Sleeping In The Suburbs :: Part 5

After scaring expecting or brand new parents with Part 1 and Part 2 of my series ‘Sleepless In The Suburbs’, then leading them on with a slightly more positive Part 3 and Part 4, it’s time to proclaim the good news of victory over all sleep demons.

Snoozing with her best friend.

Back in July/August of last year, after we started with the CIO (Crying It Out) method, Emma quickly showed that she was very well capable of sleeping for 12 hours in one stretch without the need for extra fuel or attention. She was 6 months old at that time. All this nursing in the middle of the night was simply because she wanted the comfort of Mama’s boobies. (Mr. Thrasher says, he can relate.)

For the first few months as new parents it seemed like a never-ending story and I kept asking God why He had to punish test us with such a difficult baby. Today, I can barely remember when Emma decided that napping in her crib is absolutely refreshing and that she would be ok if I just put her down in her own bed, said ‘Gute Nacht’ and left her in her room to fall asleep. After six stressful, sleepless, exhausting months for all family members, Emma had finally learned to not only go to sleep without fussing at night, she was also cooperating during daytime naps.

As lots of wise (wo)men, doctors, sleep experts and research confirms, babies need the predictability of a daily routine - including naps. (Thrasher Home is not a scientific or medical blog so you won’t find the facts here. But I encourage you to read more about it if you doubt it.) Therefore, we decided that Emma’s sleep schedule, especially bedtime at night, would take priority over our social life. And if that required for either Paul or me to stay home in the evening while Emma was sleeping or getting a babysitter, so shall it be.

The reward for our sacrifice is priceless. Let me share a summary of Emma’s sleeping habits as of the age of 6 months:

  • We do feed her before bedtime/naps but she’s always awake when we put her in her bed.
  • Emma doesn’t cry when put in her crib and left in her room to fall asleep on her own. Only when she thinks she doesn’t need a nap, she objects loudly. However, this doesn’t happen at night.
  • Bedtime is 6.30pm. She is fast asleep by 7pm.
  • She mostly goes down for her naps during the day without fussing.
  • At almost a year, she still naps twice during the day: around 9.30am and 2pm. I always try to be home or in the car around these times to give her an opportunity to sleep. (She refuses to fall asleep in her stroller.)
  • Starting at 6 1/2 months, Emma was sleeping through the night from 6pm to 6am. She usually woke up once around 11pm, fussed softly for less than five minutes and went right back to sleep.
  • Emma often plays quietly with her toys after waking up from a nap.
I know some of you have been exploring CIO? How has it been going for you? Tell me.

The Ten Commandments Of Motherhood

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  1. You are your child’s mother. Your child may also have a grandmother, a godmother, maybe even an adoptive mother. Your child also may wish for another mother every now and then but that’s a different story. (“You shall have no other gods in My presence.“)
  2. You shall not worship ERGOs, pacifiers or white noise machines nor idolize your pediatrician or Dr. Harvey Karp. (“You shall not make for yourself an idol…You shall not…worship them…”)
  3. Don’t swear, for Heaven’s sake! Your little one may copy your foul mouth sooner than you think. And what the $*?*$& are you gonna do then, huh? (“Do not swear falsely by the name of the Lord.“)
  4. You’re a mother. There are no ‘days off’. The Lord may have been able to rest after creating the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them. You, however, will not get any rest until your child moves out. (“Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.”)
  5. Your children honor you. No, really. Deep, deep, deep, very deep down your rebellious teenager adores you. Vice versa you’ve found a new appreciation for your own mother as she makes for cheap amazing babysitters. (“Honor your father and your mother.”)
  6. You shall not kill. Sleep deprivation doesn’t count as a legitimate excuse for murder. (“Do not murder.”)
  7. Saggy boobs, lack of libido, lingering pregnancy weight will not drive your husband into the arms of another woman. And soiled diapers are probably the only dirty thoughts you have. (“Do not commit adultery.”)
  8. Just because you accidentally forget stuff in the storage compartment of your stroller doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay for it. (“Do not steal.”)
  9. You shall not gossip or spread lies about other mommies on the playground. No matter how perfect they are. (“Do not bear false witness against your neighbor.”)
  10. You shall not covet other mothers’ strollers, diaper bags, bodies, husbands, babysitters, babies who sleep through the night nor their SUV’s or anything that is theirs. (“Do not covet your neighbor’s wife.”)

