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feeling like AP is impossible...

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
with twins
With ds it was so simple- one baby in the bed, nursing every two hours or so, one baby in the sling so I could get a few things done & wear him down for naps...
With two, co-sleeping is hard. I am always worried dh will roll over on one, and I am sandwiched between two which is uncomfortable as I have little room to even move an arm (and we have a king!). The girls are waking up from naps 15 minutes after I put them down (yes, they are swaddled and we are using white noise, etc.) so if I have to pick one up and try to soothe her back to sleep, the other is usually crying.
I guess I just feel discouraged. They are too little for me to wear them both at the same time- they are not really big fans of the sling anyway- I am exhausting myself just holding one after the other all day trying to get them to sleep. My back is killing me, and I am really tempted to say forget AP and do some sort of sleep training
Not to mention that I have a 2 year old to try and give some attention to as well. So, HOW do you do this?? Is it realistic for me to believe that I can maintain my AP practices/philosophy in this situation?
post #2 of 35
i had my first babies on 8/8, and feel your pain! i'm a single mom, by choice after 15 years of infertility, and twins has reeally transformed the kind of parenting i'm able to offer. it's really hard and it's disappointing to miss out on the experience i'd imagined all those years. i'm looking fwd to reading what the more experienced mamas have to say!
post #3 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarbear View Post
with twins
With ds it was so simple- one baby in the bed, nursing every two hours or so, one baby in the sling so I could get a few things done & wear him down for naps...
With two, co-sleeping is hard. I am always worried dh will roll over on one, and I am sandwiched between two which is uncomfortable as I have little room to even move an arm (and we have a king!). The girls are waking up from naps 15 minutes after I put them down (yes, they are swaddled and we are using white noise, etc.) so if I have to pick one up and try to soothe her back to sleep, the other is usually crying.
I guess I just feel discouraged. They are too little for me to wear them both at the same time- they are not really big fans of the sling anyway- I am exhausting myself just holding one after the other all day trying to get them to sleep. My back is killing me, and I am really tempted to say forget AP and do some sort of sleep training
Not to mention that I have a 2 year old to try and give some attention to as well. So, HOW do you do this?? Is it realistic for me to believe that I can maintain my AP practices/philosophy in this situation?
Don't try to maintain some philosophy. Be kind, be attentive, meed their needs and know that this is a really really hard time for you. I was in that stage for a long time and had no help. What did I learn? I, and my instincts, are best for my kids. Not my impulses mind you, but my good mothering instincts that tell me to pick up a crying baby, to nurse on demand, etc...

You'll know what is right and loving to do. And you'll be drained and exhausted...your kids are really young and they need you.
post #4 of 35
I started with twins, so didn't have the one-baby experience to get used to - I just dove right in to being outnumbered.

And, true confessions here. I'm a fan of what works. What is best for the child(ren) and what works. For example, using a swing is very non-AP but for a while my son wouldn't nap without it. His napping was more important to me so I used it. Eventually he grew out of that need.

Sarbear, your twins sound too young to sleep train right now. I understand the desire to try something else, so hopefully there will be more ideas from others that you can try.

I recall several weeks of life with babies that didn't nap. Those were the toughest days, IMHO and in my short momma career so far (7 months). Fifteen minutes and there would be tears - meanwhile I was still fixing a salad to eat! So try a cradle swing and other than that, good luck.

You WILL get through this time and your babies WILL start to take better naps. Trust me. It goes slow - from 15 minutes to 30, then slowly upping from there (if yours are anything like mine were). And don't beat yourself for doing things differently with your twins than you did with your singleton. You have to - especially since you now have 3 to care for. Hats off to you!

Sorry to endorse a non-AP method on an AP board. Maybe you were looking for encouragement to stick to the methods. But as you see, multiples are different than singletons and so (IMO) a little bending of the rules, or even major bending of the rules, can be necessary for survival.
post #5 of 35
Be gentle on yourself, Mama. I imagine it is really different with more than one baby at a time. As with the PP, I started off with twins.

My girls had a rough go with sleeping. At night they slept on our chests pretty consistently for the first 3-4 weeks, as swaddling and back sleeping did not work in our house AT ALL. Also, mine were so very awake from birth and rarely just 'fell asleep'. It always took a lot of motion - rocking, bouncing on the exercise ball, walking, etc. And then to set them down and them wake up again, AHhhhh! I remember it all too well, including the aching back. Do you have a tummy support band? That helped me immensely.

With us, the magic started at about 3 weeks when we began to place them on their tummies for sleep. That was the ticket to the start of better sleep for all of us. They were in a co-sleeper and at 2 months moved up to a bigger crib beside our bed. I was comfortable with tummy sleeping b/c it worked and b/c my girls had fairly decent neck control very young.

Up until 4 months, we used pacifiers for naps and sleep - this really helped to extend the naps longer than a few minutes!

If your twins are a fan of a swing, that can be a really good soother/napping spot. My girls like the fisher price nature's touch papasan swing.

Do you have someone who can help with your older child so that you don't feel as guilty devoting all of your energy to the two littler ones?

