Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sleep Training

We've been working on the babies' sleeping habits for the past couple of week. Step one involved nap times. I started putting them down for naps awake and letting them cry themselves to sleep. They need to learn this skill in order to know how to fall back to sleep when they wake up at night. At first, they cried for about 10-15 minutes, but after a few days, they would fall asleep within 5 minutes, at the most. Although when a baby is crying, it seems like an eternity.

Last week, we started working on Abby's nights. We thought about using a service called "Moms on Call." They basically teach you how to train your baby(ies) to sleep. I sent out a message on my triplets listserv, and several of the women had used them. Most of them had really good things to say about them, but I just wasn't sure what I was going to get out of it that I hadn't already read in other places...establish and stick to a routine, use a white noise machine, let them cry it out, etc.

The service is typically $350, and they do a home visit to cover a bunch of childcare basics. However, in our case, we just wanted the sleeping part, and they offered to do a phone consult for $200. I figured we should give it a shot ourselves before we paid $200 for a phone call.

The first night, we put everyone down as usual, and when Abby started her first crying episode, around 10:30, we moved her into a pack and play in the guest room. We left her there to cry for a while. My dad, Billy, and I took turns going in about every 20-30 minutes to comfort her. Billy had her asleep when he was patting her back, but the minute he stopped, she woke up and resumed her crying fit. Finally, after about an hour, I went in and patted her for a while. She fell asleep and stayed that way.

She woke up again after 3 a.m., and at that point, my dad gave her a bottle, which she sucked down. She fell back to sleep and didn't wake up until 7 a.m. This was a huge improvement! She used to take 3-4 bottles/night.

We discovered that the others do better when she's out of the room. Marie has been sleeping her usual 12 hours/night for the past few nights, and Will has still been waking up, but he'll usually go back to sleep after whining for a few minutes. However, around 2 or 3 a.m., he won't go back to sleep without a bottle. A few nights ago, he took 8 ounces at his 3 a.m. feed. I usually only make 4 ounce bottles at night so I had to warm up a second bottle after he wouldn't calm down after his first.

Now, I have a new method. All babies must sleep/cry it out until after 2 a.m. If they awaken after that time and can not be consoled back to sleep with pats, they get a 6 ounce bottle to fill them up. If they get that bottle, they have to sleep/cry it out until 7 a.m.

We set up an additional pack and play in our bedroom, and we shove Will in it some nights when he won't settle down. There are babies scattered everywhere! Will does this thing where he scratches the pack and play netting on the side. It's terribly annoying, but not nearly as bad as hearing him cry so we just deal with it.

I don't know when we'll sleep all night again, but this is a start. We will just have to keep working on it.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

You are on the right track! They will get there! Very soon you will all be sleeping like logs!