sleep on her own, because she has learned that her needs are not important enough to be met and she gives up."
I know that's the conventional AP wisdom regarding this method, but is it TRUE? I used to think so, but don't any more. The Feberized baby learns to sleep on her own because she has learned a new association with falling asleep. Instead of being used to falling asleep with another person present she learns to fall asleep by herself.

If you had to quit using your pillow for any reason and had to relearn to sleep without it you would be grumpy and complain, too. The best way to get used to sleeping without that pillow would be just to practise doing it. I think your psyche would survive a brief period of discomfort.

I don't care if you call my need for a good night's sleep selfish. I'm one of the most self sacrificing people I know. But now I'm sane, my children are happy and attached and no one can convince me any longer that Ferber = neglect.

Member posted 06-30-2001 07:53 AM
What great advice. Even you, merebear, I am glad that you risked taking the unpopular position, because I need to know why his methods are popular at all. They 'work' for you!
So, I knew a couple that tried this crying it out methood(5 min. one night, ten the next, and poof!) with their one year old.Being at there house as he screamed an cried up in his crib was like hearing someone tortured.
I felt sad for days....well after two weeks they gave it up
And I know my dd would never in a million years just lay down and go to sleep. She would cry all night, and loudly too.
'Making new sleep associations' sounds all thought-out and scientific, but the fact of the matter is my dd NEEDS to be with her parents at night, and it doesn't disrupt my life to have her in my bed!

Member posted 06-30-2001 08:32 AM
Crying it out would not work with my kids. They can really hold out. My secoond dd went 15 hours streight with out sleep when she was 12 weeks old (and believe me at that point I tried everything)and even being exhausted wouldn't convince her to sleep because she didn't want to. I have however seen children who cry for two minutes and the fall over asleep. Easy enough. I guess if it works that easy then good enough. But it is very important to know when it is not working and when to throw in the towel. There is a huyge difference in 5 minutes and five hours.

Member posted 06-30-2001 09:22 AM
I am also not completely anti-Ferber. We currently sleep with our son and intend to until it doesn’t work for one of us. Personally, I doubt it will be a problem because we are all able to sleep well together. My bf however, who also totally is AP, ended up at her breaking point last Christmas. She decided that it was time for her 14 month old “I could snack all night” dd to sleep in her own bed because she was afraid that due to sleep deprivation she would make a mistake at work (she is a nurse) or she would lose it on her daughter. Neither were options she was willing to entertain. Now that I have read the book - we were both totally anti- Ferber so I was pretty shocked by this - I do realize that a lot of things have been taken out of context. Some of it is crummy, but, after two nights (of Ferbering), her dd is able to get herself to sleep, something she couldn’t do before - and is much happier. They have also reinstated the Family Bed because nightwaking isn’t a problem anymore. They know if she is up and can’t settle that it is about more than needing a snack because she was woken up by bumping into someone and can't settle herself back to sleep.

BTW - she did try the Bedtime Book by the Sears - nothing worked.

I think that each case is individual and that to complete disregard everything from one method maybe to sell you - and your kid short. I said I would NEVER use a pacifer.. changed that at 4 weeks when he would nurse for 6hrs (I have copious amounts of milk), fall asleep at the breast, wake up because he was spitting up from having too much but still needing to suck. He has a paci and has still doubled his birthweight in just under 7 weeks.

I had to add - I am, however, opposed completely to infants having to CIO... I don't think I could ever do it.

Non Serviam

[This message has been edited by driad (edited 06-30-2001).]

Member posted 06-30-2001 10:16 AM
I have read Ferber's book. One thing that's crucial to note, however -- Ferber does NOT recommend leaving a newborn to cry it out! He recommends his methods only for babies AT LEAST four months old! For a newborn, he'd be horrified if someone were making a hungry little baby wait; he'd just recommend that if your baby has been fed and it's bedtime, you put the baby down awake rather than nursing to sleep, to avoid the association that nursing = sleep. This person sounds more like they're following Ezzo's recommendations than Ferber's.
Another thing that's important to note: Ferber does NOT claim that his CIO plan will work on ALL babies. He says that it works for most. In an article I read about him (it's an excellent article -- this would be the "Ferber Recants" article, and you can read it at ) Ferber cites with horror some family who wrote in because they'd been leaving their baby to cry every night FOR A MONTH and he still wasn't falling asleep. "I think that's horrible," Ferber says. "That's very cruel." If you tried Ferber's plan for a week and it's not working, I think Ferber himself would tell you to STOP, wait a couple months, and then maybe try again.

