I just about lost it on Monday. I was so exhausted and warn out that I started crying in the car on the way to work, then again in a co-workers office when she asked me about a totally non-emotional subject. I had a running date with a friend after school which I thought would get rid of the extra stress I was feeling. While the run was great, I still went home feeling anxious and worn out. That night I had a mommy meltdown (which used to be called "Kylie Days"). I ugly cried it out and went to bed. But somewhere in the mess of that day I managed to check out Richard Ferber's Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems from the library.
Tuesday morning I was a mom on a mission. I spent all of my free time reading as much as I could. The case-study named Betsy might as well have been named Bean because it was exactly what we had been going through. I felt as if Dr. Ferber had been watching our every move because it was so right on. Ten pages into chapter 4, "Sleep Assoications: A Key Problem," I was hooked and determined to try it out immediately. I could get into Ferber's theory at this point, but I will save you the long explanation. The key for us was the progressive waiting approach. The point is IT IS WORKING!!!
The first night when I put her in her crib while she was awake (and crying) I patted and kissed her and then got the heck out of there. I went back in after 3 minutes to pat her tummy and tell her I loved her and then got the heck out of there. I went in 5 minutes later to do the same thing and then got the heck out of there. This technique called for me to go in 10 minutes later if she was still crying but she had gone to sleep!! So rather than doing the 15 mintue holding-rocking-bounching-"I love you"- dance over and over again, I had to only go in a couple of times before she had put herself to sleep. VICTORY! She slept for about 1 1/2 hours and then woke up. So I started again... 3 minutes of crying, then in I went and out I went. I was on the second step (letting her cry for 5 mintues) and 4 minutes into it she was OUT! I didn't even need to go back in. WHAT?! This continued throughout the night. By about the third or fourth waking she was putting herself back to sleep before the 3 minutes were even up. The next morning I felt like a new empowered woman.
Last night was our second go. I fed her, hugged her and put her in the crib awake. I was prepared to let her cry for 5 minutes this time. I left her room and before I was even down the stairs she was asleep! Every time she stirred from then on we would hear a little fussing and then silence. I think I actually slept for three hours at one point without waking up. She also stayed asleep in her crib longer this morning. This is the first morning I have not had to bring her into bed with us in the wee hours of the morning. AND she woke up with a smile.
Can this be true?! Has my daughter learned to put herself back to sleep in only two short days? I feel so encouraged I can hardly stand it.