I had a friend recently check in to see how bed times and naps were going with us, and I thought I would put an update here as well. I am not saying that everything that we are doing is perfect or works for all families (or kiddos), but it is working for us now, at 8 months old.
Overall sleeping is going much, much better. We are giving them each an 8 oz bottle with a little rice cereal mixed in at bedtime. Most of the time we are giving them expressed breast milk, but sometimes we do formula if I don’t have enough fresh milk in the fridge (we are saving our freezer supply). I will then pump right before I go to bed.
We are down to 1 wakeup at nights (between 12-1 AM), when I am nursing them. They can then last until 6-7 AM. At that point, we let them either talk in their cribs, or sometimes cry. We try to push off the first feeding until 7:30 AM, and we have found that sometimes the babies will go back to sleep in between 6-7:30.
Naps can still be a little unpredictable, but they are much better than they have been in the past. For about a month(6.5-7.5 months old), we were using our MamaRoos exclusively for naps, and it really helped us to get into a rhythm and routine. It also helped Audrey and David not be over-exhausted, which then helped them sleep better at night. Unfortunately, they have totally outgrown the MamaRoos now (too-long legs and practically twisting out of them), so we no longer can use them (they have sadly found other homes). We had to stop the MamaRoos cold turkey for naps and occasionally at bedtime, and we were worried with how it would go, but they took to the transition well. We are now getting about a 45 min nap in the morning (sometimes up to 1.5 hours), and another 45 min-1.5 hour nap in the afternoon. If we are driving around, they may also catnap in the car around 4 or 5 PM, and if we are home, I let them sleep in their cribs at about that time. I haven’t found that 3rd nap to be disruptive to the night sleeping. I feel like, if they need the sleep, let them have it!
We have done a modified “cry it out” (CIO) with the babies only recently. If they get too upset, one of us will go in there, pick them up to calm them down, and then eventually put them back in the crib. They may cry again, but they will quickly go to sleep after this (without fail, actually). Our next step will be to drop the one middle-of-the-night feeding, but right now I need that as much as they do or I will be too engorged and get even more clogged ducts than I am getting now.