Ferber also says a couple of other things that I think tend to get missed in pro/anti-Ferber conversations:

* It's only a problem if you THINK it's a problem. In other words, if your baby wakes up twice a night and needs to be nursed back to sleep, but you don't mind -- this is not a problem. (On the other hand, if you're so sleep-deprived that you can't drive safely -- THAT is a problem.)

* Nearly all sleep problems in children will eventually work themselves out, if you do nothing. Ferber just wants you to know that he thinks you don't HAVE to just wait -- you can insist that your baby (once they're 4 months old or so) learn some different associations -- associations that don't require your breast, arms, or presence, so that you can get some sleep.

I have mixed feelings about Ferber. I think some people Ferberize children who really do still need NOURISHMENT at night. (I once strongly discouraged a friend from trying to Ferberize her very petite six-month-old who still wanted to nurse at night on the grounds that maybe this baby REALLY NEEDED those calories.) And I think some children really NEED to be with their parents at night.

On the other hand....I have a good friend who "Ferberized" her then-THREE-YEAR-old daughter who was still not sleeping through the night. And the "sleep association" thing makes a lot of sense to me. I have seen it in action myself, with both my husband and myself. (Ferber uses the example of a pillow as a common sleep association. If you're used to sleeping with a pillow, and someone steals your pillow, you'll wake up and won't go back to sleep until you've found the thing. Well, my husband's pillow once fell off the bed in the middle of the night and he -- sleeping -- stole mine. I woke up and found my pillow gone. It took several minutes of fairly wide-awake groping before I realized that my pillow hadn't fallen off the bed, it was under my d*** husband's HEAD. I couldn't just get up and get HIS pillow, because we sleep on different kinds of pillows and I really prefer my own, thank you. So after stewing about if for a few minutes, I grabbed my pillow and just yanked it out from under dh's head. He roused, searched frantically -- still sleeping -- for his pillow, tried again to steal mine, and finally managed to find his under the bed. All without ever really waking up. He didn't remember this in the morning.)

I don't think I could Ferberize my daughter, because I hate to hear her cry. But if I were as sleep-deprived as some parents, I'd bite the bullet and do it. Cosleeping is NOT a magic bullet for all families. Sometimes cosleeping and Dr. Sears do NOT solve sleep problems, while Ferber will.

Member posted 06-30-2001 04:08 PM
My voice doesnt work yet..
I am soooo hungry...
MOMMA...Where are You?
My diaper is wet...
I'm Scared...

nursing mother
Member posted 06-30-2001 06:58 PM
Naomi, Thanks for bringing up the other side of the story. I never really liked the idea of Ferberizing your child, It just didn't sound right. But when you read carefully what he is really saying it doesn't quite sound like what people are saying. If it is too much for the parents to take (the crying) he says don't do it. All his information is based on his scientific study of sleep that he has done for many years. But what we must remember is each child is different. I let my babies fuss for only a few min. Some fell right to sleep, others would cry for hours, so of course I never let that go on, it just didn't feel right. I do believe Ferber has gotten a bad rap, especially now since he is recanting some of his previous information. It is important to read the whole story.

Member posted 06-30-2001 08:01 PM
Utahmomma, exactly!!

