Thursday, July 28, 2011

HELP!

Bedtime is hell around here lately.
These babies used to sleep for an average of 7 hours at a time at night, and now they sleep for an average of 2!
It's seriously been since their 4 month check-up (2.5 weeks ago) that suddenly they're little demon babies. I know I wrote that post 5 up, 5 down about getting them to sleep - and it's true that they have put themselves to sleep several times on their own.
But the real truth is: They scream themselves to sleep no matter what.
I don't know what to do!
Even if I hold them, and rock them to sleep they scream. And we're not talking about crying.
We're talking 12 year old girls at a Justin Beiber concert.
They SCREAM.
I've done everything that I've ever heard to do. I put them down awake but sleepy. I watch for their sleep signs. We have a bedtime routine. They take several naps a day (which they SCREAM before, also. It's not just nighttime.)
I've been worried that the problem is teething or pain, so we give them Tylenol and OralGel and NOTHING is working.
I've called our doctor half a dozen times and he just says "So let them cry. There's probably nothing wrong."
But I can't. They cry for upwards of four hours.
Have you ever heard a baby scream and cry for four hours? You start to lose all sense of ... everything.
I get to the point where I don't want to lie my baby in his bed, I want to throw him in.
I want to pat him on the cheek and say "Night-night, you little bastard. I resent you and am going crazy."
I lie in bed and pray and pray and pray.
I've stopped even asking that they'll sleep.
Please help me know how to comfort them. Please help me know what they need. Please help me to feel rested, even though I'm only going to sleep for three hours tonight, tops. Please help me to be patient with them.
Please. Please. Please help me.
I know they're just as miserable as I am, and honestly that's what keeps me going. "He's not making a choice to do this. He doesn't want to be awake either. He needs me to help him."

Tonight, for example: They boys ate at 3:30pm. Then we were running some errands, so they dozed but didn't nap.  At 6:30 we started their bedtime routine. A story, Pjs, a swaddle, and singing songs while we fed them a bottle.
Then we started to put them to sleep.
It is now 10 o'clock. They are freaking awake.
And they spent most of the last three hours screaming at the top of their lungs.
Help me!
I've read every sleep training book ever written. They have not helped us. And since they're crying themselves to sleep WHILE we're holding them, I can't help but think that something's wrong!
Any advice? Any suggestions? HELP! Seriously.
I can't go without sleep for another two and half weeks.
I spent all day yesterday dizzy and shaking with a low fever, and I'm pretty sure it's just lack of sleep - my exhausted body isn't able to function.
Oh, and yes. I'm sitting in my bed right now with a crying baby next to me.
I just can't do anything for him. He cries if I hold him.
He cries if I don't.

In fact, he cries MORE if I hold him.

Travis keeps making jokes about slitting his wrists.
But it's not really funny.
Give me your advice. Mama's with twins, what did you do?! HELP.

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27 comments:

Angela said...

I don't have twins. I don't even have kids yet (sadly.) However, I am a nanny. I've never had any issues with kids sleeping, but I don't think your instincts are off. I think something might be wrong, too.

Do they have any reflux issues? Babies with reflux issues cannot lie flat. When they do, the acid builds in their chest and HURTS. Have you tried elevating one side of the mattress a bit (put a few folded towels or blankets under one end of the mattress.)

Do you think they might be having anxiety issues? I don't know why they'd have any anxiety issues over sleeping, but it might be a separation anxiety thing. I know that sounds weird, but maybe?

They might escalate in screaming when they hear the other one screaming. Vicious cycle of feeding off of each other's emotions.

I am SO sorry you're having to go through this. :-( I can't imagine that it's easy for any of you. I know this sounds like a cop-out, but have you tried pacifiers? Some babies just NEED a soothing device. I will certainly pray for you guys. I really hope it gets better ASAP!

xo
A

Jennifer said...

