Monday, April 4, 2011

Sleep... Please Help!

We need major help. I am completely clueless on how to get these babies to sleep through the night, or even 4 straight hours would be nice! I have read to much, tried to much, that I think it has been more detrimental to their sleeping than helpful. We have never been die hard Ferber fans. I prefer a less harsh approach, but this has not been working for us this time around. So we are seriously contemplating putting them to sleep and not going in their rooms at all till morning, which is a huge commitment. that means you are going to hear your children cry for unlimited hours in the night. I cant take it, it breaks my heart, but I really don't know what to do at this point. This no-sleep is really wearing on all of us in this house. But before I embark on this dreaded feat, I thought I would share what our night time currently involves, and see if any of you all-wise mommas out there have any other options or suggestions for me to try? please.

Tub-time, bathe babies and get Jammie's on.

I take Oscar into his room with a bottle, and rock him, feed him, love him, put him in his crib. ( he is usually awake when I put him down, but occasionally he falls asleep while I am rocking him)

Lola's turn to go to bed, same as Oscar... rock ,feed, love. put her in her crib.

Oscar usually wakes up around this time and is SCREAMING! I wait about 15 min to see if he will just go back to sleep on his own (occasionally he does) after the 15 min, I go in and re situate him because he is usually all turned around at the bottom of his crib, I give him his pacifier, pat him on the back, and walk out.

* sometimes that's all he needed, and other nights he does this for about an hour. I increase my wait time by 5 minutes each time I go in, so 15 min the first time, 20 the next, 25 the next....

Oscar wakes up, and I feed him he eats about 4 oz. I put him back to bed and he will go right back to sleep or talk for a little bit (like 5 or 10 min).

Lola wakes up, I feed her, she eats about 4 oz. and I put her back to bed, she falls right back asleep or talks for a little bit, but doesn't cry.

Oscar will most likely wake up around this time and cry, hard! I do that same thing that I do when he wakes up at 10:30 15min then 20, then 25.... he usually falls back asleep after 30 min of that. usually.

Oscar wakes up again, so I feed him again. he eats another 4 oz. and  I put him back to bed, he falls asleep.

Lola wakes up, feed her, she eats about 4 oz. put her back to bed, she falls asleep.

5:00-8:00 am
most nights, one of the babies will wake up somewhere in between this time and we will end up putting them in their swings , because by this point we are so exhausted that  I don't care where they are as long as they are not crying!

Babies wake up.

some more information that may be helpful to know:
- they both sleep in their own rooms right now, because Oscars crying was waking up Lola...
- they take two naps a day right now one at 11:00am for 2 hours and one at 3:30ish pm for about 1 and a half hours.

Like I said, WE NEED HELP! I am so done with this night time routine. I am open to any and all suggestions! i. need. sleep.

Sleepless in Utah
p.s. While writing this Oscar has woken up two separate times why!?


Leslie said...

Oh my goodness Cyndi, I would be DYING. I am so sorry that you are so sleepless! Sleep deprivation is the very hardest thing about having infants. I've never had twins, so I'm really in no position to give you advice, but I THINK this is what I would try if I were you. I would wake Lola up to feed her right after you feed Oscar at 12:30 (and I might try to eventually move that feeding up to right before I was going to bed myself--even if it meant waking them both up). As long as they're good eaters and their weight is healthy, etc., I would try not to feed them again until around 6:00 or so (unless their doc says they need to eat more frequently than that or it goes against your instincts). If they woke up in the meantime, I would do what you've basically been doing--waiting for a few minutes to see if they'll go back to sleep. If not, I would go check on them w/o picking them up, if possible. I would work up to the point where I would leave them be, even if it meant crying for an extended period (though I know that is SO HARD). Basically the goal is for YOU to set their feeding times, since on-demand feeding is so not conducive to a good night's sleep for you. Eventually (hopefully) they will stop waking up so much for a snack. And eventually (hopefully) they will learn to self-soothe and sleep more peacefully. Every baby is so different though and no method is foolproof. I'm hoping for the best for you!

Michele said...

We were so anti CIO that I knew I couldnt even look at anything on it, even when I was dying for sleep. A friend of mine suggested the No Cry Sleep Solution. We were lucky; our twins slept through the night in infancy but, once toddlerhood approached, threw that out the window, so we used the guide for toddlers, but she has a book for infants too. It SAVED us. Completely.

sunflowerchilde said...

