Sleep Baby Sleep!
If you’ve read my previous blogs you’ll know that when it comes to sleeping our girls are pretty awesome. I know some of you are cursing me right now as you read this with bloodshot eyes drinking your third cup of coffee for the day, but I honestly believe that the NICU trained them to be good sleepers. Not always, but for the most part.
We also did sleep training with them from an early age. We never rocked them back to sleep (mainly because at many times there was two of them and only one of us). Instead we used the ‘shhh’ technique and rubbed their backs, or just gauged the intensity of the cry to decide if they really needed us or if they would just self soothe.
Their sleeping has been interrupted due to the following over the past 22 months: colds, immunizations, teething, too much sugar causing upset tummies or the dreaded ‘leap’ or milestone.
When they’re sick, teething or have had needles I know that (for my kids) Infant Advil /Tylenol will usually help wonders when it comes to sleeping. My husband and I are proactive in our approach and sleeping isn’t usually affected too terribly.
If it’s a birthday celebration or special event and they end up having a bit of cake or ice cream after dinner this usually ends up with one or both of them having a sore tummy. We’ve learned this over time and really try to substitute cake with grapes or something healthy or give them a very tiny amount of ice cream. If we miss the boat though, the girls will cry throughout the night and wake up very tired the next morning.
When it comes to milestones affecting sleep, well, there’s nothing we can do. Advil doesn’t really help as they’re not physically in pain and eliminating dietary items does nothing.
I had totally forgotten about this being a ‘sleep factor’ until this past weekend. Was it the weekend? I can’t seem to remember, it’s nothing but a blur.
Every hour it was as if the girls would ‘tag team’ who was awake and crying. Each hour one would cry inconsolably, standing in their crib and yelling for “Mommy!” There was no self-soothing to be had. Co-sleeping was a disaster as the girls thought this meant it was party time. My girls who never wake each other when crying were now waking each other every time. It was chaos and lack of sleep had me scratching my head with what to do to fix the problem.
In the end they did calm down, purely due to exhaustion, but I think my hubby and I got a total of four hours of sleep that night.
The next day I realized that the language development could be to blame!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that they’re learning a couple of new words every day, but we hadn’t experienced a big milestone that affected their sleep since they learned to walk about a year ago, so it took me a while to connect the two.
On night two we weren’t blindsided and decided to tackle sleeping how we did when they were babies; sleep training through self-soothing.
We made sure they had ample soothers in their cribs and that their favourite blankies and stuffed animals were within arm’s reach. It was still a restless night but this time it was only one of them (which meant we could go two hours before being woken by cries). For the most part she self-soothed but mommy had to go in when needed to offer some comfort and cuddles.
I’m hoping this is short-lived. Sleep training at 22-months of age…who knew?!