Friday, October 5, 2012

twin sleep help needed

OK twin mentors, I need some tips!

Question #1: How do I establish a nap routine? More specifically, how do I reliably get two babies down for a tandem nap when I'm home alone with them during the days? Right now, I am nursing them to sleep for bedtime and naps. Ideally, they'd go down tired but awake and fall asleep on their own, but it ain't flying right now and we have no plan to do any kind of sleep training any time soon, so it is what it is. During the day, it currently looks like this: I tandem nurse the babies every two hours, so approximately 5 times while we're on our own each day. Maybe 2 of those times, both babies fall asleep after nursing and I sit under them for 30-45 minutes until one or both wakes up and... "Oh hey, a boob. Don't mind if I do." They nurse again, and after that session, they stay awake and we play or run an errand or whatever. I have tried shifting the sleeping babies off of me and onto the couch or the adjacent boppy, but ALWAYS one wakes up and ALMOST ALWAYS both do. So unless we have somewhere to go, I generally just... sit. It would be nice to come up with a better system for obvious reasons, and I feel like one is staring me in the face but I'm too sleep-deprived to figure it out so... help me?

Question #2: Did anyone keep their babies in the same crib past 4 to 6 months? How long? How did it work, specifically? How were they swaddled/sleepsack-ed/positioned/etc.? C&G are currently sleeping in the same crib - an arrangement I love and would prefer to continue as long as possible. They spent the first 12 weeks together in a pack n play in our room, and then moved to a single full-size crib in their room, and now I can't imagine them sleeping apart. In the past week or so, they have started (a) rolling over and (b) busting out of their swaddles, which means it's time to move to sleepsacks and, I'm afraid, separate cribs. Am I wrong? Can we keep them together longer? Are they just going to start beating on each other during the night and waking each other up all the time? Or will it be like most developmental changes - a few rough nights while they sort out their new situation and then we'll go back to peaceful, adorable, twin-cuddling sleep? If we separate them, will it be tough on them? What was your experience?

I'm sorry this blog has become so neglected. I miss the running documentation of my life and the interaction with this wonderful community. I am in a state of perpetual envy over the detailed pictures Jackie paints of each week of her little guys' lives. I just cannot find the time. Being a SAHM is wonderful... and so, so, SO much busier than my day job used to be. Our water nearly got shut off this week because paying our bills was an online activity I used to do at work and, oh, hey, guess I need to carve out time to do that at home now! Anyway, I have a list of about four posts I'm dying to get to. I've been writing them in my head for weeks now so maybe I'll start some drafts on here that I can add to whenever I find a free minute or two. Writing them a sentence at a time would be better than not at all, I suppose.

Thanks in advance for sharing your sleep wisdom!


tbean said...

I remember going for our 4 month appointment and our ped. telling us that 4 months was the earliest you could ever THINK about a schedule for your baby. For us, a schedule (with naps in cribs) started to solidify closer to 6-7 months.

We started around 5 months to try and get them to napping in their cribs. (Prior to this they had been napping on me, in a swing, in a bouncy seat, car seats, stroller, wherever.) We also started to try putting them down drowsy but awake for naps. This had a varying degree of success for quite some time. I would say we started experimenting with it around 5 mos. and they really "got it" around 7 mos. so there was a long period of learning there. That being said, it was also at 5 mos. that they moved their bedtime up to 7pm and we started putting them in their cribs awake and letting them learn how to put themselves to sleep. So yeah...basically sleep training. So I'm sure the nap thing was helped by the fact that they were used to this from bedtime as well.

In terms of same crib, I don't know. It was also at 5 mos. that we ditched the swaddle (we didn't move to a sleep sack but it was July and 100 degrees out) because they had been busting out of it. I remember thinking, after they had been sleeping in their separate cribs for a month, that I could not IMAGINE how twins older than 5-6 mos. share a crib. They were just so mobile and all over the place....I couldn't see it working. Of course, our guys were used to sleeping somewhat separately, since Tiny had slept in the co-sleeper in our room but Lion was in his own Fischer-Price cradle (at an angle) for his reflux. So separate cribs at night wasn't truly separating them for the first time. You can always try them in a crib together unswaddled and see how long it works for. (I'd be curious to know how it goes!) And even if you do have to separate them into different cribs, don't be too sad--our boys still have all manner of "crib parties" (as we call them)--passing pacis and stuffed animals back and forth (their cribs are in an L shape in their room) and just generally having a blast, even in separate cribs.