I wish I could help you. We sleep-trained ours, which mostly worked, but involved crying it out to some degree. We basically determined they could eat every X hours, and if they woke in between, they got a pacifier. In the meantime, we decreased the amount we fed them every X hours (I think it was 4 hours). They honestly didn't care about reducing the amount of feedings, but they didn't like having to wait, and we had a lot of crying. Honestly, it worked very quickly, we didn't have too many nights of crying. The problem is, they've started regressing, and I'm not sure what to do about it. My son was sleeping through the night, and is now waking up once or twice, and my daughter sometimes slept through the night, but now wakes up at least once, ad sometimes three times, so on bad nights it's five times total. Really wish I knew how to handle it.

Twinside Out said...

AARGH! Blogger ate my comment. :( Oh, well, maybe it was for the best - I'm not sure that it made much sense anyway!!

I am so sorry that you are having such sleep troubles! That is so hard!! I hope it gets better soon.

We were in much the same boat (getting up sixteen times a night, putting the babies in the swing towards morning because we were so exhausted, walking around like zombies) until a few weeks ago.

I was very much against letting them cry it out, so we tried every gentle sleep solution book I could find. I really liked the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley and I wanted it to work for us so badly!! I think it would have worked for just Inchworm, but Doodlebug was another story. I know you said that you're not a Ferber fan - so I hope you will not mind if I mention this, but I am wondering if you are like I was, and just haven't read his book. It turns out I was completely wrong about what I thought the Ferber method was. He doesn't advocate extinction CIO at all.

It's still hard - there is some crying involved - but you go in often to check on them and let them know they aren't alone. It actually is very similar to what you're already doing, with the difference being that you make the intervals longer for each subsequent night. (So for the first night, you might go in after 3, 5, and 10 minute intervals; the next night, 5, 10, and 12 minute intervals). Within three nights, they were sleeping so much better (and we were too!!). I wish we had done it a lot sooner.

The other thing I was wondering is, what happens if you start to change the nighttime feeding schedule, by either decreasing a feeding until it is gone, or skipping one altogether? (Obviously only if your pediatrician is on board, and they are good weights, etc.) If you need to keep all the feedings, I would probably wake Lola right after Oscar's 12:30 feeding and feed her then, and do the same with the 4:30 feeding, and see how that works.

Sleep issues are so tough - every situation (and every baby!) is different, and what works for one might not work for another. I really hope you don't mind that I shared my Ferber story, but I was misinformed about it, and I was so desperate at that point I would have tried anything. Of course maybe you are more informed than I was and are still not a fan, in which case please forgive my blabbering about it! :-)

Keeping my fingers crossed that you can find some relief soon!!

Ordinary Girl said...

I feel for you! I could have written this post myself a few months ago and I really have no idea what you're going through because you have twins. I had a hard enough time with just Bean. She slept beautifully until around 4 months and then we had a tough time. Every time we thought we'd made progress, something else would happen and we'd have to try again. I also don't feel like the Ferber method is right for us, but I don't think there's anything wrong with it. I just feel like if I'm not comfortable with it, then it's not going to work. Here are some things that did end up helping us:

-When Bean learned to roll onto her stomach. She is a stomach sleeper and it revolutionized her ability to sleep longer stretches. I know you can't control this very much, but it really helped.

-Adjusting nap times. Bean had a 10:00 and 3:00 nap and I realized she just wasn't tired enough at bedtime. I moved her naps back a half hour and it's made a big difference.

-Adjusting temperature. Bean apparently was cold for awhile and this made her wake up a lot. We turned up the heat and it helped a lot.

-Having a bigger dinner. I thought she was getting enough to eat at dinner because she stopped eating but really she was just bored with what we were offering. I started offering her more things at one meal and she eats a lot more. Once I started doing this, she started sleeping through the night. I still feel like I'm dreaming and any minute she'll be up every couple hours again.

This really is one of the hardest things to deal with because it changes your ability to deal with everything else. Hang in there. I hope you find a solution that works for you!

Ashley said...

I feel you 100%! The thought of CIO was just terrible to me, but it works. We still have one wake up at least once in the night, but it's just one and only once. We just have to let them cry if they do for however long they cry for. BUT-we didn't attempt this until they were 11 months old (a few weeks ago) and I'm not sure I could do it at 7 months either but your night sounds TERRIBLE! I'm definitely not an expert, but this was hubbys idea and it has worked wonders so far.

HettyA said...

