Losing sleep was one of our biggest concerns before we had kids. New parents are pretty clear about one thing: parents of infants do not get much sleep.
Patrick and I were lucky. At about 7 weeks old, in early April, Jasper started sleeping through the night. We never let him sleep more than an two hours at a time in the day, and we were promised a restful, 7(ish) hours of sleep. We were thrilled.
Then, just before summer came to an end, our restful nights of sleep stopped. Jasper awoke 2-3 times each night, and would not return to sleep without being fed. I struggled to function, and barely left the house- I was too tired. Exhausted, I was trapped inside the four walls of our living room for weeks.
When I returned to work in September, I turned nightly feedings over to Patrick, who was smart enough to only tolerate working without sleep for two days before demanding action.
Desperate for help, Patrick and I asked everyone we knew what we should do. A colleague at work recommended the Ferber sleep method, and my daycare provider highly recommended it as well. Doubtful, we both read the book, despite our heavy eyelids. Then we read it cover to cover- again.
Ferber is described in Meet the Fockers when Robert DeNiro explains that they are “Ferberizing” Little Jack and that he should be left to cry it out. The Ferber method is NOT the cry it out method.
We strictly followed the book for two days.( I’ll say it again, we did NOT just leave him alone and let him cry it out- sorry Jack, but I couldn’t. We stuck to the book.) Then, a miracle happened. My kid fell asleep on his own, and didn’t need my help to fall back to sleep in the middle of the night. Patrick and I got to sleep. ALL NIGHT.
After a year and a half, Jasper is still an excellent sleeper. We are vigilant about our strict schedule and routine. Our sitters follow our firm guidelines, and have complimented us on how easy it is to put Jasper to sleep. He loves going to bed, and awakes feeling happy and rested. There have been a handful of nights that Patrick or I had to go in and cuddle our tot until he faded off to sleep, but most of the time, he goes to sleep on his own and soothes himself if he wakes up in the middle of the night. We all sleep better, and function better as a family as a result of following this methodology.