Oh sweet sweet sleep I miss you. It’s been a good long couple of years. I can’t wait for a solid stretch of at least 4 hours. As a parent I find this to be the greatest challenge by far. I feel like I went out on an all night party bender but didn’t get to leave the house or partake in recreational drugs. Everyone will tell you what worked for them and experts make money on books that reveal the secret answer to getting your little ones to sleep. It is also a hot topic among parents. Some say that letting your child CIO (Cry It Out) is cruel and psychologically damaging. Others tend to every night-time whimper and believe that parenting doesn’t stop just because it’s the middle of the night. Honestly I’m not to sure where I stand in all of this because I have 5 kids, 5 and under. I don’t think my friend who practices attachment parenting with her single child can understand or give me advice nor do I think my mother who dealt with child sleep issues 30 years ago is a good source of information. Sorry Mom. Tribeca Pediatrics suggests sleep training at 2 months of age now. You put them to bed around 7 pm and don’t come back until 7 am. Just shut the door and don’t go back in until morning. Not my thing. To each their own though really. I hate when parents judge one another for their choices in parenting. Like it’s anyones business. No one I know has two sets of twins and a five-year old. So keep your sleep advice and judgement to yourself unless I ask. My first-born Miss Mia was a decent sleeper. It was probably because we were co-sleeping until she was 18 months old. I didn’t know what sleep deprivation was. I snuggled with her in the mornings and didn’t get out of bed most days until 10 am. That is a very distant memory. I put her in her crib at 18 months old with very little protest from her. I’m pretty sure I let her cry, whine, and fuss for a few days but she became a decent sleeper. Not great but decent. I’ll take that. Then I had my first set of twins. Holy crap was I in for a shock. Those girls hated to sleep. My husband and I each had a baby sleeping on our chest for the first 4 months of their lives. I felt like I was going to snap. Dan and I argued constantly. We were both on edge. Then around 8/9 months I started to let them fuss a bit. I guess I did a combo of The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley and Marc Weissbluth’sHealthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins. Again, no book has the magic solution but I did a hybrid of a bunch of different suggestions from each book. I also just followed my gut as a mother. They started to sleep better eventually. I was sleeping through the night along with them around 12 months I think. Then soon after this success I became pregnant with ANOTHER set of twins. Good bye sweet sweet sleep. Thank goodness my girls all sleep fairly well now unless the occasional nightmare or illness gets tossed in the mix. My twin boys are now 5 months old and really don’t care for sleep all that much. I’m tired but was very well aware of what I was in for this time. The shock wasn’t there. I accepted my fate of zombie parenting for the next year. My boy Rocco is a pretty good sleeper. Wakes up 1x maybe 2x a night. Luke on the other hand is a boob junkie. He can’t get enough. I nurse them to sleep. I did that with all my kids. It works so why change it. I never saw it as a crutch that prevented them from learning to self soothe. But Luke will wake 2-3X a night. The other night I woke up to him crying after just being up with him an hour before and I said in my sleepy state “He’s the bane of my existence!” Dan yelled at me and said not to say such things. I can’t help being dramatic sometimes. I never mean it. It just makes me feel better to let out some steam. Luke’s usually not even hungry just looking for soothing. I know that this will eventually become easier and we will all sleep again. I might even miss our 3 am rocking and nursing parties. Have you ever met a teenager that doesn’t like to sleep? My dear childhood friend just brought home her 3 new babies. Yes 3! I’m sure she is wondering WTF did I get myself into? My empathetic thoughts are headed her way. Hopefully she know that this sleep deprivation is temporary and will pass quicker than she realizes. So for now I am hugging my coffee cup this morning longing for my pillow. Soon. Not soon enough but soon.
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