Becky, I'm sorry it's been so hard. You are a great Mom, hang in there. This is Jen Wahle, I'm pregnant with twins right now. I don't know what to say, other than one of my boys screamed a lot if he was left alone but he would be happy if he was with something. It sounds like even that doesn't work though. Your friend's idea about acid reflux could be interesting. Try doing lots of research online, that might give you some ideas. As if you have time to research. I wish I could come hold one for you, but sadly I am on bed rest and of no help :(

Shawntae said...

I don't have twins either but I can give you motherly advice. I know it's stressfull but don't stress in front of them because they can feel that and it will just make them more upset. King was a horrible sleeper at first and it took him awhile to get on his schedule. We got a sound machine it plays the: heart beat,ocean,birds,cricket it seriously is the best invention ever... and yes he can sleep without it too. I turn it on most nights but sometimes I don't. It puts him in that REM sleep and tones out any other noise. You would be amazed how fast it soothes them off to sleep.

King also has problems with his bowels so he screams a lot too so I understand how frustrating that is. You just want to pull your hair out of your head. If you think there is something wrong take them to the dr. You are their mother and mother knows best. We spent many nights at the Dr. and at Primaries for bowel problems.

I wish I could give you a hug because I know it's hard and I can't imagine it x's 2! Hang in there Mama. xoxo

Katie B said...

I know where you are right now. I can't tell you how many times I literally smacked my head against the wall, I was so frustrated. Yes, this needs to be change, it's not healthy for any of you.

I think what helped us the most is making their sleep habits identical each day. They always slept in their crib (not in a arms or our bed or in a swing or a stroller or whatever else). We had wake time intervals between naps that remained consistent each day (1st nap was 2 hours after morning wake up, etc). We dealt with their crying in the same way each day.

I of course don't know the particulars of how you approach them crying when they are supposed to fall asleep. I'll tell you what I think may help but if you don't think it applies, then just pass this on by. My boys definitely benefited from us coming to their aid less. For the first four months, they generally fell asleep in my arms but would often be easily awoken as we moved them. When we started consistently putting them in their cribs for sleep, yes, they'd certainly cry. What I didn't realize was that as they're crying, they've already started working on putting themselves to sleep. If I came and talked to them or picked them up, it just restarted the cycle, all their progress was gone. So if I'd come help them (when their crying sounded more hysterical rather than progressing to sleep), I'd only give them their binkies and do soft stroking for a minute, then leave. There's always an upswing in crying immediately after leaving, but then they calm a bit. Eventually, they WOULD fall asleep, as long as I didn't interfere with their own method of falling asleep. I found being consistent with that was key, because if I gave in one day, they'd ALWAYS keep crying, hoping I'd give in again. So if I was consistent, they knew what to expect.

It's super hard to let them cry and I sure did my fair share of crying with them. But it's made a difference. By five months, they generally fell asleep within ten minutes of putting them down. They're now fantastic night sleepers and we've rarely had to go in during the night in the last 6 months (they're now 14 months old).

Good luck and take lots of deep breaths.

Celia said...

Like everyone else, I don't have twins...yet. However, Eliza DID have colic for 6 months and cried 13-17 hours a day. For real. So, I am well versed with crying. My biggest advice to you is enlist help. I wish I was around to be there! But, even on the days where it is just you and Travis, I would suggest that you take shifts. That is what Nathan and I had to do in order to preserve our sanity. Gripe Water, Tylenol, Colic Calm, swaddling, rocking, swings....didn't work. I agree that listening to your baby (babies) cry is the hardest thing ever. I would have to leave the house sometimes in order to keep sane. I spent the majority of my shift "off" walking.

On a side note, some of Eliza's crying was related to nursing issues. I was breastfeeding and started producing too much milk. She developed something called foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. Basically, she was drinking more of the watery foremilk than she was the more nutritious hindmilk. I began pumping the excess milk before nursing and that seemed to help a lot. With twins, I am sure you are producing tons of milk! I would suggest pumping and seeing how much foremilk you have in comparison to the hindmilk. Just a thought.

