I have bounced all the bounces: When sleep training works

When I graduated high school, a group of friends and I went camping alongside the sand dunes at Honeyman State Park. We went skinny dipping, we played drinking games, we flirted—and, gathered around a campfire, we burned the spiral notebooks and three-punch paper we had filled with notes on biology, history and literature.

As remnants of high school went up in smoke, I felt ready for a new chapter to begin.

I’m considering doing the same with our giant stability ball—because that’s apparently what I do when sleep training works.

Don't let anyone mommy guilt you about sleep training your baby. Ferber works—and it gave me my life back. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Sleep struggles

You see, Eric and I have bounced Kiwi to sleep on that thing for nearly every nap and bedtime, plus the uncountable times she woke up when she was supposed to be sleeping, for the last six months. We have bought multiple balls to use when we travel because the one time we forgot, I injured my foot bouncing so much on my parents’ hardwood floor. (For real.) The faint squeak-squeak of our utter reliance on the ball was as consistent as the white noise we use to help Kiwi, a horrible sleeper, drift off. Who knows how many times I cried on that ball, doing my best to sob silently and avoid dripping tears on my baby’s head.

But now—but now—Kiwi has been putting herself to sleep.

Baby asleep in monitor

No ball. No bouncing. Just her and my new favorite person, Richard Ferber.

Starting sleep training

We—really, I—reached my breaking point with the sleep situation last week. “We’re sleep training Kiwi,” I announced. We’d gotten the go-ahead from her pediatrician, we’d researched our options, we’d set up a plan. From using cry it out with Peeper, I know the good things that happen when sleep training works.

We used the Ferber method—basically, laying your child down drowsy but asleep so she can learn to self-soothe, checking on and reassuring her periodically at increasingly longer intervals.

Hearing Kiwi cry at all was horrible. Leaving her to fuss went against every mothering instinct I had. The first night of Ferber training I cracked a beer, played downstairs with Peeper and put Eric in charge of patting, soothing and singing to her every few minutes.

But then I got the text: “She’s asleep.”

Kiwi managed to fall asleep on her own in less than a half-hour. The next night, it took her about 15 minutes of occasional fussing. And she’s even falling asleep by herself for naps. When sleep training works, it’s beautiful. And it’s such a relief.

No going back

People, I have bounced all the bounces. I will not go back. I want to burn that ball.

I will probably become more reasonable in my anti-stability ball stance once I get a little more sleep, which is happening (!!!) because of Kiwi’s independence and new status as an expert self-soother. After all, thanks to those hours and hours of bouncing, my butt has never looked better. So it’s not all bad.

But Kiwi’s new ability to put herself to sleep is a game-changer.

I already feel like more of a whole person. I have begun thinking of all the things I want to do once my energy stores are a bit more replenished. My wrists, shoulders and legs don’t hurt as much. And Kiwi is better rested since she’s not waking constantly.

I am so damn proud of this little munchkin.

Thank you, Kiwi, for picking up this skill so quickly.

Now I’m off to ride the elliptical for a while. Wouldn’t want to lose this butt quite yet.

0 thoughts on “I have bounced all the bounces: When sleep training works

  • January 18, 2016 at 9:31 am


    Things got so much better once I was actually able to get some sleep. (I’d get very cross with people who joked how sleep wasn’t that important. Seems like a perfectly reasonable thing for someone to say when they have a choice whether or not to get it, but otherwise … no, just no! PPD became an issue for me when sleep deprivation started kicking in.)

    • January 18, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      Sounds like we were in the same boat, Deb. When sleep deprivation got really bad, so did my mood/outlook/state of mind. I’m not out of the woods yet, but life seems so much more manageable if you get a little REM!

  • January 18, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Wow, so awesome, congratulations! Our firstborn didn’t sleep through the night for 6 months. We were wrecks. 🙂

  • January 18, 2016 at 10:16 am

    That’s awesome! I was just reading yesterday about Aware Parenting and Marion Rose, she had something about what babies need to go to sleep–sounds like you’ve got it figured out!

    • January 18, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      It took so much trial and error, but we’ve finally landed on something that works for everyone. Thank goodness!

  • January 18, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    YAY! That is awesome. Man, my first son was like that and I did bounce all the bounces with him. And, honestly, I’ve never looked better in my life. Haha! I guess I should start bouncing my second son whether he needs it or not. Ours sleeps in our room currently and mostly self soothes and can go to sleep alright… but he is still in his cradle and he does NOT like his crib. So, we are going to be slowly working towards him getting to sleep in his crib. I’m not looking forward to it. :/

    So excited that you’re finally getting some rest. Congrats momma!

    • January 18, 2016 at 3:54 pm

      Thank you Jenni! We did a bunch of transitions at once (no swaddle, out of rock n play and into pack n play, self-soothing sleep training) because the gradual, incremental changes were not working. I’m so glad X is a good sleeper so far! Way to go, little guy! Ah I have to meet him!!!

  • January 18, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Oh my goodness, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know exactly what you mean because that’s exactly how we had to get Caleb to fall asleep for the first seven months of his life. It was SUCH a relief when he could finally go down on his own. <3

  • January 19, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Hooray! Doesn’t it feel SOO good to finally get some rest? I would shout “Burn the ball!!” but those things do come in handy for other purposes 😉
    Congrats on the milestone!

    • January 20, 2016 at 9:50 am

      Yes, and thank you!
      Plus there’s the environmental issues in burning that plastic (silicone? other? who knows). 😉

    • January 21, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      Thank you for stopping by Susan! I’m glad to be past that stage too. 😉

  • Pingback: Kiwi is 6 months | The Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge