Help. Started Ferber tonight and this is not what we wanted. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 04-01-2012, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I love to sleep with my DS (18mos). I would rather he didn't use my nipple as a pacifier, but I don't mind that he does. I would love it if I could just rock him to sleep and he would sleep 11 hours (even if he woke up several times to nurse). But, we have several major problems. First, he is an early waker. I am talking about 5:30 am, sometimes earlier, and it has been 4.30 am. The early waking has happened as long as I can remember. For months, we followed the advice of putting him down early, like 6:30-7:30, since he has seemed to be missing sleep, and it did not help. We ltried a later bedtime, and he was still up at 5:30. Finally, when daylight savings happened, we simply did not change with the clock, and this kept the morning wake up to 6 or later until the last week or so.

Second problem (more recent), he wakes up in the middle of the night and is awake for 2-3 hours on some nights. Generally, these are nights when he has only one nap that day (he is still transitioning). A couple of times, I have spent the time trying to get him back to sleep, rocking, bouncing, laying next to him, putting him in the crib when I'm exhausted, alternating with DH, etc. a couple of times, I have allowed him to get up and play in the dark room while I doze in and out of sleep. This is not ideal, as the room is not perfectly baby proof. And, it's the middle of the fricken night and he needs that sleep! This is like 11pm-2am.

Usually he wakes and wants to nurse about 10:45 or so. If we see if he can work it out on his own and let him fuss a bit, he wakes up too much and will be up for an hour or more (see above).

Third problem, he is having a hard time getting to sleep. These are nights he is over-tired (only one nap) or has had two naps and is not tired enough, so won't go down until 8:30 or 9. Usually hubby bounces him on ball and then rocks him to sleep (he never falls asleep on the boob, don't know why--pops up instead).

Ideally, he would adjust to a schedule of bedtime at 7 and wake up around 6 am. instead, it's down at 8:30-9 on nights with 2 naps, at 7:30 or even later on nights with one nap (despite trying earlier), up at 5:30 on nights he's not awake during the night and as late as 8:30 if he is awake in the middle of the night (or as early as 6, if big brother comes in looking for me and wakes him up). He wakes to nurse about 3-4 times, though after that first nursing session, it's really just brief comfort sucking (as I pray each time that he doesn't wake up fully!!).

Tonight we resorted to Ferber check and console. First, I tried the method of me being there next to him while he was in the crib, and it was too heartbreaking to hear him cry. I had to pick him up and rock him. Then, he kept popping up like he wanted to go play, and would not relax. And then, finally fell asleep in my arms, until I tried to put him in the crib, when he started screaming. I then tried rocking him again, tried having him lay next to me, to which he just sat up, and then tried rocking again and he wouldn't have it. I then gave up and put him crying into the crib. Then, DH did the check at 5 mins, 5 mins, then 7 mins, and he finally fell asleep 5 mins later.

This is not what we want, but we are feeling desperate. What do you do when a cosleeper starts to play when he should be sleeping? My other son would always just nurse back to sleep. As I write this, I realize it is all pretty linked to the nap transition.

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#2 of 7 Old 04-02-2012, 06:48 AM
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If it breaks your heart to hear him cry it is because IT IS heartbreaking. He is used to fall asleep close to his mama, like all mammal babies do, and now all of a sudden he's left alone crying in a dark (or semi-dark) room.


I think you expect your child to sleep too much. If his schedule is 7:30 - 5:30 (10 h) with one nap (2h?) it might be all he needs. You could try putting him to bed later if he doesn't seem tired.



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#3 of 7 Old 04-02-2012, 09:30 PM
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I'm not sure I saw how old your son is... anyhow, when my DD was a mobile baby (maybe over 1? I can't remember!) We had a pack n play next to the bed, and I would put her in there to sleep, right next to me, when she would be up to no good in the middle of the night and I couldn't get her to sleep any other way (nursing, walking, rocking, laying in our bed, etc.).  Yes, she cried, but she was right there next to me, and eventually she would lay down and go to sleep.  No, it was not fun, but I was exhausted.  We also used the pack n play for the early morning wake ups - I would keep a stash of toys, and put them up on the bed with me, and toss in one at a time to keep her amused while I snoozed.


Good luck, I hope you figure something out so you can get some sleep.

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#4 of 7 Old 04-02-2012, 10:21 PM
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As a mama of two former HN babies who are now both diagnosed with different sleep disorders, I strongly suggest you try to find a pediatric sleep lab and have a consult.  They may or may not want to do a polysomnogram.  Try to find one more Sears than Ferber, of course.  I waited until waaaayyyyy into childhood and wish I had gone in much sooner.  Best wishes!

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#5 of 7 Old 04-10-2012, 11:24 AM
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Firstly, have you tried night weaning?  That can often get you a longer stretch of sleep. 


For the middle of the night wake-ups when he wants to play, I've heard conflicting information on this.  Supposedly it is the natural sleep cycle to sleep a few hours, wake up for a few and then sleep another few.  However, that doesn't change the fact that it isn't how our lives are set up.  You can baby proof the room and let him play, or you can keep him in bed until he decides it's sleep time.  I tried both.  Ultimately I had to keep him in bed, not engage at all beyond shushing him and reminding him to lie down, and even turn my back to him (or he'd stick his fingers in my face).  It took a few weeks, but he eventually learned that he wasn't getting to do anything fun, he might as well sleep then. 


It also sounds like he doesn't have a consistent schedule.  I'd really work on that.  At 18 mos, he probably doesn't need 2 naps any more.  I'd try cutting that down to 1 and see if you can keep a consistent schedule, if his night-time sleep improves. 


For the early mornings, don't have a brilliant suggestion there.  We ultimately had to accept that our DS is a morning person because nothing we've tried gets him to sleep consistently past 6 (and even 6 is a rarity).  He's allowed to get up and play (quietly) in his room if he likes.  We have a gate up so he can't get to the back end of the house, and one of us is always asleep on the couch outside his room if he needs anything. 


He also consistently gets less sleep than is recommended for his age.  And there's nothing I can do about it - if he naps then that comes out of night-time sleep hours.  I have to do my best with a cranky toddler in the early afternoon, until he gets his second wind, and on days he takes a nap I have to accept that we'll be up late getting him down.  Average daily sleep for him is 10.5 hours (at 2.5 yo).  You can't force them to sleep, short of drugging them, so just do your best to make the most of the times they are sleeping. 

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#6 of 7 Old 04-10-2012, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by cristeen View Post

For the early mornings, don't have a brilliant suggestion there.  We ultimately had to accept that our DS is a morning person because nothing we've tried gets him to sleep consistently past 6 (and even 6 is a rarity).  He's allowed to get up and play (quietly) in his room if he likes.  We have a gate up so he can't get to the back end of the house, and one of us is always asleep on the couch outside his room if he needs anything. 


This. My son was up at 5:30 am as a baby, as a toddler, and now as an 8 year old it's really common for him to be awake for the day at 4:30 or 5:30 in the morning. He's just an early bird.

I also second the idea of getting a consistent schedule and on making it as boring as possible when he wakes during the night.

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#7 of 7 Old 04-10-2012, 01:43 PM
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Do you have blackout curtains?  That can be a big help.

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