Good luck! You can do it!!

Becoming Supermommy said...

One crucial question: when does the crying start? It's into the bedtime routine, right?


Unlike the above ladies, I AM a mama of twins. And I feel your pain.

And my advice sucks, but here it is...

Junk your routine. From what it looks like, you start the bedtime routine with milk. Good start. Are you still nursing, or have you weaned? Do they still pass out at the breast? Do they still get sleepy at the bottle?

What if you rearranged the order of things... got them into their PJs, and then just fed them until they passed out?

Maybe if you took a step backwards...

I had that happen once with my girls. At just about the same age, too. They suddenly jumped backwards what felt like two months in the bedtime routine. So I had to stop and figure out what we were doing two months before, and we did THAT.

And it actually worked.

They change so fast... sometimes you don't really notice when you've got a whole different routine than you did a month ago.

And one more idea...

Do they sleep in their own cribs, or together? Because switching that up could help too. My girls always slept better when they were together at the beginning...

Brittany said...

I was going to suggest seeing if they have a reflux issue too. Have you tried putting them in their car seats at all? My girls didn't have reflux, but I've heard that it helps them to be more upright. I don't know...

If you can, separate them. I know with my girls, they would build and build and BUILD on each other and it made me want to run away and not come back until Josh called me or something to tell me they had stopped.

Have you tried car rides? A few months ago, we had a week were the only thing we could do to get them to calm down was car rides. We seriously drove up and down I-15 at 1 am for about an hour one night. It was horrible, but luckily the girls were so zonked out when we got home that they didn't wake up getting them out of the car and we just let them sleep in their car seats all night.

I don't know what else to tell ya. You've gotten some good suggestions though. I hope you get it figured out because I know how it is!

Wendy said...

Becky, my heart goes out to you. I, too, was a sleepless twin mama. I wish I had some great advice for you but I don't. I wish I could help you (I'm only 10 minutes away in Orem!)but know that there is another Mama crying for you tonight and praying for you and Travis and your babes that you may all get some rest very, very soon!

Sarah said...

I'm not a mommy of twins, I "only" have one 18 month boy but have a 2 good friends and a SIL with twins. Routine, routine, routine is key, especially at their age.

You will go insane if you keep up this routine, I almost did and I just had one to contend with. I'm sure you've read it, I've left comments, but SleepEasy worked like a CHARM for us. I'm not sure why they're crying...or what your routine to settle them is, but if you keep going in to touch, talk, pick them up...they get used to it and rely on you to settle, but you also said that they cry in your arms. Sorry you're going through this!

BUT, you are mama and you know best. One thing that sticks out in my mind other than the reflux idea which is very valid, would be perhaps they have an allergy to their formula, if they take formula.

Good luck, I'm not being judgy at all, just trying to give my 2 cents in a positive way.

Cece's Mommy said...

I have a 15 month old who hates to sleep. She always has. Maybe you left some things out, so I will just mention what jumped out to me that you didn't mention that may help -

Adding more feedings, like when they wake up at 10 PM, feed again

Putting them together/seperate, unswaddle an arm, unswaddle them all together and see if it works.

Do you have a crib soother/seahorse/whatever? That helped my daughter a lot. As well as ocean waves. We have been through 3 ocean waves CDs but they keep her asleep.

Have you tried gripe water? I know you BF so I am not sure if you would give it to them in their mouths before/after a feeding, but if you pump you could add it to the bottle. That seemed to help sometimes as well.

There were nights we had to just put her in the swing and one of us sleep next to it.

Have you tried bringing them in bed with you? If you do it the right way it isn't dangerous and honestly you need sleep. If it works, do it. My daughter did it with us and sleeps fine in her crib without any transitioning because we always started her there.

I know this is tough. I was so sleep deprived I was vomiting and shaking. Just do whatever you can find that works and worry about any transitioning (that may not even be an issue) later on when you are well rested. Good luck!

Caitlin said...

