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

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#1 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 09:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#2 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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P.S. Thanks in advance for even taking the time to read that.

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#3 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 09:42 AM
 
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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.
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#4 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 09:45 AM
 
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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!
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#5 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 11:08 AM
 
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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!!
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#6 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 11:17 AM
 
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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.
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#7 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 11:21 AM
 
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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
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#8 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 02:13 PM
 
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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.

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#9 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 02:58 PM
 
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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!
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#10 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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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.

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#11 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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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?

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#12 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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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.

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#13 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 04:05 PM
 
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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!
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#14 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 05:31 PM
 
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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.

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#15 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 05:37 PM
 
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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!!

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#16 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 05:49 PM
 
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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.
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#17 of 35 Old 05-17-2010, 09:53 PM
 
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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.
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#18 of 35 Old 05-18-2010, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#19 of 35 Old 05-18-2010, 11:11 AM
 
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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
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#20 of 35 Old 05-18-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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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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#21 of 35 Old 05-18-2010, 08:49 PM
 
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Hugs. I had only one high needs baby who would only nap on me and sleep in the crook of my arm. You are an amazing mother to be gently parenting two high needs babies.

Baby slings were a lifesaver for me from about 5 months. Does the twin who doesn't like the stroller like to be carried? My DS didn't until about 5 months. A pacifier also gave me some reprieve.

For naps, very gradually I was able to transfer DS from the sling onto the bed and lie next to him. If your other twin continues to sleep in the stroller, maybe this would work?

Time has been the real key to us. Once he became mobile, he became happier. At 9.5 months he started to go to sleep without any sling/rocking/bouncing. By 14 months he started sleeping really well.

I think if you and your husband could get some rest, you will feel SO much better. Besides getting someone in to help, can you do alternate nights looking after the twins, or at least block off 3-4 hours where one of you can sleep? We had a situation where I would do the nighttime parenting and DH would take DS every morning for as long as possible to allow me to get some extra sleep and it made so much difference. Take a look at how you can give each other a break and extra sleep.

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#22 of 35 Old 05-18-2010, 09:05 PM
 
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I am so incredibly sorry that you are going through this. We had a very high needs baby that woke up and nursed every 45min throughout the night. It pushed our marriage to the brink so I can understand what this is doing to you, but I cannot fathom doing it with two. The other mommas have great suggestions and I agree with the BFing, with the D-MER, you are putting negative, stressful energy out there, that cannot be calming for your twins, and may be contributing to their inability to settle. If its right for you and them, stop. Look into raw milk formula if you do stop as its a much better alternative to canned formulas. The other thing, HNB's (high needs babies) are often kids with mild to moderate sensory issues AND/OR food allergies. For my son it was both, major major food allergies that I had no idea about until I started pulling stuff from my diet and he magically started sleeping and being ok alone for naps. He still always needs A TON of sensory input to go to sleep. White noise, being tightly swaddled, swaying, and being in a moby/ergo or the swing were the only way he slept. 4months old is always a bad time too b/c of the 4 mo sleep regression, and in addition to that, they are twins, they were used to not only you but each other in the womb, that has to contribute to their need to be on a warm body. We got a nut husk heating pad and I would nuke that for 7 seconds and put it in the crib or swing with DS to trick him into thinking there was a warm body next to him.

YOU ARE DOING A WONDERFUL WONDERFUL JOB AND YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS, I PROMISE.

Erin photosmile2.gif  treehugger.gif, DH jammin.gif ,  Mumma to Chase 7/08 superhero.gif and babyf.gif Griff 3/13

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#23 of 35 Old 05-18-2010, 09:14 PM
 
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Try a sleep positioner if they are rolling into each other. If they are still, you just might find them holding hands.
Seriously, consider bottle feeding. Sometimes we have to change our expectations. Do you really want to continue to suffer if you don't have to? I don't even know you and I don't want you to suffer.

Mom to two boys and expecting a babygirl.gif in May, 2014!
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#24 of 35 Old 05-19-2010, 03:27 AM
 
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I don't have any helpful advice. looks like there's lots of great suggestions on here for you that would have helped me. I had one high-needs baby and had much the same experience as you, so I can't imagine going through this with 2!

You are doing a wonderful job of mothering all three of your children and this stage won't last forever. I'm so so sorry all of you are going through this.


My DD nursed constantly. She napped on me, slept on me, wouldn't take a paci, wouldn't stay in a swing, stroller or any kind of baby gear that I so carefully picked out (she was my first). When she didn't want to nurse anymore but needed to be moving and held, hubby would walk up and down the hallway wearing out the carpet with his knee-bend moves to settle her into sleep. And then we had to do this contortionist act of holding her tightly to us so that we could attempt to put her down without her feeling the drop sensation. Good thing we had already planned on cosleeping and attachment parenting, she wouldn't have it any other way! It was a glorious day when she stayed in the stroller for 10 minutes but I had to keep it moving. A sling helped quite a bit.

