Thursday, June 10, 2010

Let me clarify ...

I think there is a big misunderstanding about Weissbluth by some people ... his book primarily focuses on the concept that the quality and duration of daytime sleep (naps) affects nighttime sleep and ultimately affects the baby's demeanor. In his book Weissbluth provides several strategies for helping your baby to get all the sleep they need. Although he does mention cyring it out (CIO) as one technique, it is not the only one (nor is it the preferred one). However, most of the techniques involve some crying. For some people the name Weissbluth means CIO and that simply is not the case. I would recommend reading his book to get a better understanding. I share this because I don't want people to assume I'm placing my 4 month old twins (who are age adjusted 3 months I should add) in their cribs to CIO. I (we) are using techniques that involve some crying, but we are also comforting and reassuring the boys after a set amount of time (graduated extinction).

I also want to explain and clarify that I'm not sleep training in an attempt to get more night sleep for myself (I'm fine with the 1-2 night feedings) or to get a schedule that allows me more freedom. I'm sleep training because most of the sleep experts will tell you that by 12-16wks post due date babies should be taking 2-3 daytime naps, which should occur in their beds and not in a swing, car, stroller, etc. Up until now my boys have been allowed to take their naps wherever they happened to be (swing, bouncy, floor, car, stroller) and I need to change that. I accept responsibility for this major problem and should've done something about it sooner. Since I didn't I'm now stuck trying to fix it. The focus of my sleep training centers around the morning nap and getting the boys to take all of their naps (no matter how short or long) in their cribs. Even though they've both slept in their cribs since they came home from the hospital at 12 days of age and haven't had a problem with it, they are seriously fighting napping in their cribs.

I LOVE rocking my boys to sleep and in fact do that every night when my husband is home to take one baby to rock. When you have twins and are the only care provider during the day it means you can't always tend to each baby's needs immediately nor can you be the one to soothe them to sleep when they are simultaneously showing signs of sleepiness at the same time. Twins make some things that singleton moms take for granted logistically impossible.

I'm trying out different nap time soothing rituals (if you twin moms have suggestions please share!), but right now I put both boys on the floor on a soft blanket, give each a pacifier, rub their backs/bellies, and softly talk/sing/read to them. After about 10 minutes of soothing I put them into their respective cribs with a lovey and their pacifiers. I am usually able to alternate between the cribs providing additional soothing/comforting/replacing of pacifiers as needed (although there are times when both boys meltdown at once). The boys seem to fall to sleep using this technique, but then wake relatively shortly after. So I repeat the process until they are sleeping once again. Today I kept repeating and repeating and repeating the comforting and reassuring for Liam, but nothing seemed to help. Once Liam became wired and overtired it was nearly impossible to soothe him and then he basically refused to nap for the rest of the day, which only added to his overtired fussy state. While trying to get Liam to calm down Silas started crying, but fortunately after 5 minutes of crying fell back to sleep on his own.

I will admit today felt like a complete disaster. I'm certain I did more crying today than my boys did, so suffice it to say this isn't easy for me. But I keep reminding myself that I'm doing this to eliminate having overtired, cranky babies and eventually to help my boys learn to soothe themselves to sleep (when they are old enough to do that ... I've read by 6mo they can do that?!). I plan to return to teaching in the fall and want to ensure that I have happy, well rested, good sleepers by that point. I don't think it's fair to ask or expect my mom who will be caring for them 2days/wk and the nanny who will care for them the other 3day/wk to deal with what I'm currently dealing with. So, I'm hoping in a few weeks I have two happy, healthy little boys who go down well for their naps and continue to sleep well at night.


Saffy said...

"Twins make some things that singleton moms take for granted logistically impossible"

As the mom of a singleton I take my hat off to moms of multiples :)I've often wondered how, when I was cleaning up barf, feeding, yaddah yaddah I'd manage it all with >1.

And nope, I don't think you implied that you CIO. It's a shame when something that has merit it becomes known for just one particular, perhaps sensationalized, aspect.

