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what am I supposed to do? please, I need help

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
I haven't been around in ages. I'm sorry to come in and just post asking for advice, but things aren't going well at all and I'm absolutely desperate.

My babies (8.5 months old) won't sleep. They're sleeping 30-45 minute stretches at night. Both of them. I've tried everything I can think of. And when one wakes up, if the other wakes up too, there is absolutely no way to get them back to sleep. I can't nurse them together because they harass each other (pull ears and hair, etc.). I can't get one back to sleep and then the other, because neither will go back to sleep if the other is crying. They're at the point where they only want to sleep while being held.

Right now they are upstairs screaming in their cribs because I honestly had NO OTHER CHOICE. I can take one out of the room and get him back to sleep, but at that point neither will really let me put him back down to go get the other. I don't get anywhere. Even if I can put them back down, they wake up again 45 minutes later and it repeats.

On top of this, my 2.5-year-old is waking up multiple times a night as well. He had been doing great, but now he's back to waking a lot and has more anxiety (probably because I've been having more emotional difficulties myself the past 3-4 days; there is a lot going on and I'm very overwhelmed). I've spent the past two nights with a baby on either side of me and my older son at my feet, completely unable to move, and periodically dealing with babies who wouldn't go back to sleep. They do sleep better when I'm in bed with them, but I can't go to bed at 7 every night.

Can you tell how desperate I am? Any ideas? I adore these babies and I feel like dirt letting them scream, but I simply don't know what else to do.
post #2 of 49
: Maybe if you put them to bed in your bed to start with it might be better? At that age mine would wake at least every hour until I went to bed (they went to bed at 7, me at 11) and then slept pretty good (they have always slept with us, we don't have cribs). I often would just sit on the couch nursing them both until I was ready for bed. Mine also were all over each other with the hair pulling, pinching, etc. and it is really hard. I just tried to keep them away from each other as much as possible. Laying on my back with an arm under each baby and nursing worked the best for keeping them from bugging each other. Is there any way they would tolerate swaddling? They are pretty old for it but if you could get their arms pinned down that would help a lot, they probably would not go for it though.
post #3 of 49
All I can offer is an understanding nod and a hug. I feel your pain, and it WILL get better. I have a 2.5 year old who still wakes up to nurse 1-2x a night and ten month old twins who wake up every two hours to nurse, and wake each other up. Do you have a partner who can help you by holding one? I can't remember. I'm sure you would use this person if they were available!

Have you tried nursing them together in a recliner? My babies bug each other when I put them on top of each other to tandem (they poke eyes and scratch and pull hair). If they are both crying I put them both straddling one of my legs sitting upright and lift my shirt. They each can access and breast and there seems to be less "infighting" than when they are on top of each other. Even if they both don't latch, they are comforted by having access to a breast. You can recline the recliner and they can kind of lay on you, kangaroo style. It's worth a shot.

I can only imagine how tired and stressed you are listening to them cry. You are doing the best you can, and they know that. Good luck and let us know how tonight goes!
Jehan
post #4 of 49
Hugs Mama!!!!

I completely feel your pain!! I wish I could come over to play so you could get a break!! I hope you can give yourself permission to let everything else go so you can focus on resting when you can. I've had days of dishes sitting, covering every inch of counter space, clothes everywhere, etc... that stuff is just too overwhelming when you're so exhausted. Do whatever you need to do to get sleep.

I remember it getting somewhat easier at night when my guys could latch themselves on, and I could nurse laying on my back with them both attached. Some nights I wake up and they are both still sucking, laying on my chest after what seems like hours!!!

Please vent all you need to! I hope you get a break soon!!!
post #5 of 49
Oh, hugs mama! I definitely can hear how desperate you are, and I have definitely been there. Lack of sleep makes us all crazy!

My guys did this at about the same age, and when I stopped eating dairy and soy, it got much better.... well, they started sleeping for a couple of hours at a stretch instead of 30 minutes. And I second what an earlier person said about putting them down in your bed to begin with; I love having them in a bed because often, all I have to do is go in and lay with them and pat their backs, and they go back to sleep. Never worked in a crib. Even now that they have their own room, they sleep together on a mattress on the floor, and I spend the last part of the night in there with them.

I hope that helps; just thought I'd put the idea out there. If they're gassy and rashy, that might be an idea to try. If they're not, don't do it; the restrictive diet thing is only worth it if you HAVE to do it.

