Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sleep (again, I know)

Okay. Twin moms:
Is there ANYONE whose twins sleep through the night without crying it out?
Here's my boys' problem at night (as far as I can understand): they are too wiggly.
The problem is NOT that they do not know how to self-soothe. It is not that they can't put themselves to sleep.
Because I have seen both of them put themselves to sleep by themselves dozens of times. I have seen them flicker between wake and sleep, even shout out and cry, and then choose to go back to sleep.

The problem is that they like to move it, move it. Even in deep sleep.
They get this from their mom, as a kid I always woke up somewhere different than I went to sleep. And I don't mean that I just had my head at the foot of the bed (although that happened a million times.)
I mean, I would wake curled up on the stair landing. Or in an dry bathtub. Or the living room floor.
How did I get there? Nobody knows.

I fear that as soon as my boys can walk, they'll be the same.
Grey and Micah sleep swaddled.  They cannot sleep unswaddled, because they are so wiggly. If they sleep unswaddled they move even more and wake themselves up and they won't go to sleep because their hands are free to pull out their pacifier (and then stick it back in, and then pull it out, and then stick it back in, which they're obsessed with doing and which properly distracts them from sleep.)
Because they're so wiggly they always slip out of their swaddles and I have to go in and reswaddle them.
But the real problem isn't even that they slip out of their swaddles, because even then, I've seen them put themselves back to sleep.
The real problem is that they wiggle themselves into really uncomfortable positions and then they don't know how to get out of them.

The two most common positions for me to find them in are this:
1. pressed into the top corner of their bed, with their head against the bars and 1-3 limbs stuck through the bars, which they cannot figure out how to free and which is probably quite painful.
2. lying lengthwise in the crib, which they are too long to do. Then the top of their head is pressed painfully against the bars, and their legs eventually end up sticking out between the bars, making it completely impossible for them to right themselves.

I mean, is this normal?
And I don't want to let them cry it out, because they don't just cry. They don't whimper or bawl or whatever is normal for babies.
They scream like they have the Cruciatus curse upon them. They turn purple, they stop breathing (or begin hyperventilating), they claw their own faces and stomachs, and mostly: they writhe.
They writhe and move and wiggle and scream until they are so uncomfortable that I cannot not go in there. It is cruel not to help them.

GAH. I don't know what to do.
Did anyone have a similar problem? What do I do?
I need someone's help, because last night I had to go help Grey re-situate himself no less than 6 times.
And we have lots of fans and white noise, because maybe you remember that the boys talk in their sleep? So we need lots of distracting noises to help us tune them out, but which unfortunately means that I only hear the boys when they're pretty hysterical.
So by the time I go in to help Grey get his legs unstuck from the bars, he's been in there bellowing for ten minutes and it takes me a while to calm him back down and then I'm like "Well I might as well nurse him, so I don't have to get up again in an hour and do it."
But then, yeah. I'm up in an hour anyway.

I'm tired, guys.

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B. said...

Maybe a video monitor so that you can tell if the boys need your help to get unstuck?

My doctor told me to lose the swaddle once the twins can roll over on their own. Maybe the boys will be able to get more comfortable this way.

And it may seem counter-intuitive, but they may need to loose the pacifiers. Then once they learn to sleep without them, there won't be any waking up to find a paci.

Just keep trying new things.

They'll get there! I promise you will sleep again.

Nana B said...

Hey, did you ever see or hear of bumper pads for the cribs, they keep the baby(ies) from hitting their heads on the bars or getting their legs stuck out. You should be able to find them at Target or WalMart. Or just roll up a blanket and make your own by attaching it to the bar sides of the crib. Hope that helps. Love You, say Hi to Mary and give the boys loves from me.

Bre said...

oh boy, sounds just like my david. He moves all the time and I frequently find his limbs stuck in the bars. But after him waking up every 1/2 hour to 45 minutes, I said enough! I simply couldn't function on no sleep. He screamed bloody murder the first night for 45 minutes and it was HELL...but the next night it was 20 minutes and the next night it was 10. By day 4 he was great!!! Emily is my pacifier girl. She has to have a paci and if it falls out and she can't find it, she'll scream. I finally had her start sleeping with 3-4 extra pacifiers in her crib. The whole experience was AWFUL but SO WORTH it in the long run.

Molly B said...

Well I am a mom to twin boys 7 months old- my boys go to bed each night and sleep the entire night no crying...we are lucky that we have a large enough house that both boys sleep in their own rooms, own cribs. I can bet you that is the issue- can you move them into seperate rooms? I would suggest doing that if your home allows that. That was a major factor on the boys sleeping throughout the night- it is great! I am sorry that you are still dealing with does get better- I promise!

Krystle said...

Yep, same issues with my twins.

Here is what I did:

I stopped swaddeling them. I refused to continue to go in and re-swaddle. They liked being swaddeled, and needed it, but at the same time were done. SO I slowly weaned them. One arm out for a few nights, then the other arm out and then just the legs and soon we were done!
A few rough nights/naps happened but they are much happier now.

