Sleep Training our 7 Month Old Twins

These past couple months have been really rough sleep wise. The twins were on a great schedule of eating at 2 or 3 am and then again at 6 or 7 am (so basically one feed a night) but then at around 5 months old they went through a growth spurt or something and started to eat three feeds a night. They seemed to get past that and went back to two feeds a night again which would be fine except for Dylan is waking up frequently after falling asleep at 7pm and needs to be given a pacifier or picked up a couple times an hour with it getting really intense between 10 and 12 pm. He wasn’t hungry or needing a diaper change, he just seemed to want to be held or have me standing there with my hand on his chest. I have tried taking him into our bed to see if he just wanted to be near me but Dylan just gets excited and riled up instead of going to sleep so cosleeping isn’t really an option, which I guess I am glad its not because I like having the bed to ourselves. 

Finally, three days ago after several weeks of sleepless hours between 10 and 12/1am of constantly trying to get Dylan to go back to sleep we decided that at this point sleep training was necessary. I read a fellow twin mom’s blog about why she decided to sleep train her twins and it totally hit it on the nail for me and was the incentive I needed to do it (Blog Link Here).

 You see, I had such a fear of sleep training and I didn’t understand how parents could listen to their baby cry without going in to comfort then. Ryan and I didn’t do any sleep training with Ian and although it took a long time for Ian to sleep through the night, he eventually did by about a year and has been a great sleeper since. With Ian we did a lot of cosleeping and letting him nurse when he wanted. But after a year my milk had run out so we kind of naturally weaned him off of the night feedings which in turn let him sleep through the night. Bedtimes were a long drawn out thing though and could take up to an hour to an hour and half with lots of rocking but again we stuck it out and by a year and a half he was happy to go to bed and bedtime is a 20 minute deal ever since. So lots of good success came out of it all and we never had to let Ian cry it out. Well, what we’re discovering now is that what worked for Ian isn’t the same for Dylan let alone when we have two babies. Dylan has some sort of sleep association with needing me or Ryan near him anytime he wakes himself up. I also have a theory that he is waking up when he moves through a sleep cycle and doesn’t know how to put himself back to sleep. He is not hungry, he is just mad/sad about waking up! Keeping all this in mind we decided now was the time to sleep train so Dylan can learn to soothe himself back to sleep without needing mommy or daddy. Here is my log with my progress so far. It’s been hard (REALLY HARD) but we’ve started to see results so that has been AWESOME. 

Night 1:

Ryan went out of town for a work trip so I decided that was a good time to start because that way just one of us was suffering. Sometimes when one of the twins is crying or freaking out we kind of can take it out on each other because you know, you can, whereas you can’t get mad at your baby. So it was good to just to do it on my own and cry and suffer without needing to also see Ryan suffering too. 

The night started out well with Dylan waking up a couple times between 9-10:30 but I let him be and he went to sleep ON HIS OWN after a minute or two of light crying. That was pretty great. Normally we rush in to give him a pacifier and to see that if we just leave him alone he can just work it out! Well, that was so good to know. 

Well, then things got tough. Starting at 10pm and till 12:30pm Dylan cried. I would go in, using increments, first 3 minutes waiting then go in, then 5, then finally 10. By the time I got to letting him cry for 10 minutes he had worked himself into a state. This was at 12ish and I had to pick him up to calm him down and he was shaking and having little hiccups while crying – IT WAS SO HARD. Why was I doing this to my baby?!!! It felt so wrong! I kept just wanting to give up. Meanwhile a little earlier I had brought Leo into my room because he was waking up from Dylan’s cries. I managed to continue to stick it out but man, I was feeling drained. Finally, FINALLY, after picking up Dylan after a 10 minute cry and setting him down calm and almost asleep, he went to sleep. This was at 11:45pm. After waiting 10 minutes to see if he was actually asleep I too went to sleep. Around 1am Dylan woke up but I decided to feed him since his normal feeding schedule has been 12am and 4am. The point of this sleep training was more to get Dylan to sleep on his own from 10pm to 12am and eventually we would push out his feeds but not tonight. Leo meanwhile was still sleeping and normally I would wake up Leo to feed but I decided to let him keep sleeping. Leo stirred around 2am and I nursed him then in bed. Since he was right next to me it was so easy and I was able to be half asleep during it. Then Dylan slept till 4am and I fed him again. Leo kept sleeping again so I let him. Leo woke up at 6am wanting to play so I decided to feed him just because I wanted to try to get 1 more hour of sleep. It worked and Leo went back to sleep. We all got up at 7 am and that was the first night! Whew. Exhausted. But I made it. The good news that came out of it, Dylan ate a little later at night at 1am and and 4am. Leo only really needed to eat once! I was prepared to continue with this sleep training the next night even though it was so hard 

