As of late, we've (meaning I) have had a little problem with #3 not sleeping very much at night. Prior to my return to work, she was sleeping 6-7 hours at night at a stretch. Since I returned, I'm lucky if I get a 4 hour stretch. I say this is my problem, because I'm still nursing and have been doing night feedings.
I know this is partly my fault - I have indulged her with feedings when she wakes up at night. It's partly due to guilt since I went back to work. But I can't function at work on 4 hours sleep (or sometimes less). I've determined that this wakefulness is not due to hunger. She is almost 6 months old, eats cereal baby fruits and veggies 3 times a day and gets plenty of milk, so it's not a hunger issue.
It's now time for a little tough love. I vaguely remember the Ferber method working for me with the previous 2, so I reviewed the Dr. Ferber rules online yesterday in preparation for our first night of Ferber Boot Camp. In a nutshell, they are:
- Put the baby down drowsy but awake.
- If she cries, check on her in 5 minutes. Comfort, but do not pick her up, and then leave the room.
- If she is still crying, repeat in 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, and so on until she's asleep.
- The next night, stretch the intervals by 5 minutes: first 10, then 15, then 20, and so on.
- By the third night, the baby should have learned to fall asleep on her own, and put herself back to sleep if she wakes up during the night.
So we tried this last night. I nursed her, and as usual she fell asleep around 10:30 p.m. I usually just put her down when this happens, but this time I woke her up gently, and put her in the crib. As soon as I walked away she started crying.
I left and came back 5 minutes later. She was happy to see me but started crying again as soon as I left. Then I came back 10 minutes later. Still crying, but I could tell she was wearing down - her eyelids were drooping. I comforted her again and left. That's the last we heard from her - until 4:30 a.m. Woo-hoo! I got almost 6 HOURS of uninterrupted sleep!
She started fussing at 4:30 a.m., and I was getting ready to get up and get her since I get up at 4:45 anyway, but as I walked down the hall all of a sudden I didn't hear anything. She had fallen back asleep, and slept until I woke her up to get ready for day care. Thank you, Dr. Ferber! We will be trying this regimen again tonight!
Update: Night 2: Again put her down drowsy but awake and happy. She started crying about 5 minutes later. I came back 10 minutes later after that and comforted her and left. She started crying agian, and I came back 15 minutes later, and although she was fussing, I could tell she was on her way to dreamland. I comforted and left, and she was asleep less than 10 minutes later. SHE SLEPT FOR 8 STRAIGHT HOURS. Woo-hoo!