Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reflections of Motherhood Part 2: Sleep

I’m hesitant to even write about this topic as I know some parents will want to kill us. Sleep has actually been a pretty positive thing in our house. In the early days that’s pretty much all Caleb and Micah did. We woke them every 3 hours to feed. Then a few weeks in we decided to stretch out the early morning hours and they did a 5 hour stretch from feed to feed. That meant about 3.5 hours of sleep in a row for us as feeds took an hour and a half, but pretty good all things considered.

One thing that stood out for us in the sleep department was the idea of “starting as you mean to go” from the Baby Whisperer. If you want them to be able to do something, start from the beginning and for us that meant teaching them how to put themselves to sleep. Especially having two, rocking or nursing them to sleep wasn’t realistic for us. Obviously they were too young for “crying it out” but basically from the days in the hospital, we put them in their bassinettes awake for them to fall asleep on their own. It wasn’t a struggle, they just did it. I realize that’s not always the case, but I’m thankful for it. At bed time and nap times we basically swaddle them (arms out now... they roll over!), sing the nap song, give them a kiss, put them in their cribs and say goodnight. That’s it. Sometimes they cry for maybe a minute but mostly they go peacefully to sleep. I love it!

The boys go to bed after a 7pm feed, we wake them for a 10pm dream feed and they sleep until 7am on most days. Getting sleep has made all the difference in being able to make it through the day with them. Trying to produce enough milk for two babies and just taking care of them, rest is so important. I’m not a nap person so “nap when they nap” didn’t work for me, despite trying. They have also slept in their cribs from the first night they got home from the hospital. Co-sleeping is not for us and who’s kidding who, our bed isn’t big enough for 4. I didn’t even want them in our room as I’m a light sleeper and knew I’d be awake at any little sound... ANY sleep I could get was crucial. Our house is small and they are easy to hear if they need us. I don’t think I’ve ever used our baby monitor.

Naps have been our only struggle and even then I can’t complain. They are often short and because I feed the boys together, the one who sleeps will often get short changed or they wake each other up. Such is life with two, and it’s definitely getting better.

I know there are a million and one ways to approach sleep with babies and every family has to do what’s best for them. We knew that having two is a whole different ball game and that maximizing sleep for everyone in the family was a priority. We often joke that with our next child we are really in for it as our boys have been pretty easy. I wouldn’t be surprised but in the mean time I will cherish my sleep-filled nights!


the smiths said...

We took the same approach with Ro and will do so with Looloo. You guys are doing great! :) To me, sleep might be the most important thing. It affects behaviour, my mood, their development, their wellbeing...... I know you know this (obviously). Keep enjoying every minute! They fly by!

cheryl said...

you guys are doing awesome. so impressed with how you guys plan, think things through and implement a routine that is working! amazing. good for you.