It looks like you have great support and advice, but I wanted to give you my input since we have recently went through this not just a couple months ago. Around the same age as your twinnies.

Usually Oakley would wake up a few times between the time we put her down at 8 and 11pm. It was horrible. She would then wake up kenzington and we both would be in there rocking/humming/soothing them to sleep, again.

Here is what we ended up having to do. Bottles with rice cereal or a couple oz of baby food with a bottle to top off to make sure they are nice and full through the night. We tried just being supper quiet and leving them in their cribs and patting their back. Eventually Oakley caught on and would just scream louder if we did that. Like you, we were getting exhausted with the 3 hours of trying to get them to sleep and then them waking up at 4, 5 and 6.

I told the hubs I never wanted to do CIO but there came a time I just had to. I wasn't sleeping much and my school and their schedule was deteriorating throughout the day because of our lack of sleep. So we did it, the first night was pretty bad I'll be honest I cried for the first hour. I just didn't like hearing them scream for me. Oakley was the worst and cried for a good 2 hours while K finally fell asleep and slept through her cries. They both were finally asleep after 2 hours, but at the normal time around 3am Oakely woke up again. Instead of going in there and helping her I just laid in bed. It's all I could do, cause I knew if I went in there she would just scream louder wake up K and then i'd end up doing the routine of getting her back to sleep. it took another hour of her to stop crying, but once she did , she slept till 8am.

Ever since that first night we have done the same, bath, bottle/food, story time, bed. We shut the door and watch a movie or do what we need to. It took about 3 days of them crying regularly to go to them not crying at all. In fact they love bed time now. They get very excited when we put them down and they even will talk themselves to sleep sometimes. They don't wake up in the middle of the night anymore and usually wake around 7-7:30. Get up, have a bottle, play for a couple hours then generally take an early 9:30 or 10am nap.

Now we open the door once they are good and asleep because I can't stand not being able to hear them well enough and we don't use a monitor since it just kept me up with their sleep noises and we are close to their room anyway.

Point is, I hear you completely about making them cry it out. But I will honestly say coming from someone who said they never would. It was probably one of the best things we could have done to get them on a great sleep schedule. It's even made nap time that much easier for them as well and they generally take about 2 hour naps twice a day.

Anyway, I'm sure I've left important things out but if you need any help or advice or anything just let me know! E-mail me what have you :). Our twinners aren't that far apart from one another in fact I'm pretty sure adjusted they are the same age. :)

MeAndBaby said...

Bathing can sometimes stimulate babies so try to skip a few nights or do them in the morning/during the day. I would give this more than one night to see if it helps. Even though they go down well, it could still wake them up later.

For the first feeding after they go down (10:30), let them eat as much as they will take (not sure if you are already doing this). Then for the subsequent feedings, offer less and less each night until they are eliminated. My pediatrician actually said to offer them "sips of water" in the middle of the night instead of formula. He told me this at the twins 6 mo checkup. It worked for one twin but not the other.

I use a cheap sound machine in the nursery between their cribs. I have it on white noise on a pretty loud setting. Besides the drowning out effect of outside noise, I think it calms them and reminds them that it's sleep time.

I know it's hard - I had one of your sleep nights last night and I usually have one twin who sleeps straight through.

For whatever new things you try, give them more than one or two attempts - a lot of the waking up at this point could be from habit. These things have worked for me so hopefully they will work for you too. I have a hard time with CIO but have a better time with it when it's just fussing or even yelling rather than actual crying.

Oh and don't try to shorten their nap times. I tried this early on thinking that it would make them more drowsy at bedtime. This community told me that "sleep begets sleep" and they were right. The better naps they had, the better night time sleeping happened.

sonja said...

I'd be curious to see your entire routine, from wake up til bed. How are their naps? If they sleep too much during the day this can affect the night sleeping.

Also, could you start spacing out feedings more even during the day? Try getting into a fairly normal routine of every 3-4 hours. If hungry at other times, play, distract, take a walk, pacifier, whatever to keep them from eating til 3-4 hours (whichever works for your schedule). Once the eating routine is predictable it will definitely help the sleeping.

I am thinking if you can then get them to eat a little bit earlier (give them lots of formula and maybe some rice cereal in bottle) -- say 7:15pm instead of 8:15pm, then down for bed by 8pm max. Put on a super absorbant diaper (our kids wear size 6 at night haha). Then don't let them wake up to eat -- you go into their rooms and do a dreamfeed 15 minutes before they would typically get up. Keep lights low, no direct eye contact, snuggle and bottle (let them eat as much as they want, add rice cereal for now to fill up some more until things are better. Lay back down immediately, tiptoe out (no diaper change either).

