Life with twins has taken over for the past few months so I have not posted anything for a long while. I have been writing and thinking of new idea’s just needed time with my boys and didn’t want to miss a thing. This post is from August actually and A LOT has happened since then. I am deciding to not change and update it because it has my genuine feelings and experience with sleep training. I understand our experience is probably not a typical experience with sleep training but it was our experience I wanted to share with you. Please enjoy.
Last week was a major week for the boys and I. It was a very exciting week but a week I’ve dreaded since the boys were born …. sleep training!
Until last week I have been still swaddling and nursing my boys to sleep. I had no intentions of starting sleep training yet or changing our routine. Both boys were regularly getting out of their swaddles and baby L occasionally slept on his side. I was starting to worry the time was coming soon to sleep train but I wasn’t going to force it on them, infact I was trying to figure out how to extend them being swaddled. I was doing research of different swaddles that would be harder for them to break out of or swaddle transitions.
Then it happened. Baby L rolled onto his stomach while swaddled during their afternoon nap. I was very proud of my boy that he was now able to roll both ways, it was the first time he rolled onto his stomach. But at the same moment I realized I couldn’t swaddle him anymore because it wasn’t safe. I don’t have any loose blankets in their cribs and I only have the mash liner on the crib, no padded bumpers and no pillows. But I didn’t like the idea of my baby rolling onto his stomach and not having the ability to move his arms.
Baby V still has not rolled onto his stomach but he’s not far off. (Update: the day after I started writting this he rolled over!) I decided that was the night they were both going to sleep un-swaddled and when I needed to start sleep training. They are just shy of 6 months old so I figured no time like the present.
At 5 months they started eating cereal and I started making pureed fruits and veggies for them. They eat solids twice a day, once after their first nap and once about an hour before bed. Since I’ve done this they have pretty much slept though the night. I was very nervous that unswaddling them and starting to sleep train them would throw them all off and it would be a long night.
I had already done a lot of Googling trying to figure out what would be the best way to approach the situation and read many forums trying to see what worked other moms. I know every baby is different and what might work for one could be useless for the other. Some moms were saying they did CIO, others said they would never do that and they nursed, rocked, sang, sat in the room till their child fell asleep, the list goes on. I remember my pediatrician saying the only thing that really works is letting them cry, so I decided that was how I’d tackle it.
I fed the boys cereal, read a couple books to them and nursed them until they were sleepy but not asleep. They had never been put in their cribs to awake to go to sleep, I had always put them down completely asleep, so of course they were crying hysterically when I put them in their cribs. I kissed each one goodnight and said I love you to each and walked out of the room and closed the door. I am not completely heartless, I of course did not just let them cry till they fell asleep, I went in every 5 minutes, patted their backs and heads but did not pick them up, just reassured them I was close by and loved them and everything was ok.
Each 5 minutes between seemed like an hour. I hated hearing my boys cry, I just wanted to comfort them but I knew in the long run this was for the best and was actually going to help them go to sleep independently.
Gradually the crys turned into whimpers and 30 minutes later there was silence. I waited a few minutes before I tip toed into their room to make sure they had actually fallen asleep and I couldn’t resist, I had to go in again to make sure they were really ok. They were perfect. Baby V was all stretched out on his back and baby L was on his stomach with his bum in the air. I just stood there and watched them sleep for a few minutes.
The next night was even easier. Well easier on them because it only took 20 minutes for them to fall asleep, but it still broke my heart hearing them cry. Night 3 blew my mind. I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories how it can be hours of fighting to get a child to sleep on their own and that the child seems to be accepting then is worse usually by night 3. Well, both of my boys fell asleep within the first 5 minutes after I put them down. I was shocked but so happy they were finally able to sooth themselves to sleep.