What is my sleep philosophy?

I was asked this in a previous post, so allow me to answer.  I believe in the power of sleep.  I cherish it and think it is a vital part of a healthy life.  I also believe that preventing someone from sleeping is a form of torture and that willingly preventing yourself from sleeping is a form of insanity. My philosophy is that we should all get some more f-ing sleep in this house!!!  With this said, it is clear that my sweet, chubby cheeked child has, sometime in the last few weeks, transformed into a demented villain, sent to terrorize me for the rest of my life.  Perhaps this sounds a bit of an exaggeration to you?  I would bet that you have slept more than 3 hours in a row at some point in the last two weeks.  I sound crazy because I am on the verge of insanity brought on by lack of sleep.

When I brought him home from the hospital and he woke every two hours it indeed sucked.  However, I was somewhat mentally prepared for all of that and got myself through it by chasing that magical carrot that is sleeping through the night at some point shortly after the newborn stage.  Milestones  have come and gone.  He has mastered the dead man’s crawl so well that he has come dangerously close to making it into the dog’s water before I have had a chance to poke my head in and out of the refrigerator.  He is recognizing some of the baby sign language signs already.   He has 6 teeth!!  He still does not sleep through the night.

As I have recently elaborated on, he not only doesn’t sleep through the night, but is now waking all the time.  All. the. time, people.  Just when I fall asleep there he is on the monitor!  Yes, yes… I wait to see if it will become crying or if he will just fall back to sleep.  Although I don’t know what good that is doing anyone.  I’m still not sleeping if I am laying there listening to him.  90% of the time it escalates and he is not going back to sleep.  So off I go with the magical boobs in tow, or Scott will wake and bring him to the magical boobs.  Then we all settle in for our next 2 to three hours of sleep.  In addition to this madness, he is now fighting naps so hard that I’m beginning to worry if Freddy Kruegar is waiting for him in his dreams.

Today we had planned to get the house baby proofed, clean up a little, hang some curtains, and decorate for Christmas.  Not lofty plans by any means.  Did we accomplish these things?  No.  Instead, I spent the day fighting to get Kendall to take a nap.  The WHOLE day was one giant mess because he refused to sleep.

Okay… I guess you get the point now.  He won’t sleep.  Sorry for the tirade.  Anyway, I’m dead set on getting my nights back.  We must ALL get our nights back, including Kendall.  It can not be healthy for him to spend his days so tired, yet so dead set against sleep.  So…. I sit here typing with Dr. Richard Ferber’s book to my left.  It is patiently waiting for me to pick it up and read it (yet, I am faced with another dilemma which is who on earth has time and energy to read a book about how to get your baby to sleep when the baby is currently NOT sleeping and you’re exhausted to the point of delirium?).

That’s right folks.  I will be letting my child cry it out.  I will be Ferberizing.  You may think what you want, as I’m sure there are plenty of you cringing as you read this, plenty of you already feeling sorry for my child.  Allow me to clarify that I do this out of love for him, and yes, admittedly out of the need for a somewhat normal sleep routine around here.  I have been fighting a cough/head cold/sinus infection for going on three weeks now.  I am not a good mother to my son when I can not function.  I can not function on no sleep.

So there.  I’m doing it.  And I’m sure you all know that I will keep you informed on how it goes down.  In the meantime, I leave you with this hilarious email forward that was posted on thebump.com not too long ago.  I found it funny at the time.  I find it scary accurate now.  I do not know who the orginal author was… surely some wise baby who is the Hitler of the baby sleep strike movent.  Enjoy.

Sleeping through the night: A baby’s point of view

OK, here’s my situation. My Mommy has had me for
almost 7 months. The first few months were great—I

cried, she picked me up and fed me, anytime, day or
night. Then something happened.

Over the last few weeks, she has been trying to STTN
(sleep thru the night).

At first, I thought it was just a phase, but it is
only getting worse. I’ve talked to other babies, and
it seems like it’s pretty common after Mommies have
had us for around 6 months.

Here’s the thing: these Mommies don’t really need to
sleep. It’s just a habit. Many of them have had some
30 years to sleep–they just don’t need it anymore.
So I am implementing a plan. I call it the Crybaby

It goes like this:

Night 1–cry every 3 hours until you get fed.

Iknow, it’s hard. It’s hard to see your Mommy upset
over your crying. Just keep reminding yourself, it’s
for her own good.

Night 2–cry every 2 hours until you get fed.

Night 3–every hour.

Most Mommies will start to respond more quickly
after about 3 nights.
Some Mommies are more alert, and may resist the
change longer. These Mommies may stand in your
doorway for hours, shhhh-ing. Don’t give in. I
cannot stress this enough: CONSISTENCY IS KEY!!

