When I was expecting twins, my husband and I hung all of our hopes on one sleep-training book. The text promised our kids would be sleeping 12 hours a night by 12 weeks of age. Let's just say we failed miserably. In our case, our twins were just not ready at that stage.
We tried again when our kids were about 5 months and three weeks old. We got all prepared to start a program—and then work seemed to ramp up to infinity for both my husband and me (making it a very bad time to be tired during the period that gets worse before it gets better). Making matters more ridiculous, I had a raging sinus infection. But we already felt invested in our plan, and had prepared ourselves emotionally, so we decided there was no going back.
The first night, as I writhed in bed moaning with sinus pain, my husband did every single check in, at five-minute intervals. It seemed like the babies cried off and on practically the whole night. We were sure we were going to fail and none of us would ever sleep again. But by the second night, crying was sparse. And by the third—just as we'd heard could happen—our twins were sleeping through the night. And they have, with nary a single night feeding, ever since. We're happier parents, and they're much happier babies because they're getting the rest they need! Although it was the single most important thing I've done so far as a new parent, I'd never want to go back to that miserable first night.
Fellow twin mom Zoe Saldana knows something about that struggle.
"They're sleep-training. You have no idea," the 36-year-old new mom to twin boys told Us at an L.A. premiere for her new movie. (Oh yes, I do!)
Like all parents, she says she's struggling with hearing her babes cry. "It's good to actually get out of the house for a little bit, but we stayed there. I'm in absolute anguish," she said. "Because we've done every gentle method, and we've finally come to the conclusion that every parent has been telling us... you have to let them cry a little bit. So it's just our insides are absolutely broken, but that's what we have to do. Marco's mom kind of kicked us out of the house. She was like, 'Just leave me with these kids, go have a good time, have some popcorn.'"
Related: Age-by-Age Sleep Training Guide
Looks like Saldana has all the tools in place to make sleep training work: a supportive family, a bit of comfort food, and some space to breathe during the tough period.
Stick with it, Zoe! Our twin sleep-training victory was hard-earned, but a prize worth more than anything material I own. You're stuff's worth more than mine, but I suspect you'll feel the same way.
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