My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cry it out controversy

Wow, so many comments because we let our girls cry for a bit!  I've been called ignorant, cruel, and probably a few other things behind my back.  But I'm soldiering on, every day making new decisions based on what feels right at the time.

The 45 minutes seems to really be sticking out to some people so I offer these comments on that - about a half hour in, we also decided (like many of my commenters) that they weren't just fussing anymore, they needed something.  We determined that they needed to be fed.  But it took some time to warm the bottles and get the burp cloths and stuff needed to feed them.

The main problem we are trying to fix is the whole over tired thing.  The long rocking and cuddling is partly to blame for them getting over tired and once that happens, we're all just screwed.  So we're trying to cut down the bed time routine so it doesn't take so long that when we see the tired cues, we can get them to bed before they catch their second wind and start moving into the over tired range.  We're also trying to create a bed time routine that's brief and can be done with just one parent because sometimes there's only one of us available.

As for the comment that insomnia isn't a learned thing - I have no clue as to whether or not training them as babies will prevent that problem in the future.  But if insomnia sucks for me as an adult, I can only imagine that it sucks for a baby too.  So I'm trying to train them to go to sleep quickly after being put to bed so they aren't dealing with it.  If that carries over into their older selves, all the better.

Here's what happened last night.

8:30pm - we start seeing tired cues.  It's been a while since either girl had eaten so we did a feeding and prepared to start bed time routine.

8:45ish - both girls are falling asleep at their bottles.  We're having to twist the nipples and stuff to keep them awake enough to eat.  We decide to skip the bath and do an abbreviated bed time routine since the bath would add an extra 10 or 15 minutes and these girls are ready to sleep now.

9:00pm - The girls have had a brief massage with lotion in the crib, one song, swaddled, turned on the mobile and we left.

9:01pm - we turn on the baby monitor to see 2 sleeping babies.

9:30pm - well, that was fun, they're awake.  Start 5 minute wait.  Someone had mentioned yesterday that lying down while sick might be putting pressure on their nasal passages and it might be uncomfortable or even cause an ear infection.  We decide that they might generally feel better if they sleep in their car seats so they are sitting up a little bit and to keep everything draining properly.  We also have a cool mist humidifier going for them.

Just a note about the whole "sick" thing.  It's so mild I'm not even sure they have a full cold.  Charlotte's poos are still a little green which indicates she is fighting something, but they don't have a fever and other than the eye goop for about 24 hours and a few coughs or sneezes, they really aren't showing any signs of really being sick.  We are acting as though they are because better safe than sorry.

9:35pm - put them in their car seats and put those in the crib.  They seem pretty good so we turn on the mobile and leave again.

Fussing.  I tell K that while CIO felt right the night before, I'm not sure it feels right tonight.  He asks what I want to do.  I tell him I want to do what he tells me to do.  He says "Ok than, it's another 4 and a half minutes before we go in."

9:45pm - We go in.  Charlotte is quietly fussing and easily soothed, Tina is having a meltdown.  I attempt to soothe with song and a hand on the chest but give up and take her out of the car seat and rock her for about 3-5 minutes until she's quiet but still very much awake.

We exit a few minutes before 10pm and there's more fussing.  But it's not meltdown levels, just fussing.  Start the 15 minute timer.

10:10pm - We go in and sing but leave them in their seats.  Turn on the mobile, and out we go.  K and I get ready for bed because K is getting the first migraine he's had in a decade and isn't doing so hot.

10:30pm - They have now been asleep long enough that we officially mark it in Baby ESP and go to sleep ourselves.

4:50am - They are awake so K feeds them while I pump.  Everybody back to bed with no drama.

9:30am - I wake up because I'm simply done sleeping.  I haven't felt that in forever!

10am - Both girls are awake, happy and we start our day which included a breakfast with some extended family even though we got there shortly before the extended family had to leave.  I'm a night owl mom with twins in a morning person family.  I'm just glad we got there with enough time to say hi to everyone before some had to leave!  Charlotte naps the whole time, Tina is lively for a bit (not real happy about it), takes a 20 minute nap, and then parties with my original nuclear family (my brother showed up!  That never happens!) for about an hour before we all break it up.

