Robert and the Ferber Method

December 21, 2006 at 3:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The Missus and I have made a mistake. We have let Robert control us at night. If he cries, we get up and feed him or hold him. Great for Robbie, not so great for mom and dad.

We put up with it because Robert is such a great kid in pretty much every other respect. He is cute. He is smart. He is well-behaved. He is patient. He is adaptable. We let him off the hook at night because “he is so good to us in every other way.” (By the way, I am knocking on wood furiously as I type this.)

But you know what? He is 7 months old. He is capable of sleeping through the night (he does it every now and then), so he needs to sleep through the night. And not just for mom and dad’s sake. We owe it to Robert to help him reach his full potential.

On Tuesday The Missus and I finally put our foot down. We decided to apply the Ferber method beginning that night. We had used it off-and-on before then, but that was the problem; we didn’t use it consistently, so we weren’t really using it at all. I gave Robert a lecture about our plan and why we were doing it. He did his best to listen, and he apparently took the speech to heart. He slept through the night on Tuesday. That was easy.

I was ready to go again last night, and this time Robert woke up at midnight. I let him cry for a while to see if he would put himself back to sleep. No luck, so I went in to comfort him. I wasn’t planning to pick him up, but his diaper was really full, so I changed him. I set him back in his crib, rubbed his chest and head, and walked out. He responded by screaming bloody murder.

Well, ok, I knew that was coming. I let him cry, and he was only violently pissed off for 30 seconds or so. After that it was just regular crying. I waited ten minutes before going back in. I rubbed his chest and head again, I offered a calming “shhhhh” or two, and I left. He followed with another round of pissed off crying. Within ten minutes the crying was down to an occasional soft whimper, and then ... silence. He was out. The whole thing had only taken 30 minutes. Not bad.

I don’t enjoy listening to Robert cry, and I especially don’t enjoy it when I’m the cause. But boy, will it ever be worth it to get over this hump and have him sleep through the night every night. Supposedly the Ferber method often works within a week. We’ll see about that.

As for Robert, he was none the worse for wear this morning. When his mom went to get him up at 6:45, he was passed out on his stomach in the corner of his crib. He had slept from 8:00pm until 6:45am, with just that little 30 minute hiccup in the middle. Once he rubbed the sleep from his eyes he was bright-eyed and ready to go. Just as all the experts have told us—experts being moms who have been there, done that, of course—despite the temporary fuss, he’ll be just fine.

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JK December 21, 2006 at 8:15pm

One of the hardest things of becoming a parent, for me at least, was letting the little one cry it out at night.  Much like yourself, the wife and I would sprint into his room every time he cried.  Tough to let the little guy scream like that, but, within 2 weeks the problem was pretty much solved.  Good Luck!!!

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