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Do you sleep train your baby?

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Old 05-24-2011, 05:32 PM   #1
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Default Do you sleep train your baby?

Hi everyone,
So I was wondering if anyone has ever tried sleep training their baby? I have an 8 month old daughter. She would sleep on me or nestled by me until she reached 6 months. I would try putting her down in her crib after she fell asleep, but she would either wake up right away, or fall asleep and wake up hours later. When that would happen I would give in and just let her sleep with me for the remainder of the night. I was just so exhausted I didn't care at the time.
At the moment she still needs to be rocked to sleep before I place her in the crib, and when she wakes up hours later, I stick it out and put her back to sleep and back into her crib each time. If she wakes up too much before I get her, she won't go back to sleep without a bottle. I personally don't think she's really hungry since she has three meals a day and a bottle before bed. I think she just associates the sucking on a bottle to getting asleep. She doesn't like pacifiers.
I have been researching the Ferber Method (which is letting baby cry without picking the baby up out of the crib, comforting the baby by patting it on the back or any other way without picking baby up, and waiting longer to attend to the baby) I am worried and nervous about doing this. I know it's a hard process and can take awhile before the baby learns to self soothe.
Has anyone ever tried this method or have opinions or suggestions? Should I try this method? Will my baby just eventually learn to sleep through the night as she grows up?
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Old 05-24-2011, 06:08 PM   #2
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Sssooooo.... I have a little bit of a different experience but some great advice to pass along. (Or at least I'd like to think it's great. ). My daughter (first and only) has special needs. She came home from the hospital at 7.5 months, and by then she had a good schedule of sleeping. Once being home, we had nursing up until 3 weeks ago. Because of her central apnea/trach/ventilator, we always had nursing at night. Our nurse worked Monday thru Saturday, and on Sundays, I would sleep in her room on an air mattress. I was terrified of sleeping through an alarm, and she was (is) afraid of the dark. At 2-1/2 years old, my daughter did not know how to soothe herself. She could not go to sleep without someone with her and without a light on. If she woke up and no one was around, she would get really worked up and not fall asleep for 2+ hours.

We met with our daughter's neurologist to go over some recent test results. Her neurologist is fabulous, so we started asking about sleep. We went over our sleep routine, which was getting her in bed and hooked up and sitting with her until she fell asleep (1-2 hours).

She recommended a modified Ferber approach. If a baby is used to having someone there, it can be very scary to suddenly not have that person. She recommended limiting ourselves. You would go into the child's room for X amount of time to soothe her and then leave. Then, you would let her cry for X amount of time before going back in to soother her. Gradually, the idea is to wean down on that time. Eventually, you'd get to a point where you just had to have a rough weekend and stick firm to the Ferber method.

It worked great for us. It took our daughter about a week to be able to fall asleep on her own. She will still occasionally wake up and sit up in bed, and we have to go back in and lay her back down. She's still mostly asleep and doesn't "know" to lay back down. I think our results were fast because of her age, although had you asked us before we did the modified-Ferber approach, I would have sworn it'd take 2-3 months.

From 9-12 months, kids go through a social/emotional phase of being afraid and being generally clingy. Our daughter is going through that phase now. (We laugh that she was severely delayed in everything else, so why not social and emotionally). It's tough! You just have to just be patient and know there IS a light at the end of the tunnel.
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Old 05-24-2011, 06:36 PM   #3
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My daughter is almost 10 months and still not a great sleeper. We have decided that we will not let her cry it out.

One book that was instrumental in this decision was "The Science of Parenting." The book shows that when a crying baby is being held she has nomal blood pressure, normal heart beat, and normal stress hormones. When the crying baby is left on her own, she will have elevated blood pressure, elevated heart beat, and elevated stress hormones, which means she is medically in distress.

We decided that not doing that to our daughter is more important that our sleep. We do not want to teach her that if she has problem we will not be there for her.
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:23 PM   #4
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It's part of night parenting.

Don't rule out hunger -- I nursed my kid every 3-4 hours around then. It's hard to remember for sure, but I think that's around it. Because baby tummies are tiny. They empty out quick.

I just rolled with it and coslept with kid in HER room to make nursing/sleeping easier on all. Put her down to nurse, she'd conk out, I'd get back up and go about my business. When I laid back down myself for the night, I'd nurse her again and she slept on.

As she grew, the times between nursings naturally stretched out, and she naturally slept for longer chunks to match. When it was time to go back to my own room -- she didn't have to get used to anything. She already knew her bed, her room, and the routine of me nursing her to sleep and then she didn't budget til morning. And then it was nursing 3 times a day rather than every 3 hrs! At bedtime, upon waking, and somewhere in the middle of the day to compliment the solids.

Even if you do not nurse, check out kellymom.com. There's a good section on parenting night& day.

http://kellymom.com/parenting/sleep/index.html

HTH!
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:25 PM   #5
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My girl is 10 months now and since she was 3 months, she was sleeping 10 hours through the night...here are a few tricks we learned.

