This long

How long can I go without getting more than 4 hours of sleep together, 6 or fewer total most nights, and never more than 8 total in any night? Apparently this long, or almost 8 months.

Last night I was at the end of my rope. Not in an angry, gonna-snap type of way, more of a sadness and despair type of way. The babies haven’t been napping well all week, and I have a ton of essays that need to get graded, which is adding to the stress. Yesterday Will and I got home from work, the babies were tired and cranky, and I just felt miserable. If given the opportunity, I probably would have traded places with anyone at that point, if it would mean I could get some sleep.

Bedtime is killing me. At this point I feel like we’ve tried almost everything, and we still put the babies down in their cribs three or more times each before they are finally down “for the night” (usually until 3 or 4 in the morning.) I feel like the only thing we haven’t tried is an organized method of crying it out. (We have tried letting them cry for a few minutes to see if they will go back to sleep. They almost never do.)

I have been reading Ferber’s book, and I feel like if we use his plan of letting the babies cry while completing graduated checks, that it will work, and the babies will learn to fall asleep on their own, but I worry. Is it right to let your baby cry when you know that picking her up will stop her crying? Is it psychologically damaging? Are they old enough to cry it out? Or is it more cruel to let them become dependent on you to fall asleep?

I have also read Elizabeth Pantlley’s book, The No Cry Sleep Solution. We have tried all of the age-appropriate solutions in her book, and they still haven’t fixed the bed time problem. What her book really did reveal to me, though, is how badly I want there to be a solution that doesn’t involve crying it out. If you had asked me during my pregnancy, I probably would have told you that I didn’t believe in letting babies cry it out. Then again, I also wouldn’t have believed that at 8 months old we would still be struggling with bed time.

Despite our best efforts to avoid it, though, I think it will come to CIO. Will and I are both thoroughly exhausted, and something’s gotta give.

I would love to hear about any of your experiences with bedtime and what has worked for you. Please feel free to leave comments.

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About Twins Happen

My husband and I learned that we were having twins in October of 2010. I started this blog so that family and friends could follow my pregnancy and the development of our children. I'm continuing to post about my girls, parenting, and trying to balance work, family time, and fitness.
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7 Responses to This long

  1. Twins Happen says:

    I feel the need to clarify. When I say go “down for the night” I am talking about when they finally go to sleep and stay asleep. This usually happens between 8 and 10 p.m. They are sleepy and ready for bed by 6:30 or 7, so this is when we start putting them to bed. They typically fall asleep while nursing, but only sleep for 20 or 30 minutes, and then wake up crying. It usually takes 3-5 trips to the crib before the babies will stay asleep, and then they *usually* sleep until 3 or 4 in the morning. We are NOT trying to get them to go to bed until 3 or 4 in the morning. And them waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning is not a problem. They usually nurse and then go right back to sleep. We are struggling with the hours from 6 to 10 p.m. when we have tired, cranky, fussy babies who need to go to sleep but keep waking up when we put them in the crib.

  2. GradBaby says:

    Clearly I have no experience since Nikita is still itty bitty, but from what I’ve read on blogs, etc. if your baby cries and tends to work him/herself up, crying harder and harder (resulting in screaming, vomiting, etc) then cry it out doesn’t work and can be very damaging. If your baby can self-soothe, then it’s not so bad if it’s thoughtfully done. So it just might work with your girls. . although they may feed into each other. GOOD LUCK to you. 8 months with little sleep is a loooong time! We’re thinking of you guys!
    ~Jennifer

  3. katiebug says:

    Have you tried putting them down earlier? Like initiating the start of bedtime at 6 to try to catch the sleepy wave earlier? (You probably have, but I mention it because for us, this did make a difference. H & E really need to be in bed by 7 and if they aren’t, it causes problems. If we wait for them to be really sleepy, they can sometimes wake up during the bath routine and then we’re in trouble.)

    All I can say is that I know exactly what you’re going through. I felt the same way before they were born re: crying it out. But about a month into our attempt to deal with a similar set of issues, I know that teaching them to sleep and to self-soothe isn’t cruel. It’s a lesson that they have to learn.

    I think you’re just going to have to do it. Start by waiting 5 minutes before you go in. Actually time it. (It always feels so much longer to me when they’re crying.) Work up to 10 or 15. It took a long time for us to get past that initial “I’ve been asleep 30 minutes; that was a nice nap now come and get me” wake up. Now we seem to have dropped that one permanently. H & E are still waking once or twice a night. But I realize how bad it was for so long because I feel so much more rested now than I did a month ago. (And I’m still getting up several times a night.)

    Good luck! You can do it!

    • Twins Happen says:

      Thanks so much for your feedback, Katie. Hearing that you are doing this and that it’s working for you has given me the courage to consider doing. Otherwise I really don’t know if I would be brave enough.

      Yes, we have tried a variety of bedtimes, even as early as 5:30. It doesn’t seem to make a difference as far as them waking up again. We’re going to have to do what you described. We just need to figure out when we’re going to start.

  4. Kasey says:

    Letting them cry it out is SO HARD!! But it does work, even if it makes you feel like an ogre. When my son and daughter shared a room, and I was planning to teach her to cry it out, I had her sleep in her pack and play in living room. That way you aren’t fightng two at once. I would try putting them to bed at a time you know they should be able to sleep from-between 7-8pm. Feed them right before you put them down, then let them cry it out when they wake. My (stubborn, strong willed) daughter cried for 2 hours the first night. It was awful! I stayed out of sight/hearing and cried with her. She did go back to sleep, and slept the night through. The next night, she only cried 15 min. After that, 5, then not at all. It is awful to sit through, but it may be time. She is 6 now, and is has been a great sleeper ever since that battle. It doesn’t seem to have scared her at all. I let all three of my kids cry it out at some point, when it was clear they no longer needed to eat, they just wanted the comfort.
    good luck, Ica. I know it is hugely frustrating. I did the sleep plan from Babywise, (i know I’ve mentioned that before). Kind of extreme, but moms need SLEEP!

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