Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Who's Training Who? A Sleep Story.

There is a battle of wills going on in our house, and the babies are winning.  They dictate every moment of every day- not that this is a terrible thing, but I feel like we need some sort of order because the chaos is driving me crazy.  This is a blatant plea for advice from moms who have been through the first few months of a child's life and lived to tell about it!  We are completely lost when it comes to sleep patterns, and when we should start to implement some sort of nap/play/eat/sleep routines.  Lulu at The Wild Rumpus has recently sleep trained her adorable Alex, but I wonder in Molly and Jack are too young.  Help! 

Currently, our day has no real structure.  The babies eat every 3 hours.  This is the only thing I can count on.  They will sleep for 30 minutes, then wake up fussy- but they generally don't sleep at the same time. I try to keep them awake for more extended periods so they'll have longer, more predictable nap times but I'm failing miserably.  Once I pick them up to console them (because if they're awake, they are often crying), they fall asleep for 15 minutes.  And then they wake up crying.  Again.  This is how we spend the day.

Our night routine is slightly more regular.  They eat around 10 and will often sleep for 4-5 hours after this last night feeding.  Jackson rarely wakes up first, but when Molly wakes to eat, Jack gets woken up to keep them on the same schedule.  I really want to let him sleep, but am terrified that I will be up every hour if they get out of sync.  Everything is more difficult with twins, isn't it?!

Please tell me if I'm worrying prematurely about all of this.  I know that M & J won't go to kindergarten requiring sleep in 15 minute intervals.    Well...  I hope not. 


  1. You are doing everything right!! A real nap pattern doesn't emerge until about four months (we JUST now have "nap times", believe it or not. Babies are tough at this stage because they're awake a lot more than when they're brand new, but they don't have any "hobbies" yet (ie, they can't play or suck their hands or look around at very much). So, you spend almost all of their awake time trying to entertain them.

    I think they're too young to CIO, but they're not too young for some gentle sleep training. You can try letting them fuss for a few minutes and see what happens. You may also want to focus on trying to get them settled without picking them up, or if you have to pick them up, without feeding them. This never worked for us, which is how I got stuck with the sleep association of nursing at the end of each sleep cycle. But, the idea is to think about your arsenal of soothing techniques: walking, rocking, swaying, snuggling, swaddling, patting, etc, before feeding them.

    I have no advice on the matter of having TWO to work with! I admire you! Just focus on the fact that this will pass and with time you will all be sleeping better and more predictably : )

    1. I think that's the frustrating part about this stage- they want to play and interact, but can't grasp or sit up. Entertaining them is a full time job!

  2. I have no advice to offer but will be reading what other people say because we'll be there all too soon!!! Twins are a lot of work! I didn't know how often two babies would eat and need diaper changes...add in BF'ing/pumping and it's impossible to get anything done!! I have a question for you-i think I read earlier that you are exclusively pumping? Is this so? If it is, what made you switch over? I'm rarely BF'ing simply bc it's so time consuming ESP when you need to follow up with a bottle later bc they aren't getting enough!! I've switched to pumping primarily and can pump enough for all day/ evening feedings and we supplement with formula over nigh. I'm looking for advice/curious how you arrived at your feeding pattern. I'm no site I'm ever going to be able to exclusively BF...

    1. I am so sorry it's taken me so long to respond to your question! Yes, I am exclusively pumping. Molly and Jack had a lot of trouble with weight loss and temperature regulation in the hospital. I started pumping so they wouldn't burn so many calories trying to nurse. Neither of them would stay latched for more than a few minutes, either- partially because they were a few weeks early, I think.

      I tried for 4-5 weeks at home to nurse them at least twice a day but it was so time-consuming! I would try to nurse one for 30 minutes, then bottle feed the second one. Then, I had to pump! Once that cycle was done, I had maybe an hour to wash bottles, pump parts and get ready for the next cycle. I was exhausted, and cried through every feeding. It was just too stressful, and they weren't getting the hang of nursing at all. We've all been so much happier since I quit trying to breast feed. I miss the bonding of it, but that's life with twins!

      We just started having to supplement a little, too. I'm pumping about 50 oz/day, but it's not quite enough anymore. If you have anymore questions, feel free to leave a reply, or email me!

  3. Oh I am so sorry. I remember my oldest was like this, nursing 12 times a day and night until he was 5 months old. I thought I was losing my mind. Letting them fuss a bit never hurts them. I feel for you, and remember this stage will pass, it is just that you are right in the middle of it so it seems never ending. Hang in there sweets, you are terrific.

  4. Hey there!

    OK, you'll get this because it is life with infant twins -- I've been trying to reply to this post for SO long but haven't been able to because, well, my twins' schedule is so impossible to predict!!

    So, I'd say that, at 3 months (adjusted for us), the boys finally started to begin to have a BIT of a more regular nap schedule. But, it isn't until now (4 months adjusted) that they're finally having slightly more predictable naps. We started keeping track of their sleeping patterns and it became more obvious when they were likely to go down. Mostly, I've found that around 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hour intervals between sleep are about the longest they'll go. And, usually 30-45 minute naps but we're starting to get some longer ones every so often (seem unpredictable, though).

    As to coordinating their naps? Yeah, some days it happens and some days they alternate. Which makes it nice to bond with them individually but I will NEVER get anything done.

    They still eat every 3 hours -- they're starting to spread it out at night a bit more, though.

    As for the sleep at night. Around 3 months I started letting them cry at 1, 2, 3 minute intervals. About two weeks ago, we started a gradual extinction thing with a 5 minute cry, 10 minute cry, etc. And, I have to say, it was pretty miraculous within about 3 days. Now they go down when we do our bedtime ritual and MAYBE cry for a minute or, on rare occasions, make it to the 5 minute mark, we soothe them and then, like magic, they're down. Starting to stay down for 5 or 6 hours at a time more reliably, too. Still not totally coordinated, but we're getting there.