Monday, February 13, 2012

Sleep training

It's been a week now since we started sleep training the girls. I'm not sure what brought it about, but all of a sudden I just decided that I had had enough, and we were going to make some changes. I borrowed a book from a friend with twins- "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins." The authors actually wrote a version for singletons ("Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child"), and I'd highly recommend it if you're trying to get your child on a manageable schedule. The truth is, there was nothing rocket science about what the book suggested. I think I just needed to be told what to do. Often Andy and I talk about how we feel like we've forgotten how to parent. That's obviously not really the case, but with the twins everything is SO.DIFFERENT. I'm more concerned with getting them on the SAME schedule than on A schedule. What you normally do for one child doesn't always work for 2, and yet as much as you want them to do things the same, you realize that they're 2 individual kids with different needs and traits. That brings us to the challenges we've been facing. Our habit prior to a week ago was to get Kaden in bed and then do one last feeding for the girls and get them to sleep. This usually lasted until midnight or 1am most nights. This was taking a toll on our life as a family and made things tense and sleep-deprived doing the same thing day in and day out. When the book arrived in the mail, all 3 kids happened to be sleeping at the same time (a rarity during the day around here), and I sat down and read faster than I've read in a long time. Kaden woke up from his nap and asked to watch a DVD, and I obliged- knowing that I needed the info from this book! :) Again, nothing I read was necessarily new information; I just needed someone to tell me what to do! Our pediatrician had suggested writing out their schedules, as did the book. I had been doing this for awhile but didn't notice any major patterns. The biggest takeaway I got from the book was to watch for their signals and put them down for the night between 6-8pm (the magic window for their age). According to the book, if they're crying and rubbing their eyes, we've missed the window. You want to look for slowing down in their movements, a yawn, glossing over of the eyes, etc. I think we were so focused on getting Kaden to keep his bedtime routine that we were missing all of the girls' signals. As a result, they were sleep deprived and since they missed the window, they were miserable- hence dealing with crying babies until 1am. Sleep begets sleep, and while it's hard to understand this concept, it's so true. So... since then I've been putting them to sleep awake at the same time for naps when they show signs of being tired during the day. They typically take 2-3 catnaps a day, lasting for 45 min-1 hour each. Each night has gotten better. We've had to let them cry only for short periods of time before they give in. Makenna rarely cries- she does what she's told (must be the youngest child trait?!?). Maya, as usual, has given us a little bit of a run for our money. She tends to scream like you're doing a terrible thing by getting her to sleep, and then gives in. Sometimes she wakes up Makenna as a result, and then we have 2 crying babies on our hands. Fun, huh? :) I think Makenna is getting more used to it and sleeping through it much better, as the book suggested would happen. What we were doing was letting their eating schedule run their sleeping schedule. Oops. I wanted to get that last feeding in before bed, but because they were so overtired, they didn't sleep any better anyways! At this point the girls have their last feeding between 6:30-7:30pm and go to bed between 7:30-8pm. They usually wake up once or twice during the night, but I'm okay with that at the moment. Andy and I still think we're living in a bit of a dream. We don't even know what to do with ourselves. You have no idea how big of an accomplishment it feels to have both of them sleeping at the same time. We have new- found freedom, and we feel like we got a small piece of our lives back. Ah. Don't get me wrong- we're not on a perfect sleep schedule yet- it's only been a week. Sometimes they wake up screaming after only 1 hour in bed, sometimes they won't go back to sleep when they wake up, sometimes Maya goes down an hour after Makenna because she's not as tired. But, we're working on it, and progress in the sleep area is a beautiful gift, my friends.

Nothing like sleeping babies!


No comments: