Background: My one year old twins are exclusively breast fed. Around 6 months old their sleep got really bad. Most nights they would nurse several times a night and end up co sleeping. Co sleeping with twins is tough and lots of wake ups is tough, so we decided to trade down sleepassociations (link to isis parenting webinar. I don't think this is the one I watched but I'm sure it has the same info). Our bedtime routine was to nurse them to sleep and put them in their crib asleep.
Time for a new bedtime routine! We knew trading down sleep associations could take awhile so we wanted to get our good sleeping 3 year old singleton in bed first. We did baths. I nursed the twins with the lights on while Daddy and 3 year old showered. When the twins’ nursing slowed, I unlatched them. They both looked at me and I asked if they were done and they signed all done so I put them down and we got the 3 year old ready for bed.
We read a book together and said prayers. We relax our 3 year old before we leave his room at night. He wanted just Daddy in the room for that so I went and sat on the couch in our room in the dark and waited for him. I relaxed the twins while sitting on the couch.
Daddy came out of the 3 year old’s room and we gave the twins good night hugs and kisses and put them in their cribs. The crying started immediately. We let them cry for 5 minutes and then went in. The goal for the first night of trading down sleep associations is for the child to fall asleep in their crib with you rubbing their back. You can take them out of the crib and comfort them any way you like.
We each took a twin and comforted and put back in the crib. I could tell Daddy was getting frustrated with his twin so I reminded him we have to be patient and switched. Twin B fell asleep pretty quickly after that. A few more back rubs from Daddy and Twin A was asleep. It only took us 30 mins!!!
I couldn’t believe we were done so quickly. I figured they learned how to go to sleep now and are probably tired they will sleep for a long time. No. There were several wake ups before 11:30. Luckily it only took a few minutes of back rubbing to get them back to sleep.
There was a chunk of sleep from 11:30-3:00.
I felt guilty about night weaning them cold turkey. I had decided if after 3 am it was harder to get them to go back to sleep I would nurse them. Twin B woke up at 3:00 but pretty quickly went back to sleep and stayed asleep. Twin A woke up around 3:30 and Daddy couldn’t get him back to sleep so I brought him in the bed and nursed him and once he was asleep for 30 seconds put him back in his crib and he went to sleep.
Twin B woke up at 5:30 and took awhile to get back to sleep and then woke up quickly after so I brought him in the bed and nursed him. I think I fell asleep. No clue what time I woke up and put him back in his crib.
They were both up for the day around 7:30.
I’m honestly not that tired. I probably get that much sleep every night anyways. I’m so proud of my boys. They really did awesome. Every child is different but on average the first time you try to trade down sleep associations can take an hour.
Our plan is to do the same thing tonight. We plan to eventually trade down to just one person alternating rubbing their backs and we may even trade down to less soothing than that. It’s so different with twins. With my singleton we would rub his back for like 20 minutes until he was asleep. Can’t really do that with twins.