Now that we've started this, I'm finding that Tina actually prefers napping in the crib instead of her swing.  This afternoon, I took her into the nursery, turned on the white noise machine, rocked her for one song, swaddled her, put the mobile on and walked away.  Much to my surprise, zero fussing and asleep by the time I turned the monitor on in the other room.  She was so awake when I put her down I thought there was no way in heck I was going to get away with just one song, but apparently I did!  Yay!  And her afternoon naps in the crib seem to be lasting about an hour which is an improvement over the 15-20 minute naps I was getting last week.

Charlotte is just generally a good sleeper, she doesn't fight the drowsies much which is why I have so many more comments about Tina.

Folks, I have no idea if we're successfully training them, if they just hit the right age to sleep well, or what.  I'm just doing my best every night to survive at the time while teaching for the future.  My version of crying it out might not be what the books advise, or even worthwhile, I don't know.  What I know is that my girls are learning to go to sleep pretty well, we're pretty much all sleeping through the night, and that every night we'll do our best to understand the current situation and respond to it accordingly.

A few minutes ago, Tina started fussing from her nap.  I thought it was wake up time so I quickly wrote that last paragraph and went to check on her.  She had soothed herself back to sleep.  She's never done that before that I know of.  Awesome!


  1. I'm sorry you got so many negative comments on your last post. CIO is something that can be the perfect thing for some, and not the perfect thing for others. It all just depends on the child and I wish people would stop making generalizations that it's ALWAYS bad (or ALWAYS good, for that matter). I think I commented on a post of yours before that we did "check and console" CIO with our girls (which is what you are doing too it sounds like), with great (and fast) success. We now have 17 month olds who go down fully awake for naps and bedtime and put themselves to sleep easily, and stay asleep. I also want to say that I had a real AHA! moment re garding CIO at a physical therapy appt with our daughter a while ago. The girls have needed some PT to learn some basic gross motor skills like how to get themselves into sitting position. Most babies know how to do this on their own, but we've had to "teach" ours. They HATED it. They hated being on their backs and wanted us to pick them up. Instead, we helped them get into the right position to push themselves up. They cried. And screamed. And stared straight at us, turning all red-faced and angry. And the PT said, "it's okay, they need to learn this." And I thought... this is *exactly* the same as letting them cry to learn how to sleep. Will anyone tell me I am being a bad mom for letting them cry instead of picking them up, or that they are learning that no one will help them and that the world is a cold unfriendly place? This is simply not the case. I am helping them to learn something that is an important skill for them. I would be a bad mom if I *didn't* allow them to push through their frustration (tears and all) and learn this very important skill. SORRY for such a long comment, I just thought it was a great comparison to CIO and a good perspective for people to keep in mind. Again, I don't think CIO may be best for every child, but for some, it is the appropriate, healthy, and loving choice, and I am going to presume that you know your girls best and are going to make the best choice possible for them! :)

  2. I'm sorry for the negative comments you received. As a mother of almost 5 month old twins, I fully support CIO. You cannot be the best mother with sooo little sleep! My twins sleep through the night now and I feel like a human again! Hang in there, it gets easier and easier!

  3. Sounds like a lot of people just like to complain.

  4. I second the idea that you need to be 'taught' to sleep well...and that some people don't ever learn this skill. I'm one of them. I learned from a really early age to 'push' myself to stay awake. It's ended up being one of the things that I wish I could change most about myself. I wish I was one of those people who could just close my eyes and fall asleep easily like anyone else...but I'm not. It regularly takes me longer than an hour to go to sleep. It sucks to have to build this transition time into my day. I'm trying to do the best for my daughter too by helping her learn to go to sleep on her own. It's working so/so...but for us, as long as the whole family gets enough sleep regularly, I'm happy.

  5. It sounds like you are doing fine to me! :) Personally, I didn't start giving baths as part of a bed time routine until my twins were over a year old. My children were stimulated by a bath, not soothed by it, so I bathed them during the day. Also, bathing two babies is a huge time drain until they can be bathed together, which I didn't do until they were about 9 months. We cut our bedtime routine down to about 15 mins tops...if it went on more than that it became "play time" which wasn't good.

    We do a mutated version of parenting around here that has no labels. CIO only means not jumping up and running to your baby the minute they cry. Once you're past the newborn stage you have to draw the line, and every parent draws it at a different place. Some parents let their kids sleep with them until they're 17...who gives a shit? I once walked out of the nursery where my twins were both screaming and not napping to walk out into the back yard and break down sobbing. My neighbor came over and gave me a huge hug and said "Wait 10 minutes and then go back, they'll be fine." And they were fine, and they are fine.

    Keep doing what you're doing. It sounds like you are over the hump.


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