Again, PLEASE NOTE. I am NOT telling you that this is the way it has to be. If I only had one baby at a time and could have rocked them to sleep every night, slept when they slept, and functioned on little sleep, I would have done it. I have very good friends who never let their sleeping babies cry and are happy with their choice.
This method is for families who are not able to function on the amount of sleep in their house. You will see that many of these people are mothers of twins! Responding to every cry is not possible with two babies -- thus the reason this all began for me with my boys born eight months apart.
Again, I in no way want to debate this method with anyone. I completely respect people who see it differently. However, if you are a parent who is falling apart from lack of sleep, I want to assure you that there is another way. Feel free to contact me via email at: email@example.com!
From a mom of twin girls who contacted me when her babies were about five months old:
I started working with Wendi when my twins were 5 months old. I also have a two-year-old and work full time outside the home, so my husband and I absolutely need sleep in order for our household to function. We have no family in town, so although we had people coming and going and helping us, we were virtually on our own with three tiny children and had been surviving on small windows of sleep and lots of coffee.
One of our little ones figured out how to sleep all night by about 4.5 months (with the help of a pacifier), but the other one continued wanting a bottle around 3am every single night. At 5 months, my mommy instinct told me that she did not need food at that hour, but she would fuss and cry every night, no fail. My husband and I were taking turns getting up each night, and because of this bottle, the twins were then waking up at different times to eat in the morning, completely throwing off all of our efforts to keep them on a similar schedule. With twins, this was a must! We just couldn't have two babies eating and napping at different times throughout the day, so we needed them both to be on the same schedule.
Wendi started coaching me through "Cry It Out" (CIO) at that point, and we were ready. We knew that our girls were big enough and strong enough to handle crying for a while without getting picked up and fed, and we knew they needed to learn how to get themselves back to sleep on their own. We just didn't have the manpower at our house to constantly be rocking babies back to sleep, as much as I would have LOVED to be able to do that. It was hard on me that we weren't able to do that, but it was just the reality of having twins and a toddler in our home.
To be honest, I DREADED Cry It Out. I didn't want to hear my little one crying in the night, knowing that I could fix it, but choosing not to.
I literally cried as I fed them that first evening, and prayed over them as we put them down and knew this was it. And, it went SO MUCH better than we ever imagined!!
The first night, she cried for a bit, then would whimper fall asleep, then repeat. It wasn't an all-out miserable cry that made me cry! I knew she was okay. She was already learning how to get back to sleep, and when we got both babies up that next morning, she was all smiles, so I knew there were no hard feelings
The second night went ever better (it was later in the morning that we heard that first cry), and by the third night, we barely heard a whimper out of her.
I was bracing myself for weeks of this, but she figured it out in three nights.
Praise the Lord!!
Once she evened out with her nights, we then did CIO with our other twin to break her of her pacifier habit. I don't mind babies needing pacifiers in the night, but we were getting up between 8-10 times a night to put the paci back in her mouth, so even though SHE was sleeping all night without eating, WE were not, and we needed to be.
We did CIO with her, and she figured out by the second night that we weren't going to get her paci for her anymore in the night, and she slept fine after that.
Now, I'm not saying there weren't some hiccups along the way, and nights that they'd regress a little bit and need to be reminded again that we weren't coming to get them. But, little by little, over the past couple months, it has gotten so much better and it is now a VERY rare thing if we hear either baby at all in the night. If we do, we KNOW it's teeth, or that they don't feel well, or that they're stuck in the corner of their crib or something like that.
We've gotten to the point where we can go in, if needed, give them a tiny dose of ibuprofen for their teeth, and they will go right back to sleep. Or, we can shift them around in their crib without waking them up. They know now that we aren't in there to get them up and feed them, and this is a wonderful place to be!! Life is still NUTS with three little ones, and we are flat exhausted by 7:30 every night once they're all in bed, but the beautiful thing about it is that we have twins who are not even 8 months old who have their last bottle of the night by 6:30pm, and are literally in bed sleeping by 7:00 (7:15 at the very latest) and do not wake up to eat until around the 6am/6:30 mark. Even if one of them starts stirring by 5am, we don't get them up that early. They're starting to figure out that they need to sleep in a little.
