Yesterday I got in the mail, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins, which is a book about sleep-training multiples. I'm not sure I like the term "sleep training" but I thought I would read through the book to see if I could find any tips and tricks to helping the boys sleep longer at night.
So far, I've noticed a daytime pattern, but I've really been letting each boy dictate his own schedule until it comes time to eating; I feed them at the same time. I'm still lost as far as night goes, as they are very inconsistent with wake up times. And it's not like they wake up starving. They usually sleepily suck down only half a bottle and fall back to sleep. However, letting them dictate their own schedule may work for one baby but I'm starting to realize with two, to have any free time at all during the day and for pure survival and for my sanity, they really need to be in sync. (or as close to that as we can get)
I'm not a believer in letting a baby cry-it-out. I believe they cry because they need something, whether it is a physical or emotional need. However, I think they're old enough to fall asleep on their own, or at the very least I want to give them the tools and best environment to learn how to eventually.
I decided to give some of the tips from this book a try today. I woke Julian from their morning nap when Isaiah woke up. They both got tired after eating and playing at the same time so I started our nap time routine, which starts with some milk. They get extra drowsy with a fully tummy and sure enough they both started to fall asleep. So I took Julian to the crib and Isaiah was in the playpen in the spare room. I was anticipating a lot of crying so kept them separate for now.
They were both wide awake after I put them in their beds but were content sucking on their fingers and talking to their surroundings. Then the cries started. Ugh! Gut wrenching! But, I stayed firm and let each boy cry for 5 minutes before I'd go soothe him back to his sleepy state. There was a lot of walking back and forth and I almost gave in toward the end but I'm glad I didn't. They eventually fell asleep after about an hour. I know with each time I do this, even consistently during naps, they'll begin to be able to fall asleep without being on someone or being rocked. I know it is something that many mamas feel strongly about, that babies need, but when you have twins, these rules change. I can't rock two babies to sleep at a time. I want them to eventually peacefully go to sleep on their own, maybe with some babbling and talking before drifting. Isaiah has done it before...but in the swing.
So, even though it was a tough hour, it really was a step in the right direction. The boys are 4 months old now. They are ready to sleep longer periods at night. I know they can, and I think it's just my fault that they aren't. Hopefully by next week I'll be looking back on this post wondering how I did it so long with such little sleep!
I know I've probably asked this before but:
- When did your child start falling asleep on his/her own?
- What kinds of things did you do to help facilitate this habit?
- Tell me how great you felt when your kids started sleeping better...I need some encouragement!