Falling to pieces

(40 Posts)
cheeka Thu 22-Aug-13 19:59:56

5mth EBF twins. They won't go to sleep without a fight. I end up pushing them back and forth in pushchair for ages. During the day they do ok, they fall asleep after 20mins of pushing ( but today at bedtime), after 40mins of going back and forth, they are refusing to settle. I tried bfing them to sleep but they hate tandem feeding and when I one at a time,the other screams the whole time. I've just tried giving formula/expressed breast milk in a bottle. They rejected it angrily. Won't take a dummy. I'm

cheeka Thu 22-Aug-13 20:02:54

Sorry, sent too early. They are both screaming on the mat on the floor. When I pick one up, they quiet down but the other twin is left screaming sad. They are basically crying it out as i can't physically pick both of them up to comfort

Margetts Thu 22-Aug-13 21:01:22

When my DT were babies I had music on the baby monitor and basically trained them to sleep to music. I remember sitting downstairs just pressing the repeat button over and over again!!
I BF my DT apart from the 6 pm feed when I had no milk left. I gave them a bottle of formula which also seemed to help a bit
On the positive side it gets much easir and a lot more fun!

Twicethehugs Thu 22-Aug-13 21:06:42

I didn't want to read and run as it sounds awful. Is there anyone who could help at bedtime even for a few days to give you a hand e.g. So you could feed and settle one before dealing with the other? If not, could one wait in a swing or similar or would it just be more crying? I tandem feed lying down at bedtime, if they hate tandem feeding cos they get in each other's space, this might be worth a try. This is probably all stuff you've tried or thought of already sorry. You could give Tamba's twin line a call if you want to talk it through with a friendly ear - it's free and you don't need to be a member - 0800 138 0509, it's open 10am-1pm & 7pm-10pm. I really hope it gets better for you soon x

sara11272 Thu 22-Aug-13 21:17:01

Sorry you're having a hard time... the early months are really hard work, it does get easier very quickly, little by little.

Could you put one in a bouncy chair while you sort out the other, rather than lying them down, in case this works - or a swing? One of mine always used to sleep the minute we put her in a swing.

Other ideas (and sorry if you've tried these) - a mobile which twirled round and played a tune kept mine entertained for a little while in their cot, or those black and white baby books which you can prop up in the cot for one while the other feeds (mine would stare at these for a bit even when really young).

Will have a think about other things I used to do and post again if I think of anything. Good luck and remember, it does get better x

yellowballoons Thu 22-Aug-13 21:23:39

Maybe they dont want to sleep?

do you have a dp? or anyone who could come over and give you a hand??

personally i wouldn't go ott on insisting on a "bedtime"... would they be happy if you brought them downstairs and cuddled them in front of the tv for a while??

cheeka Thu 22-Aug-13 21:38:36

Thanks everyone-they screamed non stop till 9pm when DH came home. He's holding one while I bf the other. Thanks for the suggestions, some I've tried and they work briefly but they seem to wise up and reject!i normally bf them tandem for their bedtime feed. But when I try to transfer them to the cot/pushchair they wake up with a vengeance.but more often than not they are still awake and the battle to sleep commences!! Full on crying as they get more and more tired, I try to tandem again but they get angry..I might try feeding them in bed if I can manage to calm and distract one twin as the other feeds. It is soooo hard.confusedafter tonight's performance I think they are rejecting bottles too (was planning to move onto formula or at least mix feed at 6mths)..

i have the utmost respect for anyone who ebf's twins! it was intense enough just with one.
so bravo you!

go easy on yourself, you're doing great smile
one day you will look back and say "ahhh, it wasn't so bad, let's do that again" wink

cheeka Thu 22-Aug-13 21:53:18

I do think they are very tired because they are in such a bad mood after their bedtime feed and they've been awake for at least 2hrs since their last nap. They are downstairs with me anyway, once I bathe them, I take them down to feed on the sofa and try to settle them there. I've also tried taking them back up to their cots after the feed but no joy. My mum normally helps me but she's gone back to her house (5hrs away) for the next couple of weeks to rest. She's undecided about whether to come back but I think I going to beg her to!My DH works quite late so he's not around normally. Though he's off drinking tomorrow evening which I'm not happy about...

Toddlertwinsmum1 Thu 22-Aug-13 22:00:53

It does get better, I promise. Just stopping ebfing my twins at 1 year, but I remember that feeling of evening stress well. Mine cluster fed all evening but finally started to settle into some sort of evening routine at about 6 months, meaning I actually got to spend some time in the evening without one or the other (or both) attached to a boob.

Do you have a feeding pillow? I used to get one latched on then give the other cuddles and swap over as needed, meaning I didn't have to leave them crying as much, but also meaning I could give them each some individual attention.