1) put a fan or a slumber machine in the room..a baby has extremely short R.E.M. sleep cycles and for long periods of time they are in whats called a light sleep.. So because of that..if you put a slumber machine or fan or something that gives off white noise, when they wake, they are soothed by it and go back asleep a lot quicker..

2) a comfort object like a musical wind up bear or blanket thats familiar is key to have in the crib..even if you were to sleep with it for a few nights and give it to them, then it has your scent and when they sleep with it, they smell you on it..its a comfort thing.

3) a routine is important..baby goes to bed every night at the same time..get a routine..like..feed bath cuddle bed. Do it every night..yes it requires you to sacrafice social life..but you will love it when baby goes to sleep every night..it means more you time..

4) get a rocker or exercise ball to rock and bounce on..it soothes them to sleep and helps with tummy trouble..

I dont believe in letting my baby cry it out..the more your baby can trust by learning that you will be there for them..the less likely they are to freak out and cry more often when they have a need..because they know you will meet there need instantly..they wont be as needy growing up and they wont have to scream or cry to feel like they are getting there need met.. Yes,its a lot of hard work and waking up..but in the end..it produces a happier child who is more trusting in there parents and more independent when growing up...Read up on www.drsears.com <- he has some great insight into parenting and sleep training
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:35 PM   #6
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I did it with both my kids but they were around 12 months. Took about 3 nights. Problem is you've taught her to only sleep when you are there. Learning to fall asleep on your own is an important life skill lol
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Old 05-24-2011, 08:38 PM   #7
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my grandson just turned one..we watch him on weekends and he is a terrible sleeper..
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:07 PM   #8
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The Ferber method may be effective, but I can't imagine letting my infant cry it out in a room alone at night. seems a bit mean if you ask me.
My children didn't sleep through the night until they were well over a yr old though.
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:56 PM   #9
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As a mom of 4 (like that means I'm an expert LOL) I recommend sleep training. IDK what the ferber method is. IDK what you'd call the method I used. Maybe it is the same. But here's what I did.

At about 10 months (I can't exactly remember) I told baby that I was there for her but if she was OK but still wanted me I would come in and pat her back but not engage her - meaning, not talk to her.

Like telling a 10 month old this means anything to her. But I suppose it meant something to me like I wasn't just springing this on her unexplained and who knows what babies can understand?

So here was the drill. Put baby to bed. 1st time cry for 5 min. Go in and pat without talking for 1 min. Leave even if she's still crying. Give it 10 min. Go in and pat for 1 min. Leave again. Give it 15 min. Go pat. Leave. Give it 20 min. Go pat. Leave. Give it 25 min. repeat. 30 min. repeat every 30 in.

It was torture. For about 2 or 3 nights. We never made it to the 30 min mark. She (and he and he and he) fell asleep by the 25 min mark and were all night sleepers (except for nursing) from then on.

That is, as far as I can remember. I had 4 kids in 5 years. It's all pretty much a blur. heehee
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:58 AM   #10
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No. I do not. My son is now 1 and has recently gone from waking 3-10x a night to sleeping 8 hour stretches (1 short night feed), or none at all, in the past month. I waited until he was ready. Biologically, I believe it is wrong to leave a baby to cry. I believe in the continuum concept (google for more info). I wear my baby (I don't use a stroller, not that I am against people using them), I don't leave him to "cry it out" sleep training, and it's the best choice I ever made for him.

My son had severe acid reflux, born with a broken collarbone, very hungry baby with very high needs at night, and I had PND. I was advised over and over again to let him "cry it out". I refused. And it was a lot of hard work, harder than most people would be willing ot put up with, but it was worth it.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:23 AM   #11
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There are pros and cons to every sleep method approach. With my first child, she liked to sleep. She was sleeping thru the night from 12 wks on. My second child, however, has been sleeping thru the night for the past month. He's 19 mos old! I'd never thought of co-sleeping b4 having my 2nd, it just happened. I wanted to sleep!

He now sleeps with his big sister in a bed beside mine and my husband's bed. Yes, our room has been taken over. However, it's not that big a deal bc we only sleep in there. This time will pass. You will miss (yes, I said miss) this time in your baby's life before you know it!

Every child is different and has different needs. The hard part is finding what works for your baby and your family. Good luck!
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:53 AM   #12
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Children sleep through the night when they are biologically ready. It's a milestone like walking, talking, etc. I myself do not sleep through the night, I wake up several times.

If your baby needs you, your baby needs you. If you ignore their needs, essentially put your own needs before theirs, just think about how they feel. They are alone in the dark, they are wet/hot/uncomfortable in some way, they are expecting you to show up, and you don't. Eventually they learn that nobody is coming, so there is no reason to cry. They are probably not sleeping through the night, they have just learned that there is no need to ask for help, as none is forthcoming.

Go with your instincts on this one.

**edited to add: Wow, I sound really offensive in this post, and that was not my intent. I'm having an emotional day, please excuse me. And if you can't tell, I'm rabidly AP and against any type of sleep training or CIO. Sorry again.
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:54 PM   #13
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So I kind of feel the need to stress the difference of sleeping the entire night versus soothing.

