I was introduced to Reddit late in the game, long after all the cool kids. One of the subreddits I have, at times, browsed is r/nosleep. The concept of r/nosleep is to tell scary stories that will keep you up at night. I have been tempted, although I have not acted on this temptation, to submit my own story. . . I am a dad of triplets under one year old.
The trips are creeping up on ten months old and they introduced the wife and I to their new sleep routine about two months ago. It started with Baby A. He would wake about every 1-3 hours to breastfeed. At the time the babies had lost some weight after being taken off high calorie formula (2 bottles a day to supplement breastmilk). After a trip to the doctor we placed everyone back on supplemental formula bottles, but given the lack of growth we agreed to feed the babes whenever they wanted (they had been on a relatively regimented schedule prior). I wish I could say, “So began the nightmare,” but one has to be asleep to have a nightmare. Baby A woke me up constantly during this period. I would remove him from his crib, take him to momma who would breastfeed him, and then put him back to bed only to be awoken an hour or two later.
But Baby A apparently couldn’t keep his mouth shut. He bragged and bragged to his brother and sister about how he got all this extra snuggle time with mom and Baby C (sister) started waking up a few times a night for her fair share of breastmilk and snuggles. And then Baby B, our hard sleeping boy, jumped in. Of course he wasn’t hungry and just wanted time with, “Da Da.” And so the vicious cycle began of rotating one baby after another to breastfeed with momma every hour began.
Last night we had enough and decided to change some things up at bedtime in the hopes of getting a better nights sleep for everyone (let’s face it, my sleep needs aside, the kids were not getting the rest they needed either). Previously, we had been putting them to sleep with bottles, allowing them to eat until they passed out. This worked for awhile, but something changed. I am not sure if they are just more aware of the world now and wake up scared having been moved from floor to bed or if they awake feeling as if they never finished the bottle or something completely different, but what we were doing no longer worked. So, we pulled the bottles right before they fell asleep, placed them in their cribs, and listening to the most heart-wrenching screaming for 30 minutes. And then. . . silence.
All three went down after “crying it out.” And guess what, they all slept at least 6-7 hours uninterrupted! I know that is not exactly what we would hope for (they should be sleeping 10-12 hours overnight), but it sure beats 2 hour intervals they were doing. This is just night one of putting them down awake and letting them put themselves to sleep, but the results look promising.
Now, this was painful for both my wife and I. She hurt listening to C and B cry and almost gave in. I am a bit tougher on those two for some reason (I think because they share so many personality traits with my wife and I). But I was ready to give in to A. We both supported each other through the worst of it and I believe our kids learned that going to sleep is not scary. Bonus: when C woke up in the middle of the night she put herself back to sleep quickly with minimal crying.
So, the moral of this story is. . . I feel better having let the kids, “cry it out.” It sucks while doing it, but if they sleep better and longer they will grow faster and stronger. So far (one night in) it seems to be working.