Sleep is a big topic at new mothers group meetings. Because there’s nothing worse than sleep deprivation. It wears you down physically, mentally, and emotionally. I remember in the early days with newborn twins thinking what I would give for a good 5-6 hour block of sleep. But I was breastfeeding and needed to be present at each feeding every 2-3 hours.
Months later, I was finally getting larger blocks of sleep, but because my babies still needed a night feeding (due to slow weight gain) it wasn’t until they were almost 9 months old that they were able to sleep through the night. As we embarked on our week of sleep training, my husband and I decided to implement three rules that we’d read from the “experts” or heard about from other parents.
Rule #1: Our Day Starts at 6:30am
This is the time that my husband has to get up to get ready for work, so it made sense to make this our start time. If/when the kids wake up before 6:30am, the are left to amuse themselves until our alarm clock goes off. Most days, they wake up between 6 and 6:30 anyway, so it’s not as though they spend hours in their crib waiting for me to come in and free them. Because this is how it is every single day (yes, even on weekends) they are used to it and quite good at entertaining themselves until morning officially begins. But, of course, it wasn’t always magically like this. In the beginning, there was some crying when I didn’t enter the room the second I heard them stirring. However, with time, they got over it.
Rule #2: Naptime and Bedtime are to be Strictly Observed
We’re pretty rigid with our schedules and routines, so this one was easy for us. We make a point of being at home for naptime everyday and bedtime is always between 7:00 and 7:30pm. Okay, I say always, but there have been a few exceptions. The point is, that unless there is a special occasion, our kids sleep at the same times every day.
Rule #3: The No Intervention Policy
Once we walk out the door, there is no going back in. If I hear crying, I wait it out. At this point, it doesn’t last more than a minute or two, and I’ve found that going back into the room is not as productive as I’d thought it would be. I have also learned that it’s not unusual for either of my kids to cry a little bit in between their sleep cycles, and my going in is actually more disruptive than the crying. Because my kids have shared a room since day one, they are quite used to each other’s noises and most of the time sleep right through them (even if I can’t).
This is what works for us (so far), but I am fully aware that what works for some families doesn’t work for others and for a variety of reasons. So, what works for you? Do your kids sleep like champs or have you had to tweak your sleep rules as your babies have grown to keep everyone well rested?
reanbean is a stay at home mom to 21 month old boy/girl twins. You can now read more about reanbean, Tiny, and Buba at reanbean.com.