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Something has got to give...going insane and my marriage is hanging on barely.

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
I just don't know what to do mamas.

I have 4 month old twins. Pretty much, every single day is worse than the day before.

So the problem...they don't sleep any where but on me. I have tried everything I can think of. They just don't sleep unless they are on either me or my husband. That's right, I spend around 5-6 hours a day in the recliner holding both babies for naps. Sweat pouring off of us, my three year old running around the house destroying things, etc. And at night, my husband holds one and I hold one. It is pretty much hell on Earth for me and my husband. We haven't been intimate in 4 months because we can't put them down to sleep. We are fighting constantly because of the lack of intimacy and just general sleep deprivation that comes from having twins in general.

I am nursing, but I have D-MER (dysphoric milk ejection reflex) and every nursing session is pretty awful. My D-MER manifests in rage and feelings of disgust/ self harm during double let-downs. I hate nursing, but that is a different thread. At night and for naps, I tandem nurse (even though it makes me want to throw myself off a bridge) them to sleep. Then my husband takes one (for naps, I just have to hold both of them).

What I have tried/ are doing:
swaddle
white noise
nursing until dead asleep
bedtime routine (dimming lights, massage, bath, the works)

It just isn't getting better. I need them to sleep anywhere but on me. I just can't do it anymore. The minute I put them down, they are awake. My husband is depressed, I am depressed, it just is an awful situation all around.
post #2 of 35
Thread Starter 
P.S. Thanks in advance for even taking the time to read that.
post #3 of 35
Oh nummies, I am so sorry. I wish I had some good advice for you. My situation is not nearly the same, but my once good sleeper now only wants to sleep in the crook of my arm while I sleep on my side and it's driving me batty. She does, however, nap in her swing and I am using that to get things done. Have you tried a swing? Another thing that semi works is everytime I put her down and she wakes up (which is often lately) I just pick her up and take her to the rocking chair and rock her back to sleep. I did this over and over and over saturday night. It didn't work great, but I got about 4 hours out of it. It must be so hard and so frustrating to have two babies that will only sleep on you, I just wanted to commiserate. I really hope their sleep situation improves soon so you and your husband can get some much needed rest. I also totally commend you for bfing twins despite all the issues, that also must be so hard.
post #4 of 35
I'm not a mommy of twins. Nothing I've experienced could match what you are going through. I believe there is a moms of mulitples board around here. I also know there is a real life group like that in my home town. They've been there done that and would probably have the comfort you need.

HUGS Momma! You are doing an amazing job! I can tell from you post!
post #5 of 35
I am really hesitant to post, because I only have one babe and he is my first and while he is not a great sleeper, we've never had a problem exactly like what you have.

But we have recently been making gradual changes to his sleeping (and he's 11 months old--harder to make changes than when they're younger) and he's accepting them. They are small though--switching from reading a book to nursing and then sleep (either nursing to sleep or rocking to sleep) to nursing and then reading and sleep. He wasn't happy about it the first couple days, but now he is going to sleep with almost no fussing at all!!! Before if he didn't fall asleep nursing, there was lots of fussing. The No Cry Sleep Solution has some good suggestions on small changes to make to get an in-arms (or on-body) sleeping baby to sleep in bed.

I have just been really surprised that my babe has accepted the small changes we've made and actually been MORE content with them!

I do have a book called "Bed Timing" which says 4-5.5 months isn't the greatest time to make changes to sleep. The next "good" time (they claim) is 5.5-7.5 months.

Anyway, I hope things get better for you. You can do it. You can persevere through this really difficult time. Things will get better! I also believe you can change things!!
post #6 of 35
First, You are an amazing Mom nursing twins and keeping up with a 3 year old. I have not had twins so can only guess what you're going through. DS was like this. Only slept on me but he mostly got through it by 4 months. He hated swings and bouncers and all the gadgets that are supposed to give you a break. That said, have you tried swings or bouncy seats? Some kids just love them? What about pacifiers. They're not real popular here but did work for DS. He also liked sleeping propped up on a boppy. Made me nervous and I would sit there and watch him or ask a friend to watch him sleep while I napped or got something else done.
post #7 of 35
I don't have anything useful to say....just wanted to say how sorry I am for you and your husband.