I hope you managed to pop over to Marcia's blog ( because she literally spent months on this topic. Hugs :)

Meg said...

I think the fact that you allowed them to sleep in many places early on is fantastic - helps them to not have a sleep association to one specific thing like the carseat, etc.

Sounds like they MIGHT have an issue just entering that second cycle of sleep and need help falling back into sleep when they enter more active sleep.

Here are a few things that helped me when Finn was 3-5 months and having this same issue.

- very dark room - I used cardboard in the windows to black out the room (not kidding)

- white noise on pretty loud

I HIGHLY recommend another book, while I liked Weissbuth, I LOVE the Kim West. Check her book and website out. Fantastic tips and make you feel like you have so many other options.

They will get this I promise.

LK said...

Niki, it sounds to me like you're doing a great job. With twins, (at least for me), a lot of times it was just survival mode - just getting through each day. I agree with a lot of Weissbluth's theories too, but I tended to do just whatever worked on any particular day! Don't put too much pressure on yourself to do it all "perfectly" - there is no such thing, esp. when it comes to twins! Keep up the good work. PS - I LOVE the pic of Silas on the sidebar on the right! They're both adorable, though. :) - Anonykat

Cyn said...

My IM uses sleep sacks every time the twins get ready to sleep (nap and bedtime)-she has done this from the get go. I don't know if it helps much, but they seem to get (they are now 16 months) that it means time to sleep.
With the first set she used the wraps that velcro a swaddle (Miracle blanket or something similar). I really think it helped the twins to sleep longer and better, and on their own from pretty early on.

Maddy said...

This is a really hard topic and every child is different. And it is REALLY hard for the parent when the child or children don't sleep well. We started sleep training at night with my son at 4.5 months and used Ferber's methods. It was definitely hard to do but within 3 days, my son was sleeping through the night instead of getting up 3-7 times crying for the binkie. At 15 months, my son sleeps from 7:30 pm to 5:30 am, but still isn't the best napper during the day. I think this is just how he is and we're doing the best with him that we can. Good luck!

Maddy said...

I'd like to add that we also read Weissbluth's book and tried to follow what he said, but my child just isn't a good napper. In the beginning, he didn't nap well in his crib because he hated being on his back. Once he could roll over onto his stomach, we had better success. But due to gas issues, my child often slept in his bouncy seat to get some rest. If we tried to force the crib, it meant NO rest. So I think it's a good idea that you're trying to sleep train, but sometimes it just doesn't work well. Like your boys, my son was always a pretty good night sleeper. He goes down without a fuss and sleeps for 10 hours. But naps are an entirely different thing. He does well at daycare - often taking a 2 or 2.5 hour nap - but still sucks with us on the weekends. It is what it is and we deal.

Anonymous said...

I've been a lurker for many months but wanted to comment now. I'm not a twin mom, but my daughter was born 3 months premature, sent home after 2 months in the NICU. She was a little older than your boys when we started using the Weissbluth methods (about 5 months, adjusted). The first couple of months were hard. Like you, it was about naps. Nights were manageable, but I wanted her to have a good routine, and I believe good sleep is essential. I know the Weissbluth is controversial, but I agree it is b/c people don't understand it. You are doing great. :)

Expectant Duck said...

I agree with Saffy, it's all wonderful to say rock the babies to sleep every time but when you have 2, like we do,it's just not realistic.

best advice i had was to let them learn to sleep from the very begining, so we put them in their cribs when they are still wide awake, if they cry we pick them up, give them a hug, and we make sure they go back into the crib while still awake (the advice came from a mom of triplets). And we're diligent, it's hard though as grandmas LOVE to rock babies asleep.
Good luck and hang in there!

Crystal said...