The 11. Commandment: No mother should ever have to apologize or feel bad for being late, canceling or rescheduling plans due to her baby’s sleeping patterns (or lack thereof).

Can I get an Amen, sisters?

Adoption Myth Busters :: Part One :: The Adoption Awareness Blog Project

Recently I’ve enjoyed watching the very positive side of adoption as shown on ‘Modern Family’ (Cameron and Mitchell contemplating adopting another baby) and then there’s ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ depicting the darker side of adoption (Mer and Derrick losing their adopted daughter).

I’d like to suggest it’s also a good time for all of us to start learning more about adoption [...], because the problems will be fixed more rapidly if faulty stereotypes are replaced by genuine understandings. ~Adam Pertman, Huffington Post, Nov. 2011

Why would someone adopt?

  • Some consider adoption because they are unable to get pregnant, some simply have the desire to adopt (like my husband and me), some have family connections that call for adoption, e.g., stepparent adoption, and others may choose to add to their families through adoption for other reasons.
Aren’t you worried that you wouldn’t be able to love your adopted child as much as your genetic child?
  • This was actually my biggest fear. But the wise Mr. Thrasher had the perfect analogy to help me overcome it: He asked me to imagine that dear friends of ours had died in an accident leaving their little son behind (I didn’t say it was a fun exercise!). If we were the ones to take care of him from that moment on, would I be able to love him, care for him and treat him as if he was my biological child? Heck, yes! I already love that boy with all my heart. There was my answer.
  • My own biological father shut me out of his life no matter how hard I tried to connect with him. So forget the genetic ties. They are no guarantee for a loving family. Your commitment and decision to love are the guarantee. Just like in a marriage. Paul and I are not related by blood. But we became One through a covenant and a promise we made to one another.

So where do I start?

  • Read books like The Adoption Decision or Successful Adoption: A Guide For Christian Families, join online adoption networks, talk to people who adopted, join the Adoption Awareness Blog Project here on Thrasher Home, follow adoption blogs (Filled With Praise, Congo, Here We Come! are great blogs) and request info packages from different adoption agencies.
  • Researching an agency is an important step in the process and includes asking questions, talking with references, and gathering other information.
  • The agency you select will depend on the type of adoption you are pursuing (domestic, international, etc.) and other details specific to your family’s adoption plans which may include your age, faith, marital status, costs, etc.

I’m single and 40 years old. Would they let me adopt a child?

  • Adoptive families come in all shapes and sizes. In the last 20 years there has been a steady, sizable increase in the number of single-parent adoptions. The desire to nurture and to share life as a family is a strong universal need that is felt by a large number of people and one that is not exclusive to married people or couples.
  • Despite the greater acceptance of single-parent adoption, the traditional view of parenting, that a child needs a mother and a father for healthy growth and development, still exists. Adoptive parents and agencies, in preparing prospective adoptive parents, stress the importance of having friends and family who can lend support and serve as a backup system. Source: Parents.com
  • Next: 40 years is not old. Secondly, there are no legal restrictions in most states, but many or most birth families select the family for their child, so parents who are younger than 25 or older than 45 may wait longer to be selected.

How much does an adoption cost? Isn’t it ridiculously expensive? 

  • Having to cover intense adoption expenses is a big part of the reason many parents are hesitant to build their families through adoption but it may be more affordable than you think. See Ashley and Mark’s adoption story, for example.
  • Adoptions with the lowest cost are those completed through a public agency (state social services). These generally involve adoption of children in the U.S. foster care system. For more on adopting a waiting child, visit AdoptUSkids.org.

