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Sleep Training for 6 Month Old Twins–One Month In (read sleep background in previous post first)

Or I could title this:
How sleep training changed my life and possibly saved my sanity and marriage.

These are notes from the sleep log I started when we did Weissbluth’s CIO sleep training. I kept very careful notes to document any patterns and adjust times if needed:
  • The twins were exactly 5 months old (4 months adjusted). They sleep in cribs next to each other (in an “L” shaped formation in our room.
  • We hung a dark piece of fabric up (so ghetto!) over our roll shade as the room wasn’t dark enough. BUT, we did not want to do black out shades as I’ve heard from too many moms that now there kids won’t sleep unless it’s pitch black in the room. The last thing we want is to be bringing black garbage bags and masking tape when we go someone else’s house!
  • We found that moving up the time we put them down to sleep helped greatly. We never realized we were putting them to bed too late and that they wouldn’t wake any earlier from us putting them to sleep earlier. We experimented with the timing, but the sleep notes helped me to see what was their optimal time.
  • We also started a very strict bedtime routine. I can’t stress how important this is and what a difference this made.
Our Bedtime Routine:
  • Classical music and chill play time for 30 minutes prior to going to bed–no exersaucers, no jumperoos, no bouncy seats with crazy lights. Low stimulation.
  • Bath
  • Dried off and lotion baby massage on our bed in very dark bedroom, just enough light coming in from window to still read a book, no lights on
  • Warm BM bottles ready at the bedside
  • Cradle hold baby while propped up in bed, taking turns reading books (We kept the same 3-4 books, but might change them up after awhile. For now, we wanted repetition for everything).
  • Burp and cuddle baby
  • Pull shade completely
  • Put baby in crib
  • Sing a song–same song every night (because the cribs are in an L shape, if I put them down at the closet points together, I can still reach in and hold both their hands or rub their heads, backs, etc while I sing to them.)
  • Tell them I love them, night night.
  • Leave the room.

Night One–Total time crying: 45 minutes (on and off, not constant)

6pm down
10 minutes babbling from both, followed by slight crying from both
After all was quiet from Grunter, Whoop Whoop escalated the crying
W2’s crying went up and down like a swing, when all was quiet at 6:40.
I breathed a sigh of relief, followed by a grimace as he started up again.
But then all was quiet at 6:45 for the rest of the night.
10pm, woke up for dream feed, went immediately back to sleep, no fussing
2:30am, woke to nurse, went immediately back to sleep, no fussing
6am, woke to nurse, went immediately back to sleep at 6:30am, no fussing
8am, woke up to nurse and up for the day

Night Two–Total time crying: 40 minutes (on and off, not constant)
5:40 down
10 minutes babble, then quiet Grunter and crying W2
W2 again goes up and down with the crying
6:25 all goes completely quiet.
10pm, woke up for dream feed, went immediately back to sleep, no fussing
3am, woke to nurse, went immediately back to sleep, no fussing
4:57am, W2 woke up. Decided to let him fuss a bit and see if he’d get himself back to sleep
13 minutes later all is quiet
5:57am, Grunter wakes up with a poopy diaper, won’t be soothed so I wake up W2 and nurse both of them.
6:30am, they both go back to sleep until 8am, no fuss, up for the day at 8am
9am, nursing

Night Three-Total time crying: 20 minutes (on and off, not constant)
6:50 down
Not a sound from Grunter
10 minutes of babbling from W2
7pm, slight crying from W2, followed by 5 minutes of silence
7:07, slight crying again from W2
7:10, all quiet for the night

Night Four–Total Time Crying: 10 minutes
6:35 down, drowsy but awake
No sound from either
6:44 slight fussing from W2
6:47 both crying/whining
6:55, all quiet for the night

Night Five–Total Time Fussing: 20 minutes but no REAL crying
6:08 Down, quiet babbling from both
6:22, slight crying/whining from W2
6:25, heavier from W2 but still not crying
6:27, babbling W2
6:28 All Quiet for the night

Night Six–No Crying
6:20 Fell asleep during their bottles
Transferred to cribs and never woke up
All Quiet for the night

Night Seven–Total Time Crying: 45 minutes
6:00 Down, naps were really messed up that day and babies are super fussy
Overly tired W2 wails for 45 minutes then conks out
Grunter sleeps through everything
Horrible Session, but yeah for Grunter–he’s got it.