I also got the "breathable bumpers" that way, they can wiggle all the way to the edge of the crib in funky positions, but not get limbs stuck (they had done that too). And their little face and get all smushed and they can still breathe.

They will learn to sleep without the swaddle, I promise.

Are they in separate cribs? If not, I would do that.

Camden is always found lying the wrong way with his head smushed into the crib. But eventually he wiggles out of it.

If you keep going in and rescuing them, they are going to scream just so you come in :) They are approaching the age where they become aware of it and within the next month or's going to happen :)

I wish you luck!
I have had 3 swaddled babies and have weaned all 3 off of it :) I always thought it would be so hard and they weren't ready because of "such and such" was all me and not them :)

Unknown said...

I'm sorry becky I probably won't be of much help. But James would get stuck too in his crib, and we could tell when he was stuck because his cry was different. But I thought, oh I don't need bumper pads, he will eventually learn how to get out. Which he did, but then he started standing up and then falling down and hitting his head. I wish I would have gotten bumper pads. I know what they say about them being dangerous, but I felt like James was big enough to turn his head at 6 months.

Also I recently had to read that sleep sense again because James had a hard time transitioning after the move. He was using my booby as a sleep prop again. You might have to get rid of the passies. So we had to go through the cycle again. I would also leave the house after James was put to bed. I felt horrible, but it worked. Good luck love!

Boni Lady said...

My twins HAD to sleep swaddled too, but somewhere around 5 or 6 months, they started wiggling WAY too much. They worked their way out of the VELCRO-tight swaddle. So, I switched them to the sleep sack. So they were still "contained", but their legs weren't getting stuck in the bars like they would when they'd work out of the swaddler. I had them in sleep sacks until after their first birthday! Worked for us... good luck!

Unknown said...

My girls were swaddled until about 8 months. They needed it for a while but I probably could have stopped sooner. (it would have taken some weaning though bc my friend babysat one night and left them unswaddled for bed... yeah, not a good night for us.) ANYWAY- my girls were in the same crib for a long time... at least 7 1/2-8mos and had been sleeping through the night (most nights) w/o crying for quite some time. If they cried, I knew they needed something.

I finally separated them and took the swaddle away bc they were waking up a lot more, fighting sleep, fussing, etc all through the night- we were more tired at this point than we were when we came home from the hospital. Enough was enough.

Things have been MUCH better since making those changes. My girls still have their paci and are put down every night & nap awake. They do still share a room and it doesn't seem to affect them one bit. If one wakes up crying (even really loud crying, the other usually just snoozes right on)

A bumper pad has helped our issue of limbs getting stuck :) I'm sure you will get this figured out... good luck!!!

Meg and Abe said...

My boys are very wiggly as well and would often get caught in the crib slats so we also did the breathable bumpers and it is great.

When we decided to let them cry it out it was really difficult the first night. One of my twins only cried for 20 minutes or less the other cried for 4 hours straight. I did one night time feeding after the 4 hours and put them back to bed. This time he only cried for an hour. By morning I felt like the worst mom ever but kept telling myself it was for their own good and no baby ever died of crying. Jace almost lost his voice because of the scream fest the night before but we persisted and the second night they were both a sleep in less then an hour and by the third night it took less then 10 minutes and we have had happy sleepers ever since.

It really is worth it. I would suggest your noise maker, ear plugs and a Unisome for the first night. Say a prayer and just go to sleep. The great thing about babies is they will never hold a grudge. No matter how much they cried the night before, the next day they will be perfectly happy to see you like nothing had ever happened. =)

Brittany said...

I know bumpers are controversial in the baby world, but we use them. My sister made them and I wasn't using them for fear of SIDS, but one night, I went in and Sophie's thigh was so stuck that her leg was turning blue. I panicked, woke up Josh and we tried everything to get it unstuck. It finally popped out with a little help from Astro Glide lube (No joke. And I hope my mother somehow doesn't read this because THAT'S awkward...) After that, I started using the bumpers. I know that wont help with the wiggles, but it will stop them from getting stuck.

It took Sophie quite a while to learn to sleep without being swaddled too. I think I swaddled my girls until they were about 6 or 7 months, but by that time they usually broke out of it on their own and continued to sleep.

Have you tried those sleep sacks? Are those just for newborns? I have no idea, but maybe those would work?

Meagan @ Meagan Tells All said...

After the swaddling stage for us, we put my daughter in a sleep sack. Which acted like a blanket and kept her legs contained. The problem that we have has parents, is that sometimes we help too much. My daughter is a mover too when she sleeps, but she always finds a comfy spot and sleeps through her awkward arrangements. I hope that you find a solution or stick to something soon because they are definitely getting old enough to be stubborn and not sleep. When they are little and you just let them work it out, they get into a routine that mom isn't coming in here anymore, probably should go to sleep. Do they sleep in the same crib? I mean, I obviously don't have twins so I don't know how it must feel, but at least when they are in their own crib, they have their own space to sleep instead of worrying about waking up the other. Just an idea!

