Baby sleep (or lack thereof)

I believe all the little nuances with my twins can be traced back to eating and sleeping. The eating issue I think has been mostly solved, but the sleep – not so much. Help!

My little C is a bit high maintenance. In her defense, she has reflux. Weeks of eating issues have been somewhat solved by Zantac, a new bottle (Playtex ventaire), and a new way to burp (higher on my shoulder). So, this post isn’t about feeding. It’s about sleep.

Here’s something that’s going right and is probably cause for celebration: the twins have revealed to me a nighttime pattern that they’ve stuck to now for a few weeks. We do a feed around 9:00, try to stuff them as much as possible, in bed at ten-ish, and magically they stay asleep until 3.30-4:30. B even made it to 5:30 once. They are fed, and sometimes only breastfeeding is enough, and back to sleep. They wake up between 6-8. So. One thing is going right. Bedtime is in the rock n plays in our bedroom.

But the naps – oh, the agony.

There is no rhyme or reason to their naps.

B is actually a good napper. The duration of his naps are at least 1.5 hours long and sometimes up to three hours. However, there isn’t a pattern to them. With the exception of his first nap soon after waking up, I don’t know when he will nap. Many times he falls asleep on my shoulder after eating and then I put him down. But I’m putting him down asleep, which isn’t good I know. In addition, for naps only, I’m breaking the number one rule of sleeping – on his stomach. Here’s the thing – he has a flat spot on his head, and the doctor told me he can take naps on his stomach to help correct it as long as we are watching him. Of course, I was terrified to do this but his naps were more like cat naps and I was curious. So I put him down on his stomach in the pack n play in the living room, and watched him like a hawk. He LOVED stomach sleeping. Ever since then, his naps are on his stomach in my living room. I wouldn’t do it upstairs in his crib because then I couldn’t watch him. But that also means he isn’t getting used to his crib. These stomach naps are deep sleep naps. Hence why he is suddenly a good napper. I hate breaking this cardinal rule but I check him constantly and it was doctor-ordered. And now his naps are great. Just no pattern to them.

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B boy loves his stomach naps. I stand over him and bite my nails.

So that’s B. Now C here, she’s another story.

Her naps are horrible. Maybe once a day she will sleep 1.5 hours (usually the first nap) but after that and especially in the afternoon and evening, she cat naps. And by that I mean she throws major tantrums and screams while I try every position, pace the house, rock her, swaddle, pacifier…etc. And maybe after a while she will finally fall asleep, but as soon as I put her down she’s up again, screaming. She seems like the lightest sleeper as well. And the answer to B’s sleep issue won’t help her – she hates being on her stomach. Don’t even get me started on tummy time, another battle. I can get her to sleep. I have options. I could put her in the Ergo carrier. I could drive around the block. I could push her in the stroller. But I’m not doing that every afternoon and evening – that’s crazy. She becomes super overtired and then becomes so fussy. But she’s not naturally fussy, she’s just tired. And of course I end up rocking her, usually, so she falls asleep in my arms and that’s not good either!

I feel like we are developing some bad habits and I keep getting mixed pieces of advice from the Internet. The twins’ adjusted age is only 5 weeks. Shouldn’t they be sleeping all the time? Should I make the room dark for naps? Bright so they see the difference between night and day? They are too young to cry it out. I pick them up, rock, back down. But for how long? How do I get C to take a deep sleep nap? As I type this, she is cat napping on my knees as I rock them back and forth but at least she’s not crying. Last night at this time I paced the house, putting her in every position until it was time for the bedtime feed.

Then there’s the issue of getting them on the same schedule but when it comes to sleep, that seems virtually impossible. Should there be a nap schedule at this age? They are 10 weeks. And how do I get lil C to actually nap? And how much trouble am I in when I let them sleep wherever they will, since when I put them down in their cribs they wake up when their legs rise in the air? Currently I’m having good luck with them falling asleep to the vibration in the bouncer…ugh. Why can’t they just – nap?

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Yes, I even brought the bouncer outside. Fresh air seems to calm her down and she ended up falling asleep in the front yard. I’m not trying that at 8pm though.