It sounds like breastfeeding is a real misery, and a truly daunting & depressing task. This may be a highly unpopular thing to say, but would you consider bottle feeding once a day for a reprieve? Then DH could help out too....

just a thought.

hope you make it through this quickly.

charlene
post #8 of 35


My DS was a HORRIBLE sleeper up until a few months ago. As a little baby, I held him for all naps. He woke up every 15-60 minutes all night. Up until 18 months old, he was waking every 1-2 hours all night long. He was a sleep fighter big time.. he'd scream and cry when I tried to put him to sleep, even though he was tired and I've NEVER left him to cry alone. Things were rough for awhile. He was extremely highneeds as a baby as well. BUT, there were times when I COULD.NOT. do certain things one more time, and I tried to make changes. And they WORKED. A few examples--

1) around 4-5 months old, I couldn't take holding him for every nap anymore. So I tried laying him down. Of course, as soon as he hit the couch/swing/bed/crib he'd wake up and cry. So I just kept trying. I'd pick him back up, get him back to sleep, then lay him down again. After a few tries, he let me lay him down. I had to lay him on his belly, though, and put pillows beside him so that he felt "snuggled." Sometimes when he'd wake up as I was laying him on his belly, I could pat his back and "shhh" him back to sleep. If this is something you want/need, you just have to keep trying. They will eventually get that they have to be laid down, but that you will be there when they wake up. One other thing you could try is nursing laying down, and rolling away and putting a pillow in your place. This is what worked for us once DS got older/heavier and it was too hard to lay him down

2) up until 9 months old, I rocked DS to sleep. By rocking I mean holding him really tight while he cried because he didn't want to sleep, until he finally gave up and would nurse to sleep. It was extremely frustrating. After 9 months of it, I couldn't do it anymore. So I tried something different. I nursed him laying down in bed, and once he nursed a little and then started rolling around/fussing DH picked him up and walked him around the room. He was OUT in 2 minutes. No tears, nothing forced. To this day DH puts him to sleep after I nurse him, and now all he has to do is sit on the bed and hold him. This also helped with naps, as I just laid down in bed with him and nursed him until he went to sleep. I was just firm about taking a nap (again, he was tired, I never tried to force a schedule or anything), we laid in bed and he would try to get out/play but I would just keep laying him down and telling him it was time to sleep. After a couple days he GOT IT and since then I just lay in bed and he nurses to sleep.

3) after 18 months of waking up every 1-2 hours all night, I was DONE. I was newly pregnant and exhausted. So I began nightweaning, via the Jay Gordon method, but took it a little slower. He recommends a 10 day approach, whereas we took about a month or so. The first couple nights, he fussed for about 20-30 seconds when I unlatched him from nursing and told him he had to go to sleep. After that, he would just roll over and go back to sleep when I unlatched him. Once we got to the "no more nursing at all at night" point, he did great. He started sleeping 3-5 hour stretches.

4) after nightweaning, we transitioned DS to his own bed with DH taking over nightwakings. He didn't even protest when DH went to him, and he began sleeping EIGHT hour stretches! He now wakes up 1-2 times a night, and goes right back to sleep with a little comfort from DH.

All this to say-- I had a horrible sleeper, with clear ideas in his mind about how he wanted to sleep. But I couldn't meet those wants, and so I made some changes. Babies/children can adapt to changes, as long as a loving parent is there to help them through, and as long as you take it slow/gentle. Be consistent, and be persistent. Things will get better mama. Even if you don't do anything, they will get better on their own! I totally understand the "i hate this but I'm too tired to make a change" state that you are in. I was there. But once I made up my mind that I HAD to change things, I did. And Liam did GREAT.
post #9 of 35

hang in there

I don't have any good advice for you, as I have basically the same sleep issues but with just 1 baby and it's horrible. Have you read No Cry Sleep Solution? I have read it several times. It isn't really working for us, but maybe some of her ideas could help you?

My sister has twins who are 15 months old. She was completely miserable and I mean MISERABLE until they were about 8 months old. Her twins are EBF also and it was incredibly hard.

I think you sounds like an amazing mother. I truly do not know how are you doing it. You are doing a fantastic job. It will get better.

I think around 8 months was when it became more manageable for my sister.

Hang in there!!! Great job!
post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by geo_girl View Post
It sounds like breastfeeding is a real misery, and a truly daunting & depressing task. This may be a highly unpopular thing to say, but would you consider bottle feeding once a day for a reprieve? Then DH could help out too....