Member posted 06-30-2001 09:01 PM
my 19mo dd has been having temper tantrums in the middle of the night. Three nights ago we were just at a loss! We try nursing first. That goes well, then more crying. Whining, throwing herself around on the bed. We sign to her 'medicine', do your teeth hurt? No, more flopping around. We give her the teething tablets anyway. She resumes the whining and flopping. We have a sidecar arrangement (crib next to the bed) and try putting her in there, with her scarecrow, no go. The sling, rocking. Nothing is working. Then two nights ago, it starts again. I find myself thinking, okay: I do not really acknowledge or reinforce this behavior in the day, why do it at night? Finally, I convince dh to leave the room with me. Now, she is MAD! But it was tantrum mad. I know the scared confused cry. I kept going in and laying her down. Gentle. I leave the room, she gets back up. Over and over. Finally I lay down next to her and without being rough, I *force* her to lay on her belly and pat her and after asking me for every rocking chair sling book bed eat water whatever I pat her to sleep. She sleeps hard for 2.5-3 hours. And so do I. Has anyone had this problem??? I am so frustrated! I don't drink caffeine in case you are wondering.
We went through the ferber philosophy when she was about 6 months, and it didn't take much, not even a night, to decide that she was not yet ready. Usually on a good night though, these days, you can read her some books and put her in the crib and have her go to sleep on her own! She grew into it on her own. Of course she is our bed by the end of the night. We wanted the all the time family bed, but wound up with a sidecar cuz she is a real kicker and wild sleeper, and kept waking up and getting frustrated with us! Likes being in the room with us, but not always in bed with us!

Member posted 07-01-2001 03:54 AM
I've got a nice full tummy from nursing...
My daddy just sang me some sweet songs...
I'm so very tired...

Member posted 07-01-2001 11:25 AM
utahmomma & merebear:
You are both right on! Sometimes baby is crying in discomfort and fear, and sometimes he is crying as a way to wind down. As I said before, the key is *recognition.* We know our own children. Enough said.

Mom 2 Maddie
Moderator posted 07-01-2001 05:21 PM
I am a single momma who has practiced co-sleeping with my now 20 mo. old daughter since she was born. We kind of stumbled across it for practical reasons, not quite knowing what all this AP stuff was yet. I was nursing and recovering from a c-section and we were living with my mom and dad at the time. It just sort of happened. As an infant there were several nights I felt I couldn't continue with the co-sleeping due to a total lack of sleep on many nights. My pediatrician at the time gave me the Ferber book, I read it, tried it one night (20 min. max) and then went to bed with my baby girl in my arms. My parents and friends have called me crazy, people think I am a wacko, but it has been the most intense bodning experience I can ever imagine. She goes to bed assured and wakes up whispering "Mamma" in my face. Every situation has its ups and downs, and even through the tough times I am certian I will continue to bed-share with any future children I may have. Another bonus: I only need to rent a one bedroom apartment b/c we bed-share !!

Member posted 07-01-2001 10:22 PM
Merebear- Point taken.

Member posted 07-02-2001 09:31 AM
when we tried the ferber thing, it was a sad accident. I had ripped an article out of a magazine about it, and showed it to my dh, and told him to take a look at it. That night I went out. When I came home, dh's eyes were red rimmed and he looked terrible! I rushed into dd's room and she was laying in her crib, sleeping, breathing fitfully, her hair matted onto her head from sweat.
He thought I meant for him to do it to her!!!! He thought I meant that I would never be able to do it, so he should try and do it when I wasn't home! It was pure hell, and then she collapsed. They had both been crying, obviously she had been screaming. I felt awful for them both, I wanted to be mad at dh, but he was obviously upset enough. She was not ready for this - not at 6 months. The next night it was so sad, we put her in the crib and she laid down and whimpered up at us with the most sad eyes, 'please not again!', of course we did not continue, I really don't like these books with all these methods, so many people just take the written word as an authority over their own better judgment, we just need to learn to listen to our babies! If I wrote a book, that is all it would say inside, LEARN TO LISTEN TO YOUR BABY!

I mean, after awhile, bedtime became fun for her, the right books, the right toys, the right timing. She likes it now.

Member posted 07-03-2001 08:09 AM
The Ferber method is not definitely for us. DD is 9 months old, still wakes up 3-7 times a night, we co-sleep and we love the arrangement. After reading everyone's input, I think the Ferber method can work for some families. What worries me, is when people use the Ferber method and somehow become desensitized(sp?) to their babies. On countless occasions, I've seen babies lying in strollers crying(screaming) and their mothers going about their business. I wonder how many of those parents used the ferber method. Also some parents might not read the Ferber book as thoroughly as others, they might think, hey if it works for a 4 month old, we should try it on our 4 week old(especially when the baby is crying and they are not getting much sleep). Thats why I think co-sleeping, and Sear's nighttime parenting is more fool-proof. Love your baby, listen to your baby, listen to yourself. Just my 2 cents...
[This message has been edited by mimiplane (edited 07-03-2001).]