Night 2:

This night was intense, even worse than Night 1, but I made it through. Dylan ended up eating only once so that was the great news out of it. We were down to one feeding! 

Again, after both twins falling asleep easily by 6:45pm, and minimal wake ups until about 10:30, Dylan started his usual shenanigans. Dylan was up crying intermittently from 10:30 to 1:30. Yes, 1:30! Arghhhhh. I was so tired. But when he finally fell asleep he slept till 4 with no feeds! So that was the good news. The bad news was that I was about to keel over from lack of sleep. 

Basically from 10:30 to 1:30 Dylan kept waking up but he didn’t seem hungry when I held him which Is why I didn’t feed him at 12:45. He just needed comfort but as soon as I set him down he would cry again and I would give him 10 minutes before going back in. Eventually he gave in and fell asleep at 1:30am. Meanwhile Leo was sleeping again in my bed. I moved him in there because he began to wake up from Dylan around 12am and I didn’t want to deal with both twins crying. Leo only ate once as well at 4 in the morning. I transferred him back to his crib after feeding him and both of the boys then slept till 6:45am and woke up happy and ready to play which is their normal MO. They then ate at 8am. So overall even though I suffered till 1:30am, both boys ended up with just one feed! Progress!

Night 3:

Ryan came home and took over on the sleep training so I could get much needed rest. I got to sleep in the guest bedroom with white noise and it was amazing. I woke up with a start at 3am. 5 hours of straight sleep. Thank. The. Lord. Or more like Ryan in this case. 

Ryan came in shortly afterwards with Leo. He said Leo kept waking up so I took him. It was 3:30 so I decided to just feed Leo and Dylan and see if they would sleep the rest of the night. And it worked! They both slept the rest of the night in their cribs and didnt wake up until 7am. I fed them as usual at 8:00am. So lovely! I talked with Ryan more about his night and it turns out that Dylan only woke up twice in the night and it was Leo who kept waking up! I couldn’t believe it. That is such a difference. Leo is normally a great sleeper so I think he may have just had an off night. We shall see how night 4 goes. I am just happy that Dylan had a great night!

To be continued…

 All in all though, I feel like in just three days we have made a big shift with Dylan waking up less on that 3rd night and both boys only eating 1 time instead of 2 or 3 times. I am happy feeding them one time a night until they are around 9 months and are eating more solids or if they just don’t seem hungry anymore at that time. Whichever comes first. 

Grateful

Thank you to my wonderful husband for pushing me to take a staycation. I spent the night at a hotel downtown and had about 10 hours of glorious sleep. Slept in and had breakfast in bed and relaxed with coffee and a book. And to top it off I came home to a clean house and happy twins and toddler. You’re amazing Ryan! 

Swing-a-ling 

Our sleep deprivation continues with Ryan and I waking up almost every hour last night. Luckily Ryan was home! On a happy note it was warm a couple days ago and I took the twins and Ian to the park to meet up with Ian’s buddy’s (and  their mom’s who are my buddy’s 😜). 

My friend Anna mentioned that the twins could go in the baby swing together and I was like, “oh my gosh, they can?! They’re already big enough?”  Brilliant! They loved it in the swing and Ian had so much fun pushing them.