I was thinking this too. I can't even imagine how exhausted and frustrated you must be! I know that most of us are on here because we believe in breastfeeding and all things AP, it is ok if something doesn't work for you. It sounds like breastfeeding is causing you great mental distress. I can't say I know anything about D-MER, so I can't offer sound advice about that. But it really really would be ok if you chose not to breastfeed because it is so traumatic. I know it isn't ideal, but this could eliminate one major source of stress. I know that decision is a very difficult one and it probably won't help with the sleep issue, but may provide you with some mental relief.

post #11 of 35
I also wanted to add--

have you looked into hiring a mother's helper/nanny, or having friends/family come help a couple times a week?
post #12 of 35
I have just one babe so I can't imagine the frustration x2. My DS would only sleep on me or while being worn until 7 months. Towards the end, his weight alone was enough to bring me to tears by the end of a nap. I made the decision that he was going to nap in his crib because wearing him, laying with him on me wasn't sustainable. I put him in his crib (on his belly) and sat next to him in the rocking chair and rubbed/patted his back and shushed while he fussed and squirmed and cried (just a little). I never left him alone and never stopped touching him and low and behold, after about 15 minutes he fell asleep. He only stayed asleep for 20 minutes but the next day, we repeated until he figured out that when he was tired during the day, he was going to nap in his crib. He still doesn't fall asleep without a little fussing and the mobility issue has made things challenging (he sits up, rolls around, pulls up on the crib etc.) but at least I have two hands (and my back) free for at least a little of each day. Night time sleep is a whole different issue for us so my advice is to start small with the naps. Don't be afraid to put your babes down and be there with them, patting, singing whatever. It's not CIO if you are right there with them. I think that for me, like a PP said, it was making the decision to do something differently and then just doing it. It sounds like you are at the very end of your rope so doing something differently can't be any worse. My thought was that I can be crying from pain at the end of a nap or I can be crying from exhaustion or I can be crying because I feel like a bad mama but either way, I'm crying so I might as well be trying something to make it easier for me in the long run while I'm crying.

lots of s to you, mama! You are doing the very best that you can. That's all you can do.
post #13 of 35
You are a real trooper for getting this far!

A pacifier might really help you--DD2 has one and she stays asleep. My neighbor just started giving her 4.5mo one for sleeping and it's made a huge difference.

Do you have a double stroller? Especially a jogging style one, the seats really cradle the babies and they feel nice and snug. You might be able to get them off to sleep with a walk around the block and then park them up in your dining room or whatever once they're off. Added benefit is you and your 3yo get some exercise and fresh air!

With the holding them thing, I personally would just stop. Of course you don't want your babies to be distressed but there is a limit to what you can handle and it sounds like your family has reached that limit. As ladycatherine says, put them down. As soon as they cry, pick them up again. Repeat until your arms fall off. It does work, eventually. You could also try (since there are 2 of 'em) putting them in the same crib and patting their backs/singing etc until they fall asleep.

Good luck, I hope someone's suggestions work for you!
post #14 of 35
This isn't going to be a popular answer, but consider pumping or supplementing with formula if nursing is that awful. BFing is a great bonding, nurturing time btw mom and baby, but if you are in that much distress over it, then your babies are suffering too. BFing twins is an incredible thing to do, but not at the risk of your sanity nor your marriage.

Do your twins sleep together? Can they? If they want a warm body next to them, can it be their sibling? I'm not sure if there are risks for twins sleeping side by side. But it's worth a shot. If not, put them in their cribs, and sit there holding their hands while they cry. Let them know you are there. Start with naps and then move on from there. Little victories.

Godspeed.
post #15 of 35
is there anyone that can come help?? babies are hard!! i cant even imagine two. my MIL/SIL/mom/grandma were huge helps, they could all get the baby to sleep without nursing at that age (after they nursed and i was sure they were full i felt comfortable handing them off). i also would not even bat an eye at pumping if you feel like it. i just always felt like it was more work for me personally. i am tandem nursing right now and nursing two at once is SO hard. youre doing so good mama hang in there!!
post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jend1002 View Post


I was thinking this too. I can't even imagine how exhausted and frustrated you must be! I know that most of us are on here because we believe in breastfeeding and all things AP, it is ok if something doesn't work for you. It sounds like breastfeeding is causing you great mental distress. I can't say I know anything about D-MER, so I can't offer sound advice about that. But it really really would be ok if you chose not to breastfeed because it is so traumatic. I know it isn't ideal, but this could eliminate one major source of stress. I know that decision is a very difficult one and it probably won't help with the sleep issue, but may provide you with some mental relief.