Member posted 07-03-2001 08:38 AM
I am new here so forgive me any errors i may make.. I've been reading these posts about sleeping babies. I think different parenting methods makes for different babies>children>adults and thats what makes the world go round. You know in your heart what is right for YOUR baby. Don't let books tell you otherwise. I know many babies who slept alone who are very happy healthy loving children... My 3 yr. old and 6 mo. old sleep with us and THEY are happy healthy and loving also. Hmmmm.

Member posted 07-03-2001 08:54 AM
adkmom, if only that were the primary message given by books and magazines and experts! But people are filled with this self-doubt, and often fall back on the heartless methods their own parents inflicted on them. That is why it is so important to overcome your own deep, subconcious hurt and anger, and break that unfortunate cycle. So on the one hand, you have to trust your instincts and listen to yourself (and your kid!), and on the other hand you have to recognize when you are acting out what was passed down to you by your parents.

Member posted 07-03-2001 11:15 AM
Milkyday, I agree. When my now three yr old was a new born I went through this TERRIBLE bout of indecision about alot of things. Fortunately the sleeping issue was not one of them. I KNEW that my baby had to sleepwith us. It was just "right". I found myself one day going for my handy dandy baby book for advise on something.... I apparently didn't find what i wanted and it dawned on me that i really wasn't looking for advise.. just reassurance that What I felt to be right was ....well....RIGHT. I realized that I don't necessarily agree with the experts and that thats ok. From then on I stopped and listened to myself when i was feeling unsure and learned that i knew alot more than i gave myself credit for.. I think we all as mothers have that.. we just need to tune in more. I still firmly believe, though, that what's right for me and mine may not be best for others. I did not sleep in a family bed as a child and i feel that I grew up pretty normal and happy. ( well, that may be open for debate but..)
I guess I'm saying that maybe some one elses heart may say different things than mine.
Your comment about breaking out of the mold of what our parents and their parents etc. have instilled in us is so very true. i think that many mothers may not feel so confused if they do that. I guess its the mind saynig one thing and the heart knowing something else.....

Member posted 07-03-2001 09:43 PM
You folks who think parenting is about finding something that works (=forces a baby to act in a way that makes the parent's life temporarily easier) and then intellectualize your choices and actions using terminology such as 'sleep associations' etc should read "Our Babies, Ourselves" by Meredith Small for something in the way of "scientific proof" that there is a certain place a baby belongs, and that's with its mother.
Did it feel good to you when your baby cried? If it didn't, think for a while about the possibility that your gut reaction might have some important purpose.

Parenting is not easy in today's nuclear family-oriented, unnatural world, let me be the first one to tell you that. But I think we have to be really, really careful not to make the weakest, most helpless family member pay for that fact! After all, we invited these babies into our lives, even the ones that were sweet surprises!

Moderator posted 07-03-2001 09:52 PM
We talk all the time about the 'medicalizing' of the birth process. Isn't Ferber (and others) about medicalizing the process by which an infant/child develops her/his own way of preparation for sleep? By this I mean that nightwaking or falling asleep only at the breast is seen as a problem or as 'abnormal' and therefore must be treated somehow.

Member posted 07-04-2001 10:44 PM

Member posted 07-06-2001 12:11 AM
FWIW, ITA with Iholm and utahmomma.
I could NEVER EVER leave my baby girl crying, no matter what. If she cries for a minute while I get to her, my heart breaks. I know she needs me and this is how she tells me. I would never leave my SO or a friend to cry, much less my baby girl.

CIO is cruel and plain old TORTURE.