Remember that this beginning adjustment phase is short. You will get through it. You will figure out what works for you, your babes, and your entire family. Things got better every week here, but markedly better at 3 months, and then even better at 4 months. Hang in there!

And for what it's worth, my girls were way too fussy to be worn - particularly both at the same time - when they were wee bitty babies. They are much better with baby wearing now!

post #6 of 35
I believe you can be AP with twins - it's just a lot harder and it won't always be *as* AP as you'd like. You won't always be able to answer both their cries. Someone will get left out. But what matters is that you're as responsive to them as you can be. That's all you can do. They're still so very young. It takes time - lots of time (IME) - to grow into parenting twins. Try to relax and take it day by day. Have you seen this page of babywearing photos? You said that they were too small but this would be the perfect time to wear them both in a wrap. I'm sorry it's so hard right now. It does get better. Oh, and here's an article you might want to read.
post #7 of 35
yes, 2+twins nailed it. it is possible but difficult and *different* than ap with one. you have to loosen your ideals a bit, get more creative but it is sooo worth it, so totally worth it.
i agree that it does not get any tougher than that stage you are at right now. the sleeping ssllllloooowwllly gets better and you and your body get more used to things. my house wasn't clean and some days were pajama days. MANY actually!
wearing two in a wrap saved my sanity with newborns. even wearing just one, but a bit to the side in a mei tai, so that i could hold/nurse the other, too, was a lifesaver. after that it was all about getting one on my back so i could nurse the other on my front.
i remember putting a (at times fake) smile on my face to get through the hard times. i would wake up in the morning, say some positive thing, smile and get to it. i willed myself to do my best and to do it with joy because my son was always watching me, watching how i handled things, calm under pressure. i had little mantras to get through the bad moments... "breathe in i calm, breathe out i smile"
my dh was never home, military and no family anywhere near us. you will get through this and you will learn some things about yourself! i remember that feeling of accomplishment when all three kids were fed, dry, happy. felt like a superhero.
keep at it mama, your best will totally be good enough!
post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the encouragement ladies. I think the reality is just setting in for me that parenting these girls is gonna be really different from parenting my son...

About wearing both, I have a wrap that I used all the time w/ds, but I don't know how I would wear 2 in it? Could you describe how you did it- or maybe a pic?
post #9 of 35
pics in post #6
and isn't there a wearing multiples forum/sticky here at mdc on the babywearing forum? thebabywearer.com has a wearing multiples forum, too.
post #10 of 35
What is attachment parenting to you? And what does it look like to you? I have come across other names for parenting styles that I like, and a different phrase might help you to welcome some new ideas. I like the "connected parenting" philosophy. It's about trusting your instinct, and looking at ways to be creative and parent the best you can.
I personally can't think of anything more delicious than sleeping with babies. I also love nursing them and nuzzling my nose into their heads and just breathing baby. I love having at least one baby on me when we're out and about, and absent-mindedly bending my head to kiss that baby every 30 seconds or so. I love bouncing with baby in my arms, or swaying. I find myself in checkout lines at the grocery store bouncing or swaying if I have to wait and I don't have both babies with me. My daughters are somewhere in my every thought, my every motivation, and my every breath. I love them fiercely and would do anything for them.
That being said, that's not the hard part, is it? It's the hours on end of inconsolable crying, that just starts up in the second baby once you've calmed the other. It's the growth spurt nursing where you just want to cry (or do), because you just so wanted to make some food for yourself, but you are stuck on the couch. It's the car rides with the screaming and the blood pressure rising high enough to explode out of the roof.
You know you love your babies, and if you trust your instincts (and some other wise twin mamas), this too shall pass and maybe your "attachment" parenting won't look like someone else's, but you have to make your choices to see what best serves your family.
Just a couple practical things: I sleep with both babies next to eachother, and sit up to tandem nurse them. If one is having a hard time sleeping, I'll move her next to me and let her nurse and sleep. I don't like being in the middle of the two babies, as I don't relax as well. I would totally use a swing to get your babies to sleep, as I think that finding ways to get your babies content is important. I think the side to side papasan is best, as well. Since your babies are small, I would try the Moby wrap for those times when you need to hold both. You may be immobilized a bit, but you could sit down and read or watch tv, and rest your back, and they will probably stay asleep. I also agree with Kjoy on the tummy sleep. Man, they sleep sooooo much better that way! My DD1 was a challenging sleeper, as she only slept 10 hours a day, and you had to work to get her those 10 hours. Is there a babywearing group in your area? It would be nice to try a different carrier, as there are MANY out there, and you might find one that's perfect for you.
Lastly, I remember lamenting about sleep issues at a La Leche League meeting one time, and the leader encouraged me to ask people who bottle fed, or sleep trained what their experiences were. Let's just say, a baby is a baby and will cry and make your life sleepless for a while, regardless of anything Oh, and LLL meetings are a GREAT place to brainstorm ideas about your questions, and I'm sure you'd get to try a lot of great carriers too!
Good luck to you mama!!!
post #11 of 35
Oh yeah, and the two year old??? It WILL get better. To put it bluntly, that part SUCKS during the first month or so!!! Your babies will start to eat faster and sleep better, and you will have time for your little one
post #12 of 35
Mamaeliz nailed it! GREAT posting.