How would I ever be able to afford paying for an adoption?

  • Have faith. If God has put the desire to adopt on your heart, He’ll provide.
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ~ Matthew 19:26
  • Other resources to consider:
    • Adoption tax credit:
      • Currently the federal adoption tax credit provides a credit of up to $13,170 per child (2010) for “qualified adoption expenses”. That’s half the cost!
    • Interest-free adoption loans (e.g., the ABBA Fund) and grants
    • Fundraising
    • Monetary gifts from friends and family
    • Employer adoption benefits

I’ve heard that you may have to pay the birth mother’s rent or her cell phone bill? What are other adoption expenses?

  • Some of the biggest costs in an adoption are costs related to the unplanned pregnancy itself. These are costs that an adoptive family would have if they were pregnant themselves and the courts view them as the responsibility of the adoptive family. These items include all medical bills, maternity clothing and possibly other items such as rent and utilities during the unplanned pregnancy.
  • Basic service charges included in U.S. adoption costs are: home study and parent education, post-placement supervision, attorney fees and court costs. Additional charges may be incurred depending on the adoption type pursued. With domestic adoptions fees may include: birth parent expenses (see above), including legal representation and counseling, and birth expenses. In international adoption, additional costs include immigration processing and may also include for foster care, escorting, and medical care and treatment charges. Additionally, there are transportation and accommodation costs involved in travel to the country where the child resides. ~ Source: AdoptionInstitute.org

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Disclaimer: The above adoption myths are based on questions we had when we first looked into adoption and focus mainly on domestic infant adoption. They also address concerns raised by our friends and families. The answers are a combination of research we’ve done ourselves on the interweb, conversations we had with our adoption agency, books we’ve been reading and stories from other adoptive parents like Hilary and Dirk or Ashley and Mark.

We’re Expecting Again! :: The Adoption Awareness Blog Project

We’ve got exciting news: Paul and I are going to be parents again.

Only this time, our ‘pregnancy’ may take up to 22 months (like elephants). I also won’t be swaddling around with a huge belly in front of me or throw up all day; neither will my OB-Gyn be delivering our baby nor will there be a due date.

We are adopting.

And with this big announcement, I am officially kicking off the Thrasher Home Adoption Awareness Blog Project (read more here).

Thirty-nine percent of Americans have very or somewhat seriously considered adopting at some point in their lives. Source: The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, National Adoption Attitudes Survey, 2002

But with over 100,000 children in foster care, we need more people to consider adoption. Whether you are considering adoption or you have doubts about adoption or you never gave it much thought, I pray that this project and the insights we will be sharing will move you.

Adoptive parents and adopted ‘children’ will be telling their stories, friends will share about the meaning of ‘family’ and together we will address delicate questions like:

  • Can you love an adopted child as much as you would love a birth child?
  • How on earth would I be able to afford adoption?
  • Will my child’s birth parents be attending birthday parties and other family events?
  • Can you chose what ‘kind of’ child you want to adopt?
  • What if birth parents revoke their consent to the adoption?
But before I serve you the tough stuff, read Paul and my personal story of the adoption decision here.
So, do you think that girlfriend of yours who is adopting deserves a baby shower as much as your pregnant girlfriend?

Emma’s Dedication :: The Church Ceremony


This past Sunday we dedicated our daughter at our local church. My dear friend, mentor, eye witness of Emma’s birth and Pastor, Val, did an amazing job with her first infant dedication. I was also quite thrilled that my friend Kym and I were able to dedicate both of our daughters together.

The only sad part: My Mama and sister couldn’t be with us. Obviously, it would have been a bit of a stretch to ask them to make the journey from Germany to attend Emma’s dedication. Mama, Meike, ihr habt mir so sehr gefehlt!

