On a recent post, Kristen asked about sleep training and multiples. We used, and are continuing to use, sleep training with our 4 year old singleton son and our 2 year old twins. I read Dr. Marc Weissbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child before our son was born and it has been our reference book ever since. When our twins were 6 months old, Dr. Weissbluth published a book on sleep and multiples, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins. (I was disappointed with his book on multiples because it didn’t provide as much practical advice as I had hoped. I think the original book has more information on sleep at different ages and on addressing specific problems, so I’d recommend starting with it.)
I can’t specifically remember what was going on at 9 months, but I know we established a sleep routine when the girls were about 6 months old and much earlier with our son. After dinner there would be baths some nights, then pyjamas, breastfeeding, sleep sacks and bed. The girls were used to this routine and settled quickly. They would usually both wake up to feed again before I went to bed. Then they would sleep for a longer stretch, sometimes until morning.
My husband is a night owl, and he would often bring the girls for another feeding before he went to bed. Timing these late night/very early morning feedings was important. If I was awake to feed them after 4:30 a.m. there was no point trying to go back to sleep. I would have slept long enough my body felt rested. I would be hungry enough I couldn’t put off going downstairs for a snack. By the time I was back in bed, I would be too awake to settle to sleep. My mind would start mulling over things, making plans for the day and composing email. I was better off getting up and doing something productive for a few hours before everyone else woke up. Usually I could make up for it with an afternoon nap with the kids.
Unfortunately, on the rare nights when the kids are awake in the night, the 4:30 a.m. rule still applies. If I’m awake, I might as well just get up. In fact that’s why I was up at 5:30 yesterday morning.