• Fri, Jun 28 - 11:00 am ET

Twinning: I Was Too Much Of A Wimp To Ferberize

twins sleepingHaving twins can be the most amazing experience of your life. It can also cause you to wake up in the morning wishing you were someone else. Twinning offers an honest depiction of life with twins from a mom who tries to keep things somewhere in the middle.

Ferberizing twins is not for sissies. Any mother who can tough out even one night listening to two babies scream at the same time is a stronger woman than I am. All the moms who had Ferberized their baby or babies back when mine were infants told me it’s just three to five nights of hell, and then you have babies who sleep through the night. It sounds so easy, who wouldn’t give it a shot?

My daughter was a great sleeper and didn’t actually need much in the way of sleep training. My son was the one who was difficult to put down and difficult to keep down.  Sometimes his crying would get my daughter crying as well. I had the option to split them up into two rooms, but I really didn’t want to give up my guest room if I didn’t absolutely have to, so some kind of sleep training was needed.

The first time I tried Ferberizing, I only lasted about 10 minutes. I went downstairs to try to get away from the crying and fight the urge to run to pick them up. But two babies yelling in stereo is loud, and there was no getting away from it. So I sat at the bottom of the stairs and cried along with them. And then I couldn’t take it anymore and that was that.

Sure, a lot of this was because I loved my little babies and didn’t want them to feel sad and abandoned, but it was also because at the end of a long day, I was wiped out and didn’t have the strength to embark on a sleep-training program. It was just easier to go in, pat their backs, or pick them up and rock them.

During those 10 minutes, I couldn’t help but think about a story my British in-laws had told me about the time they tried to let my husband Ian cry it out.

Ian was a colicky baby and one night they decided they were tired of him ruining their days and nights so they were not going to respond to his cries. They turned out to be pretty great at listening to him scream, because my father-in-law said after an hour or so of straight crying (what?!), he finally went to the nursery and saw baby Ian covered in blood from head to toe—so much that they couldn’t see exactly what was bleeding. After giving him a bath, my in-laws saw that he had a bloody nose. The poor little guy was very pale for the next two days so they took him to the doctor, who said if they had waited a little bit longer, things might not have ended as well as they did.

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My reaction to this tale was not one of laughter.

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  • Justme

    I think you correctly pointed out a very misunderstood myth about the Ferber or CIO method – it is NOT throwing your child into the crib and not responding to any of their cries for the rest of the night, or even an extended period of time.

    We used the interval method of five minutes of crying, going back into her room while keeping the lights off and patting her back firmly for two minutes or so. Then we would leave and up it to eight or ten minutes, depending on her cry. The first few nights bedtime was a long drawn-out process, but gradually she got the hang of it and began realizing that bedtime meant sleeping and she was okay to go to sleep on her own. Now at almost two and a half, she has no problem lying in her toddler bed and rolling over to go to sleep after storytime is over.

    BUT…I say we did all this with ONE child, which I would assume is generally easier than with two – specifically two who seem to have completely different bedtime needs. I don’t really have any pieces of advice for you, but I don’t think that you have to be “strong” and not a “wimp” to try the Ferber method with your children. I think you just have to be secure in your parenting method, whether it is CIO or co-sleeping…make the best decision for you and your babies and everything will work itself out in the end.

  • MJ

    I can’t let my 19 month old CIO either. Many nights she sleeps through the night, other nights she makes it until around 3am. She also doesn’t lay in her crib and cry, she stands at the rail, wailing. Earlier this week, she was so disoriented she was facing the wall wailing (first time for that). I say whatever works for the parents. We know it’s not every night & that she’ll eventually outgrow it, until then we’ll continue to let her sleep partial nights with us

    • Véronique Houde

      OMG so adorably sad…. :( poor baby… I can totally imagine mine doing the same thing……. I pick her up too when she does that!

  • LBH

    My first son had one of those awful nosebleeds as well. That was the end of it for me. There is nothing like that kind of panic where you don’t know where the blood is coming from and you’ve somehow convinced yourself that he burst some major artery from crying too much (because somehow your cruelty as a mother trumps science). He’s 4 now and sleeps through the night. His 2 year old brother still gets up 4-5 nights out of the week and comes back to bed with me, but I couldn’t care less. He’ll stop eventually and I’m not having any more kids, so I am enjoying the snuggle while I still can.

  • Elissa

    When I was resisting sleep training my eldest daughter, my MIL tried to convince me to. SHE had been sleep trained, she told me. And then she told me how she cried so hard that her bowel prolapsed and she almost died.

    Convincing argument….you’re doing it reaaaalllllly wrong.