Now if they wake up during the night after that dreamfeeding (which I am guessing would be around 10-11pm), you can pick your options:

1) CIO (ok I hate this, we only did fussing, but I feel like the older they get the harder it is, they cry more)
2) fussing, going in to adjust pacifiers, pat back, cuddle for a minute, put back down, etc.

Whichever of these you can tolerate and works for your family. But do NOT feed after the dreamfeed. When they wake, if it's after 5AM, feed if you want or distract, cuddle till the set time you have decided to start the morning.

I think you'll be surprised -- after maybe a week of rough nights, you may have amazing sleepers.

Melissa Ann said...

The only help I can offer: EARLIER BEDTIME. If you can get them down to sleep by 6:30-7pm (even if that means bathing them every other day or during the day), then that should improve their sleep drastically. It's such a simple solution that it's hard not to try. I promise an early bedtime makes a world of difference b/c they're not too tired/worked up to sleep. I was putting mine to sleep at 9... and when we moved them to 7 they went from a schedule similar to yours to 6-12 hour stretches.

Megan said...

Hey Mama...first of all please know you are not alone. This is something I think the majority of us moms go through. The ones that don't have some kind of angel child! LOL!
I can def relate bc I have been in your shoes.
Good call on the sperate bedrooms. We have always had 2 a bedroom house so our twins have always had one nursery. Our son was the waker upper so he eventually started sleeping with us in the effort to not disturb our daughter bc she was and still is a great sleeper. So he has now been sleeping in our bed for about a year and a half (they just turned 2 1.2)!!! Crazy to some people but hey it works for OUR family so that's why we do it. All 4 of us get sleep this way! :) I would keeo them seperated until they both sleep soundly.

I was a nursing Mommy (for 14 mo) and so there was a lot of weight on my shoulders. With them eating every 2-3hours I got 1-2 hours of sleep at a time for about the first 4 months until they FINALLY dropped a feed and I got 3-4 solid hours. Poor husband couldn't do much bc it was all on me bc of the boobs! But my point is, I know your sleep deprivation.
I can honestly say I literally lost my marbles a few times. I have always needed a decent amount of sleep to function and so I found it very cruel that God would give me TWO babies at once! Hahah. Just kidding. But seriously, not sleeping can really make you a wreck. I was an emotiobal mess for months while they weren't sleeping. I was cranky and sometimes even angry or mean. Life is not a bowl of rainbows people! :)

I wanted to tell you to remind yourself that you aren't the first Mommy to go through this and we all live. Hopefully that gives you some hope! But I know while you are in the thick of it it's horrible and you feel like you might actually die. My best advice would be so KNOW...this too shall pass. One day they/he WILL sleep and this will all seem like an ancient memory. Hang on to that and just remind your self it's just a phase that will come to an end.
Also, I have a song that I love that helped me out a bunch, not sure if you like country but if you do give this a listen and really listen to the's called "It won't be like this for long" By Darius Rucker. :)

Do you think you could cut back his naps to 1 hour each? It's possible he might be getting too much sleep in the day. Just a thought, something to try.

Besides a paci, does he have an attachment yet to a favorite blankie or item? Around 6 mo they start to develope an attachment feeling and so you can introduce a special blankie or bear to him. That is what happened for my daughter. Around 9 mo she fell in love with this certain blankie and it has not left her side ever since. It's her comfort item and can calm her of ANYTHING!!! She loves to sleep with it. My son didn't get attached to his "boo" until 14 mo and now he is the same way. So that's a thought to. I know some books and other Moms see things like blankies and paci's as "props" to help sooth but if it works it works. I was never a "cry it out" mom, I just couldn't do it. But everyone is different.

I will pray that he sleeps better, like I said I know how you are feeling.

Praying in CA,

The Belka's said...

Cyndi! I am so glad that I am not the only one who's babies keep them up at night. My friend reccomended this fabulous book called "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. It has literally saved me, I cannot survive on no sleep. I started putting my kids to bed between 7 ish and 8 and it has made a huge difference. Also my little Maxwell was waking up every hour in the night out of habit and we had to break him of that and now he is doing so much better and sleeping through the night. Let me know if you have any questions or want to borrow my book. I hope that you will be able to get some sleep ASAP!

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