Also, another first: I nursed both twins at the park while Ian played. My friend Megan held Leo while I nursed Dylan and then vice versa. It went great and I felt like Super Mom. 


And of course Ian had a blast with his buddies during it all. Here’s pictures of Ian with his buddies:



So overall even though I have been struggling at night with the constant wake ups, day-to-day life is great. I have a great rhythm and routine going with Ian and the kiddos and overall we have so much fun together during the day. This lack of sleep time is such a short moment in our lives and I constantly have to remind myself of this and that I am so blessed with what I have and the help and support. Having twins and a toddler is hard work but so rewarding and I love it!!! 

6 Month Old Twins

Wow this has been my toughest month yet. The twins have gone through a sleep regression and I feel like I am going through the day in a fog. I’ve been mixing up appointments left and right due to this. The other day I drove 35 minutes out to Maple Grove with the twins for Leo’s helmet appointment and it was the wrong day. Yep, that happened. 

The twins wake up frequently in the night and I know it will go back to one feeding a night but WHEN? It’s been weeks now. I will say the last two nights were better. So maybe it’s already changing. Fingers crossed. Just two feedings each last night. One at 2am (Leo woke up first so I fed him, then I woke up Dylan to feed him once Leo was done). Then both of them again at 6:00am. I almost consider that last one to just be a morning feed. And no wake ups from Dylan in between feedings during the last two nights and that is huge! He normally fusses from 9pm to 12pm and requires a lot of pacifier-ing (I just made that word in to a verb). So maybe we’ve turned a corner! 

Along with all the sleep stuff, Ryan’s traveling has really picked up and he is gone for two to three days every week. The evenings are hard without him not only for help but also for companionship. I’ve been roping in a friend at least on Friday evenings to come provide me with some social conversation and be an extra set of hands. Shout outs to Flea, Sarah, Anne and Ashley and my sister-in-law Jackie.  Any of you in Minneapolis want to get in on the action let me know. It’s fun to catch up and have you hang with my babies and Ian. 

But anyways, this post is supposed to be about the twins, not about me! 😂

Dylan has been rolling back to front for a while now and Leo joined the rolling parade. Now when I have them on a blanket playing they roll all over it and sometimes onto each other. Ha ha. 

They also both love the bouncers. Leo recently started using them but Dylan’s been using them for awhile. It’s safe to say that Dylan’s favorite position is being upright! He just wants to go go go! Dylan has also started to scoot backwards and if I don’t keep an eye out he may scoot under the couch! 

Another first, I have just started to introduce food two days ago. I started with Greek yogurt. Dylan was loving it and leaning forward for more; Leo was very unsure about it. His face was priceless. We’ve also tried banana and that wasn’t a hit. We’ll keep introducing foods and let them choose what they want. 

The boys continue to grow and are almost ready to move into 9 month clothes even though they just turned 6 months. I don’t tandem nurse as much because they’re getting too big. It’s nice for the one on one time though and they’re such fast eaters (6 minutes each is their average) that it’s not a big deal. 

Also Leo got his helmet a few weeks ago and his head is starting to look more round already. Yay for round heads! 

I think that about covers it. 

Month 7 please be easy on me!

I am a Parade

I gotta say, walking around with the Bob Revolution Stroller with my twin boys and toddler Ian perched on the front (who needs a glider,right?!) I get so many looks and comments I feel like a parade marching through town. It’s hilarious. And I kind of like it. I guess I’m a bit narcissistic and enjoy the, “wow, you’re super mom,” or “boy, you have your hands full! Great job!”  These are thrown at me all throughout the day. It’s like I’m constantly being acknowledged for all that I do. It’s lovely. I know I wouldnt get this much recognition if I had just one baby and Ian. I almost feel bad for the mom’s with just two let alone one. Where’s their applause? They have a hard job too, being a mom for the first time is so scary and new. And then adding in one more! Whewee. I think we all deserve the claps and recognition for being amazing moms whatever our situations are, of course my family being the parade that we are, just get a lot more feedback. But congrats and well done to all those moms out there!