Sasha Malaeb Sugg said...

I too have the breathable bumper for those reasons, (but not twins.)
Since Lilly moves EVERYWHERE, and finds anything and everything to mess and play with, she won't let me rock her, she pulls out her pacifier over 29034032 times a night, and basically refuses to go to sleep or eat until she is overtired and over hungry, i am struggling with this and on the verge of tears every night.
If you find a good solution, let me know because I am so zombied out and exhausted from going day and night.

Good luck to you!

Becoming Supermommy said...

My twins did the same thing. These are the three things that made the biggest difference:

1) Sleep sacks- like the ladies said. Trapped their legs, but not the arms. That helped a lot.
2) Crib bumpers, although I don't know much about the "breathable" bumpers. I actually make them. It's super freakin' easy, in fact it's easier to make SAFE crib bumpers than it is to make the sorts of crib bumpers that can be dangerous. All you have to do is buy the right foam.
3) Sound machine. the first night we plugged in the white noise, the tossing and turning practically stopped. It was magical.

I hope things get easier for you!

Carrie said...

I'm not a mom of twins but both of my kids have had this same problem. It started once they first learned how to move either crawling or rolling. I think they just like to "practice" while in bed. I suggest getting a bumper to prevent arms and limbs from poking out. We got the breathable ones found here:
That way I knew that whatever position they are in at least an arm wasn't stuck or sticking out because you are right they don't know how to get out of those positions. Hope that helps!

Polly said...

Soon this whole time period will just be a memory and your memory will tell you that they were great little sleepers. Time flies so fast and you are really through the worst of it. I'm sorry you are so tired, that is the worst feeling. I wish I lived close so I could take turns with you being up all night. I agree that you should give it up on the swaddling even though they like it, have you ever seen a 3 year old that needs to be swaddled at night, you can't do it forever. I wouldn't bother with the bumpers because they just pull them off and fling them around the bed at least that was my experience and you would only use them for such a short time. Make Mary get up, what is she there for?

Sharon Beesley said...

Do u have Bumper pads around the crib? If so you should get a better one. There arms and legs won't get trapped inthe bars.

stayday said...

My twins are 5 1/2 months- no bumpers here (very much a no no in Australia), they are swaddled in zipper like sacs (wrap me up swaddles- genius). I sleep right next to them and have to plug them with a dummy at around 2am and 4:40am- they wake around 6am. They are getting too big to sleep in the same cot but I don't want to drag 2 cots into the lounge room. I don't let them ever cry it out as they become hysterical, I just have to make sure I plug the dummy in in time.

Jennifer and Brad said...

As soon as our sons got loose from the swaddling position we tossed them. For the reason you are having. I didn't want them to require. Saying that, it did take them about a week to get use to not having them on but now they are happy. Pretty much same with the paci for about a week I had them sleep with us and once they popped it out I gave them their thumb and now we have no issue. Everyone has their opinion about thumb sucking and Im okay with it. Im probably no help but I'd probably get a monitor so I could hear them as soon as the fussing started so they aren't so worked up and awake when you come to help out.

Alissa Moghtaderi said...

Man that's rough. I'm sorry you're not getting the sleep you need because twins are a very. hard. job. I just went back to work early -- a few days a week -- to get a breather because it's such hard work to be home with two infants.

I hope the sleep situation improves because you deserve some rest, and it makes everything easier.

Sugardrive said...

hey here's what we did, or didn't do...or both really. we didn't let them cry it out. i just didn't feel good about it. in the end, you need to do what you are most comfortable with. you need your sleep, and so do they, and they're going through separation anxiety. the girls still wake up once during the's normal, and i think if you keep reacting to them crying, they'll come to expect it - like you're conditioning them. we, very, recently stopped getting them in the night b/c violet started waking multiple times and i couldn't stand it anymore. now, they wake up, cry for 5-10 minutes, then turn on a toy in their crib and just chill out until they fall back asleep. this is tough. i know, firsthand. hang in there.

oh and also...breathable bumpers. they'll keep the limbs and pacis in the cribs.

hope this helps...if nothing else, just know that i'm in it with ya.

Xoe said...

Thats a tricky one. My twins always lay still luckily. All I can think of is maybe using a grow bag. Hope you get it sorted and get a rest.

Audrey said...

yep, crib bumpers. Just like everyone else is saying. That will prevent them from getting limbs stuck, and stop a little bit of the pain from squishing against the bars. If it's a matter of un-squishing, then let them learn how to do that--they'll learn quickly how to get themselves out of those positions if you don't help them, but limbs are a different story. If limbs are working their way under bumper, then I would secure them to the mattress or a low part of the crib bars with duct tape or something... or get a 1-1.5 in thick bumper pad, and rest it tight against the mattress.

I hardly believe that this is a matter of having twins, it's a matter of having wiggly babies.