Night Eight–Total Time Fussing/Crying: 18 minutes
6pm Down
6-6:05pm Babbling from both
Grunter falls asleep
6:05-6:14 Babbling from W2
6:15-6:18 Crying from W2
6:19 All Quiet

****For the first 8 nights we still did a bit (minute or two) of rocking/swaying/soothing. Starting night 10 we simply put them in their cribs***

Night Nine–No Crying
6:13 Down, drowsy but awake
No rocking, swaying, just a bath, bottle, book and song–kiss kiss night night
10 Minutes light babbling from Grunter
6:23 All Quiet for the night

Night Ten–Total Time Crying: 20-30 on and off
5:40 Down
Took too long for W2 to burp and he got cranky. Was already fussy since he’d been up since 3:45
No crying from Grunter
W2 cried on and off for 20-30 minutes
6:10 All Quiet

Night Eleven–No Crying
5:40 Down
5:40-6pm, Both are babbling
6pm, very slight crying from W2 for 1-2 minutes
6:10 All Quiet

Night Twelve–No Crying
6:10pm Down, Grunter is asleep
6:15, W2 babbling
6:25 All Quiet

Night Thirteen–Total Time Fussing: 20 minutes
5:25 Down, slight crying from W2
5:30 Babbling from both
5:40-6pm, on and off crying/fussing
6pm All Quiet

Night Fourteen–No Crying
5:30 Down
W2 had fallen asleep in arms during bottle
All Quiet

I have notes for the entire month, but I think you get the idea.
Basically, Grunter got it really fast and is a super sleeper and W2 took a lot longer. Grunter is a really deep sleeper and W2 is much lighter.
Also, we saw a pattern develop: W2 is a real people person, he hates to be alone. The babies would go to sleep at the same time and babble to each other for a good 5-10 minutes. Then Grunter would fall asleep and Bam! W2 would then start crying! It’s like he’s saying “Hey?! Where did my babble buddy go?!”

We also learned after 2 weeks that 6pm was really too late for their bedtime. We pushed it back to 5:30-5:45 and had much less crying.
In fact, for the rest of the month, most nights were no crying–perhaps some babbling/fussing, but no real crying and that’s what we are finding true to this day.

In fact, now almost 1.5 months later, we can put them in their cribs and they smile at us, but they don’t fuss or cry when we leave the room.
They rarely fuss at all during the night, waking only to feed and we put them right back down when they are done eating.

If we do have fussing in the middle of the night, unless it’s eating time–we DO NOT go get them. If the fussing turns into full blown crying, we go check the diaper situation. If that’s OK, we let them CIO for 5-10/15 minutes. IF they are still crying then, we go ahead and pick them up and try to settle them. Usually this works. It’s the secret world of babies, so you just have to take it night by night.

Also key is to not turn on any lights at night. We only have a small night light we turn on for diaper changes and quickly turn back off again. There are no toys, no talking, in fact we try to not even make eye contact! If we do, they start to smile and want to play! It’s night time boys, only for sleeping.

They sleep until 6am-6:30am. IF we had them in their own room, I’m pretty sure we could let them amuse themselves until 7am. However, since they are right beside us, once they are awake it’s not like we’re getting any more sleep with their chattering, so we might as well get up and start the day.

Questions? I hope this helps!

I can’t stress what a difference this has made. Yes, the crying was tough in the beginning, but I just had to remind myself that W2 could cry up to 2 hours IN MY ARMS before and he has never cried that long doing CIO.
We have our evenings back.
We have cooked dinner almost every night which we love plus, it saves us money.
We can MAKE PLANS to do something (one of us) while the other one stays home.
We can watch a movie.
We can have a date night because all the nanny has to do is come on over!
It’s great. Super freaking fantastic and I am SO glad we did this.