Jack used to nap in swings, carseat etc too until probably 5 months when I too read that they should nap only in their cribs when possible to get a GOOD nap. So I would let Jack fall asleep wherever that might be and then I would move him to his crib.. this went on for awhile and most the time I was rocking him. And then one day he just did not want to be rocked so I just put him in his crib and he went to sleep. Some days he does cry a little but most the time he just lays down and goes to sleep. So it does get better and you do just have to do whats best for you and your family. I know you can't really rock like I did since you have 2 and your alone in the day. :/ Have you tried putting them in seperate rooms? And I agree with the white noise.. Jack has a machine in his room and it seems to help block out all the other noise in the house. Especially since Kent works a weird schedule. Anyhow I think I might get this book.. Jack does REALLY well with naps and most nights he does what I think is well but he still wakes up at 6 am for milk and then back to bed till 8 or 830.. Idk if that is normal or not?

Anonymous said...

As a mom of twins I want to commend you for your efforts to get them on a schedule. With my twins and their older sister, I found that between 4-6 months they were able to learn to soothe themselves, so I think you are doing the right thing at the right time. 2 things that I learned from my experiences: 1) The first time around I read all the books and really tried to keep training on a schedule and was so worried about what she should be doing at the particular age, when in hindsight I should have relaxed a lot more. I was putting WAY too much pressure on myself and her and it was stressing us both out. So I think you need to balance between making solid efforts to move them in the right direction and not putting too much pressure on yourself. I was easiergoing about everything the 2nd time around with my twins and everything seemed to flow smoother even though there were two. 2) this is the more practical advice - I really do believe it is healthy for babies between 4-6 m to learn to soothe themselves, and for us that was through a pacifier with an attachment to their clothes. I taught them and they learned quickly that soothing was just a reach away for their pacifier. This made a WORLD of difference for us and I notice alot of other parents don't use the attachment device and the babies are always loosing their pacis, so they may not learn to rely on them for soothing as much. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

There is light at the end of the tunnel. I agree with a PP, making the room darker may help. Eclipse makes black out curtains which are really great at blocking out the light and heat from windows. They can be purchased at JcPenney's. We put my son on a sleep schedule when he was about 3 months old, it has evolved over time, and even now at 5 and a half he still takes a one hour nap during the day and sleeps about 11 hours a night. As you know children need to learn to put themselves to sleep and what you're doing is definitely a move in the right direction. Just make sure you give yourself a break, relax a little and spend some time on yourself, and most importantly you should not feel guilty for it.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is 4 months 1 week, and we're getting ready to sleep 'train' for naps. Luckly bedtime hasn't been much of an issue, and we've tried the same routine for naps, but that hasn't worked, so far.

I'm getting ready to get the book you talked about (and so many other moms have recommended). My daugther is such a busy body and very curious, I really think she's afraid she's going to miss something.

Early on, I was ok with her napping where ever, and I still am to some extent, but when were home I'd really like them to be in her bed or on the floor if were at a friends house at nap time, and at some what of a regular time each day.

My fingers are crossed for you! And, I love following along to see what your boys are up to, since my daugther is almost the same age!

NohemiL_Be06威宇 said...

we‘re so proud of you!............................................................

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mrembo said...

Oh my, we are in the same situation except my boys are 3 1/2 months and i just begun sleep training and my Enzo kept crying and i kept repeating my soothing routine similar to yours and he would not sleep. His brother cried but finally slept.
I too have them down by 7.30pm and they awake at 3/4 depending on their moods for a feeding and are back in bed till 7am...during the day i have been letting them sleep where ever and i too read that they need to get quality 3 naps during the day at this age and that it helps them sleep better at night.
I was so frustrated and cried all day ... it has been the hardest time since they were born so i basically fell apart!
Sorry for rambling but i will keep reading your blog to see if it gets better! Wish i had a better idea on how to sleep train

MyLifeMyWorld said...

I don't think you should have to explain your parenting methods. Parenting twins is a LOT different than only having one baby.

When I had my littest, she slept on me all the time, with me even at night..but she was 1 baby. If I had two that wouldn't be possible and I need to funtion...schedule and routine would be necessary.

And whatever way gets you to that routine...well you have to do what works for you and your family.

Crying doesn't hurt a baby...neglecting them does...but crying it out at night is not neglect.

Your doing an awesome job, it's difficult and I commend you for even reading books and trying new ways.

Many moms don't even do that!

Amanda said...

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