Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our point of view regarding the Ferber Method.

This post is divided in two.  My version and my husband's which come down later on.  So here it is.  Our opinion about the Ferber Method.  Thank you Jonas for agreeing to write your thoughts about this subject, but I think it is necessary to have other versions other than the already negative ones around the net. 

Dani writes:
Morning cuddles after a good night sleep.
This is unnecessary, we shouldn't have to defend our decision, but when an article like the one on Dagbladet comes along, demonizing the Ferber method and the parents that chose it, I feel like I want, not only need, to tell our version.
If you have read my blog, you might be aware that Jonas and I chose the Ferber method to help Olivia sleep better during the night.  Every evening after her sleep routine (eat-bath-book-song-nurse) we found ourselves having to rock Olivia to sleep for long periods of time.  She wasn't hungry, or had a dirty diaper, or wanted anything.  She was tired and wanted to sleep.  So she would cry on our shoulder until she did.  After detailed literary research and deep soulsearching, we decided to try Ferber and figured: she cries on our shoulder anyways for a long time, we needed to try putting her in her crib and let her find peace on her own.  It took a week of crying before sleeping, starting with 25 minutes the first day (in intervals, as Ferber suggests, of 3 min, 5min, 7min, 10min, and repeat checking every 10 min until she sleeps).  We would go in an reassure her in between, then she fell asleep until the next morning! We thought it was a miracle, and she woke up so happy and content that we decided to keep on going.  After one week, it took 5 minute to fall asleep, then after a month maybe 1 minute... then, no time at all.  After her last feed, we'd put her on her bed, she would put her thumb in her mouth and fall asleep until the next morning.  So, in fact, Ferber has helped reduce the crying to a bare minimum, allowing her to find peace on her own, and be comfortable on her own.  That is our experience.  Olivia is a confident, happy and cared for baby.   I truly believe we did the best for her.  I don't believe for a minute that she has been traumatized or felt unloved or unprotected for one minute.  But I understand there are people that don't want to apply Ferber and prefer other methods, and I also believe that every family should choose what they think is best for them and their children without being judged.  

Jonas writes:

Olivia & Jonas
 As Dani writes, I don't think it should be necessary to defend our decision to use a "controlled crying"  (a.k.a. cry-it-out/CIO/Ferber/extinction etc.) method to help Olivia fall asleep on her own, but such sloppy use of "science" as many critics of these methods use deserve an answer. If you want to make scientific references in your argumentation, you should at least take a scientific approach yourself; one that is balanced and presents both sides of the story. (I am not going to fill this post with references to papers and books, but for a detailed and easy to read overview of the scientific literature on controlled crying methods, follow this link.)

First of all, as far as I know there is NO SCIENTIFIC STUDY that concludes that cry-it-out methods have any negative effects on babies. Thus, opponents of these methods use two indirect arguments, mainly that crying has been found to increase cortisol levels in the brain, which can be harmful for the baby's development, and that babies that experience traumas may develop smaller brains. One important thing to know, however, is that none of these studies focus on cry-it-out sleeping methods. The traumas mentioned in most of these studies are cases of abuse and neglect, spending some time alone in their crib. And for the crying; the whole point of these sleep training methods is to reduce the crying, and there are plenty of studies that show that babies cry less after the initial week of such sleep training. In other words, if you are worried that the amount of crying may harm your baby, than a controlled crying method is indeed the best you can do for your baby.

Against this there are several studies specifically focusing on these controlled crying methods, and they all conclude that they have positive or no effect on the longer term development of the babies. The most robust results however, are that babies that go through such sleep training sleep more, wake up less during the night and cry less. Whether this have any long term effect on their mental health is of course hard to isolate from other causes, but it is hard to see how it could be bad.

