David and I implemented the Ferber Method with George last Friday night. He had been sleeping 5-6 hours and was waking up a few times in the night consistently for the past month. We were waking up exhausted and so was he. We decided to try the Ferber Method after hearing success stories of our friends and we also read that babies his age should be sleeping 9.5 hours at night for their health. It was also brought to our attention (while reading Baby 411) that we had developed some bad habits with regards to his sleep. We were guilty of nursing him to sleep, relying on his mobile/light projector to fall asleep, feeding in our bed anytime he woke in the night, not having any sort of bedtime routine, putting him to bed at 9 or 10 pm, and letting him nap in places other than his crib.
Our new routine: George naps in his crib during the day. We also put up some dark curtains to block the sunlight to make it easier for him to nap in his room.
George eats around 7am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm. These times are flexible, depending on his hunger cues. He naps after his 9am and 3pm feedings. We don't let him nap after 4pm. At 7pm, we start the bedtime routine: nursing, bathtime, baby massage, storytime, cuddle time, and then (around 8pm) we put him in his crib with his lovey and say, "Night, night, George." (The key to the Ferber Method is to put baby to bed awake.)
The first night of Ferbering, he cried for 3 minutes alone before we comforted him (patting, saying "night-night" and shushing). He cried again for 5 more minutes. We went back in to comfort him. He cried again and we didn't even have to wait 10 minutes before he was asleep. He slept 10 hours straight on the first night! He woke up happy and enthusiastic. Night two, he slept 10.5 hours and cried even less. Nights 3-7, he has averaged about 10 hours at night. What a stark contrast to the 5-6 hours he was sleeping before Ferbering! I have to admit, the Ferber Method was incredibly difficult for me. I was crying listening to him cry. It took everything in me to keep from running in to comfort him when he was wailing.
We're now a week into the Ferber Method and George usually falls asleep after about 3-5 minutes of whining/crying. Tonight, he didn't cry at all. I went in to check on him after not hearing him cry and this is how we found him:
How cute is that little booty sticking up in the air?
(We put him on his back to sleep, but he flipped on his belly.)
The Ferber Method allows for flexibility and we understand that his needs continue to change. The important thing is to be consistent with the routine, giving him some structure. I'll let you know if we continue to have success with Ferbering... so far so good!