Sleep Question for Daisy.....and anyone else that has some pointers!

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    Sleep Question for Daisy.....and anyone else that has some pointers!

    Daisy, I remember reading in one of the sleep training threads that your twins would get angry when you and your husband would check on them (Ferber's method) so you went a different route (???).  We're going through the same thing with our son and I'm not sure what to do (he'll be 9 mos on the 3rd).  He has no problem going to sleep but wakes up at the same times every night (1030pm and 330am) and SCREAMS till one of us comes in and lays him back down etc.  I know he's waking out of habit so I'm not sure if I should let him cry or keep checking on him.  Lately he has been so unbelieveable P*SSED when we leave the room so I think the "checking in" method isn't doing what it's supposed to.

    HELP!
     
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    Re: Sleep Question for Daisy.....and anyone else that has some pointers!

    We used Weissbluth:  "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child."  He recommends whatever works best for your family, but definitely advocates for the "extinction" method which is just to not go in at all.  When I first read about it, I was appalled and couldn't imagine not going in to check and comfort/reassure, but once I realized how much more upset they were getting when we did go in, we decided to give not going in a try.  It's REALLY REALLY hard, but for our kids, it ultimately worked (eleven nights, not the three - four that seems to be the general consensus among others I know who've used it).

    The first question I have, though:  is he actually awake when he's screaming?  I ask b/c my daughter had night terrors and screamed (and often still screams) within 1/2 hour of the same time every night.  It's a bit different if that's the case.  Night terrors are kind of like sleep walking or sleep talking and often happen before big milestones like crawling or walking.  According to our pedi (who also had a child with night terrors), the "official" recommendation is to just leave them alone (they don't remember the dream), but his experience as a parent was that going in and picking up/waking up helped disrupt the sleep cycle and the baby went back to sleep fairly quickly.  Another technique, if the timing is very reliable, is to go in and jostle/wake the baby to a half-awake state about 1/2 hour before the usual night terror time.  Doing that pre-emptively disrupts and resets the sleep cycle so the night terror won't happen.  Ultimately, for night terrors, we always went in and woke her up while they were happening (the pre-emptive wake-ups back-fired on us and we couldn't get her to go back to sleep). 

    But, if it's not night terrors, extinction may work.  You may have to tie yourself down in order to prevent yourself from going in, and you have to be prepared to let him go for an hour.  Once you go in, you've set the precendent that if he holds out long enough you'll go in.  If you're absolutely sure that there are no other underlying problems, though, it should help him sleep better in the long run.

    I will say, now that my two are 22 months, if they wake up, we do go in.  We know that if they're waking up, there's some kind of a problem or they had a bad dream, etc.  Also, DD still has night terrors on occasion, and we always go in for those.

    Good luck, it's such a hard decision to make and very hard to follow through.  I really recommend reading about it before you do it so you thoroughly understand the theory and get a better picture of sleep physiology overall and the importance of teaching your child to sleep.  The latter was what helped me stick with it.
     
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    Re: Sleep Question for Daisy.....and anyone else that has some pointers!

    Thank you very much!  I read Ferber's book in December and we did our first night of his method on Dec 20th (the tears were so traumatizing for me at the time that I remember the date!).  I agree with you that educating yourself about the sleep physiology is huge since it's gives you a better understanding of the whole picture.  The Ferber method turned bedtime around for our son and helped us see that he had poor sleep associations and that was why he wasn't sleeping for long stretches.  This business of him waking up at the same times is pure habit now. I'm leaning more away from the possibility of sleep terrors because he is instantly silent when we enter the room, like you said we've set the precendent.  Last night we didn't go to him right away and he cried for 25 mins when I caved.  He continuted crying for an hour. with intermediate checks from me and DH.  It was absolutely awful and our going in and out only made him more angry.

    I'm going to pick up Happy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  Thank you for the advice!
     
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    Re: Sleep Question for Daisy.....and anyone else that has some pointers!

    oooh I have the weissbluth book from when DD was a baby and never thought to consult it for the sleep issues she is having now!  Sometimes Night terrors, sometimes nightmares, sometimes too hot or too cold.... 7 mo DS is sleeping fine (sometimes all night even) but we're exhausted dealing with 3yo DD :(

    I hope I didn't pass on the book yet!
     

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