Confessions of a Ferber Flunkie

So I made a promise to myself back at the beginning of the month to blog more and then broke it about a day later.   It’s pretty much impossible to blog more when your brain isn’t functioning,  and your child is screaming at you 90% of the time he’s awake.  I think all of that could be overcome, however, if he wasn’t also screaming at me ALL NIGHT LONG.  I have no idea what has happened in the last week, but it’s so bad that even Ferber can’t help us.  I think the only thing we can do is perform an exorcism because, clearly, my son is possessed.

Now, I completely understand that he was sick last weekend and the beginning of this week, and I know he’s also cutting molars (STILL…probably will be FOREVER), but now add to that his sudden discovery of the temper tantrum and a healthy dose of separation anxiety, and it seems we are in the eye of the perfect storm of infant irritability.

It is beyond me how one little person can make so much noise and carry on for so long.  He’s impossible to please.  He wants up, I pick him up, he pushes me and wants down, I put him down, he pulls on my pants and tries to bite the back of my knees, I sit to hold him on my lap,  I have even begun DVRing Sesame Street to show him Elmo, he flings himself backward and screams, I put him down with some toys, he climbs back up on my lap and proceeds to hit me.  WTF, little man, WTF?! WHAT DO YOU WANT?!  Now, NOW would be an excellent time to learn to talk, sign, draw, mime, some form of communication other than the incessant screams that I can’t decipher.

We’ve been to the pediatrician and the ER in the last week.  No signs of anything unusual going on.  The virus he had last weekend is gone, no ear infection.  I’m ashamed to admit, I was actually a tad disappointed the pediatrician didn’t see an ear infection.  Not because I wanted him to have one, but because at least that could explain what is going on.  Nope, he looks perfectly happy and healthy to her.  Of course he was a sweet angel full of smiles and giggles and puppies at the appointment.  It’s a shame, really, that she doesn’t do midnight house calls.

Every night this week has been increasingly hellish.  He is waking at least 4 times, and will scream non-stop for up to 2 hours.  Now, WAIT…just wait… all of you about to jump all over my case for letting my son scream for 2 hours at night.  No. That is not what’s going on here.  I’m not just lying in my bed with the monitor off, sleeping all peaceful with my dreams of Justin Timberlake and clearance sales at Express.  Much of that time that he’s screaming we are in his room with him.  Yes, that’s right!  We are holding him, rocking him, rubbing his head, he is still screaming.  Please understand that when I say he’s screaming, it’s not an exaggeration, but it’s not like an “I’m in pain” scream.  It’s an “I’m so freaking pissed that you are making me go to sleep AGAIN” scream.  This is not the kind of cry or fuss that I used to be able to listen to for the 5-10 minutes it would take for him to fall asleep with the Ferber method.

I am such a Ferber Failure.  I’ve gone back to nursing him 2 times a night just so we can all get some sleep.  Even though, most of the time that still doesn’t do much to soothe him.  Co-sleeping is not an option for us.  NONE of us sleep well co-sleeping, especially Kendall, who tends to sleep crawl and headbutt me.  Plus, if he screams while we hold him and rock him, I doubt he will want to snuggle or cuddle.  We give him infant Motrin for teething pain, and teething tablets.  I have no reason to think he’s got any sort of tummy pain or gas.  I’m at a loss.  Each night I think it’s going to get better, and it only gets worse. What am I doing wrong?  Is it getting worse because we aren’t doing Ferber anymore?  Is it Daylight Savings Time?  Is he testing us?  Is this separation anxiety?  Is Freddy Krueger haunting his dreams?

Please.  Insight.  Help.

Kendall is 10 months, 1 week and 4 days old

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  1. Haha! Don’t mean to laugh, but it doesn’t get much better! My just turned 2 YO daughter has started a new phase much like your son, but without the biting!!!

    Nothing makes her happy, so I don’t try anymore, Now I try to make me happy so I can deal with it! I call my new BFF’s in my new city and go have a drink!

    Alas, when i get home, she is still screaming, but I can now bare it again!

  2. Is it getting worse because we aren’t doing Ferber anymore? Is it Daylight Savings Time? Is he testing us? Is this separation anxiety? Is Freddy Krueger haunting his dreams?

    Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Maybe! Okay, seriously yes the more you go to him the more he will wake up – at least that is what I believe. Not that letting him cry is easy but I do believe in the end it is better (we went through this with Big Brother). Baby Sister does that screaming while we are holding her when she is tired. It is so frustrating. Teething makes it worse and makes it harder on him to sleep. Separation anxiety plays into it and he might even be having nightmares.

    Please do not think I am saying the crying out is easy. It is TERRIBLY HARD. But with Big Brother it is the only thing that worked and in the long run he slept better (even if we had a little while of miserable). Also, the thing to realize (and I have so much trouble with this) is that going to him is not actually helping.

