4 Month Sleep Regression

…is the WORST. It has brought me out of blog-hiding just to announce that it is worse than the chaos that comes with a newborn. Or two. The WORST.

Some people say that there’s no such thing as a sleep regression but explain that to Lil C, who has just about hit the sleep “rock bottom”, and this all started a good month ago. And Mr. B isn’t much better, he’s slowing losing it too. It’s awful. But what it does bring are new and cool things my kids can do. B is a few weeks ahead developmentally, but even he is starting to sit better, though still with help. And he’s grabbing toys and putting them in his mouth. C, she’s just starting to love standing on her feet, touching toys, and paying more attention to her little world. They try to sit up in the Rock n Play (a sure sign it’s gotta go soon, but that’s another story), they shove their hands in their mouths, talk non-stop and they’re growing. B is in 6 month clothes, just about 18 pounds, and he’s only 20 weeks. C is 14 pounds, in 3-6 month clothes.

So those are the good things. But the bad things just keep coming – naps have completely gone to hell, just completely. They aren’t sleep trained and C can’t put herself to sleep. She wants to be held and that’s the ONLY way she’ll sleep – which is great and all except I have another baby who also needs my attention during naps, if he wakes up. I spent 45 minutes today with my lips pressed to her forehead, bent over the crib. My legs went numb. And it worked – until I lifted my head. And bedtime is just mad – we’ve tried a later time, an earlier time, and no matter what, they pass out only to wake 45 minutes later, or in C’s case tonight, about 5 more times and she’s only been in bed for 4 hours. Like I said, they can’t put themselves back to sleep, especially C, so I’m bent over the rock n play, one hand on her head, one hand holding the paci in her mouth, rocking the thing with my elbows with my eyes shut, every hour for a half an hour each time. This is crazy!

And the newest, worst part of all? C (my big crier) will only stop crying for me. Not for my husband, not for anyone else. I’m trapped in this house. I’m running on no sleep. She wants my arms, my hand on her head and won’t tolerate anyone else’s. And if she doesn’t get that (like if I’m not home) she will cry until she throws up, which I really don’t want her to do. Since when do 4 month olds have separation anxiety? Ugh.

I keep scouring the internet, looking for some answer to this problem that I haven’t read yet, but it seems there aren’t any. If your kid was sleep trained before this, congrats, it won’t be that bad or last that long. If not, you’re stuck because you can’t sleep train them now, not until it’s over.

And I’m not going to be able to do CIO (cry it out) with C, she can’t calm herself down. She gets beyond hysterical REALLY quick. And they aren’t in cribs yet, they still get swaddled and she loves her pacifier. I am DOOMED when it comes time to sleep train. B – he’s  little easier but he’s outgrowing the rock n play quick, and the swaddle is the biggest size they make.

I just have this terrible feeling that the sleep issues will get worse before they get better and I am really sleepy and ready for a change, please.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. I feel better when the internet tells of people’s stories going through this hellish time. Like I said, worse than the unpredictable chaos of a newborn.

But they’re so darn cute. 🙂

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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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