I was beyond exhausted. Yet, often when I was at the end of my frayed nerves, the stage changed and something would shift. As she got more physically able to do things on her own (sitting up, especially), life got easier.

She's now 5 and still high needs (sleeping next to me as I type). She's also great fun and I marvel at her brilliance.

In time, I came to understand that her insistence on being held was partly sensory and also because she needed to be up, looking out and experiencing her world and just couldn't do that physically on her own at such a young age.

Hang in there, Momma!
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#25 of 35 Old 05-19-2010, 09:22 AM
 
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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.
Just coming back to say, when DD2 was 7mos I started supplementing her with formula. I just couldn't, physically or mentally, be her sole source of food any more. She wouldn't take any solids at that point or I would have supplemented that way. She continued to nurse until she was just over 12 mos, when she stopped asking for it, but it was a lot more relaxing for both of us as I didn't have to be everything to her. She'd never been an efficient nurser and I was under a lot of stress and it just didn't work out for us. She started sleeping really well (from being a horrible sleeper) a few days after we started the formula too, so I think she was really hungry. So I felt guilty for giving her the formula AND guilty for not giving it to her sooner.

Anyway, you can still breastfeed even if your babies have bottles sometimes. Breastfeeding is the ideal but it is not the only way to love your babies, and you sound like you love your babies a lot. I hope you can find a way through this.
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#26 of 35 Old 05-19-2010, 09:36 AM
 
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I'm so sorry you're going through this. When I have even one day like what you're describing, I go a bit loopy. 2 days in a row and I start throwing things. 3 days in a row and I consider leaving both kids and going to live with my mom (not for real... sort of... maybe a bit).

Also the D-Mer... kinda nice to have a name for it! When it was just Nigella I would sometimes get a bit cranky during let down (or that "I'm just hanging out but mostly asleep" suck). Nursing both kids at once and I get really, really angry. I dig my nails into my palms and kegel while thinking desperately of anything except where I am and what I'm doing, but sometimes it's just hte only way to keep them both from wailing for the next hour and keeping each other awake. So I feel you there.

Is there any way you can try NOT to nurse them both together? I know how much time it takes up to nurse 2 kids seperately but two at the same time is so hard to cope with. Sometimes I've left one crying (sometimes the baby, sometimes the toddler) while i nurse the other because i know if let them both latch I'd go over the edge. I'll keep the non-nursing child beside me and make faces, talk, tickle, whatever to try to keep them semi-entertained and so they know i'm there, even if they're crying.

Nigella- awful, awful sleeper. And the kind that takes one slip up, one "I'll just let you fall asleep nursing for now" and runs with it. I did what LadyCatherine did. I realized that she felt the need to sleep on me and wake every 45 minutes, but I neededs omething different. I started putting her down by herself and the first time I tried it took me 2 hours to get her down for a 20 minute nap. I'd get her mostly to sleep, put her down, she'd wake up and cry so I'd pick her up and repeat it all over again. The next time was only 45 minutes, third was 25 minutes. It was HARD and took forever and was so frustrating but she started napping by herself by 5 months (although when/if is still completely up to her). Any time she got sick or was restless and I let her do things her way, we were in for another fight to get her back to normal.

If the babies are crying and you're right there with them, rubbing and shushing or doing whatever you need to do to help them sleep, then it's not CIO. You need to change things up for your sanity, even if it's hard for the first while to make the change.

Some babies cry. Sometimes they NEED to cry to release tensions or stress (or so I've read a few different places) and we don't need to rush in to stop the crying or to think that crying means they're upset, lonely, or that they need help. Sometimes they just need to get it out. Even now Nigella sometimes needs to cry- she'll hurt me so I'll say "no" just so she can cry for a minute- and then she falls right to sleep, easy as pie. Just built up emotion or something, I have no idea.

I hope you find some solutions that work for you. Try to cut yourself some slack and realize you're doing the best you can, you're an awesome mom, and obviously love your family very much. Best of luck.

Grace - wife to Jeff and mama to Nigella (11/08) and Orrin (01/10)- expecting a new addition (05/12)! Life is a whirlwind, but I'm learning to enjoy the ride!

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#27 of 35 Old 05-19-2010, 01:39 PM
 
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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.
Since you may or may not get the help you need to address the sleep issues, I suggest that you address the issue that can be addressed - even if it's not the one that seems the most urgent, and that is -- the breastfeeding thing.

