Friday, November 2, 2007

Who Needs Sleep?

We have a unique family situation, there's no doubt about that. We're also a loud family and a fun family where both Mom or Dad fully participate in the madness. We've created a household that is obviously so much fun, the babies don't want to sleep. There's such a lack of sleep in this house that the house is now loud because the babies are constantly screaming, Boo is sick of the noise and she is screaming, and Mom and Dad have been going on weeks with frayed nerves, no sleep, and no breaks. Not a fun house any more.

Matt and I are huge believers in sleep training. We rocked Boo to sleep or co-slept with her out of desperation for our own sleep for two years of her life because we didn't know any better. Even with those methods, Boo was still so sleep deprived and so were we. It was creating a lot of issues in our family. Out of desperation, we turned to a professional sleep specialist from one of the local hospitals. She outlined a gentle sleep training program and we sure doubted each of her steps. NO way would THAT work on our no- need- for- sleep toddler.

Sure enough, it worked. It took two weeks, but Boo learned to fall asleep on her own, in her own bed, and sleep through the night. We were believers. We also felt really stupid for not doing it sooner. It's amazing what you'll do when you're that sleep deprived. And as we learned, every child is soooo different when it comes to sleep. Some kids are great sleepers and some... are like our kids! And nothing pissed us off more than telling someone of our woes and having them come back with, "Wow, my kids never have any sleep issues. We all sleep great." Grrrr.

Then we had a preemie and an orphan. Two situations that made us afraid of sleep training because of their backgrounds. And instant twins! Two babies means double the chance you won't sleep. We decided to just get us all through the adjustment period and do whatever it took to get us all to sleep. Then we'd think about sleep training.

Well, here we are with two babies who don't know how to fall asleep on their own. Two babies who must be rocked to sleep. Two babies who only nap for 20 minutes a day. Two babies who barely sleep at all overnight. And two very exhausted, very frazzled, very upset parents.

In other words, we screwed up again. I try to cut us some slack because we were suddenly in such a strange situation. Plus, you'll do anything to get a baby to sleep when you're desperate for your own sleep. Times that by two. It's no wonder we're in this situation.

The less a baby sleeps, the less a baby sleeps. They build up a hormone in their body that helps them stay awake for long periods of time. To break that cycle, the baby needs to sleep. Since we cannot go down this road any longer, especially with multiples, it's time for sleep training.

Oh how I hate sleep training. It's two weeks of hell. Two weeks of angry babies, nervous parents, and the worry that it just won't work and we'll never sleep again. But hey, that's what's happening now. It cannot get any worse in the sleep department. Something has to be done.

Sleep Training Multiples Day 1 has begun.

I would normally rock Juna to sleep while Avie played quietly at my feet. Then I'd rock Avie to sleep. Now Avie climbs up my body and wants to smack her sister on the head. And since they are so sleep deprived, they wouldn't nap for longer than 20 minutes. Weird how that works.

Today I put both in their cribs, gave them lovies, patted their heads, and left the room.

Oh the horror. Oh the tears. And the babies were upset, too.

I did what the sleep trainer taught me. I kept going in and soothing them, but not picking them up. Rubbing bellies, reassuring, soothing. It took an hour but eventually, both babies got the point and curled up and fell asleep. Juna first, then Avie.

It's amazing how twins can sleep through each other's angry cries. Even "artificial twins" like mine.

Ok, so here we go. Another adventure in parenting. Sleep training multiples. This has to work. This has to work. Seriously, this has to work. If it doesn't, my family will self destruct.

We can do this!


meowmix said...

An hour isn't bad at all!! it may get a little longer, but then it should get shorter and shorter! I had trouble with Layne at first...I would try to rock her, soothe her, etc but finally I just put her down and let her cry and she went to sleep MUCH faster. She's a crier that calms herself, whereas Mason would just cry himself into a big mess and needed soothing. Thank God he sucked his thumb, although he still needed singing and patting.
Hang in there!! IT WILL WORK!

Arlene said...

OMG thats awesome, how long did you wait before soothing them? I need to do this with Alanna.

J said...

We went through all that with B too. I fell in love with a book called "The No-Cry Sleep Solution." It actually sounds a lot like what your sleep trainer did. I agree -- it's a few weeks of hell, but so very worth it in the end.

Louanne said...

You can do it! You can do it!


BeautifulFreak said...

You know that I don't agree with this method at all.

However I know that you are a schedule oriented person and I am soooooo not. Different strokes for different folks. I hope the transition goes smoothly for you and that you and your family all get a good nights sleep soon.

Mutha said...

I let them fuss for about ten minutes before going in and soothing. Then I leave for ten minutes. Repeat repeat repeat.

tubelessstl said...

was just going to the library this coming monday to pick up a few books on sleep training. Thanks for this post. I asked a few friends on an IF parenting board and they suggested several good books to read. I also like your idea of the sleep trainer coming in the house. I know our Julia is so young, but I want to nip the sleep problems in the butt right away. I love the rocking her to sleep, but I don't want her to depend on that for long. Thanks for the post. Keep us posted on how J and A are doing with this sleep solution.

Anonymous said...

Rooting for you! I'm taking notes for the future. As both J and I are erratic sleepers, I'm sure our kids will inherit his insomnia and my nightowlishness. Good luck!

Katrina said...

hmm, that method sounds pretty it CIO or you just keep going in and soothing until they realize it's bedtime?
we are desperate for sleep!

Jenn NMD :o) said...

Thank you for mentioning that twins (even artificial ones) will sleep through each other's cries. It gave me the guts to finally move my 4 month old in to the nursery with my 21 month old. Little girl is almost always sleeping through the night now and we really need the room she's been in for a play room. So far they have either slept through each other's cries or gone right back to sleep!