Someone once told me that the biggest favor I could do for myself was to put the babies down to sleep while they were still awake. That is now my go-to advice for new moms.
The E.A.S.Y. Schedule
I loosely followed Tracy Hogg’s "Baby Whisperer" plan, which is the E.A.S.Y. schedule. E stands for Eat, A stands for Activity, S stands for Sleep, and Y stands for You. Basically, she suggests that you feed the babies when they wake up, then let them play, then put them down to sleep when they get tired. While they are sleeping, you are to take some time for yourself. It is a flexible schedule that has nothing to do with strict time constraints and can be tailored to any baby’s eating/awake schedule.
In the beginning, the babies would wake up at 6:00 a.m., and my husband would feed them an expressed milk bottle from the morning before and then put them back down to sleep. While he was doing that, I would pump. When I was done, I would leave the results next to the bed and go right back to sleep.
The babies would wake up again at 9:00 a.m., and I would nurse them and get them dressed. Then it would be time for them to sleep again. After their nap, around 1:00 p.m., I would feed them and usually we would go on a walk, to the mall, or to a friend’s house. This eat/activity/sleep routine went on all day.
I knew during my pregnancy that I wanted to co-sleep the babies. They had been together for nine months; why would I want to separate them? I felt that if I co-slept them, they would sleep better and be happier. They were sharing a room anyway, so they needed to be used to each other’s sounds and sleep patterns.
For the first five months, I would swaddle them tightly, give them pacifiers, and put them down for naps while they were awake but showing signs of sleepiness. I put them together in the bassinet or on the guest bed on the main level of the house. They would be awake for a few minutes but then would fall asleep for an hour or two. At that point, they could sleep through most noise and seemed to relish sleeping next to each other.
At night, I would swaddle them, give them pacifiers, and put them down together in one crib with a white noise machine on and the ceiling fan set to low. I had read somewhere that a fan in the room might prevent SIDS. My son, TJ, would always wake up at feeding time. I would then wake Taylor and nurse her too. At 3 months, I stopped changing their diapers in the middle of the night unless they were poopy.
At 5 months, the babies were breaking free from their swaddles and waking each other up, so I decided to unswaddle and separate them. They now had freedom to move around, and boy did they!
TJ immediately started turning over and sleeping on his tummy. He slept much better that way, and I often wonder if he would have been a better sleeper in the beginning if I hadn’t swaddled him and made him sleep on his back. They say back sleeping is the best, though, so I probably wouldn’t have chanced it!
Taylor was sleeping through the night at this point, and we started using the Cry it Out method with my son, who was still waking routinely at 4:00 a.m. I think that because they had co-slept, Taylor never woke up when TJ was crying in the middle of the night.
At 16 months, TJ started climbing out of his crib and into his sister’s after naps and in the mornings. Since he wasn’t falling out, I just kept him in the crib. I thought it was too early to move to a toddler bed.
We moved when the babies were 23 months old, and one of the cribs broke during the move. That day, I saw that someone on my Moms of Multiples site was selling two Pottery Barn toddler beds, so I called her up and bought them. We set them up and made a big deal out of the big-kid beds. Both babies were really excited to sleep in them.
The first night, I kept seeing on the video monitor that Taylor’s bed was empty. When I would go in to check on her, I would find her asleep on the floor. I call her my “helicopter sleeper” because she is constantly moving in circles when she sleeps. Without her crib railings, she was falling out of the bed frequently. She was also falling out during naps and waking up too soon and then waking up her brother. He is a bear when he gets woken up before he is ready, so that was a big problem. After five mornings of finding Taylor asleep on the floor beside the bed, I started putting her in a crib again.
From 6 months to 2 years, the babies slept through the night on most nights. If they were crying in the middle of the night, I knew something was wrong. Usually, it was teething, a dirty diaper, or wetting through their PJs.
At about 26 months, TJ started crawling into Taylor’s crib every night after I left the room. I would see it on the monitor or find them that way when I did my nightly check before going to sleep. In the beginning, I would move him back to his bed, but by morning he was in her crib again. Now I just leave him there. I figure as long as they are sleeping, I don’t really care where they sleep—as long as it isn’t with me!
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