We don't let our kids cry it out. Recent research has come out saying how Ferberizing a child is dangerous, though I have always felt that letting a child cry alone in their room was not just damaging to the child, but to me as a mom. So we never did it.
This doesn't mean my twins don't ever cry. They do -- they are kids. It just means we don't leave them in a room alone to cry until they fall asleep. It also doesn't mean we never sleep. We do. Soundly. Mostly. Though we have worked out a unique way to keep our sanity and the kids happy, and get some zzzzs.
This is what we do ...
We actually have many steps and procedures we go through depending on the situation and the time the "situation" occurs. The "situation" meaning the blood-curdling scream that suddenly bursts out of my daughter's mouth. Or the super sad pout that comes from my son. (Thankfully they usually don't wake the other one up and it's just a one crier situation.)
Oh and we do co-sleep since it's just not something that works for us with twins. We did in-room co-sleep with a co-sleeper until they were 7 months old. But when we moved, our new bedroom barely fit our bed, so cribs in room weren't an option.
Mostly, it's my daughter who has decided that five "night night" books and a song just won't cut it. That and she must have a sensor that goes off because just when we think she is totally asleep, eyes closed for over ten minutes, I get up off the chair and she standing up wide awake.
So what we have done is made a "Mama bed." The Mama bed is a few blankets on the floor in their room so I (or my husband) can lie down and go sleepy time until my daughter is truly asleep -- even her motion detector. This Mama bed elimates the stress of waiting for her to go to sleep. My husband and I just accept that we will be in the Mama bed until she is ready. And it's become the perfect time for me to unwind. I have even fallen asleep for a little bit there. Or I add to that running list in my head of things I need to do. Or I meditate. It's glorious.
To make this work, you need to have patience and a little bit more patience on top of that. There are nights this is more challenging of course. Sometimes things need to get done and the last thing I want to do is lie there doing nothing. But in reality, I am doing something ... I am helping my kid get to sleep without crying her head off. I also find it endearing that she just wants me there. Soon enough she will be embarrassed to kiss me and moving out -- I have to enjoy this now while she's little.
If a cry out happens after my husband and I have gone to bed, we have a first responder (him) and a follow up responder (me). This means if one of our kids cries, my husband knows he is the first one to go in and soothe whoever is crying -- whatever that requires. Knowing who responds first is key -- this helps us avoid a 2 a.m. argument which can lead to resentment in the morning. If a week goes by and there is only a need for a first responder and not a follow up, we switch, and I become the first responder for that week.
If both kids start crying (thankfully rare), we both go in. And we make extra coffee in the morning.
We also constantly remind ourselves that this is a phase and it's not going to last forever and a day. Our kids' sleep patterns and needs will change in a few weeks or months, and new issues may present themselves and we will have to learn new ways to deal with them so that everyone is happy. And of course, what works for one family, may not work for another. This is just our solution to not letting our kids cry it out. And it works for us. For now.
What unusual sleep solutions have you come up with to maintain peace in your house? Have you ever tried the same methods I have tried?
Image via Raisa Rocha/Flickr