The ferber method is not used to get your child to sleep the entire night. It is used so that when your child wakes up, she can comfort herself. It is very, very, very important for a child be able to self-soothe. No matter what approach you take (and do NOT feel guilty about you choose), the bottom line is that at some point your child has to be able to comfort herself.

I know someone mentioned above that a child that is crying is "medically in distress." I have to say, my child has truthfully been in "medical distress" many times. Seeing your child not breathing at all is significantly different than letting them cry.
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:19 PM   #14
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Oh! And to help your child sleep through the night (this is separate from Ferber), there are quite a few things you can do:

1. Circadian rhythm. Our bodies have a natural biochemical cycle. Essentially, you want to crack the code to your baby's rhythm. The idea is that you will find a natural sleeping cycle, and that's what you should start with first. If that means your child naturally wants to sleep at 6pm, then that's what you do. Once you have steadily given into her circadian rhythm and sleep cycle, you can start *slowly* adjusting the times to reflect your lifestyle. The trick is that if you wait too long, and your baby is overly tired, then you'll throw off the rhythm entirely.
2. Naps. Is she napping enough during the day? Are they consistent? Is she in an environment conducive to quality naps? Many times you'll find that if your child isn't getting enough sleep in the day (in the form of naps), then the quality of her sleep at night will be significantly decreased.
3. Soothers. You can try those nature-sound machines or even playing a particular, soft CD all night.
4. Relaxing bedtime routine with quiet time starting 1 hour before bed. Try turning the TV off and dimming the lights about 1 hour before bedtime. Do relaxing activities. Kiddos usually love lotion massages. Heck, don't we, as adults, get massages when we're stressed? A massage and books with rhythm worked great for us once upon a time.

I remember the 8-month phase well, since those were our first days home. My daughter was awake at 7am. She would nap at 9am for 1-2 hours. Nap at 1 pm for 2 hours, and nap at 6pm for 1 hour. We would start to do our nighttime routine (for us, that was trach care) at 9pm. She fell asleep instantly when we hooked her up to her ventilator. (Side note: It was quite adorable. She loved that darn thing... probably because she didn't have to do any work.) I don't recall if sleeping that much is what a typical baby would do. She always needed the extra rest because it took a lot of work for her to breathe.

Just know that you're a great mommy, and you'll get there one way or another!
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:05 PM   #15
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It's called very similar to a method called flex scheduling and is advocated in "The Baby Whisperer". It is what we use and every one of my children, those who are naturally calmer and not, are wonderful sleepers. Some take more time to establish a routine, but all can self soothe quite well. We have some nightmare wakings with the preschooler and the infant is occasionally hungry at 4 am, but those are far and away the exception.

A little crying didn't hurt any of them. We never let them cry for extended periods of time without 'resetting' them with comfort and pats, but many times our involvement would just wake them more and they do better being left to calm themselves down without our 'help'. The last thing an overtired or overstimulated baby needs is more activity and stimulation, which is exactly what picking them up and talking with them has done (in our house, anyway). Flex scheduling has made happy babies who are well rested, and a happy mom, too. I need all my children napping at the same time to get any working out done or projects, and sleep training has been essential to this. It's one of the most compassionate things we have done for the kids - not making them rely on US to provide all emotional comfort.

I will add that we do not do any serious training until they are physically capable of sleeping longer stretches. For us, that has been anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months of age. We cosleep and baby wear a lot for the newborn stage, and there is a natural separation after that. It hits a point where our noises (like snoring and alarms) are impinging their sleep more than our presence is helping them, and that is my cue to transition to them sleeping in their own room, going down on their own.


I cannot recommend flex scheduling enough. Every additional baby reinforces why we chose this method!

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Originally Posted by fitness4life View Post
As a mom of 4 (like that means I'm an expert LOL) I recommend sleep training. IDK what the ferber method is. IDK what you'd call the method I used. Maybe it is the same. But here's what I did.

At about 10 months (I can't exactly remember) I told baby that I was there for her but if she was OK but still wanted me I would come in and pat her back but not engage her - meaning, not talk to her.

Like telling a 10 month old this means anything to her. But I suppose it meant something to me like I wasn't just springing this on her unexplained and who knows what babies can understand?

So here was the drill. Put baby to bed. 1st time cry for 5 min. Go in and pat without talking for 1 min. Leave even if she's still crying. Give it 10 min. Go in and pat for 1 min. Leave again. Give it 15 min. Go pat. Leave. Give it 20 min. Go pat. Leave. Give it 25 min. repeat. 30 min. repeat every 30 in.

It was torture. For about 2 or 3 nights. We never made it to the 30 min mark. She (and he and he and he) fell asleep by the 25 min mark and were all night sleepers (except for nursing) from then on.

That is, as far as I can remember. I had 4 kids in 5 years. It's all pretty much a blur. heehee
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