If one of the sacrifices I make is lack of sleep then be it. She is only little for such a short period of time. If we spend our day in bed snoozing 10 min. here, 1/2 hour there, then be it. Why are we rushing our little ones to sleep through the night? It is not natural for them to sleep through the night. We rush, rush, rush and in the same breath are saying how our kids grow up too fast...I don't get it. I enjoy every moment with my baby period, even the fussy times. I love her soooo much, with every ounce of my being and if she is sad and crying...I could never leave her alone. Just thinking about it makes me teary.

Member posted 07-06-2001 06:41 AM
Tine Thevenin's wonderful book THE FAMILY BED is the book I'd give a friend who considered "Ferberizing" her wee one. I made the mistake of reading a mainstream magazine article with Ferber excerpts. In one, he says sleep problems result when you let your child sleep when the child wants to sleep. Ohmigod, the next thing you know, people are going to FEED their children when they are HUNGRY!
Mothers, listen to your children . . . listen to your hearts!

Member posted 07-06-2001 08:47 AM
Well folks, don't throw any stones, but. . .
With my first daughter, I didn't really know any better and tried both some Ezzo and Ferber stuff, modified a bit to be more flexible. I was at my wits end because my 2 month old baby was crying from 10 p.m. til 2 or three in the morning. She had completely unpredictable daytime schedules and wanted to suck all the time, but wouldn't take a paci (and I didn't really want her to have one either -- nipple confusion concerns).

I was a total wreck. I was finishing my master's at the time, just part time, but I was not getting enough sleep to be a good parent. She hardly napped at all during the day, though when she eventually konked out at night she would go maybe 4 or 5 hours if I was lucky.

I decided I need to do something to try to allow us all to have happier lives. I was afraid that one of those nights I was just going to throw her out the window in complete and utter insanity. After all, walking and nursing a crying baby for four hours straight doesn't, IMO, contribute to being able to be a loving and patient parent. And dh was no help at night.

I agree that letting a baby cry it out does not feel right! And in many situations probably isn't. But as some of you said earlier, when you're the parent, you can usually tell the difference between a waah, I'm tired cry and a waah, I need to be held (or nursed, or rocked, or whatever).

When I tried to cautiously implement a loose schedule for my daughter a la Ezzo (trying to keep them awake for a while after nursing, then putting them down for a nap before they're visibly irritable and overtired), I was amazed at the results. No, I didn't hold her off from bfng to make it to 3 or 3 1/2 hours or whatever. But I did try to nurse, then play, then have her nap. At night I let her fuss for a little while if I had done everything else I possibly could and it was not working. She seemed to calm more quickly; I may have been overstimulating her earlier with all my attempts to get her to sleep.

Within a week, she had gotten herself on a fairly predictable schedule, and was sleeping 8 hours straight at night. She was a much happier baby -- hardly ever cried, went down for naps gurgling and cooing, and I was a much happier and more patient mama!

Not that I totally endorse the Ezzo or Ferber methods; I'm just saying that maybe for some people, there are some valuable things that can be gleaned from their ideas. Maybe I'm unusual, but I can't be the loving and patient parent that I want if I am functioning on almost no sleep.


Moderator posted 07-08-2001 07:56 PM
Sonya], this is not intended toward you.
Sorry, but I dont' thinnk you can Ferberize and be AP simultaneously.
Them two things don't mesh very well.
Responding to our baby's needs is why we are mothers.
I know people get desperate and exhausted and want to try something, anything that might work, but that is giving them the message that you aren't there for them. They are too little to become independent and self soothe, You are being greatly deluded if you believe that is what they need to do. They sleep through th night after being left to CIO because they have shut down and given up. You will see the aftermath in ten or twenty years time when they choose relationships where their needs aren't being met.
I have posted this before. This goes against my gut as a mother. Why the heck should I listen to some GUY tell me how to mother, any more than I should listen to some GUY tell me how my body should birth, or how often to feed or not feed my child (and what to feed him as well!).
WE ARE THE MOMMAS. We already know everything we need to know inside us, It is called instinct, nature, remember that everyone???
Sorry, this is one of my big reasons to rant.

