Help! I am so frustrated! Sleep is a major problem in our house and I don't know if it's just a phase my boys are going through, or if I missed the boat two months ago and am stuck in bedtime hell.
Some background: My boys are 5.5 months (born at 40 weeks). One baby was really colicky for 3 months. Once that eased off, I was able to nurse them to sleep within 20 minutes, or we could walk them to sleep. Sometimes, especially for naps, I was able to just lay them down in the crib and they'd drift off to sleep with my hand on their chests. I thought we had bedtime down well with an hour-long routine, but they were intermittent nappers and I wasn't able to get anything done during the day, so I started to focus on that and getting them to sleep for more than 2 hour stretches at night. For a very brief while, they were napping 1.5 hours in the morning and 2-2.5 hours in the afternoon. Then it all went to hell!
I've given up trying to keep them asleep for more than an hour at a time during the day and just put them down 3 or 4 times a day when they start getting cranky. At night, I'm up 7-12 times with one or both babies. But what is wearing on me most is bedtime. I try to follow the NCSS suggestions about not nursing them completely to sleep, but it makes them angry if I pull them off when they're drowsy, but not asleep. However, we can't seem to walk them or pat them to sleep anymore either! I know that it would be so much easier if there weren't two of them feeding off each other, but I can't really help that.
Both babies have started refusing my husband's attempts to comfort them and all they want is to nurse, even if it doesn't put them to sleep. They'll nurse themselves sick! I don't know what to do anymore. I feel so defeated! It seems like no matter what I do, I can't create positive sleep associations for them.
Tonight it took 3 hours to get them to bed. At one point they were both screaming and I was worried I'd hurt one of them because I was so frustrated. I had to leave the room. They yelled for 5 or 10 minutes before I went back in and tried to nurse them to sleep. One of them drifted off, but a minute or two after I laid the other one down, he woke up screaming again. Then they won't calm down until they're reassured I'm there. They don't want my husband.
I feel so trapped! I hate bedtime! My birthday and our anniversary are this week and I remember thinking back when they were born that this would probably be a good time for my husband and I to leave them with my mother for the first time so we could go out to dinner, but I can't see that happening anytime soon. These boys have the sweetest daytime disposition, so why are they terrors at bedtime? What am I missing? I feel like I'm failing them, and myself. Help, please!