Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sleep training has begun

The babies turned three months old this week and during one middle of the night waking that ended in a "no, we're both awake and we don't want to go to sleep again ha ha ha ha ha ha" at 3am I came downstairs and plopped each baby into a swing and googled "how to sleep train twins".

Because after complaining about feeling guilty about nursing and it hurting them, I wondered if I was doing the reverse thing I'd done with Kiernan. When Kiernan was 3 months old (ish) I had had enough of the constant night wakings and decided to sleep train, blaming myself for instilling and encouraging bad habits. It turned out the major problem was due to my milk and him getting all kinds of dairy and soy that was hurting his tummy, plus untreated reflux. This time, my instinct was to blame myself and my milk - but upon further thought I realized that they're just waking up and wanted to nurse and be held. They aren't screaming and wailing, they aren't acting like they're in pain, they aren't pulling on and off the breast.

So we're sleep training - in a semi serious kind of way. If they fall asleep nursing then I'm happy to let them do that. I'm not going to make sure they go down drowsy but awake. If, however, they don't fall asleep nursing, I'm putting them down drowsy and letting them cry for 5-10 minutes. Then I go in, calm them down, get them almost asleep again and put them down and let them cry 10-15 minutes. Generally they've fallen asleep by then. If they wake up from a nap too soon, I will let them cry for 5-10 minutes also (which they almost never do before falling asleep again). If they don't want to go back to sleep at night after being fed, they go into their crib wide awake with the same procedure for going in to them (I do still feed them in the night - I'm not trying to get them sleeping the whole night through or anything). But we're barely having to go in. They're falling asleep super quickly without that much of a fuss. I've slept more in my bed since we've started than I had in weeks - it's nice.

A lot of people have a really hard time with cry it out, and I totally understand. But it took us until Kiernan was 14 months old to do it and it was HARD. He kept standing up, and he was indignant. He knew enough to be pissed at us. But once it worked, it worked SO well. He went to bed so easily, slept better and it only continued to improve. Before that it was taking us hours to get him down at night - it was ridiculous.

This time, the babies are giving is so much faster and with less fuss. (The stuff I found indicated that you should just do the training at the same time and they learn to ignore each other's crying. Quinn definitely doesn't care if Juliette yells, but Juliette doesn't sleep through Quinn's quite as well even though she's the louder one) And from experience I really feel that babies who know how to fall asleep on their own are happier babies, so it's a favour not only to me but to them. Hopefully we keep heading in the right direction!


Anonymous said...

Good luck Lara.

Gwen said...

You sound like a pro. When you're done, come over here. I have two 4 yr olds and a 15 month old that need some "sleep training"!

Some kind of Wondermom said...

Sounds like things are going really well. Keep it up babies!

Katie Valentine said...

Keep it up. When in doubt, imagine holding both of them while they have their naps. Until they're two and a half.