How we managed the 2-1 nap transition

I wanted to quickly post how we transitioned from two naps down to one. I had been dreading this and had read that it’s the toughest of the nap transitions for babies to make. At the time, I felt very limited by two naps. We couldn’t go anywhere between the hours of 8-11 and 1-4, unless we planned ahead to have the twins nap in the car. I joyfully looked forward to the day that they took one giant, long nap.

But what if, after making the transition, the one nap is still as short as the two naps were!? Ugh. I’m not entirely sure our transition is complete, but here’s what happened:

The twins stopped being ready and tired for their first nap at the ever-so-trusty 9:30. (This was rough at first, because they transitioned to two naps from three early on, at only 7 months. We stayed at the 9 and 2 schedule for so many months!) And then after a few weeks, 10:00 was also too early. We got into a rhythm of a 10:30 nap for a week or so, which would last until 11:45-12:00. During that time, I’d put the babies down for a power second nap around 3:30. I only let them sleep 30 minutes, max. And when they napped that way, they’d go to bed around 8:00. I knew this was just step one in our transition.

Then B started refusing his second nap. Even if his first nap was early and he woke at 11:00, he fought and screamed his way through the second nap no matter what time I put him down. For a week there, I drove around whenever I could just to get him to power nap in the car around 4:00. But then he stopped falling asleep in the car.

I knew we were on our way to switching over to the one nap. I even started pushing back the first nap a little later, around 10:45, and then 11:00, and then 11:15, assuming the transition needed to be slow and gradual (it does not). And right in the middle of that, the babies got roseola (with a high fever lasting a week….separate weeks). Two weeks later, they both got nasty colds that turned into bronchitis for B and a double ear infection for C. That was a week in itself. All this illness completely botched up any nap transition we were attempting and we just let them nap whenever they wanted to for as long as they could.

When it was over, I decided to bite the bullet and go for a normal-timed one nap. I moved lunch up a half hour to 11:30 and they currently nap around 12:30. It’s been over a week, and there’s no turning back now. Our two nap days are totally over. Unfortunately, I was envisioning two kids who take a three-hour nap. I don’t believe I have those kinds of kids. C has slept for 2.5 hours a few times, which is lovely and I will let her sleep as long as she can, but it doesn’t give me any rest if B isn’t doing the same thing! B’s longest nap now has been 1.5 hours. Most days it’s between 45 minutes to an hour. I understand that this isn’t normal. So either he’s in a bit of a Wonder Week (which supposedly at 18 months is a thing) or he’s still getting accustomed to this transition. Either way, I’m now regretting wishing for 1 nap. We’re on baby duty from 7:00-12:30, and then 1:30 until bedtime! Where’s the break? I’m really hoping B learns to nap for a longer period of time over the coming weeks. We’ll see.

The one thing I can say and recommend to anyone about to embark on this transition is to move bedtime way up. When kids first start taking only one nap, they’ll be tired by 6:00. It’s been a challenge for us but we’re attempting a 6:30 bed while this is still in transition. Most nights it’s more like 7:00, especially if they took a good nap. Tonight, after only an hour nap, we had them sleeping for 6:45 and it really should have been earlier. They would’ve easily gone down. And I’m sorry, I love those twins more than life itself, but there’s nothing more satisfying than closing their bedroom door at night and breathing a sigh of relief. The earlier the bedtime, the better!

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It’s tough growing into big kids!

Is it time for sleep training yet?

Yes, I’m thinking about it already and no, I’m not actually doing it. I just can’t wait. I can’t WAIT to sleep train these twins. My head is spinning, though, over the sheer amount of information out there on sleep training. Every “professional” out there has a method, and I’ve been reading up on them. They make it seem complicated. Check after 5 minutes, pick up, put down, pat, sshhh, pacifier, no pacifier, cry it out, modified cry it out, extinction. It’s just too much.  And what about the TWIN component?

In the past two weeks, I have thought more about my babies sleeping than almost any other topic. When you’re sleep deprived and it’s been almost 3 months…you’ll do just about anything to gain that sleep back. We have had some successes, some failures for sure, and I still have many questions, but the one thing I can’t wait for is when my twins are sleep trained. Bring it on. I decided to post this on both blogs to reach a larger audience because the more I google, the more I realize that every sleep deprived parent has their two cents to offer, or their own questions to ask. Figuring out how to make a baby sleep is a freaking math equation. This amount of wake time (WT) + this amount of overnight sleep – minutes of nap = perfect formula to get your baby to sleep, except math isn’t my specialty. It’s such an exact science. I pore over my babies’ logs and my notes on a daily basis, to figure out what I could change or keep the same in order to increase their my sleep. I just need to sleep.

This is how it’s been going down in my house as of late:

Successes: (Always start with the positive).

– 99% of the time, my twins only get up to eat once in the middle of the night.

– We have the babies on the same eating schedule and therefore, they go to bed together (ish), wake up to feed in the middle of the night together, and wake up in the morning together. While we always have to wake up a baby in the middle of the night, it’s worth it the next morning, as my sanity is saved. IF all goes according to plan, both babies then nap together, giving this mom a chance to stuff her starving face and occasionally blog. And breathe.