I’ll end with posting a link to the song called “All the Wine” from one of my favorite bands, The National. There is a lyric in that song that always runs through my head as I walk around town with my big ass stroller, with the twins and Ian perched up front:

“… I am a festival, I am a parade…”

Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

Please stop waking up, dudes!

Okay, I am going to tell you a little secret. I was feeling pretty hunky dory about myself and my husband in regards to sleep. We have twins and a toddler and I thought the minute our twins were born we would say goodbye to sleep for the next 2-3 years give or take. Well, by the time the twins were 4 months old they were down to one feeding a night. While we were not sleeping through the night yet, we were so damn close, I couldn’t believe it. Look at us, we have twins and a toddler and we were still getting 7-8 hours of sleep (albeit broken sleep). Not too shabby, not too shabby. My husband and I would look at each other and nod. We got this. 

Well, I think I jinxed us because now my little dudes who are now 5 months old, have reverted from just having one feeding a night to having two each and since I had switched to nursing them individually, that means I am waking up four times a night not including the wake ups where they just need a pacifier. And then, add on to that, my little toddler is waking up a couple times a night from bad dreams or something. Aw, man. WTF. Someone is playing a cruel joke on us. Or its just a cold dash of reality slapping us in the face. We had a lucky break for awhile there I guess. 

My twins are two totally different sleepers. Dylan will go down in his crib fully awake with a pacifier in his mouth, Ill turn on the Einstein Aquarium I have attached to his crib, shut the door to his room and leave and he will be asleep within 5 minutes. Its phenomenal. The only problem is, that he startles himself awake often and needs one of us to come put the pacifier back in his mouth to calm him down. This would be fine if it was just once or twice but he has like five of these wake ups around 9 to 10pm sometimes with one of them being a full blown meltdown. I don’t know what that is about. How do I get him to stop startling awake? Any suggestions Mama’s? I have him already in the Baby Merlin Miracle Sleepsuit (he looks like a giant blue marshmallow) that is supposed to muffle his reflexes a little bit and it seemed to work for a little bit but now it doesn’t seem to do anything plus he is so strong that he can move around in it including turn to his side so its not even usable any more. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Chill Leo, is actually the more high-maintenance one when it comes to going to sleep. Leo is a bit of a night owl and always falls asleep way after Dylan does, and generally needs to be rocked to sleep in my arms. Sometimes I can put him in the swing and he’ll fall asleep on his own and every once in awhile, just straight to the crib works too. But then once Leo falls asleep he is pretty much asleep until he is ready to eat around 2 am and now recently, again at 5:30am or so. Used to just be one feeding a night but now he wants two in this last week. Dylan also.  

I was feeding them at separate times because there had been two occasions where each of them had not waken up for a feeding so I wanted to encourage this and not wake them up. Well, now that both of them want to eat twice, this means I’m up four times a night. Gahhhhhhh. The ONLY saving grace is that these boys nurse really fast and are done in 5-8 minutes tops. I just grab whoever is the one wailing (luckily the other twin normally sleeps through his brother crying) and sit in the recliner, nurse him and go lay him back down and BAM he’s back asleep. So that’s a big relief. Ian was nothing like that. He took awhile to go back down when he woke up, plus he woke up a lot more often at 5 months old than these two do. So in some ways, maybe that’s why we thought we had it so good. But now with it being four times a night, plus, Ian’s wake ups, these last few nights have been rough! I am really hoping its just a phase and that by TONIGHT they are back to one feed a night. Especially since Ryan is going out of town for three days and two nights. I don’t want to go insane but I may if the nights continue with how they have been. 

 Wish me luck.

Who Knew Babies Need Helmets?

I don’t know what it is, but for some reason, two out of my three boys have needed helmets to round out their heads. What, do I breed soft headed children? I didnt even know this was a thing until I had kids. I thought we all just had round heads. But now apparently some of us need helmets to get that nice round head. How American.

