The last two weeks have been big here in the Kirk household. Firstly, Cooper has cut his bottom two middle teeth! After about 2 months of frantic teething on everything he could get his mouth on, and buckets of drool later, they finally broke the surface!
Next on the list of significance for us...SLEEP! After weeks of being unable to get Cooper to sleep in his crib for more than a couple hours at a time, we were exhausted. I have been stressed out, worried that Cooper was not getting adequate sleep for his growth and development. I swore I would never "let him cry" but something had to be done. We opened our minds a little to the idea, bought the Ferber book, and decided it was worth a try. After all, we had tried every stinking "no cry" sleep solution out there. Establish a bed time routine...check (since he was 2 months old, thank you). Put in his bed awake...check. Expose him to sunlight in the late afternoon to help set his circadian rhythms...check. Then we tried the "help baby sleep" bath wash, baby massage, and white noise machine...no dice.
So Friday night we implemented the Ferber method. This basically lets him cry but with intervals of you going in to soothe him that get progressively longer. The idea is to help your baby learn to fall asleep on his own, which a near 6 month old is very capable of doing. We were really nervous about doing this, but after talking to several friends with kids whose opinion we hold in very high regard, we knew that this was going to be the right thing.
Friday night was hard. Hearing your baby cry and not responding feels a little unnatural. Cooper resisted being put down in his crib of course. He cried for 20 minutes before he fell asleep. We went in to soothe him after 3 minutes, then 5 minutes, 5 minutes again, then as we prepared ourselves for him to cry for 10 minutes, he fell asleep. He woke up at 1 a.m., cried for 8 minutes and slept. The 3 a.m. waking was the worst. I finally had to concede to nurse him after an hour of crying. He finally fell asleep again and slept until almost 8 a.m. We were nervous for Saturday night, even though we knew it was supposed to be better than the first night. Hallelujah, it was! He went right to sleep at bed time, woke up at 1 a.m. cried only a few minutes, and fell back asleep. He woke up again at 3 a.m., but only fussed a few minutes (no crying, thank goodness) and fell asleep again. He woke up at 6:30 a.m....We are so glad the worst is over and we know that we have given our baby the ability to put himself to sleep.
All of us are going to feel much better! Take this beautiful Sunday morning, for example. Cooper is playing happily, trying out all his newly learned baby babbles. David and I have soaring spirits, drinking our coffee, singing out loud, and talking enthusiastically about what we are going to do with our day!