Ferber Solution to MOTN wakings??? — The Bump
September 2015 Moms

Ferber Solution to MOTN wakings???

LO goes to sleep awake but drowsy nearly every night. He falls asleep in his own bed. We don't have a great night time routine because we just try to get him straight into his bed when he starts to yawn/gets a blank stare. Sometimes he gets his last bottle while he's in his bed. 
We also almost never take him out of his bed when he wakes in the MOTN. He used to go back to sleep no problem on his own or with us just giving his pacifier back.
But for the last month or so it is not working... he goes to bed fine, but the middle of the night wakings are really becoming a problem.
Do we let him cry it out when he wakes up? He has never had to cry himself to sleep, so I'm not sure it makes sense.
He rarely cries at all unless he's hungry, but we hate giving him a bottle during the night. I know we're creating a terrible habit of feeding him back to sleep. But what else do we do?
We always wait a minute or two before going in (sometimes take a bathroom break first) and lately it's turned into hysterical screaming by the time we get in there.

Can we do CIO in the MOTN even if we don't need it at bedtime??

Re: Ferber Solution to MOTN wakings???

  • Nighttime issues general start at bedtime.  If you have an issue it is likely caused by LO being too drowsy before bed and having his bottle too close to bedtime.  Separating his last feed by 20 or 30 minutes can remove any sleep/suck associations he may have which will help with MOTN wakes.  

    It isn't that unusual for a 10 month old to still want to eat at night.  If you are taking about a baby who goes to sleep at 7, wakes at 4 to eat and then easily goes back to sleep until morning I wouldn't worry about sleep training. Weaning would probably be a less stressful option for all of you and would accomplish the same goals. 

    If you are talking about a baby that needs to eat to go back to sleep several times a night then Ferber or gentle sleep training at bedtime should fix the problem.  

    The first link is about weaning, the second is about breaking the feed to sleep association and why it can be necessary.  It should also help you determine which option is better suited to your situation. 

    https://www.preciouslittlesleep.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-sleeping-through-the-night-part-3/
    https://https//www.preciouslittlesleep.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-sleeping-through-the-night-part-i/
    booksandcleverness81
  • Just to add, DS2 was awake when I used to lay him down but in the end he wasn't awake enough.  We had a big change in MOTN wakes when I started giving him his last bottle downstairs in the living room 30 minutes before I took him up to his nursery.  


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  • I think the PP gave good advice to start with.  I would also add that if you see a pattern in the time that your LO starts to get tired each night, either a set time or after a certain amount of wake time, you could start your bedtime routine every night 30 minutes before that point.  That would give you the opportunity to feed LO, then do bath, book, and song before laying down to ensure there are no sleep crutches present.  My understanding is that the bedtime routine is super important.
    After you have that in place, if it's still an issue, you can consider other options.   For us, our LO was still waking a couple times and it was worsening.  Her ped suggested that it may be due to her learning object permanence and therefore getting separation anxiety.  She just wanted to see us!  So rather than extinction we would go in and soothe her for 1 minute and then leave.  She cried more for 2 nights and then stopped waking in the middle of the night.  Now she sleeps 10 hours straight and is good to go.
    Married 6.21.2014
    DD #1: 8.16.2015
    #2 EDD: 1.13.2019
    booksandcleverness81
  • I don't have great advice, because I'm in a similar situation. We actually sleep trained with ferber when he was getting up every two hours, so he goes to sleep on his own. But he still wakes up once or twice a night to eat. We have some changes coming up (moving, twice, long story haha) but I think once we are settled again, we'll night wean like PP said. I definitely want to start that around a year for sure. Anyway, good luck to you! 
  • Our LO goes to sleep drowsy but awake now and has for the past few weeks - we did a modified Ferber and he caught on super quick and never cried for more than 5-10 minutes. Now he falls asleep with no crying. He's only woken up a few times since we started drowsy but awake, but when he has, one of us goes in there after a few minutes when it's obvious he's just working himself up more. We pick him up, give him a big hug and kiss and rub his back, turn his projector and music back on, calm him down and sway standing up for a few minutes, then lay him back down and say goodnight, then walk out. He usually will cry for a few minutes then, more of a whine, but then he puts himself back to sleep pretty quickly. I think he just wants reassurance that we're still around if he needs us.
    ElleMF728
  • We are having similar problems and I am just looking for advice. We are late to the sleep training party. Until now we have heavily relied on rocking LO to sleep and going in during any MOTN wakings to shush/pat/rock him back to sleep. We were comfortable with this for some time as both my husband and I are largely against CIO and LO was getting up 1-2 times in the MOTN so it was manageable for us. We are down to 1 MOTN feeding at about 4 am but LO goes to bed by 7 every night so I feel this is still ok. As time has gone on, LO has begun using rocking as a crutch to go to sleep every night and the MOTN wakings are increasing as he cannot settle himself back to sleep. After the 4am feed he would only fall back asleep by rocking and sleeping on one of our chests. Because of this arrangement, his morning wake time has gotten earlier (5-5:30am) and has affected the quality of his naps during the day. We managed that way for awhile but now it has become a problem for this mama as I am so tired most days.

