Crying It Out

So we did it. We let the babies cry it out and oh god, it hurt. It hurt really badly.

As I have written in the past, our Turtles are not great sleepers. Part of this, I believe, is their natural inclination but I also recognize that I have likely created a situation that rewards their desire to stay awake. Like at 11:00 p.m., 1:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m., and 5:00 a.m. when I nurse them back into sleepy oblivion.

It started innocently enough. Every parent of twins told me to feed the babies at the same time and I did that... for three days. On hour 36 of hardly any sleep, I gave up. You see, nursing two babies at a time was logistically very difficult for me. I required a light, a chair, a pillow for my back, a huge pillow for my front, and someone to help me align two babies. Add to this the fact that I effectively forgot how to nurse and was in so much pain that I would cry the moment each baby latched on. I knew I had something all wrong. By the time each nursing session was complete, we all were wide awake and completely agitated. No one could sleep.

My post-partum doula helped me get the nursing on track but I knew that if I was ever going to sleep again, I had to nurse them one at a time while lying on my side in bed. (Thus no light, pillow, or help was needed.) It has worked beautifully. Baby eats and I sleep while it happens.

Well, here we are six months later with Turtles who are double their birth weights. I know they can go more than two hours a night and we have occasionally let them fuss only to have them fall back asleep within a few minutes. Because we all share a room, however, it is impossible for me to let them cry for long periods. As most mothers can attest, it is torture listening to your baby cry.

So we made THE DECISION that I wouldn't nurse them in the middle of the night anymore. I slept in Vivi's room. My husband slept on the couch. I fed them at 10:30 p.m. and not again until 5 a.m. I would love to say that it was a huge success but Jude cried from about 1 a.m. until 3:30. My husband gave me a pep talk at 3 a.m. before I moved to the basement, in tears myself. I know that the babies NEED to learn how to sleep through the night and I wasn't helping them by nursing them back to sleep. It's hard to be rational in the middle of the night though.

Tonight we'll do it all over again. This time, I am hoping for better results.


  1. I did this with M&R at six months. The first night was by far the worst. By the fourth night, they were sleeping like champs.

    May it be the same for you.

    Why is it sometimes so hard to do something good?!

  2. just remember this: you are NOT hurting the turtles!! you are just teaching them about what the nighttime means... hang in there mamacita...

  3. I come to you through the wonderful wifemothereexpletive, and I come with words of support!!!

    I nursed my first two on demand, day and night, and by the third I was just too damn tired of it. We let her cry it out one night (I think she was 10 or 11 months old?) and she cried for 18 minutes, crashed and slept through the night beautifully ever since. Don't let the crunchy mamas sell you their crap. CIO is a fair and equitable business practice as the CEO of the house.

  4. I admire your strength. We didn't have the guts to listen to our first for more than an hour...tried that a couple of times and gave up. And so until about 2 months ago, we had a 3 year old and a 2 year old in bed with us.

    Nursing/weaning was a different story for me. When I got pregnant with my first got "cut off" rather abruptly. It hurt, and "love" just wasn't enough. ;-) I had read all the articles about gradual weaning, and was prepared to do it as gradually and gently as I could. But when he didn't get that...he adjusted very quickly, thank goodness!

    With number two, I nursed a little over a year...wanted to do it longer, but I was finding keeping up with my older one difficult to begin with (walking on crutches doesn't help!)...and being "stuck" in one place with little sister home alone was just too stressful.

    So all this to say...doing things the "perfect" way we imagine...just can't always happen! I love reading about the way you are gives me a lot to think about and aim for.


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