I'm so sorry Becky. I kind of went through this with Chase. Not the crying for hours thing, but he would wake every 2-3 hours for the first 6 months. Especially at night, he wanted to be fed every time he woke up. If I tried to put him back to sleep without nursing him first he was MAD. It was exhausting!

Your boys crying for 4 hours would worry me though. Have you tried Mylicon? Maybe they have gas bubbles that are hurting them. If Finn is fussy and crying more than usual I give him gas drops and he usually calms down and then falls asleep. Also, when Emma was a baby she got a lot of ear infections. I always knew she had one because when I would lay her down she would scream and scream until she was picked up again.

It sounds like something is hurting them/making them uncomfortable. I know I have my own troop to care for, but I really can help if you need it!

Leah said...

I'm not a mom of twins, but rather a mom of a 10 month old. We had some major sleep issues when he was around 3-4 month olds. I did TONS of research on how to teach my baby to sleep. Here's what worked for us:

1) Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit (google it)...it looks crazy but it worked. My son was a swaddle addict but stopped sleeping well swaddled, this thing was a life saver! It is pricey, but you can email them to see if they have any returned suits that they will sell at a discount. Perhaps you could even blog about the suits (if they work) and this would maybe be an incentive to score them free or very cheap!

2) Stick to a schedule. I really liked the concept of wake, eat, play and then sleep. Once again google this and you will find tons of information!

3) Investigate the possibility of silent reflux.

4) Baby Center has a board called "Teaching your baby and toddler to sleep". There is tons of info there and you can submit questions for suggestions. Huge help for me!

5) Also google "3/4 month sleep regression". This may help you find some good info on what is going on with your babies.

Good luck and hang in there...it will get better and these sleepless days and nights will be a distant memory soon!

Suzanne said...

Hi Becky,
I don't think I've posted before but I found your blog a few months ago. I have 22 month old twins.
A few things might be happening right now with your boys:
1. They might be hitting a growth spurt. Do you think they are getting enough at each feeding? I can't remember if you've started supplementing with formula but if you haven't, you might want to start. At 5 months, my twins were taking (on average) 25 ounces per day of formula (I weaned at 3 months).
2. They might be colicky. From the sounds of it, nothing is working to soothe them so colick might be what's going on. Have you tried gripe water?
3. I've always read that you aren't supposed to let the baby "cry it out" until after 6 months. They are still learning trust and establishing a bond with you. They might be experiencing a little seperation anxiety?
4. To this day, my twins still get upset when the other is crying. They seem to get each other going. Try to seperate them in different rooms when one is crying to see if that keeps the other one calm.

Lastly, don't feel bad about this. Trust me, there were (and still are) plenty of times when I find myself in tears because I don't know what else to do.

Mama Mandolin said...

Sounds a little like colic. The boys went through a period around 3 or 4 months where they just cried and cried and CRIED in the early evenings. To the point where I was crying. NOTHING helped.

But one thing that DID help, we got the "Happiest Baby on the Block" book that had a technique for soothing colicy babies, The 5 S's.

You do each step in order and succession until the baby stops.

Swaddle, Side (lay or hold baby on his side, may have gas), Shhh, Swing and gosh I forget the last S.

Basically, you just do all of those things and the baby is supposed to stop crying. We did it a few times and it was seriously a miracle. We swaddle them tight, rock them back and forth while shhing really loud at them LOL. We felt ridiculous doing all these things but it worked!

Mama Mandolin said...

Oh, also...don't feel like you need to get them established sleeping on their own yet. We didn't even "cry it out" until 11 months. When they were little babies like yours we were perfectly ok with rocking them to sleep, putting them in the swing, bouncy chair, etc.

JBC said...

Becky,

This might just be the typical sleep regression that happens at 4 months. Right before babies make a huge mental leap forward they take a step back and become really clingy and upset. Their sleep is sooo interrupted. My baby would go from waking 1-2 times a night to up and crying every 30min. She also wasn't very hungry during the day. It lasts less than a week and then they are sooooo easy for a little while.

