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Help! Must There Be a Freak-Out Before Bedtime?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Howdy Folks!
Papa to twin boys here (9 mo.). And, every night before sleep, regardless of the approach we take, or the naps they've had, or what they've eaten (still 98% bf), or the routine we follow, or where they sleep (we currently co-sleep, but have tried every variation except a crib), there is a major ear-blasting screaming match before they finally submit to their own exhaustion. We've tried waiting until the clearly exhibit cues of tiredness before coaxing them to sleep. We've tried putting them to bed at 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, and 10pm. But, now more than ever, they can't seem to go down peacefully, and it's beginning to feel like we're doing something wrong. We're not even asking for the "sleep through the night" bit. Since they're nursing, it seems to make sense that they'll need to wake once in a while. But, is it possible for them to have a peaceful transition into dreamland? I'm actually beginning to get worried that they will start to have a negative association with sleep because each night seems so traumatic. Generally, each babe is better when he is with DM (they seem to be going through the "I want DM and only DM" thing), but it is still a struggle either way. Nursing to sleep seems to work the best, but that makes it really tough on whomever gets chosen to nurse second.
Anyone had similar experiences? Any advice? Anyone had a totally opposite experience and have something to add?
post #2 of 7
Wow, that sounds really difficult. Nursing two to sleep must be very hard, and I'm guessing at their age it isn't really possible to nurse them both at once! I suppose you've tried everything: rocking them, bouncing them, etc. What about a drive around the neighbourhood in the car? I dunno.

I do think, however, that it isn't going to "ruin" them. If you are loving them, holding them, and comforting them through the crying, even if you can't do anything to stop the crying, you are still being there for them and they know that. You are helping, not part of the problem, kwim?
post #3 of 7
twins papa,
With our twins, our experience was similiar. Babes were mama's girls-my MIL called them the "glue sisters" because they were always stuck to me.

We became huge fans of "the RIDE" to put them to sleep. The upside to the ride is that mom can avoid tandem nursing (which she may be "over" by bedtime) and mom and dad can have a pleasant (mostly) uninterrupted conversation while cruising a dark street that doesn't require alot of stop and starting.

The downside is that "the Ride" can become addictive. In fact, the girls are 4 and we went for a ride tonight because things were just too crazy (dad chasing girls around the house trying to get them to put their pajamas on) and we were too tired for the story, im thirsty, i wanna watch a movie, look at my toe routine.

Also, I have guilt about wasting precious gas, but that's another
thread.

We also had some sucess with mom nursing one baby and dad giving other baby pumped milk at bedtime. This really only worked when they were very small.It became a bigger hassle to find time to pump milk.
post #4 of 7
Are you living in my house or just peeking into my windows at night? This is happening to us too...and my girls are 9 1/2 months old. Our usual routine is for me to tandem nurse them on the couch until they are both asleep and then for DH to take one and carry her to bed and I carry the other one. This use to work like a charm (as long as we were sure both babies were sound asleep) but lately as soon as we lay them down on our bed, they both either cry or pop up...wide awake. Last night it was after midnight before everyone was snoozing. On the very rare occassion the girls will let Daddy put them to sleep but they are also at the "I only want Mommy" stage so they have been fighting him lately.

Has your wife tried tandem nursing them in bed? I have found it easier to nurse them lying down now that they are older. I lay on my back and put a pillow under each girls' head and then prop them up on my arms. They nurse to sleep and then I pop them off and slip away. That way I don't have to transfer them from couch to bed and it's less hassle and movement for them.

Have you read the book "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley? It has wonderful ideas in it on helping little ones get to sleep and it's based on co-sleeping and bf'ing.

Good luck...and I hope we're both getting some zzz's here soon!
post #5 of 7
Wow. That sounds pretty stressful for everyone. to you

I second the recommendation for "No Cry Sleep Solution" for bf-friendly sleep techniques. But the other book I found extremely helpful is "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" (Weissbluth). It's a great book that talks about what you can expect from your child given neurological development and corresponding natural sleep/wake rhythms. We used both books together when dd and ds were around 4-6 months old, and they've been great sleepers ever since, and no CIO ever. I still refer to them all the time, e.g., most recently when trying to figure out how to ease the transition to 1 nap a day.

One thing that may not be popular, but to consider, is that they are overtired because they're not getting enough sleep (naps included). I found that the more tired dd and ds are, the more of a struggle falling asleep becomes. Of course there is a range, but if you add up the number of hours each baby gets per day, it should be *at least* 12-13 at that age, and probably more than that. I think dd ad ds, for example, got around 14 total at that age -- including two decent naps during the day.

When do they typically fall asleep? When do they wake up in the morning? (I wouldn't "count" nursing in their sleep as time they are awake.) How many naps? When do they occur? How long do they last?

I would also recommend using "No Cry" to eliminate any and all CIO as soon as possible. I think that makes for a couple of very uptight babies, worried about being left alone, missing your company, and mad as hornets about it.

As someone who struggled with sleep issues for the first 6 or so months, I can really relate to what you're going through, and also feel for your babies who sounds miserable about it too! Post back with more info and I'll try to help (re: questions above) some more if I can.
post #6 of 7
Aren't twins fun. My dh is struggling with depression for quite awhile now so I've had to figure out how to do it on my own. I also recommend the book Healthy sleep Habits. It is a life saver. It was taking me almost two hours a night to get them down. I was so confused and stressed so I checked with my ped to see what she recommended. Anyway to make a long story short. I moved their bed time early , developed a routine, and just followed it. Right now I take dd up rock her lay down, then go take ds up rock him lay him down and were down. The first few nights they complained pretty loud , but now everyone gets hugs and kisses and its fine. They are 10 months old and sleep through most of the time from 7:00-6:00
post #7 of 7
The book "Healthy Sleep Habits" is definitely NOT something any AP parent would wish to read, let alone put into use.

The author advocates CIO in the harshest of terms, suggesting that extra zinc oxide be put on baby's bum b/c you won't be responding to them at night even for a dirty diaper. Also, that crying for an hour is fine, as is longer than that at night if need be. Vomiting is to be expected and ignored.

It's basically the usual CIO garbage.
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