Monday, September 21, 2009

More Questions About Sleep

It has been nearly a week since the cry-it-out experiment began and we've had some success. It is not the blissful, perfect sleep I had in mind but it is a definite improvement over the multiple night wakings we were enduring. I'm just not sure if my expectations for these Turtles are reasonable.

So, fair readers who have survived the cry-it-out technique, I need your help.

Here's the back story: I've been putting the Turtles down to bed between 6:30 and 7 p.m. with little fuss. For the first three or four nights, they would stir at around 10 p.m. and I would nurse them in their semi-sleep state and then head off to bed myself. I wouldn't pick them up again until 5 a.m. or after. The first night Jude cried for two and a half hours but subsequent nights have been much better. They still wake up and cry but usually don't go longer than 20 minutes.

By the end of the week, I decided to let them put themselves back to sleep at the 10 p.m. waking. I have been so exhausted that staying up until 10 myself has been a near impossibility and I wanted to see how long they could go before needing to nurse.

I think that is where I screwed up.

Now the babies are waking at 2 a.m. and I am feeding them. They are doing about a 7 hour stretch which seems like a lot by comparison but I am still hauling my butt out of bed in the middle of the night.

So, here are my questions: How long of a sleep stretch can I reasonably expect from 6 1/2 month old babies that are average size? When you let your baby cry-it-out, what time period did you consider sleeping through the night? Did they still wake up in the middle of the night and fuss? Were they in your room or their own room to sleep? (Right now, the babies are in our room with us. I think this is contributing to everyone's sleep problem but until we begin construction on our two bedroom house in a month or so, I'm not sure how to remedy this.)

You would think that these twins were my first babies because I have no clue what I am doing with this sleep problem. Vivi was such an easy kid by comparison and there was just one of her!

Help!

5 comments:

  1. With Maddie and Riley (exclusively breast-fed), at six months we went with cry-it-out, too. We were hardcore: 7:00 p.m. for bedtime with no feedings until 6:00 a.m. M&R were both classic cry-it-out-ers, and by the third night they were sleepng through (well, Riley was often up by 5:00, but that's just Riley . . .)

    We moved them out of our room when we did CIO, which was a big help. As for middle-of-the-night fussing, it was pretty rare, but I think that there was some that I just didn't hear since they were in another room and I had the monitor turned to "Wake Me Only in Case of a Dire Emergency."

    My data points. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is VERY helpful! The Turtles were exclusively breastfed until about two weeks ago and even now, they only have one small meal of "solids" a day. I keep making excuses because they are breastfed but it's nice to know that it is possible!

    I think they know that my husband and I are in the room with them which contributes to the prolonged crying (and my anxiety). Hopefully, by the end of October they will be in their own room.

    ReplyDelete
  3. In all honesty, I am not in favor of the CIO method which is why I didn't comment on the last post. However, I wanted to let you know that your expectations may indeed be a bit too high for your Turtles. It's very common for breastfeeding babies to wake during the night since breastmilk isn't as filling as formula.

    My oldest son woke every hour on the hour from for one year starting when he was 4 months old. Even if I wanted to do the CIO method, I could not do it because he had severe reflux and would cry until he threw up. He finally slept completely through the night without waking when he was about 3 years old. My second son, now nearly 11 months old, sleeps better but not through the night nor do I expect him to anytime soon. Both my boys sleep in our room, the oldest on a crib mattress on the floor and the youngest with us in bed. They sleep better with us than they do alone.

    I realize now that my first son was probably waking every night because of some gastro issue with cow's milk. He does not like cow's milk and never has. I drank it when I was breastfeeding him and have not had any since my first son was a year old (we drink soy). Because my second son sleeps better during, I wonder if it's because I don't drink cow's milk? There are so many possible reasons why babies wake at night and it's tough to determine the reason.

    Back to your situation, 7 hours, wow. I have not had 7 hours straight of sleep since before my first was born. I think that's a good chunk of time for babies to sleep through. At this point, I think you may have to make a decision:

    * stay up until 10 to nurse them back to sleep and then sleep through the night
    * sleep until 10 and wake to feed the babies
    * don't feed them at 10 and wait until 2 am to feed them

    Babies need consistency so it's important to decide what's best for you. And lower your expectations a bit because your Turtles are only 6 and half months old. Best of luck! =D

    ReplyDelete
  4. I also wanted to add that each baby is COMPLETELY different. While other babies may be sleeping through the night at 6 weeks old, we cannot expect every baby to do the same. Even my husband and I have completely different sleep patterns (he wakes in the middle of the night to use the bathroom while I don't).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for your thoughts, Keri. In all the sleep research I've done, which at this point has been a significant amount, babies who bed share with their parents very often won't sleep through the night because of the unfettered access to the breast. That is fine for some families but bedsharing isn't a realistic option with twins.

    In terms of my expectations, I believe they are reasonable because my babies *HAVE* managed to do nine hours on occasion. Plus, I know that they do not have any health concerns that would prevent them sleeping for longer periods.

    Last night, I looked through Vivi's baby book and I noted that she was regularly sleeping through the night by three months. Now, she was a thumbsucker from birth and could easily soothe herself. My turtles have been using my breast as a way to soothe themselves and I am no longer okay with that. (The severe sleep deficit that I have makes it virtually impossible to cope well with the daily frustrations that come with raising two babies at once. That is not a good situation for me or for my children.)

    I know crying-it-out brings up a lot of emotions for people but what I am doing here is attempting to teach my twins how to learn how to put themselves back to sleep. The crying that I hear is a protest not the shrill sounds which indicate that their needs aren't being met. I think very often we just label kids as being naturally bad sleepers when, in reality, we haven't taught them how to sleep.

    ReplyDelete