: If you could stop having those feelings I think you would be able to get through the rest of it and preserve your sanity. And also, try putting them in a crib together. My SIL probably would not have survived the first year, if they didn't sleep in the same crib until they got to big for it.
post #17 of 35
I also only have one, and a terrible sleeper at that, but I do agree with the bottlefeeding. Obviously nutrition wise breast is best, but a happy mommy is waaaaayyyy more important. And as a bonus, formula a lot of times helps babies sleep. One thing that helped me was repetition and taking baby steps (pun intended) like intead of holding him id nurse him laying down, so he could stay asleep and i could sleep there too, i started actually sitting up in bed, then slowly each time wed sleep id scoot further down until we were laying down, then to the crook of my arm, then finally he only had to be touching me, not actually on me. dont know how to apply it to twins, but maybe it will help. you are a trooper.
post #18 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much for the ideas, words of encouragement, and support. I really appreciate reading through all the responses.

The thing is, I would gladly hold them for naps if I could just get them to sleep without me holding them at night or vice versa. But all day and all night is just too much for me to take.

Nola79- I do have swings but they hate them. I don't know why but I have tried everything when it comes to those things and they just don't like them.

MommaCrystal- Thank you! I do have a board with mamas of twins and they are a great source of comfort to me right now. I was just posting here to get some more thoughts.

PacificBliss- Thank you so much. I have tried pacifiers (pretty much every brand on the market) and they won't take them.

Charlene and others who mentioned formula/ bottlefeedings- Believe me, I think about it nearly every single day. I had D-MER with my son but it was very slight and I only got a little sad during the very beginning of let-down. It is the double let-downs that makes me go insane. It is just too much stimulation. Anyway, I have committed myself to nursing for 1 year. After that I will be weaning with no guilt.

Catie- You are always such a wealth of knowledge in this area! Thank you so much for sharing with me. I am just starting to look into hiring some help for the babies. We are going to try to look into our budget because something just has to give here.

The No-cry Sleep solution- I have tried it, but it is just so focused on having one baby that it is hard to incorporate it into my life with two.

Maria- Thank you! I am going to try some of the things that you suggested.

alfabetsoup- We have a really nice stroller and one baby just hates the thing. I should mention here that the babies are very light sleepers and wake up at the slightest sound/ stop in motion. Why did I get two high-needs babies??

Bobbys- The twins only sleep together on me. I have tried letting them sleep together in the bed/ crib and they just roll into each other/ hit each other. They just don't have enough body control yet.

lookatreestar-Thank you! I don't mind pumping so much, but the problem is that I just don't have enough milk to pump AND feed both babies. My sister and a friend gave me some milk so we are working on them taking a bottle right now.
post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by nummies View Post
I am just starting to look into hiring some help for the babies. We are going to try to look into our budget because something just has to give here.
that sounds like a *GREAT* idea!

Is there any way you could find out about donated milk? Would the local LLL be able to hook you up with a supplier? I think that being able to give the babies a bottle (whether it contain BM or formula?) would be a great way to spare yourself the agony of double let-down....

what about putting one baby in a stroller and one in a sling/ergo/whatever to get out of the house?


gosh, I wish I lived a bit closer to help out...or at least commiserate!

charlene
post #20 of 35
I think the most important thing you can give your kids is an emotionally stable, happy mother. Maintaining a strong relationship with your partner is also one of the best gifts you can give your children. Truly, I think those two things are the most important. Breastfeeding is fantastic and has tons of benefits, of course. Co-sleeping is also lovely and a wonderful gift to give to your children. But if either of those things is making it impossible for you to be emotionally stable and keep your marriage on track I would make some changes. They need YOU more than anything else. Even more than breastfeeding and even more than being held for naps.

Try getting them to sleep on their own -- remember it's not CIO if you're there with them. Yes, they may cry, but you do have needs and right now you NEED space. It's not a selfish want. It's not like a mom wanting a newborn to sleep twelve hours so she can have a break. It is a need, plain and simple. Your babies will be better off if you get your needs met.

I don't know about D-MER but if I were feeling that horrible breastfeeding I would switch to formula at least part-time with very little guilt (and no guilt in hind sight, I'm sure). I think breastfeeding is wonderful. My 2.5 year old is still nursing despite the fact that I'm 23 weeks pregnant and it hurts. But what you're describing sounds like too much. Obviously you're the best judge of what your needs are and how much you can handle, but it's completely understandable if the breastfeeding is too traumatic.

You are an amazing mom. You really love and want the best for your children and they know it. But, to use the common cliche, put your oxygen mask on first!
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