Every mother has an opinion on sleep training and the best way to get their baby to sleep. There are plenty of books on how to teach your baby to self-soothe themselves to sleep and how imperative it is that you do not rock them to sleep for too long.
Well, I rocked my girls to sleep for almost 9 months, and they are the happiest, most loving babies I have ever seen! After 9 months, I decided they were finally old enough to begin to teach themselves how to go to sleep on their own.
I was never a fan of “crying it out,” for babies under six months old. I just feel that when they are so young, babies do not understand how to “teach” themselves to go to sleep, and I did not want them to cry to the point of exhaustion. If they were crying, it was because they needed me and I did not want them to feel like I was abandoning them.
Newborns cry for a reason, because they need something, and sometimes that need is just to be held. A newborn baby is not old enough to understand cause and effect, and at such an early age, they are not crying to manipulate their caregiver.
It is just my personal opinion, that I could not let my baby cry themselves to sleep for at least the first six months. It tore my heart out to hear my baby cry and I always wanted them to trust that I would be there, whenever they needed me. Now that they are older, and are beginning to understand cause and effect, I am ready to let them go to sleep on their own.
As always, the twin factor definitely makes things interesting. If we had just one baby, we may have stopped rocking them to sleep around 6 months, but I was always hesitant because when one baby cries, the other baby cries, and that raises another question, should we separate them into two rooms so they do not wake each other up, or do we let them get used to their sister crying? We decided to keep them together in the same room when we finally decided to stop rocking them to sleep, and it was a great decision for us!
So, yes, for the first 9 months of their lives, we rocked them to sleep for every nap and every bedtime, and I do not regret that choice at all. Of course, I had some people tell me that rocking them was the wrong thing to do, but for me, I still believe it was the right thing for us. Every family has to do what is right for them and their own family. As with everything in parenting, what works for one family, may not work for anther.
A few weeks ago, we decided they were old enough to understand that once they were in their crib, it was time to sleep. The first couple of days were the hardest, and the first night was the absolute worst, because I have never let my babies cry without consoling them.
The first night, the girls cried for about 12 minutes total until they finally fell asleep. We did go in their room during that time to rub their back and give them a hug and reassure them that it was okay. Each night, thereafter, for the next couple of days, the time drastically decreased, and now when we put them in their crib, they usually go right to sleep with little or no fuss at all.
I’m sure we could’ve had the same outcome of the girls falling asleep on their own, if we attempted “sleep training” months ago, but I was just not ready to do it nor did I believe it was the right thing to do during the first few months of their lives.
Honestly, staring down at my little girls, asleep in my arms each night, was an incredible feeling. I loved rocking my girls to sleep and I am so glad that I will always have those memories to cherish.