Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tuesdays in Twinland: Revisiting Sleep Training

The twins are still teething, and life has been a bit crazy lately. They STILL haven't had so much as one of the four teeth they're each getting cut through yet, even after three months of trying. Poor babies. :( Anyway, I didn't have the time or brain power to write a new post this week, so you get a recycled one from my family blog. :)

This post was written when the twins were almost 5 months old. We had just barely moved them from the pack n play in our bedroom into the nursery (I was a wimp and was terrified of having them that far away from me at night). And they became a sleeping nightmare...

Sleep Training Nightmares
Is it Tuesday yet? Because the UPS tracker on my Walmart.com purchase says the books will be here Tuesday. It cost me $23, but if it makes these babies sleep through the night again, it'll be worth every cent.

Whoever coined the phrase "sleeping like a baby" clearly never had one. A baby, I mean. Or two. Because babies? NOT good sleepers after they exit the "newborn" stage, turns out. Whoda thunk?

Ever since returning from vacation and moving the boys into the nursery for nights, they have absolutely, positively refused to sleep for me. I also have been trying to change their bedtime from 10-11ish to 7-8ish. Good moms make their children go to bed early, right? Besides, now that Neil's schedule has changed with school and everything, it just makes more sense to have them go to sleep earlier. Before Neil would get home at 10:30 and since I waited up for him, it made sense to put the boys to bed after he got home so that we could maximize our sleep. Now, however, Neil gets home anywhere from 7pm-midnight, and while his schedule is crazy, I feel like the boys' schedule needs to be more consistent. So 8pm is the new bedtime for them.

You know, if they'd actually go to sleep.

At first I thought it was being in the nursery. Even though they'd been napping in their cribs for about two months, I figured nighttime was different somehow. But after a week passed and they were sleeping no better, I thought maybe it was my milk supply. So we tried giving them a bottle with two ounces of formula after they fed. That was comical! You would have thought we were trying to poison the twins. Apparently they've decided they hate formula, and they absolutely refused to drink a drop.

I thought, "Okay, let's heat up some breast milk then." So I warmed up some breast milk. They refused that as well. I think my boys have become boob snobs. They just don't want to mess with a bottle anymore. Of course, they don't want to put in the work required to get a let down from nursing either, so feeding times have become somewhat stressful.

After some serious coaxing, we did manage to get each boy to down an extra ounce and a half of breast milk from a bottle. But they still only went 6 hours between feedings that night, so I guess being full isn't the problem either. Thing 1 especially has a really hard time relaxing and falling asleep on his own.

I just don't know what to do anymore. I am out of ideas. So I gave in an ordered Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins from Walmart.com. Stephanie, one of the NICU nurses and a mother of twins herself, recommended the books. I certainly hope they work, because I am exhausted! I think you are given special adrenaline or hormones or something to help you cope with sleep deprivation in the newborn phase, because even though I get more sleep than I did when they first came home (even with them no longer sleeping through the night), I feel more tired. Add to that the fact that Neil has started school again, and the only time we see each other is when I'm helping him with homework, and I am definitely ready for something to give.

My boys are little angels during the day. They coo and laugh and are so dang much fun. I love it! But at night, I just want them to sleep so that I can sleep.

Is it Tuesday yet? 

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I posted this so that any twin moms out there struggling with twins who won't sleep can know they aren't alone, and know that it DOES get better. Reading this post now, I have to laugh a little, remembering that time of life. But let me tell you, I was NOT laughing at the time. I was desperate and nearing hysterical status.

Now the twins are almost 20 months old, and are sleep champions--most of the time. We still go through rough patches, but using the Sleep Habits books, we were able to finally sleep train the twins. Now they go to bed between 7 pm and 8 pm, and wake up 12 to 13 hours later. They typically take 1 1/2-2 1/2 hours of naps a day. They are much happier. I am much happier. Daddy is much happier. It's amazing what good sleep can do for a family.

So to any moms out there, with singletons, twins, triplets, or more, who are struggling with getting their babies to sleep--I'm sorry. I've been there, and it isn't fun. 

But sleep training DOES work. It's a lot of sadness upfront. We eventually had to just let the twins cry until they fell asleep (and that method works amazingly well). A little bit of grief and pain upfront is totally worth it for all the nights of restful sleep you'll get later.

TWIN MOM TIP: Get thee hence and sleep train thy children! Seriously, go buy a book, read it, and get to work. I totally recommend the two books listed above. Try and pick a week to start sleep training when your husband or someone else can be around to help. The first few days are the hardest. It gets better!  
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2 comments:

Donna K. Weaver said...

Double the fun, huh? Sleep training. Is that what they called it?

Lindzee said...

haha. Oh yes, Donna. There are literally hundreds of books on the subject.