And, they are both HAPPY babies, who both wake up with smiles on their faces, even if they're hungry from going 12 hours without eating. So, as tired as my husband and I are from the daytime hours of caring for small children, at least we know that we will get a full night's sleep now, which is everything!!! I'm not sure I could have done this without Wendi's guidance and help. I would have had no idea where to start. She warned me it could take 2 weeks, so I was ready for that, but it took 3 nights, and we are so thankful that there are folks out there who know this will work and believe that it is not cruel to allow your child to CIO. As Wendi said "If CIO was cruel to children, God would not have given us twins or triplets". I could not agree more! This was the only solution for us and it is working like a charm.
From a mom of a premature baby who was losing her mind at about the four month mark:
We brought our son home from the NICU at 35 weeks gestation. He was a month old and he was up every 3 hours, like clockwork. Within the next month, he began sleeping for 12 hour a night. This happened until he was about 4 months old. Then we got 4 month shots.
The night of his 4 month shots, he woke up cranky, so we went to him, picked him up, gave him a bottle, and he went to sleep. This happened for a couple nights, then he awoke 2 times a night, then 3.
We sleep trained our other 2 children, but they were much older than 2 months (adjusted), and we paid dearly (in terms of sleep ) for waiting so long!
We felt like having a premature baby was a different ball game for us. It makes us question our parenting instincts moreso than our full-term babies. So we just weren't sure if our baby was ready to self-soothe and do some controlled crying to help him figure it out!
After going over our scenario with Wendi, I felt confident in our son's ability to self-soothe, because he had been doing it for so long already, sleeping 12 hour nights! He had just slipped into a regression after his shots, and my husband and I both knew, once he started waking more frequently, that we were making it harder on everyone by going to him every time he whimpered.
Surprisingly, because he had been so good with self-soothing, the process was quick for us. The first 2 nights or so were difficult for me as a mom, knowing that he was crying. But I was encouraged knowing that sleep is a comfort for babies. (Thank you, Wendi). By the third night, he slept for 10 hours, and stirred for 3 minutes, and went back to sleep!
Our son now sleeps 8-10 consecutive hours, consistently, sometimes 12. We do battle the occasional sleep regression, but we go back to the tools that we have (check on him after a determined amount of time and start the sleep process of: change, feed, and put down awake) in order to give our baby the tools that he needs to be able to self soothe and build healthy sleep habits.
We have been able to link his shots to sleep regressions and we have been fortunate enough to receive Synagis, which is a monthly injection. It has brought my husband and I so much peace of mind to know in these regressions that we are providing comfort to our son in being able to sleep train him and teach him how to self-soothe. It is invaluable for us and for our family (We have children ages 5 and 2.5 as well) in achieving optimal levels of sleep to be healthy and in good spirits.
If I were to have one thing to pass onto a parent struggling with sleep, it would be to NEVER give up on training your child how to self-soothe. It is a tool. And a valuable one! Not only will it bring your child comfort to be able to sleep, but also make you a better, more well-rested parent!
From a mom of twins who contacted me when her babies were five months old:
When I contacted Wendi, my babies had no trouble with going to sleep at bedtime on their own but frequent waking at night was the problem. My daughter woke up usually at 1am and 5am to eat; she takes the paci. My son varied from waking up every 2-3 hrs to even every hour.
Wendi's advice was to let them Cry It Out (CIO) and not feed til 5am as well as separate them. After doing that a few nights, both babies were able to sleep through til 5am. Sometimes my son will regress during travel or sickness but for the most part, he has kept that schedule and recently, he even goes til 630.
My daughter is very solid now in terms of sleeping. She started skipping the 5am feed at 7 mo and goes through from 7:30-7:30. She still uses the paci, but she's able to put it back herself now. Even when she wakes for a good length of time at night, she doesn't cry, just plays and goes back to sleep on her own.
During travel, she sleeps through as well. As nighttime got better, both babies are also doing very well at naps. Now, they take one morning nap (2hrs) and one afternoon nap (1.5-2 hrs) without much fuss at all.
I really thank you Wendi and believe that like adults who needs their own time, babies need their own time too. So even on days they might not want to sleep and want to keep playing, I'll put them down and leave the room. Even if they don't sleep, I've given them space so they can try. And 95% of the time, they will sleep and nap. They are happier and I'm happier.