    We have started a modified CIO where we stay in arms length of LO as he is in the crib  comforting/singing/shushing until he falls asleep on his own but we do not pick him up. As the days progress the idea is we will spend less time in the room and LO should fall asleep on his own in less time. Last night we started bedtime routine by 5:30 (we usually start by 6 but modified a bit as we knew we were starting sleep training and bed time could take longer). LO had a bath, we sang songs, put him into his pyjamas and then started a feed. He got drowsy on the boob and we moved him to his crib awake by 6:15. We stuck to the plan and comforted LO as he fussed and cried for about an hour until he was settled enough to be shushed to sleep. He slept straight through until 4am (a large victory in our books!!) where he awoke for his regular feeding. I fed him for about 15 minutes and he was still awake when I put him back in his crib and began to do our modified CIO method again. But that's where it took a turn for the worse. LO never fell back asleep. There was a good half hour where LO laid down and was quiet as I sang, shushed and rubbed his back but he never actually closed his eyes. As his regular awake time approached the crying intensified and it took much longer for him to be comforted. At 6 am I turned on all the lights and said good morning as if he had been sleeping the whole time. 

    This is where I need some advice. I realize this is more than a one night solution and we are up for a big challenge as LO has been accustomed to rocking. But where do we go from here? What do you do if baby cannot be settled back to sleep after the 4 am feed? I realize that our children thrive off routine and consistency but how do I maintain our day and the same bedtime with a baby that has been up since 4 am? 

    I relaize this this is a long post but any advice or "what I would do's" would really help at this point! Thanks!! 
  • I would just pick one time to work on for now. Start with bedtime and when you have that one down then try the 4 am one. That early morning wake is tough because at that point they are reasonable rested and have more energy to put up a fuss. You could also try leaving the room after the 4 am feed and coming back every couple of minutes to reassure him. It may be that you being there comforting him is frustrating him because he's less sleepy and doesn't understand why you aren't holding him? 
  • ElleMF728ElleMF728 member
    edited June 2016
    @pereza6 This sounds really similar to DS2 around 8 months except his was typically around 2a before we sleep trained. I don't have the link on my phone but I really encourage you to good "precious little sleep" "sleeping through the night" the article I think you will find most applicable is Part 1 which discusses the importance of putting baby down awake and the skill of object permanence which is likely the cause of your problem
     Good luck!

    My other thought would be to look at the total Amount of sleep LO is getting every day and try to be between or near to 12-14 hours. Depending on nap lengths you may just be expect too much. A 10 hour night isn't unusual and is standard for a lot of babies. Another option would be to modify baby's schedule to allow for a later bedtime. 
  • @ElleMF728 @missliz53 thank you both so much for your reply! It looks like object permance may be our problem. @ElleMF728 I googled that article and it has helped tremendously. I believe our biggest challenge will be after the 4 am feed and I may just have to leave the room and come back in intervals after that. Hopefully after a few nights of this LO will get the point. Then we are onto naps as they have also dwindled to 30-45 minutes each (because of the rocking I suspect) which is why I was worried about his total hours of sleep as it is near 12 but not within the 12-14 range. It may take some time but I think after some trial and error we can get there. Thanks! 
    ElleMF728booksandcleverness81
  • Introducing a lovey at this point might help too if you haven't already since this is about the age they form an attachment to something like a blanket or stuffed animal. I think it also helps with the object permanence because the lovey doesn't go anywhere unlike mom and dad who go back to bed at night. 

    The he fussing and crying is tough. There were times that I sat in her rocking chair shushing her with my fingers in my ears, but it seemed like she needed to fuss or cry a little to get nervous energy out before falling asleep. I always intervened though if she started to escalate, but I think I'm lucky in the sense that 99% of the time I can soothe her without picking her up. 

    I really like the sleep lady shuffle for a very gentle CIO. 
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