Member posted 07-08-2001 08:25 PM
I think you have summed up why you can Feber and AP at the same time - because you are trying to meet the needs of your kid. If the family bed isn’t working, even Sears says - try something else. There are situations where it is necessary to have your baby sleep away from you.
You also seem to believe that Ferbering begins at birth - I know people who have had to Feber their (in the case of my neighbour who is just going to try a modified version) three year old - why? because he still gets up every couple of hours - just like my friends nearly two year old. Neither of these children nap either. Sometimes what appears to be the need of the baby - sleeping with you - appears to be secondary to outsiders. When the ability to parent well during the day is compromised by sleep deprivation - something needs to be done. Most of the AP parents I know who have done this have not done it in the middle of the night when they are desperate - they have thought it out over time, researched and modified things to work for their family., I think until you have had a kid like this, and lived like this, you can’t know. I used to be totally judgmental of people who use Ferber in anyway, but seeing my very gentle, non spanking friend at her wits end (and close to striking her daughter) from sleep deprivation - and still have to keep up with a toddler who is go go go during the day has completely changed my perspective.

I also have to address the issue of men not knowing anything about babies - that is an awful stereotype to perpetuate. I also find it interesting that when it is Dr. Sears, it is okay he is a man, but when it is Ferber, he is a man, so he knows nothing. I submit that perhaps it is the style and not the gender you take issue with? I would also like to remind you that there is no “mothering gene” in women that magically makes us able to parent - we are fumbling through it the same as the men- we are just more exposed and therefore, generally appear more competent.

Non Serviam

nursing mother
Member posted 07-08-2001 08:59 PM
Good point Driad. I happen to believe you can be an AP parent and still, God forbid let your baby fuss abit. As a mother of 5, I must think of myself also, If I am a sleep-deprived mom what good am I as a mother. You can only take so much and give so much. It is a terrible thing to hear your baby cry, but it is worse to hear yourself scream and cry and yell and feel like you are going crazy because of lack of sleep. It is a fine balance to try to meet your babies needs and your needs as well.

Moderator posted 07-08-2001 10:22 PM
I am not saying that everyone needs to sleep with their babies. I realize this does not work for each and every person.and there are individual circumstances where this may not be best for the child. Some children do prefer some space. But even if you don't sleep with your child, to me, this doesn't mean they have to cry it out. You can be there with them holding them while they cry, responding to their needs.
It is the abandonment I take issue with. the crying it out ALONE.
Holding them close when they are upset is letting them know you are there for them even if you cannot "fix it", or make it better.
The advice to not go into the room, and to not pick them up no matter what., or to "let them cry even if they vomit, clean them up and put them back into their crib" etc. is to me, akin to child abuse.
And yes, I do take special issue with gender, though if it were a woman telling me to leave my baby alone to CIO I would think she were equally displaced in ther thinking. I don't give my power over to Dr. Sears, or anyone of the so called"experts".
No matter what I read, it has to sit well in my gut, otherwise out it goes.
And no, men do not have the genes or hormones to be mothers. We as women do. We are designed to respond to their cries by our milk letting down. I don't know one man that can do this, so yes, I do especially take issue with any man who is telling me how to mother, period.
We have the instinct which is innate in us. (How's that for a redundant sentence!)
Men do not have this. I can see quite clearly the difference in paenting style between myself and my DH. I parent by instinct, and he by intellect.
I am the momma. I am not dissing feminism here, I am bowing to the aspect of woman that nature created.
Just my two cents.
[This message has been edited by lunarmomma (edited 07-08-2001).]

Member posted 07-09-2001 12:50 PM
Sorry, I have to be quick - my son should be waking up any second - forgive me if this comes off as abrupt!
With regards to not picking them up - there are sometimes when you do have to do that. Maybe this is beyond your frame of reference/experience (it is only peripheral to mine), but there are kids who cannot be picked up when they are put in their crib - and there is no choice but to let them CIO. My friend stood there, with her hand on her daughter, crying with her - but she knew it was for the greater good. Her daughter, after having to cry for (times) a total of 4 minutes the first night and 2 or so the second [although she admits that it felt like much, much longer ], can now come back to the family bed because everyone is sleeping well.

