Since I have started to tell people that the twins are sleeping through the night, it has become apparent that this is an unusual thing. Apparently many people’s babies do not sleep through the night at 3 months of age. So, people have been asking me how we did it.
What’s our secret? First, I would never call myself an expert in anything but the art of the afternoon nap on a football Sunday. And, if truth be told, if I had been the only parent dealing with this issue, it’s very doubtful that both babies would be sleeping through the night right now. It was only after reaching a very high frustration level with Jonathan that Andrea did some research and we tried implementing a few things. So, for those of you dying to know how we managed to get two babies to sleep through the night, here it goes…
1) Luck. Swee’Pea is just one of those babies. She has been so easy to take care of it’s not even fair. She is the type that if she were my only child and I were in a parent group and started in on how Swee’Pea hardly ever cried, smiled all the time and slept through the night, parents would be either thinking “yeah, right” or “Bastard.” Well, it’s true. She really is that easy. Swee’Pea just one day missed a late night feeding. We decided to let her sleep. Then she missed the middle of the night feeding and we decided to let her sleep. Before we knew it, she was sleeping through the night. It should be noted that I was freaking out that we were starving her. I wanted to wake her up (after all, she is the smaller of the two) to feed her. Finally, Andrea and I agreed that if she was hungry, she’d tell us. So we let her sleep.
2) Swee’Pea gave us confidence that it could be done. Swee’Pea started sleeping through the night at about 11 weeks and I soon started having serious conversations with TheMonk about him possibly following his sister’s lead. He was still waking up at 11:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. for his feedings. Somewhere along the way, Andrea did some research that said, “Yes, babies can sleep through the night at this age.” The research also told us that we needed to feed them between 28 and 32 ounces of milk/formula a day (calming my “we’re starving them” fears). So, if Jonathan was getting his allotted amount during the day, there was no reason to think we couldn’t wean him off the night feedings.
3) Cluster feedings. We had been feeding them every three hours when they were getting their night time feedings. Since they would be missing a couple of feedings at night, we started feeding them every two hours or so during the day – especially as we neared bed time. The last feeding we gave them each five ounces which is currently the most they get at any one time. Swee’Pea had no problem with this change. And even Jonathan started sleeping through the 11:00 p.m. feeding.
4) Eliminate bad habits. Now, TheMonk was my Everest. I had to conquer this 3:00 a.m. waking. I had fallen into some bad habits when dealing with my
crying screaming infant at 3:00 a.m. First, I would feed him. This seemed to appease him. Second, I would lie him face down on my belly and we’d fall asleep on the couch together. The problem was TheMonk was getting used to eating and falling asleep on Daddy. So, over a period of 3 very difficult nights, I would pick him up, comfort him and then put him back down to bed. I did this over and over again (one night it took me over 45 minutes) until he went back to sleep. In desperation, I also found that this was one of the few times he’d take the pacifier and it seemed to help.
5) Identify other reasons. While now he was going back to sleep easier, he was still waking up nightly which didn’t help me out in the sleep department since I still had to put him back down. During this time I had noticed that he sounded very congested when he woke up at 3:00 a.m. We get a very dense fog that rolls in early morning and it appears his little nose was not handling the change in humidity well. A friend of mine told me about Vicks Baby Rub and that it helped her infant sleep. So, off I went to the drug store. Once I was there I figured if this Rub was good, more menthol should be better. I bought a menthol plug-in that permeates the room with menthol. I also bought saline drops and medicated nose drops for baby. The first night we used the plug-in and the rub on TheMonk’s chest. When I walked in the next morning, it made my eyes water. So we got rid of the plug-in. But the Baby Rub worked! So, every night we rub a little dab on TheMonk’s chest and put him to bed. He breathes well enough to sleep through the night.
And that is how we did it. The only idea in this whole thing that wasn’t Andrea’s was the Baby Rub. She worked 8 strong innings to get the win. I just came on in the ninth inning to close out the game.
EDITORS NOTE: I forgot the first step! The bed-time ritual. Every night we change them into pj’s, feed them at about the same time and then we turn down the lights while listening to soft lullabies. Very soothing sleep environment!