Anonymous said...

Nate came home on a pretty established 3 hour schedule after two weeks in the NICU. And I didn't make enough breastmilk to exclusively breastfeed. And because of the NICU time, my two never slept in the same crib, so, take what I say with a grain of salt if you want.

We did everything we could to get them to go down at the same time in the same room in their own cribs. Honestly, it very rarely happened with both at the same time. i remember blogging the first time we got a simultaneous nap in their cribs. I think it lasted 45 minutes. No matter what we always tried for them to sleep at the same time, even if they weren't in their cribs. But it truly is intense chaos management until about 5 or 6 months. I remember at one point sitting on the floor with a bottle held under my chin for one of them and literally leaning over my knee nursing the other.

I guess what I'm trying to say is I think it's supposed to be craziness. It's crazy with one infant. Throw another one into the mix and seriously it's more than doubly hard. Hang in there, and I promise there'll be a moment where you realize "Oh my goodness, they're actually asleep where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there!"

<3 <3 <3

anofferingoflove said...

I wish I had some great advice, but our twins were on a very different program from the beginning (not nursing to sleep, sleeping separately...)
I hope you can find a solution soon, the current schedule spuds exhausting (for you). ((()))

anofferingoflove said...

Spuds?? Damn autocorrect.

Pomegranate said...

i don't have any advice about twin sleep, but as far as babies who only sleep on you, that was my internet time. the bunny has matured though and at 16 mos only sleeps on me in bed and only part of the time before he rolls over and does something cute like putting his foot in my face (i moved it so it's on my arm now). but it's still my phone internet time

Mama L said...

like anofferingoflove, i wish i had more to help. our boys slept together in the pack n' play in our room for only the first week after J got out of the NICU. J has always been a little spinner in his sleep and ended up with his feet in PB's stomach often ... waking both of them - and us - prematurely. we also wanted them to get used to sleeping in their cribs early on, so they were sleeping on their own in their own cribs by one month. it never phased them.

as for naps, we don't really have a schedule, just patterns (ie, their first nap of the day is always 1 - 1 1/2 hrs after they wake up). we've been strict about bedtime, but not naps because we like to take them with us everywhere we go ... so that requires a certain amt of flexibility.

we always swaddled them for both bedtime and naps until they started rolling onto their tummies, now they use the sleep sacks. we still use the white noise machine.

anyhow, not sure how any of that helps. i truly hope you're able to figure out something that works for them. it does sound tiring.

tammy said...

We also did a pattern like day, no schedule. And honestly, I did whatever I needed to do to get through the day until about 6 months! Reese slept in the swing until almost 7 months, we swaddled both of them even once they could roll so they'd sleep, and let them sleep in their car seats. We let them sleep in their sleep n plays until 6+ months too. They slept the best there.

When they hit around 6 months, we started trying naps in their cribs. We would swaddle for naps since that's what we did at night and then turned a fan on to drown out the noise of the house. It didn't always work, but we kept trying. Sawyer made it to the crib for naps almost 2 months earlier than Reese did full time. They didn't always sleept at the same time when we first started. But I just go with the flow, so that could be more me than them. :)

But at 13 months now, they take 2 consistent naps a day AT THE SAME TIME and go to bed together at 8pm! It does get better, you just have to do whatever you can to get through the tough times. They should start to go longer between nursing soon, so that may help too.

We never put them in the same bed. But they do have "crib parties" now and talk and laugh. Even though they've never slept in the same bed, they are super close and always "love" on each other when awake. Watching them sleep now though, I have no idea how they would be able to sleep together in the same crib.

Emily said...

We put them in seperate cribs around 3.5 mo when they were squirming in their sleep.

Luisa said...

I started implementing a routine at around 9 weeks. a time when I would have glady put my head into the oven if only it was gas! a friend gave me the Tizzy Hall book "Save our sleep" and I had to eat lots and lots and lots of humble pie for the years I had spent mocking her for sleep training. OH MOY SWEET LORD it was great - once the feed/daytime naps started to resemble some type of routine the nights also improved out of sight. with an active toddle at home it wasn't really an option for the boys to sleep on me so they just had to learn to put themselves to sleep. as to question 2 our boys were together in one cot until around 5/6 months at which point they were just moving around too much and annoying the heck out of each other to the point where noone was getting good sleep so they cuteness had to be split up.
re: home duties being harder than work "hells yeah" good luck to you