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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sleep Training (Part 1)

--------Long post - but I want to record this so that I don't forget ------------

Since birth, I've been nursing Elyssa to sleep at night. Even after giving her formula milk as the last feed (from 4 months+ onwards), I'll still let her suckle until she falls fast asleep. This can take up to an hour plus cos she sometimes suckles then pulls away, then suckles again . I tried giving her the pacifier and patting her after she's a little drowsy, but then she'll just start to cry and I end up giving in.

But after she passed her six month mark, hubby and I decided to start the "sleep training".
2 objectives here -
(a) to train her to sleep on her own
(b) to train her not to wake up for night feeds.

We opted for the "Ferber" method which is to let the baby cry for a while, then pick her up and soothe her, then put her down again and repeat the process till she falls asleep. The book also recommended that the soothing be done by the daddy since baby will associate mummy's scent with mummy's milk.

Our first attempt was on Oct 11, and it was heartbreaking! I nursed her until she was a little drowsy then pulled away and let hubby take-over. He sang and soothed her but she just cried / wailed/ yelled on top of her lungs. *Sigh*, I had leave the room to prevent myself from giving in to her. After what seemed like an eternity of cries and short silence and cries again, hubby finally came down the stairs and said that she's finally asleep. Probably about an hour, but I'm not too sure.. But anyway, achieved objective (a) for the night.

Around 3am Elyssa cried for her usual night feed. Again, hubby did the "Ferber" method. This time was worse. Hubby said that when she cried, she looked straight into his eyes and kept scratching his arm and trying to climb on him. Though he persisted with the "training", he broke down and cried too... She did fall asleep in the end and woke up again around 6.30am. This time, I gave in and nursed her back to sleep.

Day 2 (Sun night) - Slight improvement compared to Day 1. Funny thing was that when hubby sang to her, she babbled away and "sang back" as well. Felt like a daddy-baby karaoke session! But then the crying started when she got sleepy. We decided to drop objective (b) after that night as we were both panda-eyed at work the next day.

Day 3, 4 - Objective (a) achieved quite well. Whole process was about 15 minutes.

Day 5 (Weds night) - Hubby was so pleased with training to date. Got ambitious and wanted to try objective (b) again. Bad idea cos it was again a difficult time. We were up at 2am, 4am & 6am, and were panda-eyed at work..

Day 6 (last night) - Quite good progress. Obj (a) achieved in less than 15 minutes but the best part was that she only woke up for night feed around 5.30am!

Will be continuing this training for next couple of days/weeks. I'm glad that it's progressing well. Luckily Elyssa seems to be doing fine. She still wakes up smiling in the morning, with seemingly no memory of her experience the night before!


Mummy Gwen said...

Hi Adrine,

Thanks for the visit and yr sweet comments too. :) I never tried the Ferber method before coz I don't think I'm strong enough to go through it. My girl was sleeping through the night when she reached 6 months old, eventhough she needed me to pat her to sleep I'm ok with it. :)
As long as you think the method works for you then it shouldn't be a problem. Wish you success. :)

Vien said...

Hahaha..looks like you guys have better luck than us. We failed miserably trying to Ferberize both the girls. You would think we've learned from our first mistake..but seriously, we need our sleep more.

Leona said...

I actually very blur,didn;t know abt this Ferber method. Don't read many parenting books. Glad to hear that things are improving. I am sure with your love,patience and persistence... Your goal will be achieved really soon.

Thanks 4 adding me to your blog list. I like reading your blog abt Elyssa. Makes me want to have such a smiley bundle of joy soon.Ryan has passed that cute stage long time ago.

LittleLamb said...

I did the hard way.
I ignore my baby during the wee hours in the morning. I would only give water or pacifier. but then after 1 week, he slept through the night...:)

cre8tone said...

Need to train for sleep?

Adrine said...

Mummy Gwen - I'm so envious that Gwen can sweet tru the night at 6 months!

Vien - Yeah, I miss my sleep too, but hopefully this will "pay off" in the long term

Leona - For me, I'm a sucker for parenting books. And I like reading about Ryan too :)

Little Lamb - Wow,sleep thru the night after 1 week? Looks like there's hope for me.

Little Prince's Mummy - Yup, need training. If only there a "sleep school".. I'll happily send her there!

2xMum said...

Wow, she's a good girl!!

This method doesn't work for my Ryan. He doesn't lie down still for u to pat him to sleep. The min I put him down and the next min he'll get up!

Even mid nite feed if I don't breastfeed him, he'll be awake and moving about in the dark in our room ransacking his toys and our cabinets! Sigh...