    For the record, I did eventually do some form of sleep training on my own terms with both of my kids at some point since I didn’t want to go insane from sleep deprivation, which I felt was imminent. But that story certainly put the process off a few months, that’s for sure.

  • Véronique Houde

    I totally get what you’re saying about hearing your baby crying!!! It was so hard for me the first few days of sleep training. I myself used the Sleep Sense program. The challenge for me was really paying attention to how she was crying and what was a cry because she just wanted OUT of the bed, and when she was crying because she was hungry/cold/teething… I felt so guilty one night when after 5 minutes of her crying i walked in to find her on her hands and knees and freezing cold because she lost of blanket… After that it was quite a process of figuring out when to respond and how… I never imagined before becoming a mom how intense you feel when you do NOTHING to comfort your baby…

    I felt like I had to do it because my daughter had no idea how to fall asleep on her own and started waking up in the middle of the night when she never used to. I don’t regret it, because it’s getting much easier and my daughter sleeps a lot better now! And I do too ;).

    • Justme

      Yes to the different cries! There is the “I’m really tired and a little pissed that I’m in my bed, but give me a few minutes and I’ll conk out” and then there is the “I think I’m going to blow a fuse because I am so distraught and something is wrong so come and get me right now!” cry.

  • jsterling93

    I wasn’t sure how I wanted to go about sleep training. But at 3 weeks my son just started sleeping from 11 pm to 7 am. Now he generally falls asleep on the bed next to me at 9 or so and I move him to his crib. He wakes at 4 am and I put him in bed with my husband and I and he falls right back asleep. His crib in our room. I know the day is coming when I need to move him upstairs to his own room and then I will need to figure out a bettr method. and I haven’t the slightest how.

    • Véronique Houde

      i went through the same situation as you, same sleep cycle, same habit of waking up at 4 and coming in our bed, same sleeping arrangement. Check out the sleep sense program. It’s the one that seemed the less intense for me. and it’s worked great!

    • Paul White

      I’m 29 and I still don’t sleep that well or regularly.

    • Kat

      LOL, this but 26.

  • G.E. Phillips

    “Sometimes I’d rock him back to sleep, but almost always, I’d just take
    him into bed with me. I know this is wrong, and all the research says
    I’ve basically set him up for a lifetime of poor sleep habits”

    I respectfully disagree with this statement, as there is also a lot of research in support of co-sleeping. I mean yes, co-sleeping with a baby will lead to your baby wanting more co-sleeping because it’s the shit and baby crack and also kind of Mommy crack, so if your goal is to have a kid that sleeps in a crib alone every night then yes, bringing your baby to bed with you is “wrong” in that respect. But it’s not, like, wrong WRONG. Like, shoplifting, cheating on your husband, punching your grandmother in the face, those things are wrong. Co-sleeping is a viable choice. Just sayin’. Carry on.

  • MeLuRe

    Do what works! Being deliberate in the choices you make for each kids sleeping habits, twins or not, is the best way to go!

  • Kat

    I think a lot of times, claiming to be “too soft” is a way for one mom to passive aggressively judge another. The signs are there, “you’re stronger than I am!” and “oh I just couldn’t leave my poor little baby to suffer alone for five seconds!”

    Eh.

    • Blueathena623

      You are braver than me for posting this. Why I understand why people say the whole “I can’t stand to hear them cry!” thing, I hope they realize that its not exactly a walk in the park for the parents who do use CIO. I don’t like hearing my kid cry either. But its what worked best for us, and I’m not a cold-hearted monster.
      And sometimes (and I’m referring to other online baby communities here) there is almost a mommy suffering competition. One mom will say that after 10 minutes she couldn’t take it. The next one will say that after 5 minutes she started crying. And then the next one will say after 1 minute she got ill and threw up. I’m waiting for the day when a mom says even the thought of CIO gave her a mild stroke.

    • Kat

      And just like a lot of other things, I’d bet at least half exaggerate the guilt because they feel judged by other moms. I definitely understand this, but I wish they’d realize their parenting decisions are no one else’s beeswax.

      I used CIO with my first son and just started with my second. It sucks at times, but it works for us too.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I did DIO with all three of mine after months of more attachment parenting style shiz (nothing too serious, and I didn’t even know what that meant for the the first 2). It worked great for us. It wasn’t easy at first, but neither is potty training/

  • Amanda Stanley

    Having a cuddly baby makes it so much harder to sleep train! Specially if you breast feed. It’s so comforting to both the parent and child to have some nice cuddling and easy feeding. I Ferberized my girl at 3 months but I really miss sleeping with her. I do have to say that co-sleeping put a big strain on our marital bed though.

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