Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How do I get my twins to sleep through the night?!

The answer to this question has to be one of the most sought out of all new moms, multiple or singleton. Fortunately, we were able to gather some answers for you.

Below is some advice based on experience from some of our members:


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My twins were closer to 8 months or so before they started sleeping through the night, but my daughter is 6 mos. and has been sleeping thought the night for a long time now. What I did differently w/her is fed her after she woke up instead of right before she went down for a nap or bed (like I did my twins). Seems to have made all the difference in the world.

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When my twins were 6 months I'd finally had it getting up all hours of the night!!! I called my pediatrician and asked if they still needed their bottles thru the night and if I could let them cry it out. She said by 6 months they should be sleeping thru the night and they were eating out of habit. I let them cry it out and it was the BEST thing we ever did. They are 9 months now and good sleepers!!! It was the ONLY thing that worked!!! I tried all the sleep training books and nothing seemed to work. My daughter LOVES her passie so i put 4 in her crib and she finds them and pacifies herself. It took about a week and then they started sleeping a solid 10-11 hours. We are all much happier in our house!! I recommend you sleep somewhere else in the house so you don't have to hear it. We ran a fan in our room so we didn't listen to it all night otherwise we would have caved. They might of learned it less than a week but like I said we really didn't hear it. We just made the decision and stuck to it for a solid week to make sure they learned to sleep thru the night. They figured it out!

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My boys started sleeping through at about 4.5-5 months and I made it happen by cluster feeding at night. My boys were eating every 4 hours so in between their last two feedings (5:30 pm and 9:30 PM) I started giving them a small 2-3 ounce feeding. It worked like a charm. I can’t explain why, I was just grateful. I’ve heard of people having real luck with sticking to a strict schedule as well. Mine have a fairly consistent feeding schedule, but I don’t always do a bath at night, sometimes they don’t get a story and it hasn’t made a difference. They still get up sometimes, but they sleep through 90% of the time. They are 7 months and they have a bottle 4 times a day and have baby food 3 x a day. These are my first children and I know I struggled with amounts to feed them and that also made a difference for me, I wasn’t feeding them enough for them to sleep through the night.

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I think with my singleton son and my twin girls that the best thing I did to help them sleep through the night was get them on a consistent daytime nap and feeding schedule and a consistent bedtime. My son began sleeping through the night at 5 weeks and my girls were about 2 months. You are right that they should not need fed during the night at their age. On the nights that my little ones have gotten up, I just go in, make sure they are not sick and then let them cry and fuss themselves back to sleep. It is not easy, but definitely worth it in the long run.

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My daughter slept thru the night at 4 months when we tried cry it out - three hours and we were done. We (meaning my husband) didn't have the stomach to keep going with my son, and I continued to get up with him two times a night (breastfeeding through 8 months and formula after that). Finally at 15 months I put my foot down and said he is big enough to go the night. The first night I gave him water instead of formula and he was mad for 45 minutes; the second "feeding" of the night he cried for 30 minutes. The next night he woke once for 20 minutes and then never again. You're correct that you need to set the boundary. I missed out on nine months of good sleep! I was a fool to let it go on that long - don't make my mistake. You could try one at a time if you think that would help...

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You will probably get varied advice on this. "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" is a great book with instructions/advice on sleep training. We sleep trained the twins at 6 weeks or so, let them cry it out and get themselves to sleep (mostly for naps- and the most I could take was 15 minutes of crying - when I'd pick them up they'd be so exhausted, they'd fall right asleep). I'm sure many people thought that was too young, but they were sleeping thru the night for 11 hours by 11 weeks. Just take all the advice with a grain of salt. They will do it eventually and I don't think there is anything wrong with letting them cry for 15 minutes - 30 minutes at night at that age as long as they are getting their full nutrition during the day. (My kids were always good night sleepers, but I do remember letting them cry it out for naps at that age for maybe 30 minutes?) Good luck. If you have an extra minute, check out that book. It's great!

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I went through this w/ my singleton. The twins slept through the night at 4 months with no turning back. They've always been amazing sleepers. Still are and they are 6! So, naturally I thought my singleton would sleep through even before the twins since he was so much bigger (twice the weight of each twin) but that didn't happen.