Good luck, mama. Try to get rest whenever you can.
post #6 of 49
Wow, that sounds really difficult . My two are almost 7 months and I do notice that we seem to be on a downward slope in terms of sleep. I've been waiting for it and your post makes me a little more nervous. Combine all the milestones like new teeth, starting solids, trying to crawl and fighting sleep and it makes sense but doesn't make it any easier.

I get really grumpy when I need to get out of bed to deal with nighttime wakings. Even if I'm not asleep at least my body doesn't have to move - kwim? That's why we are full-time cosleepers right now. Like a pp mentioned, maybe they would do better if you put them in your bed right off the bat? I nurse my two to sleep one at a time and when they wake up during the evening I can lie beside them and nurse them back to sleep. Some evenings they only wake up 1-2x before I go to bed, other evenings it's every 20 minutes. If we've had a few bad evenings in a row I say screw it and get the awake baby and bring them downstairs while I'm watching tv or hanging out with dh. Sometimes getting that break from lying in a dark room for hours helps and is worth messing around with "bedtime".

Do you have a partner to help out? My dh (when he actually wakes up after my poking ) takes care of our older two (who still wake up at night). If it comes down to it I can get him to take a baby. Sometimes I find it easier to kick dh and any older dc in our bed at the time to another room. I get more grumpy with lack of space and watching everyone but me sleep. Can you snag some sleep at other times? Last weekend, after a rough night dh got up with all 4 dc's and I stuck some earplugs in and went back to sleep for 1-2 hours until the babies were ready to nap.

When I tandem nurse at night I lie on my back and hold each baby in the crook of each arm with their body along my side. The only way they can touch each other is with their one hand and they can only really hold hands at this point. It hasn't kept them from falling back asleep yet but I'm sure it will at some point. Usually I can unlatch both but if I had to keep them in this position I would use some pillows under my arms to help elevate them.

My baby ds has a really rough time with teeth and sleeps a little bit better with a homepathic teething remedy. We've resorted to advil once too.

You are not alone and I hope things only get better for you. After a rough night with my twins I wonder how I ever managed to complain about night parenting one baby! Some nights I would give anything to just lie down and have one baby latched on all night long.

If all else fails, ingrain your babies happiest smile into your brain and try to pull up that image at 3am
post #7 of 49
Thread Starter 
Thanks everybody.

I'm on my own, no help. So it's hard when I have a baby on either side of my and my older boy starts screaming "MAMA!" in his room. Sometimes I just wake up in the middle of the night and he's standing next to the bed, but other times he wakes up crying in his room and wants me to come to him.

I had a crib side-carred to my side of the bed when DS1 was a baby. I think I'm going to put one on either side of the bed now, for each baby. It's all I can think of doing. That way at least I'll have room to sleep, and room to put DS1 if he wants to come to my bed. I did manage to get the babies back to sleep by tandem nursing them half laying down with one on each side, last night (later in the night; one did cry to sleep earlier, and the other was still awake so I got him and he was up for a while).

They used to fall asleep on their own when they were put down sleepy in their cribs, which DS1 never did (he napped on me and coslept). Then after they stopped doing that, they slept side-by-side double swaddled in my bed, and I switched sides to nurse them at night. Double swaddled like that, we sometimes got long stretches, like up to 6 hours once in a while! Then they really outgrew the swaddle--they were obviously pissed about it, and just broke free. That's when the big trouble started. That and they are teething (just got their first teeth a few days ago) and starting to crawl (Toby can a bit, Ari can't yet).

To be honest, I tried sleep training. Something I never thought I'd do, but I also never thought I'd have twins AND a 2-year-old who don't sleep, with me all on my own dealing with them, and be so sleep deprived that I don't trust myself to drive some days. Plus I'm applying to jobs, and it would be nice if a nanny could put them down in cribs for naps, and they'd sleep. But it was just traumatizing (to me more than to them, they seemed absolutely the same), and it wasn't working because although they were starting to fall asleep better, they were still sleeping 45 minute stretches. Ari once slept 3 hours. I didn't do this for very long, just a few days, because they got a cold. Part of me wants to try again and another part just can't bear the thought.

I did cut dairy, and it basically cured Toby's reflux, so that's good. But it hasn't fixed the sleeping problem. With one baby I could manage. It's just because there are two that it's so much harder.

I had another thought: I could put them to bed at 6:30 or 7 or whatever, and then when they wake up the first time I could just let them get up, and take them back to bed at 10 when I go. But really usually when they wake up then they are so exhausted, it's obvious they need to be sleeping.

I recently found out that a friend is expecting twins. I think it's telling that my first thought was, "oh wow!" and my second thought was "oh, poor [friend]".
sigh
post #8 of 49
Are your twins teething? Restless sleepers?