It is so hard, but you are doing brilliantly. I was told by a doctor when I took my twins at 5 months he'd never before heard of exclusively breastfeeding twins for that long, so give yourself a pat on the back. Again, it does get better, I promise!

I don't have any BF advice but I totally agree with margetts it does get easier and more fun!

I remember those early days and feeling so overwhelmed. You have done fantastically well BF for so long.

Your comment about your mum going home to rest made me smile. My mum stayed with us for the first 8 weeks and she was shattered when she left, I think she aged 10 years!

Hope your babies settle into more of a routine in the evenings.

cheeka Thu 22-Aug-13 22:31:54

Thanks Toddler and Thisis.The HVs are also incredulous (in a good way) when I tell them I'm ebfing twins!Just wish the twins could learn how to sleep! They aren't the most chilled out of babies. When they get overtired they erupt big time hmm

AnotherStitchInTime Thu 22-Aug-13 22:41:34

I take my hat off to you, I don't have twins. You have managed to ebf for 5 months, that is a massive achievement. Please go easy on yourself.

How about distraction for the one who is not feeding?

I used this lullaby video for mine dd's, especially dd2 who like to wake from 2-4am. She used to sit in her bouncy chair and watch it. Baby Einstein was also a favourite once slightly older.

Also a rocking platform might help soothe the one who is not in your arms if they like rocking like Robopax.

White noise and sea sounds also helped dd2 go to sleep along with a lightshow.

When you tandem feed do you rugby hold so their legs and bodies don't touch?

Also mine both started teething at around 5 months, dd2's sleep went haywire, from sleeping all night to waking every two hours and she was very clingy. You could look into chamomile teething powders like Ashton and Parson's, won't hurt to try it.

cheeka Thu 22-Aug-13 22:53:54

Thanks Another, some really good suggestions!They might be teething come to think of it-DTS likes biting down on my finger these days....will look into the robopax and the lullaby xxx

Madlizzy Fri 23-Aug-13 01:10:29

not entirely sober, but a triplet mum. how about doing their bedtime tandem feed in your bed and letting them get deeply asleep there?

HighVoltage Fri 23-Aug-13 02:10:07

Just posting to send a virtual hug. Our DTs are only 11 weeks old (and already mixed feeding so you're an ebf hero!) so I don't have any specific advice for you, sorry, but remember when DS1 was 5 months and he got very demanding so can only imagine how hard it is at the moment for you.

All I can add is it's not long until solids time which certainly helped him go to sleep more easily in the evening (still maniacally rocked him for all daytime naps). But basically just sympathy from over here. (And definitely ask your mum to come back and help and maybe ask DP to stop in tomorrow night or at least drop in before or come home earlyish? Hard to ask for help sometimes but is very reasonable in this situation.)

Margetts Fri 23-Aug-13 08:13:34

Hope your babies slept ok last night.
Could it be that by 6.00 pm in the evening you are exhausted and don't really have enough milk left which is why the babies are taking so long to settle? They are coming up to 6 months when weaning starts and if they are big babies, they will be starting to get really hungry. By this time of night I was exhausted and found I didn't have enough milk.
It could be a combination of low milk and hungry babies.
Are they having a growth spurt? I have a memorable day with my DT when they screamed from first thing in the morning until my sister in law arrived in the evening. Never managed tandem feeding and spent the entire feeding a baby and bouncing the screaming one with my foot in the chair.
Where I live there is a charity called Home Start that helps people with young families. Do you have anything like that near you, that a could help out for a few hours? The HV would know.
I hope you have a better day today. One thing that I found helped me was getting outside for a walk, seeing blue sky and fresh air made all the difference to my mental health! Hope that your DH gives you a break over the weekend.

cheeka Fri 23-Aug-13 08:36:50

The plan tonight is to feed them in bed after their bath as they seem to settle a lot better there (as we cosleep when I go to bed)
What I don't understand is DTD is now screaming her head off at 8.30am!i gave her an early morning feed in bed, she was all chirpy and playful. Now just tried to tandem but she started going berserk, so took DTS off (looking bemused) and carried on with DTD. She is shrieking in rage. Have no idea. Could it be reflux?but why now at 5mths?!?poor DSD is waiting patiently as I'm trying to calm DTD down hmm

Toddlertwinsmum1 Fri 23-Aug-13 10:48:26

Good plan for tonight, I really think you just have to take each day as it comes and do what you can. Don't be too hard on yourself. There are loads of reasons why they might become unsettled at 5 months - teeth, growth spurt, they are having to take in and process a lot more each day, they are frustrated about wanting to roll/crawl/move, etc etc...hard as it is, you just have to get support from those around you and ride it out. Don't worry about DTS waiting for you to feed DTD, that is something they will quickly get used to, being a twin!