But let me give you some background on the dedication ceremony and what it actually means. We are Christians. At our church we dedicate our children instead of baptizing or christening them. The main difference between these religious rituals (um, that sounds kinda weird) is probably the idea that with a dedication, you, as a parent, dedicate your baby to God as an act of honor, worship and thanksgiving. We think a baby shouldn’t be christened/baptized until they are old enough to make their own decision about their faith.

The dedication is further a public declaration of the parents’ promise to raise the child in a godly way with the support of the church family. The Pastor anoints the baby, the parents and godparents (if parents chose godparents).

Baptism is a part of many Christian denominations, including Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist. Baptism is a water purification ceremony, so at baptisms you will see a small amount of holy water from the baptismal font, poured by the pastor or minister over the infant’s head. During a baptism the child enters the Christian faith and his or her parents and possible godparents, vow to raise the child in the faith they have chosen. (Source: Articlesbase.com)

The anointing of Paul, Emma and me. (Take a closer look at Emma's stunning gown.)

Since I am a sucker for traditions, I was over-the-moon excited that Emma was able to wear the same gown that my own mother had crocheted while she was pregnant with me. The gown was stunning and it meant a lot to me that Emma was dedicated in the same gown that me, my sister and my sister’s son had been baptized in. I love that story!

Another tradition we ‘stole’ from the baptism ritual (at least how I knew it in Germany as part of the Lutheran church) was that we chose a scripture to pray over Emma’s life. Despite an abundance of encouraging, empowering, healing, promising or prophetic scriptures, this was an easy task. Without any doubt, Paul and I knew that everything we wanted God to fulfill in Emma’s life was encompassed in 2 Timothy 1:7.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and a sound mind (or self-control as translated in other bible versions).

Our fearless firecracker certainly has a spirit of power and love already. We just need to keep praying that she’ll have some self-control as well. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Come back soon for Part Two of Emma’s Dedication – The ‘after party’ at our house. I’ll be sharing lots of pictures of lots of pretty party decor.

 

Leaving My Baby Overnight

After months of putting baby first and marriage second, it was time to spark a bit of Thrasher romance away from home. The hubs and I were planning to take a much needed, long overdue break and (insert gasp) stay at a nice hotel in the city for the night. Without baby. Oh my.

The thought of leaving our DD behind and no parents nearby to jump to her rescue should she need comforting, a warm boob or Papa’s strong shoulders sent shivers down my spine.

Photo: Bend the Light Photography

Yet the circumstances seemed perfect:

  • Grandma is visiting for the week and has proven herself to be worthy, capable and proud to take care of our most precious family member all by herself.
  • A friend of ours works at a nice hotel downtown and helped us get a good deal for the night.
  • Mr Thrasher had a business meeting the next morning at the same hotel. How random is that? (Well, I know it’s not chance but God encouraging us to actually go through with this plan.)

Of course, Emma had to start teething pretty badly a few days ago. Not that she did it on purpose. Poor thing. Despite having been sleeping from 6pm to 5.30am the next morning she’s recently been waking up frequently at night again and hasn’t fallen back asleep without any help. The other night (basically our test drive for grandma) nothing worked: nursing, Ibuprofen, Orajel, chilled pacifier, rocking, lullabies. I ended up padding her back and soothing her (Emma, not grandma) for over an hour while she was lying in her crib fighting sleep. I eventually left the room and left her whimpering for a little while until she finally drifted off.

Sorry, I’m getting distracted. Ha, see how that goes? From starting to write about my marriage and Mr Thrasher, I switch back into mommy mode and write about Baby Thrasher. So how did I prepare for my first overnight stay without baby? Glad you asked.

