Sunday, March 22, 2009

At least there's a word for it now: Ferberizing

Kind of. When I first had babies, the now-well-known child sleep "expert" Dr. (Richard?) Ferber wasn't that well-known yet, so doing what he advocated was just called "crying it out".

But then it turned out that sounded kind of cruel.

Anyway, I like to think we're doing it in a partial way. With our very old baby. This is not a brand new newborn - he's almost 18 months, and 6 a.m. is too early to get up if he's going to skip his morning nap.

With an hour's extra sleep, we (the adults) will be a LOT less grumpy and he will have the vim to get through the entire morning without conking out in the car or wherever we happen to be. And then an early-afternoon nap, around 1 or 2, will get him through the rest of the day without leaving him too wide-awake at bedtime (between 8 and 9).

So there it is - the reason. The strategy? This is a variation of what I've been doing to extend his afternoon naps a bit.

When he wakes up at 6, on the dot, I go in to him, pat him, cover him, sing to him and tell him it's still sleep time and I love him. And go out.

A minute later, or whenever he screams, I go in again, pat him, cover him, tell him it's sleep time, and go out.

Two minutes later, I do it again. This is the tough part - this morning, he screamed almost the whole time.

Five minutes later, I do it again. This part was hard, but this morning, he actually stopped screaming for a few extended periods in the 5 minutes.

Obviously, if he's not crying, I don't go in again. :-)
If he is, I wait ten minutes, and then do it again. By this point this morning, it was 6:30, and we were both exhausted. I told him I loved him, patted him and said it was still sleep time, and went out - back to bed.

I was prepared to listen to 20 minutes of screaming at that point, but there wasn't any - he went back to sleep until just before 7.

I've found, with this baby - they're all different! - that after a few days of this torturous schedule, he actually acclimatizes to the new wake-up time - or at least figures out that there's no point making noise before the right time.

We did it with six.
We did it with the time change.
I've done it with his naps, to some extent (he was sleeping only an hour in the afternoon, which, if you only have one daytime sleep, is NOT ENOUGH).

So we can do it with the seven-a.m. frontier as well... I'm convinced of it.
Meanwhile, wish us luck: I'm exhausted, and heading off to Canada Blooms in a minute!

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