At 8.5 months, I was still swaddling my twins. I used a big, thin blanket for each, and when that was outgrown, I used a twin sized bedsheet. One of my boys still likes to be "wrapped" as he calls it, and will fall asleep quickly if I wrap him. I still swaddle my 14 month old. She can wiggle out of it when she's ready, but it helps her calm down and not wake herself up.

Oh, and swaddled twins can't harass each other while nursing, so you might be able to nurse both back to sleep at the same time!

And suspect teething. If it were me, I'd give something to help the pain associated with teething. oragel, hyland's teething tabs, tylenol. Something.

Good luck.
post #9 of 49
I was going to tell you what we did at that stage but honestly I really can't remember.... if that tells you anything
post #10 of 49


I'm going to second what sarahloughmiller said - I found my experience to be very similar (except mine did continue to wake through the night every 2-3 hours once I was in bed I think). Co-sleeping has saved my life. Not always comfy for me but at least I'm not up all night with screaming babies. Around 9 months old is when they completely outgrew swaddling and I separated them (the had been side by side swaddled and I'd swap sides of the bed through the night to feed whoever woke. I moved between them and had one curled up on each of my arms and would nurse them that way. Way more comfort-nurser twin basically did stay latched most of the night, every night, which was draining too but I feel it was the best setup for the time. Eventually I nightweaned them but they were 2 1/2 by then. I'm just so sorry you're struggling so much. I know how hard it is to do night duty alone - thankfully I don't do it full time but my dh is a firefighter and works 24 hour shifts so I've had a fair amount of DIY time and it is really, really trying to be the one and only so big hugs to you and a great deal of respect for you from me.
post #11 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2+twins View Post


I'm going to second what sarahloughmiller said - I found my experience to be very similar (except mine did continue to wake through the night every 2-3 hours once I was in bed I think). Co-sleeping has saved my life. Not always comfy for me but at least I'm not up all night with screaming babies. Around 9 months old is when they completely outgrew swaddling and I separated them (the had been side by side swaddled and I'd swap sides of the bed through the night to feed whoever woke. I moved between them and had one curled up on each of my arms and would nurse them that way. Way more comfort-nurser twin basically did stay latched most of the night, every night, which was draining too but I feel it was the best setup for the time. Eventually I nightweaned them but they were 2 1/2 by then. I'm just so sorry you're struggling so much. I know how hard it is to do night duty alone - thankfully I don't do it full time but my dh is a firefighter and works 24 hour shifts so I've had a fair amount of DIY time and it is really, really trying to be the one and only so big hugs to you and a great deal of respect for you from me.
I'm so sorry!

My girls just turned 1 and I still wake up probably about 8-10 times a night to latch somebody on. It is so hard and I can't imagine having an older child to take care of as well. That would have been the straw to break my back perhaps.

I second the teething. My one daughter is getting 2 new teeth and the past 2 nights she woke up for good after the motrin wore off to play and nurse from 4 and 5 am on...

I send you hugs.
post #12 of 49
My heart goes out to you. If I didn't have my DH at night I can only imagine how little sleep I would get.
I think you are dealing with a teething issue & agree you should try something for the pain before bed. One of my boys also started to have separation anxiety at that age.
I am in bed at 7pm because of the co-sleeping but can see a light at the end of the tunnel where I will be able to put them down and return later in the evening. That said, with the night nursing, wakings etc...I kind of need that extra time in bed since I still don't get 8hrs and rarely more then 2 hours in a row. (mine are 12 months)
Good luck and remember it does get easier.
post #13 of 49
This happened last night - it was total heck. I thought this round of teething was over, after spending two weeks of me waking up every hour with one of them, it was followed by two nights of five hours of sleep in a row. Then last night it was all shot to heck. I am so grumpy during the day - to them and my dh. It stinks. I feel that the older they get, the less understanding others are of how frazzled I still am, how I still need help etc. Everyone just assumes that they are sttn now, and they aren't and I'm still just as tired as I was when they were nb. So to add it all up, I haven't slept in well over a year (couldn't sleep starting at about month 4 of preg). I give motrin at night. I do hyland's during the day. What about a dream feed? Sounds like you've decided to side car but what about mattresses on the floor so the 4 of you can sleep together when older dc wants cuddles too? Hope it gets better soon.
post #14 of 49
Another idea - not sure where you live, but we have found that ds sleeps better when it is bordering on hot in his room. We can't turn the therm up to 80 degrees, but have a space heater in his room, on a desk, used only when both babies are in cribs.
post #15 of 49
Was last night any better?