  • I left a manual or detailed instructions for the babysitter. This is not about being controlling. This is about peace of mind for you AND the person taking care of your baby. Giving them advice on how to manage certain situations or when and what to feed her will make it easier for them to take care of baby.
  • Ready. Set. Pump. I left enough breast milk for the evening, nightly emergency feedings and the next morning.
  • I chose a babysitter who watched baby before. It makes you feel more comfortable and won’t frighten confuse baby when she wakes up and neither Mama nor Papa are around.
  • Communicate. Share your worries, fears and anything that’s on your heart with the babysitter. It will help you get it out of your system.
  • Talk to your husband. Ask him to be patient and understanding.
  • Define what an ‘emergency situation’ entails and when the babysitter should call you.
  • Don’t stress over turning this overnight date with your lover into the sequel to your wedding night. Your only goal should be to have fun and enjoy some quality time. This is not about finding the most romantic restaurant for dinner, looking drop dead gorgeous in a fancy neglige or performing the best sex of your married life. This is simply about being together without any distractions.
I’m gonna spare you the juicy details of our nightly getaway. The only thing I’m gonna say is: It was absofrickinglutely worth it and my husband is HOT!

Where Is Super Mama When You Need Her? :: Parenting Challenges

I don’t have to deal with crazy deadlines, ever-changing briefs and tight budgets anymore like I used to when working at an ad agency. Now, I’m facing different kinds of challenges like how do I get my baby to like bath time, when and how often and how much do I feed her solids, how can I explain to my DH that Emma shouldn’t be playing airplane with him half an hour before bedtime, what can I do to teach her to fall asleep by herself, when is the ideal bed time and why is she suddenly throwing a fit every time I want to change her diaper.

At only 6 1/2 months, Emma already learned to pull herself up. According to her crawling is for babies. Of course, Papa and Mama are mighty proud of our Super Baby.

BUT, after we finally gained control over Emma’s sleeping patterns and taught her successfully to fall asleep by herself (as in: no more rocking, nursing or singing to sleep and no more checking in on her in the middle of the night – yeah!), we are facing a new challenge: As soon as we have put her down to sleep, she pulls herself up on the rail of the crib and just stands there. Since she hasn’t learned yet how to get back down, she eventually gets frustrated ‘up there’ and starts crying. Yeah, we’re not so proud anymore.

So we’re basically back to checking in on her and putting her down. We do that over and over. How fun.

Enter Super Mama with the solution: A sleep sack or wearable blanket or however you wanna call it.

Sleep sack by Steiff.

I love these things! Emma always used to wear them at night time but then I thought it would keep her from rolling on to her tummy. Her favorite sleeping position. So I stopped putting it on her.

Today I had the genius idea that a sleep sack might keep her from pulling herself up on the rail since her legs would be kind of ‘swaddled’. Ha, it totally worked! She is now peacefully snoozing on her belly. In her sleep sack.

Here are a couple of other Mommy Challenges that I faced and eventually tackled:

  • Hating bath time: I used warmer water and put a wash cloth on her belly to calm her down and keep her warm.
  • Falling asleep while nursing (and not getting a full feeding in): Undress baby and use a wet wash cloth to keep her slightly uncomfortable.
  • Teething pain #1: Put a schnuller (pacifier) or wet wash cloth in the freezer. Makes a great teething toy.
  • Teething pain #2: Elevate the head part of her crib mattress a bit. It takes some pressure off her gums which are causing her so much discomfort.
  • Frequent night wakings: I’ve written a gazillion blog posts about how we solved that problem.
  • Making sure she wouldn’t be afraid of water: I never covered her face when washing her hair. I obviously made sure she wouldn’t get shampoo in her eyes but it taught her that running water over her face is not a bad thing.
  • Congested nose: We set up a warm mist humidifier in her room.
  • Not taking the bottle #1: Make sure the milk is warm enough.
  • Not taking the bottle #2: Don’t wait until she’s too hungry and frustrated before you try giving her the bottle.
  • Sleeping in a new/foreign environment: Have her sleep in the travel crib a few days before you leave for your trip so she can get used to her interim bed.
  • Freaking out over all the stuff that’s going wrong: Look at the things that are going well and give yourself some credit. Motherhood is the most challenging job you can ever sign up for.
I’m not writing about this to brag about my fantastic mothering skills. I’m still learning so much every day. I’m sharing this stuff so you can take it as an inspiration for solving your very own Mommy Challenges. Some of those tips I got from my experienced mommy friends so I can’t even claim to be the brain behind all of this. As always, I like to invite you on my journey because if someone already made a path, why not walk on it.
Ok, now YOU tell me how I can avoid those diaper changing fights with Super Baby before I have poop all over me. Please. Thank you very much.

