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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

You smile in your sleep

It appears to be official. I didn't want to jinx our results, so I didn't blog about it this time, but 5 days later, it appears to have stuck.

Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a sleeper!

Yes, that's right, J has taken to round two of sleep training like he was just waiting to do so, and he has become a bonified sleeping baby. He sleeps through from 8 until his feeding at 1-ish and then goes right back to sleep until 5-ish. He takes a morning nap, a mid-day nap, and often a later afternoon nap, all with either no crying at all or two minutes worth, after which he stops abruptly, turns onto his stomach, and goes to sleep. He goes to sleep in his crib, without being rocked to within an inch of his life, without hour-long marathon sessions to get him down, without much complaint, sometimes without any.

Frankly, it's amazing. Everyone is sleeping better and it's great. Actually, great is perhaps too tame a word. We are all deliriously happy with this development. I read Ferber's book from cover to cover in preparation, trying to get a handle to sleep phases, sleep cycles, the thinking behind allowing the baby to cry, possible medical and non-medical reasons for sleep disturbances, etc., largely to convince myself that this guy knew what he was talking about and was basing his ideas on as much science as possible (he does and he is). Then the husband took over the weekend nights' training, because I knew I would be too weak to stick with the program as outlined in Ferber's handy charts while sleep deprived. I handled the naps. The first night there was some extended crying but not really that much, and then J seemed to accept the new regime pretty readily. Napping was a little more touch and go, largely because he's not on some sort of nap schedule and needed a little convincing to get on one. But now he's fine with naps, too.

If there's a downside to this new development, it's that so far J seems to be sleepier than ever, wanting to take at least those three daily naps and still sleeping in the car and being more crabby than usual in between sleeping periods. Before, on 15-25 minute naps and after waking up every hour after midnight every night, he was always cheerful during the day. Now, after uninterrupted sleep at night and numerous naps throughout the day, he has become a bit more whiny, needing more interaction to be happy and amused. But I'm guessing his behavior will normalize after he gets used to things a bit more. After all, it hasn't even been a week of sleeping yet, so this is all still a shock to his system.

But this is just a bit of tarnish on our silver lining, nothing we can't handle. In the meantime, the baby is SLEEPING!!!

Let's all just take a moment and let that sink in. Ahhhhhh......

Now on to the controversy. Anyone who has been parenting lately and has access to the internet knows there is a HUGE debate going on between the attachment parenting devotees and the cry it out supporters. Both sides weep and wail and gnash their teeth at each other, throwing loud and long and enduring assertions of child abuse and emotional distress and impracticality and pseudo-science back and forth on message boards and websites and blogs, often coming to virtual blows. And as with any ideologies, there are extremists on both sides who seem equally insane (at least to me). For a long time, I resisted Ferber largely because I didn't want to have to wade into this morass, even if only mentally. But his method clearly is working, at least for us, at least for right now. And I can say honestly that after reading his book, I feel like most of the characterizations of his methods out there are largely unfair and based on a limited understanding of what he is trying to accomplish and why. To read some people's indictments of his ideas, you would think he wants you to throw babies on a bed and walk away for good to eat bonbons with nary another thought, just because he's mean like that. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Reading his text impressed upon me the deep sympathy he has for children who can't sleep and his genuine desire to help everyone, children and parents, succeed at sleep.

And right now, our success is all the proof we need of his sincerity.

1 comment:

Jess and Heather said...

congrats on finally getting some good sleep!! :)