I'm really sorry. It's rough. It really is temporary though.

Pega Pallo said...

Dear, hang in there!
There are nights and days when I literally lay my baby down and cry on the kitchen floor.
I pray all the time, what is wrong with my baby? Or when I finally put her to sleep, and lay her down...I pray and pray that she stays asleep and I army crawl into bed.


Hopefully it'll get better.
Lillian used to sleep from abput 1030-8 everyday.
and now, since she hit 4 months (she's almost 5) she wakes 2 or 3 days during the night.
4 month regression. IT'S NOT A MYTH.
I don't know if she's teething either, I don't do oragel, i heard it makes it harder for the teeth to pop through (who knows.) She chews on my hands, and raw carrots a lot.
They have colic tablets which work wonders, they are cheap too!

Hope some of this helps!
And you are not alone.
So many of us mommies feel this way.
(of course you're stronger, you've got two)
Hang in there!
<3

Virginia said...

I suggested this to Brittany and it worked, if you were to rub some blue chamomile essential oil on their tummies. It puts them to sleep in just a little while. Plus giving them baths with lavender, and rubbing lavender oil on their feet. It helps to soothe them and help them sleep. My nephew was born with some challenges, but his parents started doing this a little while after things got rough, and he slept through the night. He's now 8 years old. She tried this with her girls and for the first time in months they slept longer than 3 hours. Good luck!

Sharon said...

oh becky! yikes! i haven't read all the comments you've received on this post, so i don't know if i'm repeating the same things over and over. here's how i survived the first year:

*the boys slept those ridiculous battery operated baby swings--all night and all day. i felt momma's guilt like crazy because of what you hear about how they don't get into a deep sleep and blah blah blah. phooey. they are sleeping. better than screaming. the batteries we went threw! the same guilt i feel when i plop them infront of the TV for two hours or more today.
*binkies in the swing
*swaddled in the swing

good luck. i didn't keep a detailed blog during the first three years of their life. it's all a big hazy blur. this is all i can remember. good luck!!!!

three little bears said...

Becky!! Hang in there momma!! I promise it does get better. As a mother of 8 1/2 month old twins I can attest to my fair share of sleepless nights...all I can tell you is to keep up with your routine (babies love routines), nap during the day when you can, get away by yourself once in awhile and get LOTS OF HELP!! I have lots of helpers/volunteers who help with laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. Getting away by yourself will help you keep your sanity (don't feel guilty about it!)
Our son had colic and was and still is a horrible sleeper. I have found that getting into the bath with him just before bed with the water as hot as he can stand it seems to melt him down like butta and he falls asleep much easier now.
It really is a guessing game: colic, teething, growth spurt, hunger, reflux, etc etc...it is enough to drive you insane!
It will soon pass and things will get better is what all the twin mommas tell me...I am just waiting for our moment - hahaha

xxoo Becky

Amber said...

Becky, I am so sorry that this is happening to you. I can not imagine the agony of hearing your boys cry like that. The only thing I can think of is that they may have a sensitivity to something you are eating or the brand of formula they are eating. My dear friend had a baby a couple of months ago and he only tolerated one type of formula, the others made him sick and cranky. My mother in law had issues with her third son crying non stop and she started journaling what she was eating in a day and found that he didn't do well with acidic foods like tomatoes and onions etc. I hope that this may help you in some way. If it continues I would request an appointment with your pediatrician even if she says to just let them cry. Crying like that is NOT NORMAL as your mommy instincts are telling you. Hang in there girl, you are a good momma.

Sugardrive said...

Hey Becky...I feel your pain, I really do. We never let them cry it out...it just wasn't something I felt good about doing. I know that it does work for some mommas, but it just didn't for us. We have found a few things that help. A sleep sheep. It makes white noise and seems to calm them. We also give them each a bath, then I nurse one until she is groggy. Then the other. Tonight is one of those "bad" nights. Violet is just not happy, which means that I am not happy. I wish I could say it gets easier, but it has not for us. :( Zoey does sleep through the night now, but Violet still wakes up at least once. Hang in there.