 

Bye, Bye Baby Gear

We’re officially moving into the next stage of babyhood: Crawling. The baby who previously just lounged on her activity gym and eventually rolled over to her tummy, is now mobile. Which means it’s time to childproof our house (lock that liquor bathroom cabinet) and store anything she has outgrown in the garage or sell it on Craigslist.

Remember when you were creating the registry for your baby shower? (I used myregistry.com, by the way. Which allows you to register items from several websites and even offline products.) Your very experienced mommy friends probably helped you decide what you needed right away and what could be purchased later. I bet your mother had a word or two to add as well, huh? (” Do you really need that Sleep Sound Sheep? Just sing to her.” Or: “We used to carry you in a sling. Who’s gonna spend over $100 on a baby carrier?”)

All this made our lives so much easier...

Well, we’re now at that point. So I thought I’d share an hommage to all the baby gear that served us Emma so well and list the products we’re looking into purchasing soon.

BYE, BYE in order of (dis)appearance

WHY HELLO THERE

There’s probably more to buy and sell. But that’s just an idea for new parents to see how quickly you’ll be going through that stuff. Paul said to me the other day that it’s kind of ridiculous to spend so much money on all those baby clothes when she may only wear them once or twice. Don’t tell anyone but we had plenty of outfits that she never wore. To my defense, our baby girl is a giant and grows like weed.


Sleepless In The Suburbs :: Part 4

May I celebrate a tad bit with you, my dear readers? Here’s the report of our last few nights of ‘ferberizing’ our DD. Make sure to read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 to get the full experience.

As much as I appreciate and acknowledge the admittedly significant improvement, I still HATE it. Listening to my baby cry – even if it’s just for 5 minutes – is just plain awful. I know and keep telling myself that it’s for the better long-term because it will help Baby Thrasher and us sleep longer and deeper. But from all the crying she got hoarse! She sounds like a rockstar who partied too much. That poor thing. She usually talks up a storm but since yesterday she hasn’t talked much. Everytime she makes a sound it tears me up inside because I know I did this to her.

By the way, I don’t think I mentioned nap times before and how I tackle those. Emma has been a decent sleeper by day. However, since both of us are quite the social butterflies and doers, there had been plenty of opportunities to nap in the car. Which, in my opinion, doesn’t really count as ‘falling asleep on her own’.

Just to enforce our nightly endeavors of sleep training, I decided to follow the same method during the day. With minor adjustments: After two intervals of crying for 5 and then 10 minutes, I pick her up after the third interval of 10 minutes, rock her a bit and put her back down. That always works and I believe it’s not messing with the program. Also, I have to help her get her voice back and she obviously needs a break.

Ok, friends, I gotta run. Emma is about to eat Griffin’s tail.

Sleepless In The Suburbs :: Part 3

That’s it! Our spirits have been broken. It has now been 191 nights since we left the hospital with our baby girl. 191 nights without more than 4 hours of sleep. And that was only when she was a newborn. We had to change our pace in order to regain sanity and save our marriage.

I know I have blogged about this topic many times already but since we’re still in the midst of probably one of the most difficult stages of parenthood to date, I’m gonna keep sharing.

For the past three months or 91 days Emma had been waking up every 2-3 hours at night. We even had weeks of hourly wakings. Do you know that feeling of crankiness towards the end of the day when you’re really beat and just want to crawl under your covers? How would you feel when you finally fell asleep after tossing and turning restlessly at night only to suddenly awaken again shortly thereafter? Oh, and don’t think you could load up on coffee, Monster drinks or Red Bull to help you function during the day. Na, you’re still breastfeeding so none of that, lady.

