Sleep Training our 7 Month Old Twins

These past couple months have been really rough sleep wise. The twins were on a great schedule of eating at 2 or 3 am and then again at 6 or 7 am (so basically one feed a night) but then at around 5 months old they went through a growth spurt or something and started to eat three feeds a night. They seemed to get past that and went back to two feeds a night again which would be fine except for Dylan is waking up frequently after falling asleep at 7pm and needs to be given a pacifier or picked up a couple times an hour with it getting really intense between 10 and 12 pm. He wasn’t hungry or needing a diaper change, he just seemed to want to be held or have me standing there with my hand on his chest. I have tried taking him into our bed to see if he just wanted to be near me but Dylan just gets excited and riled up instead of going to sleep so cosleeping isn’t really an option, which I guess I am glad its not because I like having the bed to ourselves. 

Finally, three days ago after several weeks of sleepless hours between 10 and 12/1am of constantly trying to get Dylan to go back to sleep we decided that at this point sleep training was necessary. I read a fellow twin mom’s blog about why she decided to sleep train her twins and it totally hit it on the nail for me and was the incentive I needed to do it (Blog Link Here).

 You see, I had such a fear of sleep training and I didn’t understand how parents could listen to their baby cry without going in to comfort then. Ryan and I didn’t do any sleep training with Ian and although it took a long time for Ian to sleep through the night, he eventually did by about a year and has been a great sleeper since. With Ian we did a lot of cosleeping and letting him nurse when he wanted. But after a year my milk had run out so we kind of naturally weaned him off of the night feedings which in turn let him sleep through the night. Bedtimes were a long drawn out thing though and could take up to an hour to an hour and half with lots of rocking but again we stuck it out and by a year and a half he was happy to go to bed and bedtime is a 20 minute deal ever since. So lots of good success came out of it all and we never had to let Ian cry it out. Well, what we’re discovering now is that what worked for Ian isn’t the same for Dylan let alone when we have two babies. Dylan has some sort of sleep association with needing me or Ryan near him anytime he wakes himself up. I also have a theory that he is waking up when he moves through a sleep cycle and doesn’t know how to put himself back to sleep. He is not hungry, he is just mad/sad about waking up! Keeping all this in mind we decided now was the time to sleep train so Dylan can learn to soothe himself back to sleep without needing mommy or daddy. Here is my log with my progress so far. It’s been hard (REALLY HARD) but we’ve started to see results so that has been AWESOME. 

Night 1:

Ryan went out of town for a work trip so I decided that was a good time to start because that way just one of us was suffering. Sometimes when one of the twins is crying or freaking out we kind of can take it out on each other because you know, you can, whereas you can’t get mad at your baby. So it was good to just to do it on my own and cry and suffer without needing to also see Ryan suffering too. 

The night started out well with Dylan waking up a couple times between 9-10:30 but I let him be and he went to sleep ON HIS OWN after a minute or two of light crying. That was pretty great. Normally we rush in to give him a pacifier and to see that if we just leave him alone he can just work it out! Well, that was so good to know. 

Well, then things got tough. Starting at 10pm and till 12:30pm Dylan cried. I would go in, using increments, first 3 minutes waiting then go in, then 5, then finally 10. By the time I got to letting him cry for 10 minutes he had worked himself into a state. This was at 12ish and I had to pick him up to calm him down and he was shaking and having little hiccups while crying – IT WAS SO HARD. Why was I doing this to my baby?!!! It felt so wrong! I kept just wanting to give up. Meanwhile a little earlier I had brought Leo into my room because he was waking up from Dylan’s cries. I managed to continue to stick it out but man, I was feeling drained. Finally, FINALLY, after picking up Dylan after a 10 minute cry and setting him down calm and almost asleep, he went to sleep. This was at 11:45pm. After waiting 10 minutes to see if he was actually asleep I too went to sleep. Around 1am Dylan woke up but I decided to feed him since his normal feeding schedule has been 12am and 4am. The point of this sleep training was more to get Dylan to sleep on his own from 10pm to 12am and eventually we would push out his feeds but not tonight. Leo meanwhile was still sleeping and normally I would wake up Leo to feed but I decided to let him keep sleeping. Leo stirred around 2am and I nursed him then in bed. Since he was right next to me it was so easy and I was able to be half asleep during it. Then Dylan slept till 4am and I fed him again. Leo kept sleeping again so I let him. Leo woke up at 6am wanting to play so I decided to feed him just because I wanted to try to get 1 more hour of sleep. It worked and Leo went back to sleep. We all got up at 7 am and that was the first night! Whew. Exhausted. But I made it. The good news that came out of it, Dylan ate a little later at night at 1am and and 4am. Leo only really needed to eat once! I was prepared to continue with this sleep training the next night even though it was so hard 

Night 2:

This night was intense, even worse than Night 1, but I made it through. Dylan ended up eating only once so that was the great news out of it. We were down to one feeding! 

Again, after both twins falling asleep easily by 6:45pm, and minimal wake ups until about 10:30, Dylan started his usual shenanigans. Dylan was up crying intermittently from 10:30 to 1:30. Yes, 1:30! Arghhhhh. I was so tired. But when he finally fell asleep he slept till 4 with no feeds! So that was the good news. The bad news was that I was about to keel over from lack of sleep. 

Basically from 10:30 to 1:30 Dylan kept waking up but he didn’t seem hungry when I held him which Is why I didn’t feed him at 12:45. He just needed comfort but as soon as I set him down he would cry again and I would give him 10 minutes before going back in. Eventually he gave in and fell asleep at 1:30am. Meanwhile Leo was sleeping again in my bed. I moved him in there because he began to wake up from Dylan around 12am and I didn’t want to deal with both twins crying. Leo only ate once as well at 4 in the morning. I transferred him back to his crib after feeding him and both of the boys then slept till 6:45am and woke up happy and ready to play which is their normal MO. They then ate at 8am. So overall even though I suffered till 1:30am, both boys ended up with just one feed! Progress!

Night 3:

Ryan came home and took over on the sleep training so I could get much needed rest. I got to sleep in the guest bedroom with white noise and it was amazing. I woke up with a start at 3am. 5 hours of straight sleep. Thank. The. Lord. Or more like Ryan in this case. 

Ryan came in shortly afterwards with Leo. He said Leo kept waking up so I took him. It was 3:30 so I decided to just feed Leo and Dylan and see if they would sleep the rest of the night. And it worked! They both slept the rest of the night in their cribs and didnt wake up until 7am. I fed them as usual at 8:00am. So lovely! I talked with Ryan more about his night and it turns out that Dylan only woke up twice in the night and it was Leo who kept waking up! I couldn’t believe it. That is such a difference. Leo is normally a great sleeper so I think he may have just had an off night. We shall see how night 4 goes. I am just happy that Dylan had a great night!

To be continued…

 All in all though, I feel like in just three days we have made a big shift with Dylan waking up less on that 3rd night and both boys only eating 1 time instead of 2 or 3 times. I am happy feeding them one time a night until they are around 9 months and are eating more solids or if they just don’t seem hungry anymore at that time. Whichever comes first.