Ferber vs Sears(23 Posts)
I'm brand new to MumsNet, but have read numerous posts while awake with my daughter at 3am... so, here I am asking for a little advice!...
My baby is currently 5 months old and has always been a very particular little girl. She decided from her 3rd week earthside that she would no longer be happy to sleep anywhere but on me. I made the decision at the time that I wanted to give her everything she needed to make her feel secure right from the get go, and have been doing just that every day ever since. She has 3-4 naps on me per day and I spend an hour and a half (at least) holding her at night before she will even let me think about putting her down in her co-sleeper. It's pretty draining and leaves me with no time to do anything for myself/my partner. This was fine for a while, but now the I'm starting to struggle. On top of that, she wakes up 6-8 times every night and wants to be breastfed back to sleep. Because of this, she always ends up in our bed. I am exhausted. 😕👎
I have, until this point, always considered myself to be in the Sears camp. I have tried every gentle method going to attemp to put my baby down to sleep. Nothing works. She either screams holy hell or her sleep is cut short and she quickly becomes overtired. The way things are at the moment - she is getting around 13 hrs of sleep per 24 hrs and I'm getting 3-4. It's just not sustainable any more.
So... I started researching sleep training. Now, I am starting to consider the using the gradual extinction technique (no abuse please!) because I am so drained. However, I'm pretty terrified! Without a doubt I am now obsessing over what to do and could really do with a bit of advice/support.
Has anyone successfully managed to turn a situation like mine around using a gentle method? If so, please let me know. Equally, if anyone is pro-Ferber and have a baby like mine, I am all ears!
Thanks Mama's! 😘
Are you BF lying down so that you can sleep as well?
Would you be willing to pay for a sleep consultant? In my area there is someone who can come in and do gentle sleep training with you, and the people I know who did it were very pleased with both the end result and the overall process. It might be worth asking around and having a google.
I think that this is what my friends used.
I've heard good things about Babycalm, too.
We used this one. It was brilliant.
If you sleep with it first it will smell like you.
If it helps, DC2 would only sleep on me (or someone else, or in a moving pushchair) and he grew out of it himself at around 7 months. He still prefers to sleep with someone else (usually his sister) but is fine alone.
We co-slept with all of our 3 children; we had a super king size mattress on the floor. They breastfed lying down and half asleep, and I was also asleep as they fed. It worked really well for us, but I never tried to put them in another bed or move them.
Just another option, if you decide to co-sleep.
I don't think any credible sleep consultants recommend sleep training before six months.
I had one of these babies, it's awful, but they do get better in time. One thing that worked for me was having set feeding times at night, and only cuddling at other times. So, only feeding every three hours, if she wakes before the three hours are up, cuddling to sleep. It depends how stubborn the baby is, and I would do it very slowly with a young baby (starting with two hour gaps perhaps, obviously only if they wake).
Things that I think to keep me going: she can't be truly hungry before three hours is up, she has more of a full and satisfying feed if she waits between feeds, formula fed babies don't have the luxury of constant snacks and I am only feeding as the lazy option, she is not frightened only frustrated.
It is a version of normal though, so only make adjustments that you are comfortable with.
I co slept with my dd who's 4 now, until she was 3.5!
Everyone told me I'd never get her out of my bed and gave me so much stick that In the end I just told everyone she slept through the night in her own bed. I think 5 months is still tiny, maybe if you do decide to do CIO then wait a little bit longer.
Dd2 who's 14 months hates sleeping in our bed, slept through from 9 weeks and uses the cot that dd1never slept in!
You know your baby best so do what your instincts tell you
I had a hellish sleeper first time and the first thing I would like to tell you the kid sleeps like the dead now I can go in his room switch the light on and tidy round while hes face down drooling I tell you this so you know there is light at the end we also got over the overtiredness he now will go to sleep when he's tired.
The first thing I would address is the day time will she sleep when out and about? If so a couple of days having her nap out of the house to try to break the cycle may help, If not try to sleep lying on the bed with her gradually increasing the physical distance. For ds2 (I was prepared for hellish sleep again) I didn't get the co sleeper I bough a £40 cot bed from Ikea took the side off and pushed it against our bed this has the benefit of a co sleeper but it means I can kind half be in the cot part so once he is fed I tend to fall asleep with him cuddled in but his bum in on his bed and I'm on mine then after I bit I tend to wake up and roll over to my bed (I can pm u a pic of the set up if it helps).
I made the mistake first time round of feeding to get him back over but really he didn't need fed he wanted comfort so ds2 only gets fed every 3+ hours at night unless hes hungry crying. I cuddle him and give him his dummy between.
I co sleep in a way in that they both start in their own beds ds1 stopped coming in with me about 2 now ds2 comes in when hes fussy usually after 4am but if I wake when they are asleep they go back to their own bed, I found it makes them familiar with their own beds so it doesn't feel like they are being banished to a strange place.
Good luck x
Aww, thank you all so much for your responses. 😁🙏
According to Ferber, the best time to do the sleep training is 3-5 months (not that I'm saying I've made my mind up, just pointing out that I wouldn't deliberately jump in too soon...)