There also do not seem to be any studies that find any significant difference in kids mental health whether they went to a cry-it-out sleep training or not. My advice to other parents is thus to choose a method you feel comfortable with, but if you want to investigate the science behind it, do it right, not believing some self-appointed expert writing in Dagbladet with a very selective usage of sources. To finish with an example: In the mentioned article in Dagbladet, the author refers to the book "The Science of Parenting" by Margot Sunderland which argues that crying-it-out will cause harm in the brain's development (without any direct scientific evidence of course). What the author in Dagbladet does not mention, however, is that Sunderland also claims that all children should sleep with their parents until the age of five...Good luck with that!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Costa Rica in a nutshell.

helping us pack

beans and avocado, great success!

thirsty and hot

morning with the grandmother


mornings with mamma and Ozzy (and Frida somewhere on the floor)


mornings with Tío Memo

and lots of love to grandma

swimming lessons, not as much fun

hated every minute of it

new dress made by grandma

travelling by car to the beach

meet the cousins <3

with grandpa

Playa y Faro Escondido

Farmor & Farfar came to visit

with Farmor

Pappa & Farfar


looking at the sea

Santa Teresa y Malpais


Santa Teresa perfection

nursing in a hammac

no sunglasses!

both grandmothers at once! One lucky girl.

a friend

with the great grandmother "Biche"

abuelito Memo

Friday, February 24, 2012

All getting calmer.

It's been over a week since we got back from our trip to Costa Rica.  It was a beautiful trip that we will always remember.  It was a trip in which we did almost everything we wanted.  There are always too many compromises and things we got to get done, but besides that, we got to see the people we missed, we got to go to the beach and most importantly, we got to have lots of quality time with the family.  We miss everyone a lot, but we have to admit that it is also nice to get back home.
The jetlag has been insane, and all the sleep training we did for the last 5 months pretty much went to the garbage.  Olivia now wakes up in the middle of the night EVERY night, and is impossible to get her to go to sleep on her own.  I think it's a mix of lots of change, teething, the fact that she moves so much more and wants to stand up all the time... I don't know.  It has just been truly difficult.  On top of that, getting back on schedule is also a big factor.  But, it's ok, like everything, this will also pass and I know it will get easier in not so long.   We just have to keep with the routines, and as soon as she is more familiarized with the time change, is back to Ferberizing (because as hard as it is, it is effective and good for her).  Olivia has never slept better than when we all got the Ferber method working.  If she woke up in the middle of the night, she would go right back to sleep on her own, and really rest, which is what she needs again.  What we all need.
But enough of that.  Everything is slowly getting back to place.  I am back at school and feeling good about it.  Jonas is at home with Olivia having a lot of fun being a full time dad and life is good.  We can't complaint.

My new working space at the Art Academy where great ideas will come (hopefully)!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Olivia will be 10 months in only 2 days!

Today is our last day in Costa Rica, tomorrow at 7am, we'll be on a plane on our way to Norway.  Back home to our beds.
We will be there the 16th, so, I write this post today, before I forget to post on time for Olivia's "monthday".


We love you with all of our hearts.   Everyone that meets you just melts on how nice and easygoing you are.  You are just fun to be around and we love to spend every minute of our days with you.  When you are sleeping, we miss you!!  (Although we also enjoy the time off).
No teeth yet! But they will come soon!  And they will be strong and great to chew all you want (except for mommy's boobies).
Happy almost 10 months!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Costa Rica so far.

This has been truly a memorable month.  Coming to Costa Rica is always a bit of a roller-coaster ride.  Lot's of family visits, lots of family time, beach, mountain, hugs, fights, laughs, tears, everything, almost all at once.
Sometimes it's too much to take because all of these emotions are concentrated, but at the same time, it is the old place that I call home.  It's where I grew up.  I know the smells, the roads, the people, the talk.  It's where I feel most me and also, where I confront myself.
Anyways, it has been a treat to look at my country through the eyes of Olivia.  To teach her and show her what is is like to be from here.  I want her to feel that this is her country as much as it is mine.  That she belongs here as much as she belongs to Norway.  That she is Latin and has native blood in her, and that is something to be very proud of.  That is where we come from. 
It was amazing to see her playing in the sand in Santa Teresa, screaming at the ocean completely scared, because it is overwhelming and we take that for granted, it is so funny to see her eat the mangoes and squeeze them to get all the juice from them just as we did when we were kids.  To see her sleep on her bed just with a diaper because it's warm enough.  To hear her imitate the red macaws and howling monkeys.  Everything has been amazing so far.  We still have 10 days to go and we will savor every bit.