I did not even think about this when I posted before but when my boys were 7 months old my dh broke his leg which left him unable to do anything at night. It was an incredibly exhausting time for me and I was often up with all 3 screaming during the night. I made a little bed on the floor next to my bed for older ds so that I did not have to get up when he woke (which he still did a lot). He was always thirsty too so I made sure there was water there. With him right there I could often talk to him and get him back to sleep. A lot of nights I just went to bed with the kids at 7pm because I was so exhausted with them up all night. Thinking back on that time in my life made me feel so bad for you I would say your best bet is to make room for everyone in your room so that you are not having to get up at all. I know even now (mine are 3) if they start in the other room they get much more awake when they wake up and are harder to get back to sleep but if they are with me they don't seem to and go back to sleep faster and easier.

I hope you can figure out something that works for you
post #16 of 49
Thread Starter 
I've been giving them ibuprofen before bed. I don't know if it helps. This has been going on for weeks, basically since I stopped swaddling them. I've tried to swaddle them again but it just makes them mad. I didn't want to stop, but they sort of insisted on it.

I was thinking of trying to put DS1's bed in my room. I don't know if there will be room for it. HE won't sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor, I've tried that.

I really can't go to bed with them at 7. I absolutely have to have some sort of break, some time to myself. I'm going crazy, as it is. I just don't know. I know that in another 4-5 months I will night wean them, like I did with DS1, and maybe get some more sleep. But since I'm so desperate, I might try nightweaning sooner...like now. Desperate is not an exaggeration. I don't want to end up in a psych hospital or something.

I appreciate all the replies.
post #17 of 49
Could you get some help for a few nights? Sometimes an outside person can give you some ideas that your brain just isn't coming up with. Also perhaps they could help, especially with the older one.

My boys also were HORRID at this age. I dreaded night time because it just would drag on forever and I would get maybe another 1 or 2 hours of interupted sleep!

The other thought: perhaps it is time to limit their night time nursing. I refused to nurse more than 1x a night at that age (well, twice for their night). 10 pm and 2 or 3 am. The rest of the time I would comfort them or offer water, but i wouldn't nurse. That seemed to help a little.

I night weaned them at 18 months, but i really should have weaned them at 12 months because that also helped a lot. They still wake up, but they go back to sleep after a little pat and drink of water (much quicker than nursing).
post #18 of 49
Oh Momma! My twins went through the same thing at 6-7 months. I just about lost my mind. They went from sleeping well to waking more and more. Eventually they woke every hour, staggered perfectly. Since they were feeding about 30 minutes each, I was getting to be up or semi-awake ALL the time. Then during the day the twins and I slept-walked through like, all of us clearly exhausted. And I "just had two." Can hardly imagine where you are.

I really hate to admit this, but my parents intervened. They came over one night and made me go to bed, almost physically restraining me. DD1 was crying and I was sure she'd wake up over and over. They essentially sleep trained my DDs. Can't remember how that first night went, but I had to admit it was a success. I had, and still do, have very mixed feelings about my parents' intervention, but within days were were all sleeping ttn. There's something so painful about those couple days of "training", but the thing is, the babies and I needed the rest. Well, I did start to wake at 1:30AM to pump, so that I'd have enough EBM while I work, but waking once v. waking however many times is a big difference.

Just wanted to share my experience. As an act of last resort, after trying all PP'ers good suggestions, you might consider night weaning / sleep training.

Whatever you end up doing, I hope you all get some good sleep soon!
post #19 of 49
I am so sorry, you sound so desperate for sleep! I really, really hope you can figure something out, sleep is so important for us to be sane mothers during the day. I totally understand not wanting to go to bed at 7, I have always treasured my time alone at night with no kids. There was only a couple weeks I went to bed super early and it was just the crazy situation I was thrown into suddenly and I just had to get sleep whenever I possibly could.
post #20 of 49
I'm so sorry, sleep deprivation is awful.

I'd echo the suggestion to somehow control their arms while tandem-nursing. Tandem-nursing is a life-saver, I think. I have my girls in a double football on the EZ2Nurse, and both of them have the arms closest to me tucked in at my side, and then I have two hands free, so I can let them hold my thumbs instead of bugging each other. I also encourage them to twiddle the loose latches at the top of the flaps of my nursing bra, if they need something to play with. Keeps them from pulling each other's hair and poking eyes!

It does seem that if you could get them to tandem without fighting, it would make things a lot easier. I hope it works!
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