Hope you are ok, I've been thinking about you all night as I remember how difficult and relentless it feels at that stage.

Just another thing, I've now moved my twins onto toddler formula (even though everyone says its a waste if money, for some reason I feel like the twins need it!?) and it has made no difference to their sleeping or feeding patterns. I thought it would encourage them to sleep through, but no such luck. I know they will do it in their own time.

Toddlertwinsmum1 Fri 23-Aug-13 10:51:07

Also, just looking at your OP, is there someone else who can try to bottle feed? Sometimes they won't take it from you as they can smell your milk but may be happier to from DH or DM. It might give you a bit of a break. X

HappyAsASandboy Fri 23-Aug-13 17:57:50

Well done for surviving. I ebf my twins too (they had recently self weaned at 2yrs 6mo and 2yrs 9mo) and bedtime is the most difficult bit IMO. You're tired, they're tired, you're desperate to have some evening, and your husband is about to come home to it all. It is a stressful time.

I always fed my twins separately. At 4 to about 10 months, I found starting 'evening' really early helped. From about 5pm we were on a wind down, in sleep suits, lots of cuddles, quiet room, feeding lots in rotation. Basically anything to avoid them getting hungry at the same time as tired! I also tried not to have any expectation of when they would go to sleep, so I let them fall asleep when they were ready.

I wish you all the best. It is hard work in those early months, but I promise it gets easier, and before they're two you will be sitting with a cup of tea while they play together. Your friends with one toddler will envy you having playmates that let you drink your tea wink

cheeka Fri 23-Aug-13 19:33:12

Thank you all for the lovely support. Today has been a bit better, this evening I'm just letting the twins bob on and off me, amidst huge bouts of crying!!im starting off on the sofa and will soon bed down with them xxx

MrsWolowitz Fri 23-Aug-13 19:39:41

You're doing great.

I have DTs and those first few months are so hard.

It does get better, you will get through this.

I'm very familiar with that feeling of despair and have sat on the floor sobbing many a time! Have you heard if Twinline? Give them a call, if nothing else, it's a distraction and someone to screech at.

We're here to listen too. You'll be fine. They'll get easier. Honest x

Twicethehugs Sat 24-Aug-13 09:14:16

I hope you had a better night. I think at about 5 months I was despairing that I'd ever see my husband in the evening as just spent all eve feeding (upstairs in quiet room) and then by the time they finally went to sleep I was too tired to go downstairs so just went to sleep usually. At 6 1/2 months, it's better and I can usually get them to sleep quicker and get some time downstairs and I think they get a bit more sleep so are less tired. I don't know if starting bedtime earlier and having more of a routine helped (same story and songs every night) or if it's just a developmental thing but it has got better, it will do for you too.

cheeka Sat 24-Aug-13 13:58:10

Amazingly, I did have a better night!The twins seemed to settle a lot quicker and easier which was a good thing because dh rolled in late and v drunk angry
I think this thread and all your advice has taught me to simply relax a bit and go with the flow....easier to say this now when I'm calm and it's quiet!!

Twicethehugs Sat 24-Aug-13 18:27:40

Glad it went a bit better. I've found I'm happier too when I get to a point of accepting things are as they are. It's not easy and I often forget at tricky times! Fingers crossed for another good night.

Hello! I am also EBFing my 6.5 mo twins. I wa distraught when bfing to sleep stopped working! Here's what I did.

I started to feed them in a dark bedroom, with Ewan the Sheep playing. Sadly, TV/other people/movingtoo far once they were drowsy became too difficult. They are still on our room so I do this on our king size bed,with the duvet pulled back. I started to pat them rhythmically on their backs while they were feeding, so they got used to the rhythm and associated it with comfort. For a while, they would eventually fall asleep like this, then I'd throw one down onto the bed and quickly settle the other one I their cot. Then lift the baby on the bed and fire that one into the cot.

Once they were used to the rhythm, I then fed them until they were no longer actively feeding (this might be totally asleep or still wide awake, depending on the baby and their mood!). This take sno more than 15. Mins now. Then I would put into the cot and pat them using the same rhythm until they eventually submitted to sleep. I started with morning nap one day and now I don't have to feed before that nap at all (hooray!). Lunchtime nap I still feed them down for but if they stir, then a quick pat normally gets them over. Bedtime the same. Sometimes it takes - mins, sometimes a lot longer but normally less than 20 mins.

