I’ve read a lot of books about baby sleep. A LOT of books. And Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems by Dr. Richard Ferber just came in the mail tonight. He’s the godfather (as far as I can tell) of the somewhat controversial “Ferber Method” or “Ferberizing.” How would you like to have a verb made out of your last name? And what would you want that activity to be? Hmm… okay, anyway:
So “Ferberizing” is where you let your baby cry for increasing amounts of time — five minutes, then ten minutes, etc. — until they fall asleep when you are out of the room. It’s supposed to help a baby (6 months old, healthy, etc.) learn how to self-soothe. And that’s where we’re heading.
But being an over-wrought, over-read, over-tired mommy that I am, I needed to develop a little “project plan” to get Boopsie to sleep through the night. I’m worried because she drinks about 4 ounces at each of two feedings and don’t want to just suddenly take all that food away without allowing for some adjustment.
Without further adieu, here’s a draft:
Goals (Every good plan starts with goals!)
1) Get rid of late-night feeding.
2) Then, get rid of dream feed.
Now until Thursday, April 28:
1) Switch to level three nipples on bottles (assuming she’ll eat more during the day before she gets bored). (done)
2) Continue to dream feed, 6 oz. (yup)
3) Start giving her breakfast. (just started today)
4) Starting, Tuesday, April 26, begin reducing the amount in late night feeding (assuming she will learn to start taking in more food during the day)
- Methodology from The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight p. 124-125
5) Early waking (before 7 a.m.) is not okay. (For the record, she’s only woken up before 7 a.m. like three times.)
- Intervention (Per The Sleep Lady): Go in quickly, reposition. Put paci in hand. Leave the room. She may cry.
- If she’s still crying at wake up time (7 a.m.), do a “dramatic wake-up” – open curtains and say hello brightly, to make it clear that it’s time to wake up now (as opposed to earlier).
6) Begin giving her the paci in her hand, rather than putting it into her mouth.
- Pacifier rules: Only at bed time, nap time, or in the car seat.
7) Daytime feeding: Less snacking, more eating. Try to feed every three hours. (The issue here is more with breastfeeding.)
Beginning Thursday, April 28 – Get rid of the late night feeding:
- The Sleep Lady Shuffle per The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight: Sit in the room. Shush and pat to sleep. DO NOT PICK UP. (Most gentle, Works slowest.)
- Ferberizing, per Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems: Check in every X minutes. DO NOT PICK UP.
- Extinction, per Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child: Do not check. (Least gentle, works fastest.)
Two Weeks After the Late Night Feeding is Gone:
Wean her off of the dream feed, using whatever method we use to get rid of the late-night feeding.
So there it is… “The Sleep Plan.” Yes, a big part of this is just me trying to create order and clarity around something that freaks me out. We’re going to do this, and we’re going to hope it works. But really, we can’t know for sure, because Boopsie is her own being, with her own ideas… and we can only do so much. If I were Boopsie, I would be looking at me and looking at this “Sleep Plan”… and laughing.