Yes - bfeeding lying down at night. The funny (or not so funny) thing is, I often struggle to get back to sleep after feeding her. I can't seem to sleep through it. I'm often too anxious that she's going to wake up again straight away, so can't switch off. 🙄
Good to know that for some babies, this naturally just comes to an end! I hope my little girl is one of them!!
Re the sleeping nests - not a bad idea... my only concern is that she may then form another sleep association that I'll only have to break again further down the line. 🙈
I am trying to cut down the night feeds at the moment. Successfully managed to drop one night feed last night. Woop!
I think that through my exhaustion, the idea of the Ferber method actually working is a very attractive one. I never thought I'd consider it in a million years when I became pregnant, but I don't want to spend the rest of my maternity with my gorgeous girl feeling so low.
The Ferber argument is that you are doing the baby an injustice by not allowing her to learn to self soothe. I know that I'm pulling on the sleeve of Ferber in this post, but I'm just trying to balance the argument a little as it's much easier to reject his ideas than believe in them due to the process itself.
I really appreciate the input! Thank you all 💕
Thank you for this! I'll have a look into it further... 😊
We did check and console method, like Ferber, at 7 months and it worked really well. DD cried LESS than when I had tried sitting beside her to comfort her. She screamed blue murder if I was in the room but just went to sleep when I left her in peace. Each baby is different but co-sleeping and so-called no cry methods did not work for us.
I think she's still very young for sleep training, unless very gentle. Ds was like this, things improved not long after 5 months when he developed a bedtime. I would feed him to sleep then very gently transfer him onto our bed. Once he started moving more he was transferred to the cot. It did sometimes take a few goes to be successful. I read no cry sleep solution a bit late really. One thing that might work for you us the 'pantley pull off' which is about taking them off the breast before they fall asleep. I will definitely do it with the next child.
I have done the gradual withdrawal method with ds, he not goes to bed with his cup of milk, mobile on and tonight was asleep in less than 10 minutes, no crying. He is older at 15 months now, and I started it at about 12 months but I'm not sure it would have worked so well (for us) if we'd done it earlier.
Mine didn't use the nest as a crutch. Once they grew out of it they slept elsewhere.
How did you go about gradual withdrawal? Is this the method where you move further out of the room each night?
We recently went for a short stay in a cottage by the sea and thought our little one would sleep in the car. She screamed her head off and what should have taken us 1 hour, ended up taking 3 because I kept taking her out of her car seat, comforting her and calming her down. She didn't (wouldn't) nap for 6 hours straight that day because she was so aggravated. On the return journey, we just went for it. I didn't take her out of the seat, and tried not to give her too much attention but shushed her and stroked her face every now and then until she finally dropped off. This makes me think that by being next to her continuously while she cries might in fact make her more stressed and stimulated... 🤔
Anyway... last night I put her into her crib before she had fallen asleep and she looked around, looked at me, rolled on her side, closed her eyes and went to sleep! 👏 Progress!! 👊 ...she did then wake up 45 mins later and another 6 times in the night, but still!! 😊👍
Mine was very similar at this stage, about 7 months I started doing a 'hug and roll' for naps but before that he had to be on me or moving. Then I started napping with him wherever possible and still do sometimes (he's 2)
Definitely try the 'pantley pull off' it worked to a degree for us, and if she's happy to go to sleep without help do it wherever you can! About 8 months I stopped being able to reliably feed to sleep at bedtime so dh started doing bedtimes.
I think I had sleep training in the back of my head as a last option until he was 5 months. Ds was diagnosed with CMPA at 3 weeks but it took until 5 months to realise he was also allergic to eggs (reacting through my milk). His sleep marginally improved but other symptoms disappeared ( which docs hv etc told me were normal) but the way he woke up changed. It really confirmed to me that you don't always know that they're not ill or in pain, and I wasn't willing to train him not to tell me.
Talking to friends who did it later on, it sounded horrendous (and didn't work long term) and I'm glad I didn't go that path, though I understand why they did.
This will naturally come to an end for ALL. It just some babies. Some just take longer than others. DS was like this and was an awful sleeper until around 18m. He is 2.5 now and still wakes a couple of times a night and is fairly highly strung at other times too. However he sleeps in his own bed all night (mostly) and when he does wake usually me just walking in his room is enough for him to go back to sleep. Good news is that 5mo is an average-good sleeper and I have done nothing different with either of them. I wouldn't sleep train though. It might work for a while but likely to regress with development leaps/teething/other disruptions (e.g. Moving house/holidays/new sibling).
Dr Jay Gordon method is gentle, but worked well for us, albeit with a slightly older baby.
True gruffalo, I think were finished night weaning now; I used 'milk meg's version but Sarah ockwell-smith writes about it too. I waited until ds was nearly two though; i could have done it earlier but I really think the later you leave it, the easier on everybody it is because they understand more. It was much less stressful than I thought it was going to be (and utterly different from sleep training)
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