So, last month, while I was off work for a week and a half for Christmas, we did sleep training with the girls. Before that, we were in a pattern that was NOT sustainable. We put them to bed around 7:30, they were up around 10, generally back in their cribs, then up again around 12, then 2…sometime around 12 or 2 we ended up sleeping with them. BB usually took Mads into our bed, I slept with Rosy in the recliner in their room. Which meant Rosy was up with me at 5:30 to get ready for work, and I was trying to shower and get ready with an infant in tow. Their naps were just as much of a crapshoot – when they were home with BB, they would sleep on him (and anything that may have gotten done that day was given up to the God of Keeping Them Asleep), for me they would barely sleep at all, and the naps were thirty minutes on a good day. Everyone was cranky, all the time.
We were done. So, I did what I always do: I read a bunch (The No-Cry Sleep Solution & Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problem, which basically represent the opposite extremes NO CRYING EVER AT ALL and SLEEP IS WAY MORE IMPORTANT THAN CRYING), and made a plan. And wrote the plan down. And revised the plan. And stressed over it for weeks. And guess what? When we put the plan into motion, it was clear that the girls were just as done with the being up all the time and never napping and being tired as we were, because GUYS IT WAS SO EASY. Not to take anything away from anyone who had a hard time with sleep training or anything, because different babies need different things, but holy shit was I worked up over nothing.
Since we already had a bedtime routine in place, it was just a matter of how to deal with the girls when they protested going to bed, and when they woke up in the middle of the night. We chose the Ferber method, which is essentially controlled Cry It Out – you go in and comfort the child WITHOUT PICKING HER UP at increasing intervals – day one is 1,3,5, day two is 3,5,7, etc (these are the intervals we used because I’m a big puss about hearing our babies cry. The book technically recommends doing 5,10,15, etc). The first week I think they averaged about 7 minutes total crying. The most I ever heard them cry was 20 minutes. Seriously my babies were begging for this.
Now, they go down easily at night and for naps. They wake up 1-2 times a night (each, so I’m up 2-4 times), but it’s a matter of finding their binkie and going back to sleep – at this point I’ve stopped timing them until after I replace the binkie, because I found that if I get the bink quickly they go right back to sleep, whereas if I let them get upset it’s gone they tend to be up for a while. They’re taking about 3 hours worth of naps a day – one takes a long nap in the morning and a short one in the afternoon, while the other flips it, so my “free” time is cut in half, but at least I know that I can get SOME work done, whether that is actual work-work or stuff around the house. And they’re just so much happier and better rested. I feel so much better with happy babies than with cranky ones!
I know that sleep training is one of the most divisive topics out there (and trust me, there’s a LOT of divisive topics!) but I’m thrilled that we were able to find a solution that worked for us and our babies.