I don't have D-MER, but I am the only person I know, irl or online, who has had pain with nursing that NEVER stopped. Now, at 27 months, I can occasionally describe it as strong discomfort, but it has never been comfortable, never mind joyous for me. And like you, I have a set idea in mind about my commitment to nursing. So I feel a little qualified to speak to you on just this aspect of what you are going through. If I could sit with you face to face, I'm sure I would cry while saying this, so please hear that I am going to write the following with deep deep compassion:

YOU MUST GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK, for your own sake, and for the sake of your children.

The symptoms of D-MER are necessarily affecting your decision-making process here. Please consider that hopelessness comes not only from situations truly being hopeless, but also from sleep deprivation, intimacy deprivation, and D-MER.

One less feeding (of both babes) per day might really be a huge relief, especially when you are still suffering so much at night. It will also free you up to use childcare support in new ways. Since you are so heroically committed to breastfeeding, I assume that formula is out for you. I think it could make things MUCH easier, but I'll keep talking as if you refused that option.

This will probably require some penny pinching to get the help you need, or calling in favors from trusted friends. Initially you can use some extra childcare help to manage the babes while you pump. With that help, you can pump immediately after a feeding, so that you are not subjecting yourself to another D-MER experience each day. When you have a little stock built up, you can use the childcare help to give you relief before, during (!) and after one feeding a day.

Here's what one bottle feeding per twin per day WILL NOT do: it won't decrease your commitment to nursing for a full year. It won't decrease your babies ability to attach to you. It won't decrease your desire to attach to them. It won't affect their health. It won't be weaning. It won't require any guilt on your part. It won't make you less heroic.

IT WILL: allow you to get a break, maybe even skip one miserable let-down per day. You might take a shower. You might play with your 3 year old. You might nap with your DH (oh my.) Your twins will be blessed with the opportunity to also experience nourishing nurturance with your DH, other family and trusted friends. You will be increasing their wealth of love experience. It will give you a better shot at continuing your nursing plan without a crash and burn moment.

I am not speaking from experience at good self-care. I have done all my son's milky-feedings since he was one month old (daddy did finger feeds in the beginning. He still misses that.) I suffered so much. I was terrified to let my son get my milk from anyone but me. I was stuck in my cycle of pain and nourishing, and I feel sorry now that I put myself through that. I think my sensitive infant felt my conflict and still feels it, and that we all would have benefitted from him having more early attachment options with my husband.

So if there's any part of you that clings to the breastfeeding out of dogma, guilt, inflexibility, anxiety, etc. -- please think again about these options. I know it's not the main issue, but damn, it's a big one. You are suffering soooo much, just with the nursing. I know this because I suffered lots, and still less than you, and it nearly did me in. I'm not even done yet processing this disappointment in my own life. It's the most responsible-mama thing you can do, to do anything you can to give yourself a break you can live with. Please think again about whether you can stretch your ideals to allow for the fact that a mama is an equally deserving member of the family.

I'm hitting submit with all the love and compassion of someone who also had a relentlessly rough nursing experience. You are a wonderful woman!

Mom of one child (2008), wife of one husband, tender of dogs, cats and chickens. Household interests: ocean life (kid), bitcoins (husband), simplifying (me).

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#28 of 35 Old 05-20-2010, 10:13 AM
 
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LCBMAX, if only I had seen your post when I was still breastfeeding through pain and complete frustration! Such wonderful advice for OP!!
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#29 of 35 Old 05-22-2010, 08:05 PM
 
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Oh mama, I'm so sorry this is so dang hard. You truly are superwoman, but even superwoman needs a break. I so wish I could come help you... hell, maybe I could. Though I imagine with a 1 and a 3 year old, we wouldn't be much help. If you need milk, say the word, I can send some.

Also i know it's not a full break by any means, but I was going to ask what carriers you're using and how they are going... if I've got anything that might be helpful, I'd totally send it your way to borrow.

I think about you often. It will get easier. You will get through this. We are totally hear for you in anyway we can be.

Mama to two boys (1/07 and 3/09) and due with baby #3 in May.
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#30 of 35 Old 05-22-2010, 11:08 PM
 
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HUGS.

I have not parented twins. But I read your post and wanted to add a thought that perhaps you've tried, but just in case ...

If you are using wraps or slings, it may help to swaddle baby before you snuggle into the sling for a nap. That way, when you unwrap/unsling, the baby still has the feeling of being held tightly, and it may help with transitioning into a crib or baby hammock or whatnot.

I know that whenever I've felt touched out or overwhelmed by just one baby at a time, I've needed touch time with my partner all the more as a way to recharge.

Swaddling during breastfeeding can interfere with nursing, but otherwise, swaddling before wearing should be fine as long as babies are placed on their backs and not cosleeping with other siblings.
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