Jennifer said...

Hi Becky,
So sorry you are going through this! Twins can be a challenge but just remember it is temporary :) It will pass and you will barely remember it. I have 9 month old twin girls. We have followed the babywise method (not strictly) and it has worked GREAT! Both Pearl and Jewel have been great sleepers since putting them on a schedule. We swaddled them for their first 6 months and it made a huge difference! For the first 7 months we did bath/bottle/bed in order to establish a routine. Now that they are 9 months old we do a bath every other night. They nap about 3-4 hours a day and we put them down at the same time each day. If they try to sleep longer then their scheduled nap time we wake them up. I know that sounds harsh but it really works :) We have definitely had a few days here and there where they wake up during the night and I've let them cry but only a little. Sometimes they end up in our bed. Just recently I started giving them a thin breathable blanket to sleep with and it worked wonders! Just think before you know it you will be looking back on this and encouraging someone else :) Feel free to email me with any other questions! Jennie jwcjewelry@gmail.com

Audrey said...

So, you have to realize with little growing babies, that any awesome solution you have for their sleeping will always be temporary! They will have a growth spurt at least every 6 weeks, maybe every 4. So you need to make sure that you're not in this all or nothing thought process (which is hard not to think in the middle of the night). When you're babies are sleeping well, don't think: "Finally! I found the solutions to all my problems!!" instead : "I am so glad that I can sleep well this week, I will really enjoy this while it lasts". And then this helps you to think during the hard times, "Just a couple weeks, and then I will get another break" instead of, "I'm a failure! My idea is all wrong and I'm never going to sleep ever again!!!" Your mental health is more important than theirs, right now. ('cause if you're not feeling good, how can you help them?)

A few things I learned with James: checking up on him in gradually increased intervals lead to a night of misery for both of us. When I could finally not rock him to sleep anymore (or vigorously bounce him in a bouncer to sleep). I just let him cry forever with no interruptions. It was an hour the first time and 45 min the second time (keep in mind James is a laid back child, so it could easily take longer with another baby), but then it went down to 5 min, and then nothing in a matter of a week. I still have to help him fall asleep if he's sick or in a strange place, but I'm satisfied that he can fall asleep on his own mostly now, so I'll help him in the margins.

You need to realize that if they are fed, burped, changed, not too hot, too cold, too tight or too loosely wrapped, in too light of a room, then they are just tired and don't know how to sleep. Let them learn! It's not heartless! If you can't help them, then only they can help themselves. I love to give my son the independence to do things on his own. and yeah, he probably gets more hurt and frustrated than other children, but I'm raising someone who has to live without me someday, so he might as well like doing things himself...

Becky [This Road Called Vida] said...

I'm a new reader and I love your honesty! (My name is Becky too, by the way. =) I'm definitely not a mom of twins... I do have one on the way (come September.) ...and I appreciate you posting this because not only does it give me a lot more insight into what could happen after I give birth, but it also allows me to read other peoples' advice. Thanks for your honesty! ...and I hope the sleeping situation gets better sooner rather than later! I'm HOPING and PRAYING that my child is a good sleeper... My body always starts to break down the day after I get a horrible night of sleep. I don't know what I'm gonna do if I have to stay up all night with my baby. Probably just pray...and cry...and feel ultra tired. =)

BleuMoon said...

pregnant with my twins now, but I had for a time some sleep issues and screaming with my first child. I am wondering if it might be gas issues? Even with burping there is the buildup of gas in the stomach and it hurts. Try Mylicon - if it doesn't work the acid reflux could be the answer that some mom's have mentioned.
Good luck and it does get better -

Beth said...

Hang in there, girl! It's sooooo hard and you are doing great. My first baby really had a hard time with sleeping too. He would just cry for hours and still has long tantrums now so.....But you got some really good advice here. So I'm just going to say keep going, it will change soon.