Spencer went to school today! (Whew.) However, we learned they are not allow to let the children cry unattended in their cribs, so Spencer's routine will be altered there. But they did agree to no longer feed him or rock him to encourage sleep.
Last night no visits to Spencer's room were required, as he fell asleep before we had planned to check in on him. He stayed down all night, and woke up happy this morning after 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Yesterday I found this article reviewing an upcoming book Why Love Matters which made me feel a bit physically ill to read how leaving your child to cry can affect the development of a child's brain and personality. I finally exhaled about 3/4 of the way through when it was explained that the infant's cortisol levels are pretty much set by six months of age. This concurs with Dr. Ferber in that children younger than this age are neurologically too immature to calm themselves. It is so hard to listen to him cry, but is 5-7 minutes of complaining harmful? Uninterrupted sleep is ultimately best for the child, and I trust that this small period of focused training will reward him (and us) in the end. We have seen great improvement night after night - by establishing rigid meal times, nap times, and appropriate evening routines to help Spencer's body get on a clock so that he is ready to go to sleep when bedtime finally arrives. Jim and I continue to refer back to Dr. Ferber's book for guidance (i.e. learning that Spencer's inconsolable middle of the night screaming on Monday was possibly a partial-wakening due to sleep terror, and we now understand how better to respond to this in the future.) But reading about these findings from the scientific study in Why Love Matters really causes me to take a step back.