If you let her STTN (sleep through the night), just
once, she will expect it every night. I KNOW IT’S
HARD! But she really does not need the sleep, she is
just resisting the change.

If you have an especially alert Mommy, you can stop
crying for about 10 minutes, just long enough for
her to go back to bed and start to fall asleep. Then
cry again. It WILL eventually work. My Mommy once
stayed awake for 10 hours straight, so I know she
can do it. Last night, I cried every hour. You just
have to decide to stick to it and just go for it.

BE CONSISTENT! I cried for any reason I could come
up with.
My sleep sack tickled my foot.
I felt a wrinkle under the sheet.
My mobile made a shadow on the wall.
I burped, and it tasted like pears (I hadn’t eaten
pears since lunch – what’s up with that?)
The dog said ‘woof’ (I should know. My Mommy reminds
me of this about 20 times a day. LOL.)
Once I cried just because I liked how it sounded
when it echoed on the monitor in the other room.
Too hot, too cold, just right–doesn’t matter! Keep
It took awhile, but it worked. She fed me at 4am.
Tomorrow night, my goal is 3:30am.
You need to slowly shorten the interval between
feedings in order to reset your Mommies’ internal

P.S. Don’t let those rubber things fool you, no
matter how long you suck on them, NO milk will come
out! Trust me.

Kendall is 7 months and 5 days old

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  1. Hi, I totally understand you. My cute little baby is giving us no sleep and it is really hard being a mom, a wife and a friend at the same time with out my 8 hours beauty sleep.

    The key is babysitting, only that way I could sleep some more.

  2. Leslie (MrsD_111106) on

    Oh man. I hope he starts sleeping through the night soon. Good luck with Ferberizing. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

    Oh, and that email was hilarious! Consistency is key!

  3. Ah…Dr. Ferber. He saved my life. We did Ferber at 5 months (GASP, I’m awful, right?). It saved our lives. I didn’t even do it to get her to sleep through the night, just to be able to fall asleep on her own. She was HAPPIER after she went through it as she got way more sleep than before–she got the amount she needed.

    Kendall will not develop a detachment disorder. He will not lose a bond with you. He will be happier and more secure because he’ll know what to do when put into the crib and will sleep longer and get the amount that he needs.

    This is how I “defended” myself to a judgmental mom:

    “What’s worse? Having a baby with a detachment disorder due to CIO, or having no baby because I’m so damn tired I’ll drive off the road?”

    It’s harsh, but it shut her up 🙂

  4. Terri (Mrs.tlcS) on

    Hang in there. I’m Ferberizing my DD right along with you and Kendall. I’m so hopeful that it works (as I sit here during her first of many wake-ups that are bound to happen tonight). Stay strong. It is absolutely NOT cruel to give your child the tools he needs to sleep by himself at night and naptime. What IS cruel is allowing this to go on until bad sleep habits become truly ingrained.

    We can do it! Stay strong with me 🙂

  5. Props to you to use Ferber. I think it is wise. There is a chapter in there that you really only need to read- the progressive wait approach, and you are set. Good luck! It is hard, but go big or don’t go at all.

  6. OMG – that is hysterical. I fear I also have a child of the “non-sleep” variety. I am so ferberizing the moment she’s old enough. We’re only at 2 months and I’m already way over the lack of sleep and the constant nap-fighting.

    Keep us posted on Kendall’s progress and good luck 🙂

  7. Ferber will change your f’ing life. Hand to god, it was the best thing I ever did. Within one week my twins were sleeping through the night and have been every single night since (2 months ago). Good luck!!!

  8. Oh man, life sucked really royally at 6/7 months for us. (Well, before then too – we had a few months when the little guy would sleep for *hours* by himself, but I was too tired at the time to really notice it or something…). Anyhoo, he’s 9+ months now and has magically started sleeping better – we’re still cosleeping, still nursing to sleep, but he just needs to nurse less. And is staying asleep much longer, and just not. waking. up.

    It’s a freaking miracle, so just in case the Ferberizing doesn’t do the trick, your little guy may just surprise you in the end. Good luck!

  9. Right there with you, hon, and judgmental cringing folk be damned. They probably sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time (and if they martyred themselves via sleep deprivation for years on end, I really don’t hold them up to a gold standard of parenting — sleep deprivation is PROVEN to be dangerous and bad for you…the Ferber method not so much). After 6 months of trying the no-cry “solutions” we (the baby, my husband, and me) are ready to sleep. Wishing you plenty of zs in the very near future.

  10. Oh my goodness!!! I love this post. It sounds like me. I completely agree with your sleep philosophy. I also agree that a baby is better off crying themselves to sleep a few times than not sleeping. My son is an excellent sleeper and I think it s a big part of the reason he is so healthy. I am just working on getting my daughter to nap. I really love this post.

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