Next UP: Nap Training!!




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14 Comments

  • Reply Jen August 9, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    This has been so helpful. We started sleep training 3 nights ago and are doing okay. Last night he cried for 45min but slept until 6am! I am home today and put him in the crib for both naps and he put himself to sleep both times. This is a
    miracle! Thanks for the detailed posts and the help prior.

  • Reply tbean August 9, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Mentally filing away this post for next year. (Don’t ever erase it. Do you know how often I go and read your posts from last summer right now?) It’s so great to have a friend 1 year ahead of where I am. Such a good resource. And I am ALL about CIO. Especially if there are two babies. Glad it is working for you so beautifully.

  • Reply Strawberry August 9, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    I’m so happy for you after reading these posts. You did what works, and boy did it work! Good for you. Isn’t it amazing having that couple time in the evenings? So good for a marriage :)

  • Reply Schroedinger August 9, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    I am with tbean, filing this for future reference. I also have been looking up your old blog posts to see what was happening for you at “x” point in your ttc/pregnancy when I was at “x”. Very helpful. (Also, nice to read ahead to the happy endings ;-))

    Glad that sleep training is going so well for you!

  • Reply Next in Line August 9, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    We were in the Rocky Sleep study and kept a log too. We followed a slightly different routine, but like you when we got organized and did it things got better very quickly. It was satisfying to see the results in the log. I am so happy that you and boys are having an easier time.

  • Reply Melissa August 9, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing!!

  • Reply Bridgwest August 10, 2010 at 3:37 am

    This sounds A LOT like our sleep training 17 (OMG) years ago with our first daughter. She was only 11 weeks old when something had to give and I believe that sleep training, although not easy, saved our marriage and quite possibly her life. I simply couldn’t do it for one more day.

    Good on you for sharing this – I sure wish I’d had such detailed and helpful info at the time.

    ps. we went on to have three more children and started doing the ‘right’ things from the get-go and never had any trouble with them sleeping. It always amazes me that our first survived us!!

  • Reply Inlocoparentis August 10, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    I was very opposed to CIO initially. Dr. Sears did a number on me. At 6 months, our pediatrician strongly recommended it. I hemmed and hawed for a week, and finally we decided to try it. I cannot emphazise enough what a great thing it has been for us. He goes right to sleep and sleeps through the night now (and we literally had to sleep with him in our arms in bed and he woke up every couple of hours). I was prepared for worst case scenario, but really we only had a couple of nights where he cried for 10 minutes. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but it definitely worked for us, and our baby is sleeping SO much longer and seems much happier overall as a result.

  • Reply poppycat August 10, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Awsome sleepers, awsome trainers! I’ll be digging through your archives for this post in the near future.

  • Reply A. August 11, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    That’s sleep training by the book! We went the same route at 4 months, and we’re so glad we did. Happier baby, happier moms.

  • Reply Angela Gail August 13, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Thanks for the post, particularly because I think too few people post the details of their lives around baby sleep training!

    I’m really glad you are in a better place around sleep. There is nothing worse in my mind that prolonged sleep deprivation.

    We had great success with weisbluth-style training for our first child, and much less success with the second. For him we ended up using a sleep-lady-style training, which worked. And I only note this to remind anyone reading that no one thing works for all families.

  • Reply Twin Daddy August 24, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Thanks for the details. We’re trying with our 6-month-old twin girls. Night one was tough – two was a little better – now for night three!

    My blog, from a father who is frequently the primary care-taker:

    http://papabeartwincare.blogspot.com/

  • Reply Ann September 29, 2010 at 1:13 am

    I would love to hear how things have gone for naps. I am in the throes of a horrible time with naps for my 6-month old boy-girl twins (who sleep wonderfully at night, but are terrors at naptime).

  • Reply Mira May 5, 2012 at 4:22 am

    Do you still have your log? I know it’s been years but I’m wondering at what intervals you fed them at night? We’re on night one and I know my boys will need a nurse session or two at night for a few months. Do you remember? Would you let them drink for 10 minutes then put them back to bed awake?

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