Sleep Training: Setting the Ground Rules

Well, sleep training officially begins tonight. My beautiful little boys are 10 months old now, and in addition to all the wonderfullness that comes with them being 10 months, it’s also been 10 months since Alan or I have had a decent night’s sleep. Actually, about a year for me. As anyone who has ever been pregnant knows, you don’t exactly sleep well those last few uncomfortable weeks. And when it’s twins, change weeks to months. Sigh.

Alan and I have gone back and forth on how best to approach this. There really is no simple answer, if there was, there would be no need for sleep training! We never did any actual sleep training with Connor, he slept in our bed from the time he was about 3 months old, until I got too pregnant and then he moved to his crib. He was 18 months old and sleeping through the night on his own by then.

I would love to let Ben and Alex reach that milestone on their own, but the complexities of having twins just doesn’t make it feasible. Not only are Alan and I exhausted, but I can see the fatigue in my boys, the fussiness and such, and I know that not getting a good night’s sleep is taking its toll on them. So we have to do something, and the sooner the better. It’s just not going to be easy, of course.

So step one is to set the ground rules. I’ve done my research, I’ve talked to friends and fellow MoMs (mothers of multiples). Most suggest some form of CIO (cry it out). It’s something I once said I would never ever do to my children, but I have received a great deal of positive feedback on it, particularly from MoMs. Because let me be honest for a moment, if you successfully sleep trained just one baby at a time, I say, good for you, you have absolutely no idea what I’m dealing with over here. No offense of course. But you can’t even begin to imagine the complexities of dealing with two babies at once, unless you’ve been in the trenches yourself. Okay, I’m climbing back down off my sleep-deprivation soap box now…

I think our best bet is to go the comfort and console route, utilizing a modified CIO as need be. Babies can be soothed but cannot be picked up out of their cribs. They absolutely cannot sleep in our bed with us anymore. And I’m going to stop offering nursing unless 5 hours have passed since the last meal. We will have to be consistent but flexible too. And let me tell you how hard that is going to be when I am such a zombie at night from sleep deprivation. I’m seriously thinking about keeping a journal upstairs, so I can write down what’s happening as it happens. I also plan to document each night right here on this blog, in hopes of maybe helping other MoMs who are going through this, so a journal should help.

Here is the bottom line. Alan and I are exhausted, we are not able to function to the best of our abilities as parents, as spouses, as human beings. Ben and Alex are not getting quality sleep and they are suffering from it. Connor is caught somewhere in the middle, dealing with fussy babies and parents who lose their patience way too quickly. I love my men, both big and little, so very much, and I just want to do whatever it takes to make our collective family life as good as it possibly can be. So sleep training, here we come. I pray for patience and understanding from my two little loves, and that they will still offer me a smile and open arms come morning time. Because I’m pretty sure my heart is going to break a million times over before this is done…

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