We recently went to SoCal for an inexpensive vacation. While staying with Paul’s mom, Paul offered to take care of Emma at night so that I could get some good night sleep. What an awesome husband, hey. He and Emma along with her travel crib, one bottle of breast milk and a bottle of water moved into one bedroom as I went to bed in a separate bedroom. Dear Lord, that was amazing! I had forgotten how wonderful it is to sleep through the night without any disturbance. I was reborn. I was a new person. I was actually friendly and nice again. Seriously.

So peaceful...

Paul and I celebrated our victory over Emma’s nightly terrorism sleep issues. We were convinced that we had magically cracked taught her to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Ha! Not too fast. Back home she fell back into her old sleep pattern. Really? Why? What worked in L.A.? Was it the climate? The different day activities? We sorta kept her bedtime and routine the same so that couldn’t be it. Maybe it was that driving around for about an hour every time we had to get somewhere which always gave her an opportunity to rest/sleep.

Either way, we had to set an end to this. Paul was back at work and couldn’t afford to spend many more nights comforting Emma and even with a few nights of deep sleep I wasn’t able to make up for the past six months.

It seemed like there was only one more option and I hated to even think about it. Yes, that’s right. We had to let her cry it out. Even writing this feels like a fist clenched around my heart. (In Germany we say: Lieber ein Ende mit Schrecken als ein Schrecken ohne Ende.)

So we put Pantley’s book No-Cry Sleep Solutions back on the shelf and investigated the Ferber Method. The Ferber Method is a sleep training strategy designed by Richard Ferber, M.D., the director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children’s Hospital in Boston where he has been treating children with sleep problems since 1978.

The Ferber Method is not simply a “cry it out” approach to getting your baby to sleep. Instead, like some “no cry” methods, Dr. Ferber’s methods is supposed to help you teach your baby go to sleep and sleep all night without crying or with a minimum of crying.

But make sure to read up on Dr. Richard Ferber’s method before you judge. The folks at Babycenter.com have a great article about it. As much as I opposed any sort of crying it out sleep training (see Part 1 and Part 2), I never judged the parents who decided to try it.

However, I still feel very uncomfortable about this in my heart but my head told me that our whole family would benefit longterm from the ‘cold turkey’ method. And if you add up all of the crying your child now does when she wakes up in the middle of the night, especially if she keeps doing it for many more weeks or months, it will likely far exceed what she might do using the Ferber Method.

Well, here we are. Paul and I reading, talking, arguing and eventually deciding a game plan to teach Emma how to fall asleep by herself and let go of her sleeping aids: Nursing, bottle, rocking, shushing, lullabies, pacifier (not that she ever really used one) and mostly Mama and Papa picking her up.

Here’s our plan of attack:

  • Stick to our well-established bedtime routine and bedtime. Cuddle and hug her even more than usual before bedtime so she knows that we love her so much.
  • Then put her down awake, so that she is left to fall asleep on her own. (She has fallen asleep on her own several times before at night and during the day.)
  • Eventually, Emma will inevitably start crying. Allow her to cry for about 5 minutes, then re-enter the room to console her while only staying in the room for a short time – even if she is still crying – and not picking her up.
  • This second time we leave the room, we would wait 10 minutes before returning and doing the same thing.
  • The third time we wait 12 minutes, and set this as a maximum wait time for the rest of the night.
  • While listening in our bedroom to Emma sobbing next door in her nursery, we would pray together and encourage one another that we’re doing the right thing.
  • The following nights we will stretch out the intervals until we’ve reached the limit we allow our child to cry (12 minutes).

Stay tuned for more updates on our sleep training, how we tackle the daytime naps or hear me whine on Twitter in the middle of the night.