Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sleeping Multiples - isn't that an Oxymoron???

I'm going to try a little something new. A few blog posts back I asked WHO GOES THERE? to find out who is reading my blog, and if they have any questions they want me to answer. Thanks to all who responded!!! I have lots of stuff I am working on compiling, so I can *try* and answer them all :) You can review that post, or comment on this post if you have any questions you'd like me to attempt to answer.

The first question I am going to choose to answer was not the first person to ask. However, my heart goes out to a new mom of multiples, Keri. I have been friends with her sister, Lori, for years! Jr. High, High School, College, and she stood up in my wedding! Boy, are we getting old! ha! Keri has a beautiful little girl and newborn twin boys. I've love reading her blog.

Her question:
"I wanna know what your first few months were like with triplets and did you get any sleep?!!"

My head hurt when I saw this question. It hurt from remembering back to those days. I love my boys dearly, but I think I was a walking robot at times. I think all new parents feel that way!

To answer that question, I have to give a little background. We were blessed that our boys made it to 33 1/2 weeks gestation. They were considered preemies. In the NICU they said they were "feeders and growers". Basically, they had to learn to eat. They all came home after 25 days in the NICU, our biggest was just barely tipping the scale at 5 pounds, and they were eating just under 1 ounce of milk at a feeding. These feedings consisted of manipulating their mouths to properly take the bottles, and constantly stimulating them to stay awake. After 30 minutes if they did not finish their bottles, we had to stop trying because they were burning more calories than they were ingesting. Preemies like to sleep. A lot. Goodness, they are not supposed to be out of their Mommy's belly yet! Because they were preemies, we had to add calories to my milk supply we gave them, and had to WAKE THEM UP every 3 hrs to feed.

With THAT explanation out of the way.... at just shy of 3 months we were given the go ahead from their pediatrician to stop waking them up at night. We rejoiced! We had gotten to a point where we hardly were sleeping at nights because of how long feedings took. Then we went to switching shifts rather than sharing them all and trying to sleep in between. Dan would get home from work and we'd do one feeding together. Then I would go to bed for two full feedings. Then I would get up while Dan slept for the other two feedings. Then in the morning before work we'd share a feeding again. I remember the first time we chose to try it, those 5 hrs of sleep were awesome! However, that got old fast. So you can see why we were excited to try and get them to sleep through the night.

Now, this is MY OPINION that I am going to give here on MY BLOG. I know all people don't agree with the "cry it out" method for getting their kids to sleep. That is fine if you feel differently. I am just speaking about what worked for my family. Most importantly - MY SANITY! My cousin suggested a book called Babywise. I think it's a great book for new parents to read! Just like anything, you take from it what you want.

Once our kids were given the "ok" from the dr, we did it. We let them cry. I set a timer for 5 minutes. Walked out, went into my room, turned on fans, noise makers, and the TV to drown out the crying. After 5 minutes, went in there and gave them their pacis, spoke gently to them, and rubbed their backs. No picking them up. Walked out. Set the timer for 8 minutes. Went back into my room and I CRIED AND CRIED AND CRIED. I was a first time mom, and I have my three babies in the next room crying because all they want is me. I felt guilty that I was doing this to them because I wanted sleep. Dan helped me stay strong. Repeated at 10 min, 15, 20, 25, then it was 35 by the time the last one put himself back to sleep!

Based on what others told me, this takes 2-3 nights for it to work. Each night gets a little shorter for how long it will take them to go to sleep. Start with a night time routine, and try and tire them out during the day so it will be faster for them to succumb to sleep. I rationalized in my head if it was 2-3 nights for one child, it would be 6-9 nights for three. It was about 4 nights.

It worked. Our three 3 1/2 month old infants were sleeping 7 hours at night. Sleep is a MUST for any babies! That is when they grow, and their bodies NEED it! So helping them learn was important to us. My sanity of getting my husband back at night for us to SLEEP in the same room was a must.

Now, there are age growth disturbances that will mess up their great sleeping patterns. Those exact ages I can't recall, but it's discussed in the book. Also, sickness and travel will mess up the sleep patterns and they have to be reintroduced back after that.

I will tell you that I am a firm believe that this method was exactly what my family needed. And it worked for us! My cousin has two kids a product of it, a friend has four, and another one. Those are just instances off the top of my head.

Keri, God bless you for all you are going through right now!!! Being 4 years past that stage, I can tell you that those issues then are no longer issues now. The parenting changes, and the approaches change. However, dealing with those things are no longer issues right now.

I hope that helped! If not, or if you want more details, let me know :)

June 2006


Shawna said...

First of all, I LOVE LOVE LOVE that picture of you and the boys laying all over you. I'm sure you found yourself on the couch in that position many times. I always envied you and how wonderful your boys go to bed. I wish I had your strength. I didn't do the cry it out with my 1st one. I tried with my KINDA worked...until at 9 months old was so upset she figured out how to climb up her crib & fell out! I once again tried the cry it out with my 3rd. It worked for awhile. Somehow though, it ended up that I have to either rock him to sleep or lay with him. Now with the last, I didn't really let her "cry it out"...but I laid her in bed and she cries..for about one minute and goes to sleep. Every night for the past 6 months that is how she goes to bed. Still crying for that one minute. But she has totally different issues with STILL needing to be fed at night (well, i think i'm just being used as a human pacifier! lol). So you can see why I envy you and your wonderful sleeping boys. :)

Mary said...

I LOVE that picture!!!! And yeah, I love Babywise, and we also let ours "cry it out".

grammy ♥ said...

Wow! What an awesome mom you are!!! xo xo

You definitely fit the "portrait of a virtuous woman" Prov 31:10-31

From a proud mom, ♥♥♥

Sun-Kissed Scholars said...

Love the picture! We discovered Babywise the third time around, and LOVE it. Used it the fourth time, too, with great success. I bought copies for my sisters. :-)

Keri said...

I love it - thanks so much for that post!! That last picture is sooooooooo adorable of you and the boys!!!!!

ECarter said...

Thank you for your terrific blogs! I have a Sunshine Award waiting for you at my blog!

glenda09 said...

Oh my I love the pic! 3!!! How blessed you are! My son was a preemie so I know how it was with the feeding and such since he too didn't know how to eat after the feeding tube came out. He was just shy of 30 weeks when he was born. I couldn't imagine 3 though being preemie! How heartaching it is I know even more so I bet with 3 of them in the NICU. I just had another one term at 37 weeks and 4 days (to me its term since I know what a real preemie is) she was very small born at 5lbs 13 oz then 5 days later getting to 4lbs11oz (my son was that at 2 and a half months! She is now 3 months and almost 9 lbs. I told huby yesterday that I wanted another one. I'm going to have to read more of your blog. Congrats on the award!!! Your blog was listed as one of the ones who got it so I just had to come and check you out. I'm following you now!

Me and Mine in a Small Town

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