When it comes to sleep training, you have to be prepared to deal with some crying. Now, I'm not writing this post because I'm suddenly an expert on getting babies to sleep at night, no way! I'm just an expert at getting our babies to sleep through the night so I recount to you now what we did to get it that way.
|The babies were initially fed through feeding tubes in their mouth or nose for weeks after being born.|
But, as two and three pound babies at birth, this schedule ensured they stayed full throughout the day. They were on Similac Neosure, a high calorie formula, for the first six months and we were adding a few more milliliters to their bottle every two days or so. I remember when we first started feeding them at home, we were doing just two to three ounces. Now they suck down full eight ounce bottles at eight months old!
After the babies were home for just a few weeks, we decided to start letting them wake us up at night to eat. We fed them as usual up to the 9pm feed, then put everyone to bed in their cribs and raced to our own bed to get a little shuteye before the first barrage of demands met our ears. We were so tired and so desperate for more sleep, we really hoped by some miracle they'd sleep for four or five hours straight. But the honesty of the situation is that these little babies were still tiny and plowing through food like clockwork, and we'd trained their bodies to expect food every three hours on the dot. Habits don't die easy! They woke us up at three hours exactly and I wanted to cry. But we fed them all and put them back down. After the 9am feed, we'd take everyone out of their cribs and start our "day" in the living room with pack-and-plays and swings and toys.
|Our high tech bottle warmer. :)|
|Trystan and Kailey at just a few months old, when we started bottle propping to feed more than one at a time!|
Then we took the babies to their four month pediatrician appointment and she readily gave us her blessing to pull out that last night bottle. "They can do it!" she said. She also warned us that it could be a bit trying and to be prepared for them to cry an hour or more but that we did not need to go in there. Let them cry it out. I must note it also helped that we had a video baby monitor the husband installed in the ceiling of the nursery. We could flip on our TV in our bedroom or living room and see all four babies so we knew they were fine.
|Our video monitor.|
By this time, we'd noticed about every two weeks our schedule shifted and the babies were ready for the next step. So about two weeks after we'd reached eight hour sleeps, we dropped to five bottles a day. This also meant the babies began sleeping nine hours at night because they weren't getting up as early. Our daytime feeding schedule morphed into bottles at 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm and 8pm. They'd be in their cribs asleep at 9pm. At this time, we introduced spoon feeding with the 11am feeding. We learned the best way was to give them their bottle first (so they'd get all their calories) then we'd feed them rice cereal mixed with formula. After a week of that, we began introducing first foods like bananas, sweet potatoes, squash and pears.
|Our liberation: feeding four at once.|
|The quads after eating carrots.|
I decided to adapt the same feeding schedule my fellow quad mom, Ashley, was using so we began feeding at 8am, 11:45am, 3:30pm and 7pm and would have them in bed asleep by 8pm. They easily made the transition and now sleep until about 7 or 7:30am then play quietly in their cribs until we come in to begin diaper changes and warm the morning bottles. Three more weeks and we introduced a second spoon feeding, this time working in more vegetables. Our schedule changed to bottle at 8am followed by rice cereal or oatmeal with fruit, bottle at 11:45am with fruit/veggie combo, bottle at 3:30pm then bottle at 7pm with rice cereal mixed in.
|I make all our baby food with fresh organic produce and freeze weeks worth at a time.|
|Six month pediatrician appointment.|
I am so happy we did it this way, it was not too painful and totally doable with our high order multiples family. Hopefully this inspires confidence or motivates other parents out there looking to get more sleep at night, and also helps encourage those with multiples that it can be done! Power to the sleep!!