Monday, May 5, 2008


This is a strange term that I have only learned recently. It reminds me of the word you used to see connected to dry cleaners...martinizing. I really never knew what that meant, but somehow they seem like they'd be related.

"Ferberizing" is a term used by parents who adopt the "sleep training" methods of Dr. Richard Ferber. There are all kinds of methods out there to train your baby to go to sleep on their own, some include letting your child cry and some do not. Dr. Ferber supports letting your child cry, but not just closing the bedroom door and letting them cry indefinitely. Though I wasn't sure how I was going to handle the crying, at least I knew that I wasn't going to make my child feel abandoned.

Previously we had been doing our night-time routine, a bath, lotion/massage, put on her jammies, a bottle while being rocked in the glider...then rocked until she was completely asleep. Then very, very carefully get up, walk over to the crib and place her in, praying the whole time that you won't jostle her too much or make any noise to wake her up. If she woke up it was back to the glider until she fell asleep again. Ugh.

From my research at 4-6 months, babies are neurologically able to fall asleep on their own. Some babies just start doing it on their own (lucky parents!), but most need to be "trained." We were ready to start "Ferberizing" at four months, but we had to deal with the elimination of the swaddle first. Now that that's done, here's how it works. You get your child ready to go to sleep in the usual manner, though the first night it is good to start a bit later than normal so the baby is more tired. After you are done with your routine, you put your baby in bed awake. Our doctor recommended putting them to bed drowsy at first, so this is what we did. She had her bottle and was partly asleep, but not completely. Once she was in the crib she fussed around a bit and eventually started to cry. Once she starts to cry you wait a designated amount of time to just let them CIO (or "Cry It Out" - this is another message board term like STTN, Sleeping Through The Night). We started with three minutes. This was harder than I thought. When Morgan cries, she cries loud and hard. We turned down the sound on the monitor (we can watch her on the video screen) and closed the door to the bonus room. When the three minutes are up one of us would go into her room and "soothe" her for a minute or two. We aren't allowed to pick her up, but we would talk to her and rub her tummy and give her some kisses. Usually she would calm down some. Then you have to leave the room making sure she was still awake and aware you are not there.

Then you wait at longer intervals, five minutes, then ten minutes...then continue with the ten minute intervals as long as she is still crying. Friday night Morgan cried on and off for a total of 20 minutes (so the three, five and ten minute intervals with a few minutes that she was not actually crying). She was asleep before the first ten minute interval ended. Yay Morgan! She did about the same thing on Saturday night. Then last night she was asleep before the five minute interval was I think it took her about 6-7 minutes from when we put her down to fall asleep. Fantastic!! You are actually supposed to increase the intervals each night...but until this moment I completely forgot about that. It worked fine anyway. We are still working on this for naps...but it looks like the nights are going well. When/if she wakes up around 3-4 am to eat we put her right back in her crib again...both Saturday and last night she fussed around for about 30 minutes and went back to sleep for a few hours. No real crying. Good girl!

This works great for us as we like to have Morgan go to sleep around 8:00 pm. If we have to rock/soothe her completely to sleep each night it takes much longer. Now we can have more time with her knowing that as soon as she finishes her bottle, she can be put in her crib and go to sleep on her own. This is good for her so she develops the ability to put herself to sleep ..thus she sleeps better and longer because she doesn't need us to "help" her get to sleep.

We'll let you know how this continues to go. We are excited about Morgan's progress. I'm sure teething will totally throw everything out of whack, but for now it's going great.

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