Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sleep Training Success, Even With Twins

Being a parent can be tough. Becoming a parent for the first time can even be scary. There is just so much to learn and do. I think one of the best things I could tell a new mother-to-be is, “take all of your expectations about how this is going to go, and how you are going to do things, and throw them out the window.” Some of the best lessons I have learned as a new mom, I learned on the fly in those lovely “sink or swim” type of moments. You know the kind. The ones where you are in the grocery store and your infant or toddler is having a gigantic meltdown and every, yes every, pair of eyes in the place is on you just waiting to see how you are going to handle this situation. And yes, they are all secretly (And some not so secretly) judging you and telling you just how they would handle it. 

On the other hand, I have also gained some valuable advice from other mommy friends and a few good books. But let’s cut each other and ourselves some slack here and go ahead and say that we will make mistakes, probably every day. Hopefully we learn from those mistakes and parenting becomes just a little easier. I know that with the first child certain things are just hard to say no to, like rocking them to sleep every time, swooping in at the first sign of a cry and fixing the situation, or heaven forbid, letting them cry in their crib. Ugh.

Our first kids were twins. We were separated by the NICU for 7 days. They were just so tiny and fragile and adorable and helpless….I couldn’t put them down. I couldn’t let them cry. I HAD TO DO EVERYTHING RIGHT.  Our doctor told us to feed them every 3 hours because they were premature and I took that uber literally. I would actually wake my peacefully sleeping babies to feed them. And to change them; because OH MY GOSH you can’t let a baby have urine on their skin!! They will get a rash! My poor children and husband. I just shake my head at myself for waking my sleeping child to wipe their butt with a cold wipe in the middle of the night…rookie mistake.

My twins also had this bad habit of falling asleep off and on constantly for only 10 minutes at a time. Not very deep or restful sleep. They had no schedule. Little did I know, children thrive on a schedule. All I knew was that I suddenly had 2 tiny beasts that were always hungry, always tired, always wanted held. I ran myself ragged trying to appease these little one’s every want and need. Now let me clarify here: I think you should always meet a baby’s needs, such as feeding, diapering, warmth, affection etc. However, many babies also have wants that will not hurt them if they are not met immediately.

Thankfully, I have this wonderful friend named Holly who (at the time) had 4 children under the age of 2 and was pregnant with her 5th. See, Holly started out with triplets, then 2 singleton pregnancies. Holly is my hero. Her (now) 5 girls, yes 5 girls, are well behaved and a delight to be a round. Her 5 kids make other people actually want to have kids. I finally mentioned to Holly the trouble I was having with my twins sleeping and general fussiness about the time they were 10 months old. And Holly told me her secret: SLEEP TRAINING. What? What strange magic was this? I had never heard of such a thing.

Apparently, there is a wonderful book out there titled Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old by Suzy Giordano in which a simple plan is laid out to have your kids sleeping 12 hours a night! No matter the age! (I told you, magic) One of the secrets is the “limited cry solution.” The other biggest thing for me was scheduling. Now, I love to read, but could you imagine me with 3 month old twins reading a book? Haha! Thankfully, my hero Holly has a wonderful blog and she wrote this succinct synopsis of the entire book! What? Yes. I am serious. By simply reading this synopsis I was able to start sleep training. And it worked.

The first day and night that I tried her method was the first night my twins slept in their own crib in a new room…and they slept 10.5 hours!! Hallelujah. <Insert choir of angels here.> It was hard, don’t get me wrong. It took a couple of weeks for the twins and us to get acclimated to having a schedule. It takes discipline on the parent’s part and planning. But it is so worth it. The hardest part was getting my daughter to stay awake when it wasn’t nap time. So really, if that was the hardest part I guess it wasn’t too bad. 

According to this book you don’t start expecting a baby to sleep 12 hours at night until they are 12 weeks of age, but the book gives great advice on how to not form bad habits in the beginning of their life that are hard to break. I suggest reading this book, or at least Holly’s breakdown of it, if you are a new mom, mom to be, or even if you have children who are out of control with no schedule and refuse to go to bed or stay in bed. What can it hurt to give it a try?

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

1 comment:

  1. You did such a great job sleep training and scheduling the twins! You and your hubby are ROCK STARS! You put it perfectly, it is much harder on the parents than on the child/ren. There are SO many benefits to peaceful sleep, whether an adult or a baby! :) You go girl! Keep sharin' the message and help one sleepless momma at a time! :) Love ya!