I remember letting him cry it out a lot starting at 6 months and I totally regret it now. He just wasn't ready...for whatever reason. And then one day (closer to 8 months) he started sleeping through and he's been a good sleeper ever since. I think there is a point where it's time to let them cry it out, so they say, but for my 3rd, 6 months was too early. I really do regret that time and wish I just would have given him what he needed.

Only you can know when that time is but I just wanted to give your perspective from 4 years down the road. This is only a season and I promise, it will end...I know it doesn't feel like it.

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My ped recommended crying it out and that children are able to do this at 5 month. As much as crying sucks...this method works! My girls are now 6 months old and sleep from 8PM-7AM. Get the book Babywise. I used this technique with all 5 of my kids!! They all slept thru the night at 10 weeks. There were certain periods of time when they didn't but most of the time they slept.

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We did cry it out at 4.5 months. It took two bad nights and they have been sleeping through ever since. It is painful, but it works.

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I wish I had a hard and fast rule or fix or answer. I don't. Really, it's all what you are comfortable with. For my first, a singleton, we did sleep training at six month - I used Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child as my basis because it was recommended by so many. I really had one of my friends feed me some concepts initially because I was SO tired I couldn't stay awake to read it - I was nursing and working full time. He was up multiple time a night. I did the intervals of checking on him. It was VERY hard - emotionally for me. I would go in after a minute, then two minutes, then three and worked up. Your intervals are supposed to be longer but again it's all in what you are comfortable with and I needed to take baby steps myself. Those minutes when he was crying were like hours to me. But in the end, it only took a week before he was sleeping through the night. And the crying went from a long period of time, to just minutes by the end of the week, to nothing. He still woke a handful of times after that, but he would go back to sleep.

For the twins, I had one that sleep at 4.5 months (on his own, no training- it was heaven) and one that was nine months. The issue with the nine months for me was he is so little and had really bad reflux for a long time so eating was painful for him until we figured it out (all kinds of testing and different meds, and upper GI, it was crazy). So, he was four months by the time that we got figured it all out for sure and got him on the right medicine and he could eat well. He didn't hit the growth chart until he was about 6.5 months. So, guilt and wanting him to grow and eat kept me feeding him in the middle of the night. Nothing else. Did he really need it, probably not. But after I fed him he went right back to sleep, so it was pretty painless (other than the continued broken sleep). By nine months he wasn't getting up as much and I decided to let him cry it out a little. Again with my small minute intervals. He moved through that very quickly and was sleeping through the night within days.

In the end, it's all up to you. My oldest is 5 and the twins are 2.5 now. I have seen all kinds of things since then on both sides, crying and no cry, with crying being this horrible child abusing method it seems. When my five year old was a baby, I was desperate for sleep and really this method was "the thing" - my pediatrician even told me to do it. Like I said, I did it in very small intervals, always going in and comforting him but never picking him up as hard as it was. I remember laying in the fetal position on my bed watching the clock for my next interval. It was undoubtedly hard, probably more on me than him. Really within a couple days he went from crying for an hour to 15 minutes then to a minute or two then to no crying. And he was so much happier because he was rested, it's hard on them to get up a lot. It worked. I try not to read a lot about it now, since I am done and past it (and who needs anyone questioning something you did in the past or making you feel guilty about it), but I will tell you without a doubt that it did not affect his trust in us and he and I are still very closely bonded (being my first and a singleton). And my one twin, he was so old that it was easy for him as it turned out. But I tell you both because I didn't do the same thing for both, based on how I felt, his personality and needs as well as the situation. I was also very lucky in that my other twin that slept on his own without intervention was not bothered by his brother's waking to be fed or then crying. Very lucky. I don't know if that is your case or not.

Again, it's all up to you, your twins, your comfort level and situation. I hope that helped in some way. I remember being in your shoes and just wanting someone to give me a concrete answer and ensure it was right...especially with my first child when I was so clueless. There is no “right” answer, take all our advice, try what you want and find what works for you and your child. Between this and following your gut/heart, you can’t go wrong!

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Does anyone have more experience/advice to add? Please comment below or send something for us to add to this post.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading your writing. PLease continue publishing helpful topics like this. Regards, from Bedding stock

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