View Full Version : When to Ferberize? Inconsistent info in Baby411 and Ferber's book, etc.

02-25-2004, 10:11 AM
Our son is two weeksshy of 4 months. About 2 weeks ago we moved him from the co-sleeper in our room to the crib in his room. Worked wonderfully. Three of the first five nights he slept through the night (10-7). The other nights he woke up once, but since it was clear he could go without feeding through the night, I comforted him rather than his mom comforting/feeding him. In each instance he went back to sleep pretty quickly.

Wonderful you think. Well... He has progressively begun to wake up more and more during the night. I get up and comfort him - usually first in his crib and then picking him up if that doesn't work (rarely does) - and holding him. He almost immediately falls asleep on my shoulder. Great. I wait a bit to make sure he is really asleep and try to put him in the crib. As he hits the mattress he begins to fuss and wake himself up. This cycle can go on for 2 hours. I pick him up = asleep; down into crib = awake. Eventually he goes down. Now, every 1.5 to 3 hours, he does this. So I am up with him 2 or 3 times during the night sometimes for as long as 2 hrs. Neither of us are happy. Actually he seems happy and rested during the day!

I think I understand what is going on, but not sure how to deal with it...

1. We did manage to train him not to be a night feeder (as the books suggest).

2. Since he is only 3.5 months, we couldn't/shouldn't ferberize him yet (per Ferber's suggestion that they can only self-soothe at 5 months), so...

3. He is aware of his surroundings, so me holding him and getting him to sleep, then sneaking him into bed is making him unhappy during those regular and normal sleep cycle awakenings.

4. So I should just wake him a bit to let him know he is going into his crib. Well that has never worked - he immediately gets very upset. The only way I have ever successfully gotten him into the crib is by waiting until he is very asleep.

In sum, we are in a situation with a very aware baby that is just unhappy not to be sleeping in his dadday's arms. We have successfully broken him of night feedings. We can't put him down slightly awake. According to the books, we can't Ferberize him. So if he can't self-soothe yet, but knows how he wants to sleep - on Daddy - what is our recourse? Am I stuck just soothing him til he gets old enough to self-soothe? And when exactly IS that? Baby411 and Ferber, etc. don't quite agree.

Again, the gradual, put him to bed while vaguely awake or awaken him a bit just doesn't work. Once he is aware he is leaving me for the crib, he is VERY persistent.

Thanks in advance.

02-27-2004, 02:33 AM
I think that the recommendation for "Ferberizing" is to start at 6 months.

If DS doesn't wants to sleep on his daddy, try putting something in his crib that smells like daddy. Stretch a shirt across his mattress, give DS a "lovey" that daddy has carried around, etc.

How did he sleep in his co-sleeper? If he sleeps better in it, is it possible to start using it again? 3.5 months is still pretty little, he might feel a little more cozy in his co-sleeper for a while.

You could also check out Dr. Sears' website, he has some good tips on putting a sleeping baby down. You might also pick up a copy Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution, it's got some really great sleeping tips, and it's something that you can use to help you out right now, as opposed to a few months from now.

Good luck, I hope you get everything worked out!

02-29-2004, 09:56 PM
Actually he is OVERALL sleeping much better in his crib as compared to the co-sleeper. He has gone through the night several times without waking. When in the co-sleeper, he smells his mom and wants to feed. In the crib, he is removed from that cue and he does go longer stretches (our noises aren't waking him). Happily sometimes of late I have been able to get him to go back to sleep without picking him up. Perhaps we are getting somewhere. FYI, he isn't that little - almost 18 lbs. He certainly has the fat cells to make it through the night!

Thanks, LD

03-01-2004, 10:35 PM
I hear you loud and clear. Almost as loud as my DS that is now crying. :). I am in the same boat. I know that there are distinct camps of "sleep training" out there. We waited with our DD until 6 months because it was our first and we thought it was cruel to let her cry. Then.... we praised it as the best decision. She became the best sleeper and the happiest baby. Now, DS-- new baby--- different situation--. He is 3.5 months (11/12) and we are trying it. One night he only cried 30 minutes. Then 1.5 hours-- at which point I gave up. I tried the interval thing (ferber) but found it was too hard on me-- ended up nursing him or paci'ing him to sleep anyway. We did Weisbluth (just let them cry) with DD. I am caught in the quandry-- is DS old enough to learn from crying. Can he self-sooth without the paci? To make a long story not so long.... I think that there gets to be a point where nothing else is working. Now, he is such a bad sleeper-- I think he'd literally slept 5 hours at night and 1.5 hours today for naps. YIKES- I need more sleep than that- not to mention he does for sure!! He wakes up after 20-40 minutes during the day- Nothing is working. I don't believe the whole "depression and withdrawing" if you let them cry . That research was done on babies that never had their needs met. I am responding to him very quickly all day, and even at night when he's hungry, nurse him whenever he wants to and am trying to stimulate him in all the right ways. (still I hate to hear him crying now!!) Every baby is different. I'm just trying to figure out how to make this one happier and therefore me happier!!! Good luck to you. Let me know how it works out!

03-07-2004, 08:48 AM
What I would suggest is talking to your pediatrician. We did at the 4 month checkup last week and she said our son was old enough to Ferberize - because:

1. He had already shown he could go through the night without food
2. He had slept through the night on his own
3. He is pretty big for his age (16.5 lbs @ 4 months)

So we did it. Put him to sleep, but made sure he was still awake a bit. After 3 hours he started cry, came in at 5 min, 10 min, 15 min. Never got to the next 15 because he fell asleep! Slept til morning.

Second night (last night) he went from 9pm-7am without a peep! And was very happy this am.

So it worked! It was just a matter of getting the green light to go ahead. I think you have to read your child. But in our case I KNEW he wasn't in pain, really hungry, or in any way in trouble other than wanting to be held, so the crying didn't bother me (or my wife) that much because we knew it was good for him. Luckily he proved that pretty quickly, although I suspect he will regress sometimes for the next week or two.


03-08-2004, 09:50 PM
We Ferberized at four months, after the pediatrician told us we should. He had been waking up only twice, both times to nurse and fall right back to sleep, and then started waking every 1 1/2 hours, all night, for about a month at that point. Also, earlier he had been able to put himself to sleep at the beginning of the night but at that point could only fall asleep on his daddy's chest. He seemed to be able to self-soothe, since he could sometimes put himself to sleep at the beginning of the night, sometimes sucking on his hand or thumb. I didn't actually realize that it was too early, as the ped didn't seem to think so, and I had only read Baby411, which said at least 4 months. (I read Ferber after we had already started.)

Anyway, it worked great, and I honestly think he is happier and a better sleeper and napper since then. The first night was hard--a total of 1 hour of crying (going in in intervals as Ferber says)--but the second night was 1/2 hour, third was 15 minutes, and since then he goes right back to sleep when you just go in and pat his head and give him his bear to hold. He doesn't sleep thru the night--does still wake up once to eat, and sometimes once more very briefly but falls right back to sleep. We never take him out of his crib at night, except just for the one feeding.

Anyway, you'll have to decide what to do, but it worked for us.