    Okay if I sound know it ally I apologize. I really am just trying to tell you my experience. I cannot stress enough that only you know what is best for your family.

    Either way I hope it gets better soon.

  3. Hi! I think every child goes through this phase at sometime. Whenever, I have had sleep issues(they come and go and my son is 3), I go back to the book that helped me, healthy sleep, happy baby, dr.weisbleuth. Also, the organic teething tablets really helped calm my son down. I have also seen a natropathetic doctor who put my son on some natural stuff which seemed to help. Lastly, try sign language to communicate. My son is speech delayed, and we have been signing since he is about 9 months, and it really helped. Just learned a few like more, all done, tired, up, that is how we started. Good luck.

  4. It is comforting to know that this is apparently normal. I do appreciate all the feedback. I was never super anti-CIO, but that used to be so much easier than this. I guess we got lucky the first time around with Ferber. I always thought, “what’s the big deal? It’s really not that bad.” I guess now I understand more.

    I just hate to let him cry in pain, but it’s like I’m doing everything I can to soothe him and even that is still not enough. It makes me wonder if the pain is the problem. Ugh! Very frustrating.

    Thanks again to all of you for the feedback.

  5. I really have nothing to offer but I will say, I’ve been there and it sucks!! It did eventually stop – my daughter was younger and I guess grew out of it. My second doesn’t do that… yet! I guess I could say, developing a routine and repeating it ALL THE TIME helped even for middle of the night wake ups.

  6. I swear there is a 10 month wakeful period. Brock went through the same thing about two weeks ago. Last week he STTN every night. This week he learned to walk so now he is up every night jumping, cooing, and walking in his crib. Ugh. I have been told it gets better. I think they are lying. :o)

  7. Molars suck. It took J forever to cut them, and he got all 4 at once. It’s worse than the other teeth because molars have 4 points that have to come through, instead of just 1. All I can say is that baby tylenol and baby motrin are your best friends. Good luck.

  8. Hello. I’m a lurker but had to come out of lurkdom to lend you some support. I could have written your post, word for word. We are still going through it so I haven’t really figured out how to stop it (DS is 16 months). I do think it has a lot to do with the molars. We give our DS Motrin before bed and he’s still up 2 hours later SCREAMING, like you described. Even if we are in there with him, he will continue screaming (not crying, screaming!). I also can relate to the ear infection thing. I get so upset when the doctors (regular ped & ER) say that he’s just fine. He’s NOT just fine! “Just fine” babies don’t scream like that.

    But I think I have to accept that they do. It’s been really hard and all I want to do is sleep, especially when I have an 8 hour day at work the next day. Honestly, that’s the one thing keeping me sane. 8 hours away helps.

    I’m sorry. Hang in there! 🙁

  9. I totally agree with Amber’s comment. My 10 month old suddenly started waking up at night, standing in his crib, and generally being a nightmare. There has to be a wakeful period.

  10. – try searching her site, TONS of sleep posts, and you might find one that helps you – it does make me feel better to read it – affirmation that everyone (well, mostly everyone) has some sort of nutty little person dictating their nightlife.

  11. I have nothing to offer but the fear that you have just instilled into my heart. Aidan is currently Ferberized, and I thought our sleep problems were over. We’re about 2 weeks away from the 10 month mark, so I’m really hoping this 10 month wakeful period doesn’t apply to all babies. Yikes!

  12. Thanks again for the additional suggestions. A wakeful period would explain a lot. I guess it’s good to hear that this is “normal”. The good news is the night I posted this he slept great and did pretty well last night, too. Hopefully it’s passed!

  13. I am sad to say that my son will be two in May and he still awakens. I started the bad habit about oh… Kendalls age… where I would bring him to bed with me to nurse him (I was exhausted)… and about 2:00 am… Luby’s Boobies would open and he would just off and on nurse for the rest of the night. GASP. Now before you realize that this is just wrong wrong wrong… I was exhausted.

    Now… he no longer nurses… but he awakens in the middle of the night. I bring him down to bed with me where we remain tightly embroiled in snuggle position for the rest of the night.

    How can THAT be wrong? :::eye roll::: I know! I know. I am a ferber failure too. 😀

  14. My daughter, Jane, is 10 months old as well. We get a worksheet of “normal” activities when we go in for her check ups. At her last checkup nightwakings was listed. Hang in there and hopefully it will pass.

  15. I am right there with you. My daughter is 11 1/2 months old, and I swear I could have written the exact same post. I just keep trying to remind myself “It won’t be like this for long.” 😉

  16. Is this a growth spurt time? I’m not a mom, so forgive the ignorance. I know when my body is operating at a higher-than-normal rate (stress, exercised too late in the evening), there are nights I just want to scream too – and I’m 29!

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