I read all of the pregnancy books I could get my hands on when I was pregnant.
The most popular one, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” sat on my bookshelf for years. It was given to me around my wedding since I was hoping to get pregnant quickly thereafter It was my least favorite book of the genre. I felt that it was repetitive and really, really broad. Not to mention boring.
My favorite pregnancy book was actually a free one.The Mayo Clinic Guide. It was sent from my insurance when I enrolled in the Healthy Pregnancy program. I advise all pregnant ladies to enroll. Almost all major insurance carriers provide a healthy pregnancy program. You already pay for it with your insurance, so you might as well take advantage of it. The idea is a healthier pregnancy equals a healthier baby and therefore less cost. Or at least that is the goal behind the programs. That’s why preventative services are now a zero or minimal cost.
The entire 9 weeks I was on bed rest, I never read a single thing about what to do when the boys actually arrived. I Googled blogs about twins and birth stories and completely neglected to read anything about what to expect after they came home. Doh! *slaps forehead*
I luckily had help for the first few weeks the boys were home. Between an awesome husband, mom and aunt, the first month was bearable. But the boys wanted to be held all of the time. Even if they were fast asleep. As soon as you put them down, whether it was a crib, swing, bouncy seat, wherever, they would stay there about 20 minutes and then being to wiggle, squirm and make little noises. Any new mom will tell you the smallest noise from a newborn, will wake you up.
We had these neat co-sleepers that went in the bed but that wasn’t good enough. Both boys wanted to be held. I was too nervous to co-sleep. Therefore I didn’t sleep. Eventually I got over it, and both The Hubs and I held a baby in our arms. For the first two months. The AAP strongly discourages this practice and I thought I was a terrible mother for doing it but the more I spoke to other mama’s, I realized a lot of us do it.
Amongst others, I began reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child. A book my old neighbor gave us. She told The Hubs it was, “a life saver”.
Around the boys’ two month appointment, the pediatrician asked how sleeping was progressing. I laid out our situation and she recommended we should stop co-sleeping. She said no one would get good sleep that way and it’s not a practice she supports. Everyone is different. Most doctor’s will agree with the AAP too. The book I mentioned above, said to wait to sleep train until three months after the boys actual due date to being sleep training. But I was tired. So we started.
At first, it wasn’t hard. I started with naps in their cribs and it worked! They were swaddled up and would fuss for 10 minutes or so and then sleep for 40 minutes to an hour. I was pleased. I could shower! Then we tried it at night and they both fussed for a while but eventually just fell asleep. And stayed asleep. It was great! They still woke to eat but would go back down easily. Swaddling was key for us.
The hardest part of crying it out, was actually as they got a bit older. Around five months and again at 6-7 months were probably the most difficult. We were working through bedtimes and naps and milestones and they would cry. Usually one or the other. And it would break my heart. But if you went in to soothe one baby, the other would start screaming too. And since it was impossible to get one settled, with the other screaming for your attention, it was a lost cause. Plus the CIO recommendations stated over and over again, to be consistent. That inconsistencies sent the wrong message and they would continue to cry.
I have tears in my eyes as I think back to them crying. It’s not easy. At all. I panicked a lot. I would get super bitchy towards anyone that was around. I second guessed myself all the time. I cried. A LOT.
My mom gave me a hard time, “How can I let my babies cry?”. I would read articles that talk about how stressed out an infant is after a CIO session. Or watch something about baby wearing and how good it is for both mom and child. But for every negative article, I read a positive.
I stuck with it and now I have two healthy, HAPPY boys. We made it through the time change unscathed. Well, if a 3:45 am wake up counts. But guess what? They woke up and started talking to each other and then went back to sleep, until 6:45 this morning. No crying.
I’d say we did something right.