Attachment parenting twins is hard. I don't feel like any of my AP singleton friends can really understand and I've felt a little judged. When I start to get that panicked "OMG they are screaming AGAIN" feeling I take 2 deep breaths, remind myself that crying won't kill them, and go through the steps (again!) to try and soothe them back to a state of calm.

I liberally used my swing and the car seat (to rock with my foot). I got good at carrying them both. I felt like the less screaming the better was the goal so I did whatever took us there.

I'm just now, at 4 months postpartum, starting to get a handle on how to manage the twins and my older children all at the same time. The best part is that when they hit that magic 3 month milestone your 2 year old can be employed as "entertainer". I love to sit on the couch and nosh on my lunch while my older kids play with the babies. I have to watch my 21 month old or she does stuff like this, but for the most part it's gotten SO much easier this past month as the babies have gotten more interested in their surrounding. Just this past week I've noticed a huge difference in their awareness and ability to be left on the floor to "play" while I do things in that room or close by.

It's so hard. That first month-6 weeks was seriously difficult and I've had FOUR children all closely spaced. It gave me a run for my money and I actually felt prepared for the experience. Give yourself some grace, Mama. This is a very hard job with seriously intense on the job training. There is room between complete AP parenting and sleep training.
post #13 of 35
AP what you can and throw the rest out. I resorted to using two swings. I also had two bouncy seats that rocked or rolled back and forth. I had them going at the same time with my feet just to give my arms a greak. You're at the hardest stage right now and it WILL get better!
post #14 of 35
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post #15 of 35
It is hard. My twins are #3 and 4 and so much of what I used to do with my first two have gone out the window. I am trying to do what I can but they do cry a lot more than my single babies ever did. We've had accidental CIO where one cries themselves to sleep while I am dealing with the other baby (poop explosion comes to mind). But I do what I can to get to each baby as quickly as I can and do what I can. And having older children means that sometimes the babies need to wait too. We use a swing and bouncy chairs. I cosleep with them and while it's not always comfortable it helps me with the guilt factor of not being able to hold them as much during the day. One of my babies also does really well sleeping on her belly.

For the first 2-3 months I did wear them together in the wrap. I just tucked them in on either side in the upright position. Now that they are 3 months and 28lbs combined it's not feasible (for me anyways) so I am trying to figure out what I should do next in terms of babywearing both.

Take care of yourself and do the best you can. Your babies will thrive on that!
post #16 of 35
I have 3 mo old twins. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, mine miraclously moved forward and started sleeping better, going for longer between feedings, etc.

My AP with twins is to remain plugged into their needs and do whatever works for them. Mine sleep much better apart and not in our room (one twin is a very light sleeper). Totally different than what I intended and what I did with DD but it works & the babies are happy. One twin slept in a bouncy seat in the bathroom with the fan on for a month, but it stopped his crying almost immediately -- constant holding and rocking by me just didn't do the trick.
post #17 of 35
did most of you who note a change at 3 mo have your babies at term, or were any born early? just wondering if i have to think 5 mo insstead of 3?
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by celesterra View Post
did most of you who note a change at 3 mo have your babies at term, or were any born early? just wondering if i have to think 5 mo insstead of 3?
Mine were born at 42 weeks. I think that most developmental milestones are supposed to be age-adjusted based on EDD. Maybe you should think 5 months and then be pleasantly surprised if your boys seem to even out earlier! You will get there, mama, promise.
post #19 of 35
You know mine were term. I'm hoping that your boys will shock you and get there at 3 months anyway! <~~~hugs for each of you

To everyone having a hard time~~~>
post #20 of 35
I was just going to post the exact same thread! The first 2 weeks the girls slept like champs for 4 hours, ate, pooped, then right back to sleep. The next week was kind of weird, they'd only sleep 2 hours, and took longer to get back to sleep. It seemed like one baby was always up and I never got a break. The past week it's been really wearing on my nerves. I'll rock and bounce for 30 minutes, lay them down just to have them wake 10 minutes later! At night is better, they'll sleep 2 hours at a time but not at the same time, so I'm catching about an hour sleep every couple of hours.

I also have a 19 month old son. People ask me if I meant to have my kids so close together... Like I knew I was going to have twins! It makes me so mad.

My back hurts, and I'm tired, hearing it gets better at 3 months feels like 3 years.

One thing that does help, one of my daughters sleeps really well in a swing that swings side to side not just back and forth. The other sleeps in bed with me, I can nurse her at night and she usually stays asleep, but it's the diaper changes that wakes them up the most. And they poop about 3 times a night.

I've found that bathing them at night makes them sleep longer, or harder. Maybe because they do so much crying during it that it wears them out.

I love my girls to peices, but I feel guilty because I wish they had come seperatley. People always say "I wish I had twins" but they don't understand how hard it really is. I really love my son and feel like I'm missing out on a lot with him too, he's just starting to talk I wish I just had more time for them all.
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