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A Womb of One's Own

A Womb of One’s Own: Sweet Sleep

It worked. Hallelujah and praise everything appropriate, it worked.

As I discussed last week, we were attempting to use Dr. Richard Ferber’s “Ferberizing” (Dr. Sears’ phrase, not Ferber’s) method to work on sleep-training Gabe. We were tired, we were stressed, we were crying, we weren’t getting to sleep until 1 a.m. But oh my, how three nights have changed everything.

Yes, it was three nights of listening to my baby cry for 45 minutes, but each stretch of crying was followed by nine or more hours of sleep (with a brief waking for an early morning snack). But he’d wake up happy, and we woke up happy.

When the fourth night came, we hoped for the best, but decided to be realistic and expect some crying. He had his bath, I read him some books, we sang to him, and I nursed him. We put him in bed, told him we loved him, and turned off the light. And he went to sleep without crying. For the first time in over four months, he fell asleep without (pick any or all of these): a car ride, a car seat, a swing, white noise, the boob, rocking, humming, bouncing, crying, or the TV. We were shocked, and kept creeping back into the room to check on him.

Since then, it’s not an exaggeration to say that our lives have been dramatically different. I’ve given up on attempting a daily nap schedule and am now just happy to let him nap when he chooses. Because he’s getting so much more sleep at night, he’s more inclined to nap during the day (including the three hours on my lap yesterday). Because he’s sleeping during the day, he’s more inclined to go to sleep at night. Because he’s sleeping at night, I’m catching up on homework. My husband is able to do what he wants to do (currently that’s Skyrim), and we’re able to enjoy a couple of hours a day where we aren’t extending ourselves 100% to someone else. It’s very nice to have time to be selfish again; to drink two glasses of wine and eat cheese while watching TV, or take a long bath (or any bath that doesn’t involve a baby with iffy bladder control), or bake something that’s more involved than a box of cake mix.

I know parenting is a series of challenges. After (at least temporarily) conquering this one, I feel like we will be able to deal with the next– he’s starting to get up into a crawling position.

By Jessica Werner

Free-range librarian in Seattle. A sucker for happy endings, teen angst, and books that make me want to sell my possessions and travel the world. Incurable homebody and type A. Send love letters and readers advisory requests to jessica.werner@gmail.com

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