– (Not related to sleep) Playtex Ventaire Wide bottles have changed the way Lil’ C eats and that, combined with Zantac and her growing maturity, has led to way easier feeds. She still spits up, but she doesn’t choke as much and is coordinating the breathing and eating thing much better. As long as she is burped into oblivion, she has relatively few issues, and I barely even think about her eating anymore.

– Big success – we moved the babies out of our bedroom. B grunts and groans so loud, he was waking C up. I was up all hours, reaching my hand over the bed to rock a Rock n Play and slowly losing my mind. Now they are upstairs, in two separate rooms for now, and we have two monitors going in our room. But otherwise, it’s so nice. I no longer have to bite my lip in frustration when one of my dogs shakes her collar tags and it wakes a baby. All baby sleep is now on a different floor.

– We have implemented a bedtime routine. Although I was never one to give a baby a bath daily, I now do because it passes the time. Sounds awful but for now it helps with the fussy, before-bed stage. Granted they start screaming as soon as they are out of the bath, so I need to make sure bottles are warmed and ready, but otherwise, they love the bath. So baths, followed by lights off, no talking, work that Baby Shusher app, a big bottle, swaddle, a little rocking, off to bed. Upstairs, we’ve got their nap swings in each room and their Rock n Plays as well, and I use as much white noise as I can get my hands on.

– B is no longer a preemie. Well, neither of them are, but wow. B is 12 weeks old and a large 14 pounds. He’s a big, happy boy. C is a dainty 11 pounds of cuteness.

– They smile a lot and coo.

Fails:

– I swear the creaks on the stairs get louder EVERY time. I know exactly where they are and I try my best to avoid stepping on them but sure enough, I always do. I curse the stairs. My twins are the LIGHTEST sleepers, especially C. If I even move a single toe as I’m laying on the ground, rocking her Rock n Play so she can’t see my eyes…she opens her eyes. And fidgets. And wakes back up. UGH.

– On a similar note, why do my dogs have to bark at the UPS truck? And the school bus? And the kids on bikes? And the squirrels? And heaven forbid a dog goes by. I run in there as fast as I can but sometimes it’s too late – a baby wakes up.

– Babies waking up briefly might seem like no big deal but when they are overtired, and you’ve spent a half hour getting them down, one noise or interruption sends you right over the edge. Or maybe that’s just me. The power went out the other day for 30 seconds. But B was JUST closing his eyes…and his swing turned off. And the white noise. Guess who didn’t end up falling asleep at ALL and went from like 1:45 pm to 8:00 pm on no sleep? That was fun.

Nothing drives me more crazy then when a twin wakes from a nap prematurely. The other day it was B, now it’s C. It’s that dreaded 45 minute hump into the deeper sleep cycle. I don’t know what to do. If I let her cry it out, she’ll wake B, even though they are in separate rooms. But if I go in there, and mess with the pacifier, put my hand on her stomach, etc., she seems to wake up more. It makes me so mad. The thing is, she (or he) isn’t done with sleeping. They aren’t waking up happy and smiling, they’re fussy and yawning. I inevitably have to pick them up if the hand and paci trick don’t work, and rock them. I did it this morning with C on her first nap. 45 minutes later, she went back to sleep and I brought her back to her swing.  It drives me crazy because 1) it messes with her schedule for the day, and she’ll be constantly overtired if she doesn’t go back to sleep, and 2) it messes with the twin schedule I’ve got going on. Yeah, I know, deviating from the schedule is going to happen, and I’m fine with that, to an extent. I’m not saying it has to be down to the minute. But my free time, and my sanity, is at stake here. They need to have at least some overlapping nap time. Otherwise, it’s around the clock baby care, and I just can’t do it!

– BedTIME. When should it be? I’ve consulted the forums for babies at this age (almost 3 months) and the consensus is anywhere between 6:30 and 9:30. Well, we’ve tried both. 9:30 is clearly too late, so we learned that lesson, but when I try the 6:30, when the babies are so tired they can’t keep their eyes open as they drink the last bottle – they treat it like a nap! We learned that the hard way the other night and it sucked. Finally sitting down to eat, maybe going to sit on the couch, when B woke up, then C woke up, and it was only a half hour into bedtime. They thought it was a nap. Then they were WIDE awake, and we were rocking them to sleep for hours. HOURS. (This doesn’t take into account the explosive poops B had, all over my husband, or the projectile vomit all over the couch.)

– With the topic of when bedtime should be comes the topic of naps. My current question as of late is this: C wakes up from her third nap around 4:00. Should she have a 4th nap, or a super early bedtime? We tried the 6:30 bedtime, she thought it was a nap. It didn’t work. But it’s too late FOR a nap. See the issue?

– Let’s just talk about the couch for a second. We bought it when I first got pregnant and it was the best investment we ever made. SO comfy. Great for my 8 weeks of home bedrest. It’s the only piece of furniture we have in the house that’s new and not used. However. It has ENDLESS dog hair on it, and the residuals of dog spit, baby puke, formula (the bottles ALWAYS fall over), and B’s explosive poop. Our couch is destroyed.

Clearly we’ve got some great things going on, and some things I’d love a conclusion to. My last post was pure LUCK. I have no IDEA what I’m doing. I’m trying different things and hoping for the best. Good days and bad days. That said, I am SO glad to be home with these smiley babies. They smell good, they’re really cute, and I love (almost) every minute of it. I dread going back to work.

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