My first Ian, was a preemie, as I mentioned in my earlier posts. He was born at 33 weeks. By the time he was 4 months old, Ian had developed a definite flat spot on his head. And even worse, it was a lopsided flat spot which was making his forehead push out more on one side. My pediatrician referred me to Gillette Children’s Specialists and from there we got a helmet for our little man to help round things out. Leading up to when I had to get the helmet, I was so nervous and racked with guilt. I felt like I should have been more “on it” with Ian’s tummy time and prevented the flat spot from developing. Luckily, the Gillette people were so nice and quickly dissuaded me from my guilt. Preemies are born early and end up having a tendency to develop flat spots because they are sleeping all the time those first few months and we have to have them sleep on their backs. There is nothing I really could have done since SIDS requires babies sleep on their back which causes the flat spot to develop. Its so first world of us though I think. Luckily, there is a remedy for it and it is the helmet. The technical name for it is actually CranioCap which sounds very technical and like its more serious than it is.

Part of what was causing the anxiety was that I was worried that when Ian was wearing his helmet strangers would stare at him and think he had some medical issue and pity us. I know, I know…who cares what people think right? Well, I do. Its just something I know about myself. I don’t like to be pitied. Anyways, it turned out that Ian getting a helmet was really a blip in our little lives. He had it for a little over two months, from the time he was about 6 months old to 8 months old. Ryan painted Ian’s helmet to look like a Minnesota Viking’s helmet and it turned out so adorable. People would stop and say how cute Ian looked in his Viking helmet all the time. I have to say I was impressed with it myself. My husband and I are not crafty at all and I was amazed at how good a job my husband did. Anyways, the time went by so fast and all of a sudden he had a nice round head and we were done with the helmet! Here’s a few pics of cute Ian with his Viking helmet.

Now, its Leo’s turn. Apparently, he is a very good sleeper, per our doctor because his head is perfectly flat in the back which means he doesn’t not move a muscle when he sleeps. This is totally true by the way. When Leo is out, he is out, while his twin Dylan, is just rolling all over the place and turning his head every which way and waking up almost every hour sometimes. (Thanks Dylan for those wake ups.) But at least Dylan doesn’t need a helmet! I guess all his rigorous night exercise was actually a benefit!

Leo also has mild torticollis, which is when there is a tightening of the muscle on the side of the neck. Leo kind of tilts his head to the left a little which the muscle is very tight. I was given some stretches to help loosen the muscle and they expect it resolve in the next month or so. Nothing to worry about really and he is not in any pain. Just want to make sure the tightening doesnt get worse which those stretches will help with.

Today I just got back from Leo’s first fitting and he is going to start wearing his helmet in 1 hour increments throughout the day, then 2 hours tomorrow, then 3 hours and then full time with 2-4 half hour breaks in the day. I have to say that I am glad that Leo is the one who ended up with the helmet, not Dylan. Leo is so chill that I get the feeling that he wont even notice it on him, whereas I could see my passionate Dylan getting all irritated.

Ive decorated Leo’s helmet with some vinyl stickers I happened to have on hand from leftover playroom decorations so that was lucky. In a month, we will be dropping the helmet off at this guy’s business who does vinyl printing out in Rogers, MN. His grandkids had to get a helmet a couple years back and they are just plain white so he decorated his grandkid’s helmet and people everywhere loved it so he decided to offer his services for free to anyone who gets a helmet at Gillette and would like it decorated. This must have happened after Ian had his helmet because I wasn’t told about it then and we just decorated it ourselves. You just have to call the business and make an appointment and you drop it off in the morning and pick it up that afternoon and its all decked out. The man has a ton of designs you can choose from. They are way booked out though so our appointment for Leo’s helmet isn’t until 5 weeks from now so which is why I just added on some bling myself for now. I will just take the stickers off when the five weeks is up and get it professionally done then. At least now, it still looks cute!