And because I love them, and they are the best thing that ever happened to me (besides marrying my husband of course – did you see the sweet post he wrote? Made my day.) here are a few pictures of them just being cute.

Future posts I want to write – baths (ugh), tummy time (ughhhh) and endless spit up.

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3 thoughts on “Baby sleep (or lack thereof)

  1. robin says:

    There was a long time when they only took good naps in the stroller, and I ended up going on a long walk every day rain or shine (if it rained sometimes I would walk around the mall or grocery store, or sometimes just being in the stroller would work, so I could walk to a cafe and then sit while they napped). I really don’t know how long I did this but I know I did it for a LONG time. There were weeks upon weeks when Apple was only taking a long nap in the moby, or he would start his nap in the crib and wake after 30min and i would quick get him before Banana would wake, stuff him in the moby, and walk around the apartment until he fell back to sleep for another hour.

    Thinking back on it, it is really crazy.

    RIGHT NOW, the only one really in danger developing bad habits is you. Do what you need to do to get them to sleep right now, but remember that at some point you will be able to make a change and they will be able to learn how to sleep for longer stretches, and when that time comes don’t feel trapped in survival mode. I did always keep the babies on the same schedule from the beginning – waking one when the other woke (or soon after), feeding them simultaneously. I tried to keep them in sync just because otherwise I would end up with always having one baby fussing all day long, and it was way too much for one person to handle. Having them in sync means they fuss at the same time, and generally about the same things, so it is easier to fix.

    Before I make a sleep transition I always think the next phase would be crazy. “I can’t possibly walk them for naps every day, that’s crazy!!!” Until I found myself doing it. And when I looked into sleep training: “I can’t possibly race home to make sure they nap in the crib, meaning I only get to be out for 45 minutes at a time! That’s crazy!!” And yet, here I am. And it is actually pretty fine. It’s only crazy when you are thinking about it but not living it. Find a routine that works for you, and when you look back at it, you will see it is crazy. But in the moment, if it works, it is Genius.

  2. JustHeather says:

    I remember the times of not much sleep and how difficult it was to get Paxlet down sometimes and I was only working with one baby. I can’t imagine two, but would if it was what I had to work with. 🙂

    My best advice (assvice) is: do what works for you, right here and right now. Forget about all the people who tell you you are creating “bad habits”. The habits you create should be ones that work for you.

    I basically trained Paxlet to only take naps in his stroller (up until 10 months or so). It made it easy to be downtown and out and about, because I could just grab the stroller, hop on the bus and go. The bad part was on the days where I really didn’t want to have to go out in the rain or snow and walk him. Thankfully now at 1 year old, he sleeps quite well in his crib, which is good because he just wasn’t sleeping in the stroller anymore or at least it was hard to get him to sleep (so much going on around him). But when it worked, it worked for us.

    But, I still boob him to sleep, for naps and night time. I’ve heard how this is such a no-no and I’ll regret it later…But you know what, it works for us (except for the very few times I’ve been out when it was Paxlet’s bedtime…poor hubby).

    Another thing, from talking with my friend whose daughter had quite bad reflux, the daughter definitely had much more sleep issues. They ended up doing some reflexology treatments for the daughter, aimed at her reflux, and she swore they worked! It wasn’t a permanent fix, but going every so often made life much more bearable.

    And realize, they are only 5 weeks (adjusted) old… er, young. While this is stressful for you and you’re not getting much/any sleep, your babes are so tiny. Again: do what you have to do to survive and thrive. Work on routines later (I think we started getting one around 2-3 or 4 months). And definitely try to enjoy this time, even if it is not always so pleasant.

    Most of all *big hugs* You’re doing great!

  3. ozifrog says:

    I don’t know if this helps, but I found the patterns with j were there, it’s just the time he got up shifted. So when you’re looking at patterns in naps, check how many hours since they went to sleep and how many hours since they woke up. He was always a predictable number of hours from the START of the last sleep, if that makes sense? He’d have like a 3, 5, 4 hourly pattern, so he’d nap at say 9 for an hour, then 12 for two hours, then 4 etc. once I figured this out life was easier.

    Just limp along for anther couple of weeks, a lot of stuff that seems like the world is ending sorts itself out at the 6-8 week mark. The night time sounds pretty good already!

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