From around 2 months until around 8 months, the girls would not go to sleep in their cribs. They napped in their bouncers during the day and at night, we would fight to get them to sleep. We would bounce them in their bouncers, watch cartoons and try sound machine apps on our phones until they finally fell asleep around 10 or 11pm then move them to their cribs. This was not working for us. We were both tired and I was tired of waking up to a messy house that I would have otherwise picked up the night before.
I’m not against co-sleeping but it just wasn’t/isn’t an option for me. The girls were/are so wiggly and I couldn’t sleep in fear that they would shimmy or crawl off the bed (even though they were in between us). Also, two babies in bed with us? We’d never sleep!
Our problem wasn’t really getting them to sleep through the night. In fact, once they were asleep, the slept (and still do) for 12 or more hours. The issue was getting them to go to sleep. We were already doing a bed time routine and naps were finished before a certain hour, and even though they were VERY sleepy, they would fight it and not go to sleep at a decent hour.
One night, with a little push from my mom, we tried CIO (I don’t really consider what we did CIO but some might...and probably do). I’m not a fan of it but nothing else was working and I was willing to try anything. We put the very sleepy girls in their beds. Typically, one of them would be fine and the other would stand up and cry…and cry. It seemed like it lasted quite a while but in reality it was no more than 5 minutes and then sudden silence. She/they would lay down and go to sleep! The second night, the crying lasted less than 2 minutes and by the 5th night, we would put the girls in their bed and they would assume their preferred positions and go right to sleep. Even from the first night they never cried consistently, they would cry and then stop. I knew they were waiting to see if we were coming so we didn’t go in there.
This is our current routine:
- Play time
- Winding down period (usually involves an episode of MMCH or Backyardigans)
- Bed time
We don’t really have a set bed time for them but when we take the girls to bed, we prepare ahead and turn on their noise machine and lamp. When we take them to bed we tell them it’s time to go night night and when we get to their room we do night night kisses and put them in bed. Then we turn out the lamp and walk out of the room.
I really believe having the lamp on for my girls is key. It allows them to see where they are and that it’s a safe place.
We still have nights where one or both girls still won’t go to sleep and will cry (here lately it’s been because of teething). After a certain amount of time we will go get them and bring them back to the living room with lights out and the play area gated off. We lay them in their bean bags (replacement for the bouncers) and will sometimes let them watch another cartoon. Usually, once they calm back down, we can take them to bed and they will go to sleep.
And that’s my version of CIO. It may not work for all but it works for us.
How do you get your babies/toddlers to sleep? Do you have a routine?