With regards to mothering hormones and genes - I think you do a disservice to all of the great dads, adoptive and step parents out there when you equate the genes that make us female and the hormones that allow milk production etc. to be equated with the ability to parent. Mothering and parenting are not instinctual, they are learned - I could provide reference after reference for this.
Gotta go, my little guy is stirring - thanks for the “debate” - I hope this did not come off as rude - I am just rushed

Non Serviam

Moderator posted 07-09-2001 02:27 PM
Hey Driad,
No, you did not come off as rude at all.
You describe your friend with her hand on her childs back as they cry. That is slightly different to leaving a child ALONE in a room crying it out with no support.
My son cries at times and I am there with him, unable to stop him,or make it any better, but I am "with him" as he goes through it. That is different than what I see as encouraged abandonment with infants that are not developmentally in a place to have object permanence...
Ferber recommends waiting OUTSIDE the room, and NOT going in until so many minutes have passed.
What you have described with your friend is not that. She is present, touching her daughter and there for her while she goes through a challenging time.
I see those two things as very different.
I know several moms who night weaned their children and it was no picnic (they cried they were held, It was a sruggle and a challenge and painful for all). But they didn't have to go through it alone.
With regard to the fathering/parenting issue:
I am not saying that dads do not know how to parent. Goodness knows they do.
I am saying that there is an instinct that comes with every woman, read MOTHER
That occurs in all females AS MOTHERS that enables us to keep our young safe.
Parenting and Mothering are two different things. I see them as being learned, and the other, instinctive. This doen't mean a woman knows everything for her childs life, She too, learns. But if she uses her instinct as a foundation to spring off of, she will have an easier time of it.
There are things that dads do with kids, or babies that mothers would not do, or would react to an unsafe situation that much quicker because they sense the danger. That is why we are the mother.
You can't tell me that the hormones and the interaction between mothers and babies throughout pregnancy and birth just go away.
Think of a lion and her cub. Look at nature. I am not inventing this. And I do not intend offend all the great men out there being dads. But there are differences. How does the mom know the baby needs a sweater on? How does the dad know, (the mom tells him). Later on he learns to read the cues. I am not trying to be glib. There is a body sense of what our babies need that I'm sorry, but fathers don't have it. They have to LEARN it. Mothers have the gift of instinct, to keep the species alive. It is from nature. If we are in touch with it and know how to listen, it is there.
Just as in birthing. Our bodies KNOW what to do.
Anyway, you may disagree, others may, some may not. I don't mind.
This is my opinion of course.
I just get upset when people are taught, or told to go against their instinct and do something that feels so wrong to them, because somebody told them to.
That one just doesn't sit well with me.
I honor my intuition and nature given gifts as just that, as gifts. And I am grateful for them. I give that more power than anything the mind can create. It's no contest.
Take care,

Sierra M-
Moderator posted 07-09-2001 04:51 PM
Off topic, but Laura, your post really got me thinking.

Originally posted by lunarmomma:
Think of a lion and her cub. Look at nature. I am not inventing this. And I do not intend offend all the great men out there being dads. But there are differences.

Well, I don't know if this is totally true. At least, it has not been my experience with gay men I know who are raising children together or for the single dads I know. Also, though in the minority, there are traditional cultures in which men are the nuturers. I'm not saying there isn't any validity to your thoughts (I really relate to the lion and her cub sweetie even calls me the lioness for this reason !), simply that I think this is more complicated than it first appears.

Originally posted by lunarmomma:
How does the mom know the baby needs a sweater on? How does the dad know, (the mom tells him).

When there is no mom around to tell him,. he will do it on his least with loving, nurturing men who are truly in tune with their kids. My gay friends and single dad friends are not less likely to put the baby in the sweater without a second thought or hesitation than the moms I know. Also, I remember my dad being a really strong nurturer in ways my mom wasn't capable of. I don't know. I just think this is complicated and too often oversimplified.

