I have eighteen month old twin boys, as well as a 12 year old daughter and a 10 year old stepson. I am still nursing both twins, both in the night and the day.
One twin, we will call him M, has never been a great sleeper. We have two king sized beds in our bedroom, and with various arrangements of Mama, Dada, M and E, that has worked somewhat for us. Over time, a few times, M has woken up in the night and taken a long time to go back to sleep, but lately it has been happening more often, and it happened both of the last few nights. Up at 11, down at 3. Up at 10:30, down at 2. I spend part of his awake time trying to sleep, but he crawls on me, kicks me, and he especially likes to sit on my face and bounce up and down. He nurses for part of the time, but doesn't fall asleep. I am so tired (even on a good night I get woken up to nurse from 3 to 6 times) as a baseline that this is pushing me to the edge.
We have white noise on in the room. His diaper is fine. his jammies are cozy. He has a lovey tht he loves.
I usually bounce him on an exercise ball to fall asleep at bedtime (for naps he falls asleep at the breast) and in the night he falls asleep on the ball, but as soon as I get him to the bed, he wakes up and tries to sit on my face again. I am so tired I fall asleep on the ball.
My stepson has special needs, he has sensory integration dysfunction and emotional issues, and he is disturbed by loud noises. He is a sweetie when he is managed well, but one of the essential pieces of his management is a good night's sleep. At this point I would let M "cry-it-out," but there is no place to do that where he won't wake everyone up and make Dada's day at work exhausting, and disturb all the other kids, especially big brother. Also, if M cries enough, it gets E going and then nobody gets to sleep, ever.
Why is he waking up? Why won't he go back to sleep? Help, my sanity is crumbling. I get so exhausted that I get angry, and that is not like me, and it scares me.
These four precious gems are a large calling. You have a very big and incredibly important job. I hope you give yourself credit for managing your super-mom position so warmly and wonderfully. Sometimes when moms have twins, friends and family initially surround them, delightfully providing helpful support, but this flocking naturally fades over time while the challenges do not fade nearly as quickly. I encourage you to explore your resources for a little help.
OK, what’s keeping M up? Some moms have babies who are wonderful nappers and moms really enjoy the break, only to wonder why their night sleep is shorter. I know the common wisdom is to never wake a sleeping baby but if this describes your son, you may want to shorten his naps in order to regulate his sleep patterns to coincide better with the rest of the family's. If this is not the case, does he have gas, rashes, diarrhea or constipation? Maybe some foods are bothering his tummy and keeping him awake. Is the bedroom plenty dark? Really dark rooms at night are supposed to be healthier for all of us and can improve sleep. By the same token, naps should occur in natural daylight lighting so the sleeping brain knows day from night.
M sounds as though maybe he’s just really excited to have your closeness and attention. If none of the above depict your son, he may just need more intensive day times with you. I know that’s not easy with a twin and two more but maybe he would benefit from more sling/carrier time while others’ needs are met in different ways. Also be sure he’s getting plenty of exercise in the day. He sounds like a guy who might enjoy plenty of playful “rough and tumble” and “running/chasing” type activity.
Have I touched on any possibilities yet?
Linda F. Palmer, DC
"The Baby Bond"
I do have to be really careful with the naps, they can't be too early or too late. It is a dance to get both of them down and then make sure that they don't wake each other up.
The room is darkety-dark.
Gas is a possibility, he can be a farty guy. He loves beans. We hadn't had any these past few days, but I think I should go carefully over what both he and I ate to see if I can come up with patterns.
He has been rather needy of me lately, he is getting to that mama's boy seperation anxiety stage. He is a sturdy fellow, so carrying him around gets hard, but I can do more holding and rocking I think. I haven't been focusing oon giving him that, because it feels like I am with him all the time, but I can make sure to attend to his feeling in the day more. Thank goodness his twin brother is easygoing about mama time and is perfectly happy to snuggle with dada or big sister (or grandma, or great grandma or friends who visit regularly...)
It is absolutely true about the help at the beginnig that peters out. My mom is nearby thank goodness, and I have a dear staunch frind who comes weekly to play with them for a couple of hours, but beyond that I mostly manage by myself. I am not complaining though, I am thrilled to be able to be home with my babies, I love being with them. I would much rather do without and be here than have money and miss their babyhoods.
Thanks for your help, I will try your suggestions.