With respect,

Moderator posted 07-09-2001 05:31 PM
I cannot disagree with you, BUT it is WOMEN that give birth, not men. Period. There is a hormonal dance that happens that we are not in control of.
What happens after that might change according to our environment. (And what went on during and aftter the birth, etc) Separated from baby right affer the birth? Yes, it gets compicated. It affects bonding for both mom and baby.
It is complicated and oversimplified, true.
But It is way too difficult to get into all the nuances on these boards. too complex for me. I am just saying that in my opinion, there are differences.
A father can be single parenting nurturing gay or straight, whatever. He has evoked his nurturing capabilities because he had to. But he is not cannot be "a mother". Now that can mean all kinds of things. In your case, you said that your dad was more nurturing for you than your mother. This happens. perhaps your mom was not tuned into her capacity for nurturing or her instincts. She may not have had access to that for whatever reason. Your father did. Thank goodness for you that someone could be nurturing.
I am just saying that it is in our blood line because we get pregnant and give birth and mother, that it is in our makeup to do this. Whether or not we do it depends on the environment we are in and how we too were nurtured. It's that old nature vs. nurture thing. I am just bringing in the option for both. And I say there are differences because men do not get pregnant or give birth that there are hormones that we experience and live with that they do not.
Whether or not some men have more female hormones than others I do not know, and whether or not that affects the kind of parenting they do, I don't know. Interesting thought. I'm sure there have been studies done somewhere. Maybe Michel Odent has some resources in his data base.
This is all very interesting, but the more I write, the narrower minded it appears to get and that was not my goal.
Ah, the limitations of trying to communicate in cyberspace!

[This message has been edited by lunarmomma (edited 07-09-2001).]

Sierra M-
Moderator posted 07-10-2001 11:52 AM
I agree. This is definetly too complex (I mean, we're getting into the territory of the great nature vs. nurture debate! Yikes! ), and I don't want to hijack this thread, so I'll make a my response brief and cut it out !

I did just want to mention that I can not disagree with you either. But I also think there are some unitended but important implications of one particular aspect of this statement: "BUT it is WOMEN that give birth, not men. Period. There is a hormonal dance that happens that we are not in control of."

The implication, then, is that women who become mothers through adoption, for instance, are whole parents but not whole mothers...that they are missing what makes them fundamentally different from dads.

This would be interesting to study: what happens to people hormonally after they adopt a child or what happens to fathers hormonally after their children are born. Although hormones often control our responses to our environment, the environment we are in has also been known to impact what happens to us hormonally. I don't know. I don't know what the results would be, but I think our bias is so often a biological bias that we forget that it was also important to the survival of our species for people to be able to care for other people's children and nurture those children to adulthood (as in, if the biological parents die, etc.). Again, way to complex for my brain either, but I though I'd throw this out there.

With respect,

P.S. I wanted to clarify that my mom was and is very nurturing. But due to differences in personalities, there were ways in which my dad was nurturing that my mom wasn't (and probably vice versa). I guess that's sort of what I'm getting at: that personalities perhaps influence more than gender does (and personalities are surely a result of both nature *and* nurture, but that perhaps the way we are nurtured has more of a gender bias then we will ever know....I don't know). But again, I just want to recognize that this issue is so complex, and that simplifying it brings up more questions than it answers .

In good humor,

Member posted 07-10-2001 04:09 PM
well my dh is at work but he knows of a study where they did monitor homones in men and women in family situations. he said they found that in a elationship where a woman is having baby and the man is into it also, you know connected invilved with the pgcy, well he produced prolactin the whole time she was pg and after wards the levels declined over the first year or so of life of the baby. now the mom's in the study produced less prolactin during their pgcy than the dads but after the baby was born and the fathers levels were waning, the mothers increased and infact prolactin is a main ingredient that helps you to bond with your baby and produce milk.
so who knows ? i wish dh was here so he could give me the name of hte author of the study.

Member posted 07-13-2001 03:33 AM
Real quick,
I agree with everyone who has been saying that you do what is best for your family and baby. However, I cannot agree with letting a child CIO to the point of hysterics. My dd will do that if I leave her alone too long. Then it takes me twice as long to get her to calm down than if I picked her up in the beginning.
That being said, we have had our share of sleep trouble. DD wants to play constantly - 10pm, 11pm, 1am its all the same to her. I try to nurse her to sleep, but she wiggles her way into a crawling position and trys to get away (usually with my boob in her mouth, ouch!) We started taking her in the car. She does cry a little for about 1min to no more than 5 mins. and then she is out like a light. Is that Ferberizing?


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