This was not a fast process but it really improved bedtime for me and DH can now share the settling (and multiple re-settles!) so it has reduced the time I spend getting them to sleep considerably. It's also v useful in the night and about half of their wakings cannot be sorted with a quick pat, rather than having to feed them. DTS now only wakes twice for a feed (and one of those feeds could be considered a dream feed) between 7 and 6. DTD is a tougher nut but she is gradually improving too.

cheeka Sun 25-Aug-13 20:57:37

Thats a really good idea-I might try the rhythmic patting Freebutton!
Bedtime is a noisy affair in our house, particularly because my Toddler has just come back from a week's holiday with GPs.
Feeling a bit guilty today though. Twins were screaming before bedtime as usual and DTD seemed extra hungry. I tandem fed but then put DTS down as she was thrashing around and distracting him. I suddenly decided to try the bottle of formula again but surprisingly, it was DTS who took 5oz whereas DTD refused. She ended up taking DTS's 'designated boob'and they are both asleep now with a bit of rocking. So what now - wondering whether to carry on giving a nightly bottle of bedtime formula. This is really silly of me, but I wanted to reach 6mths as EBF whereas the twins are now just under 5.5mths!!I could give expressed milk I suppose, to get them used to the bottle. I only used formula today because i was fed up of pouring away precious breast milk after a rejected feed.
My plan is to move to mixed feeding after 6mths, shouldn't matter if we are a little bit early? wink

rednellie Mon 26-Aug-13 19:01:09

Hey cheeka, I am still bf my 17 month old twin boys and those early days are HARD. Well done you. Couple of helpful tips I picked up from here and other places:

- get naps sorted now. This will help with getting them to go down without milk in the evening. I got naps sorted by following this basic routine: wake up, bf, play and do stuff for about an hour and a half. When they start grizzling, take them up to their cots and put them down for sleep.

- as someone mentioned above, I start bedtime from about 5pm, still do with my 3.5yr old DD. Dinner is at 4:30pm, then we start winding down, bath, pyjamas etc...and every week or so I'd introduce another element of bedtime after milk. So, first I'd feed them both, then read a short book, then it'd be book and teeth, then bath, teeth and book all after a feed. Eventually the link between milk and bed is gone...

I only started doing those two things when they were about 5 months old and my god it was like a miracle. There was a bit of crying, but not as much as I was expecting - I think I kept putting them to sleep when they were already too tired and so it made them even more hysterical. 4/5 months is also when they often have a massive sleep regression (yippee) so it can be very stressful as their sleep can go to pot.

Anyway, hope I haven't massively repeated anything anyone else has said and also sending you loads of sympathy! It does get easier (and more dangerous - I found one of my twins on top of the kitchen table today...)

cheeka Mon 26-Aug-13 21:13:39

Thanks RedNellie! Do you bathe the twins with your DD? I have a 2.8yr DS and I find it so difficult to get him ready for bed AND settle the twins!
Funnily,the twins have suddenly got easier since my original post. Hope I haven't jinxed it!normally they'd still be raging long after my DH has taken DS to bed. But now that they are asleep before the twins, it's opened up another set of problems - how to stop DS from waking the twins up!

schmee Mon 26-Aug-13 21:26:25

If one is taking formula, don't feel bad about giving it to just that one. There will be people who say that you can carry on producing to demand and this may be true. But you have done an amazing job EBF so far, and it will be a strain on your body to carry on producing enough to feed both of them, and it will be a strain on all of you as it is so difficult to comfort twins when both of them are kicking off and hungry.

You could carry on feeding DTS with the boob in the morning and give him formula at night so you can give them both enough to settle. I used to bf one while ff the other in the bouncy chair. One did give up bf before the other (he had problems bf anyway) My only regret is that I stopped bf the other fairly soon after as it felt I wasn't giving them equal treatment. Really, if they are fed they are happy and it really doesn't matter how.

One thing I noticed in your post was that you were saying it's two hours since their last nap. At five months I think they may want to go a bit longer than this.

schmee Mon 26-Aug-13 21:27:47

xpost - glad to hear it is getting better for you now. smile

rednellie Mon 26-Aug-13 21:43:47

Hope it was the 4 month regression then! Only the 9 month to look forward too... wink

I used to bath DD straight after the twins, I'd have her in the bath and I'd be on the landing with the twins drying and dressing them. Then, get her out, wrap a towel round her and dress her, then read to her whilst I fed the twins...It was complicated. DH helped A LOT, he used to come home everyday in time for bedtime to help! But honestly, since DD turned 3 and the twins 1, it has become so much simpler.

Now that wouldn't work as the boys are WAY more active and generally there are just lots of naked children racing around our house come 6pm...sigh

cheeka Mon 26-Aug-13 22:27:43

There are some fantastic tips on this thread-thank you all!
Red-grinat the naked children running around!!
Schmee-I was fully prepared to give DTS formula tonight - had it made up-but he fell asleep straight after his bath.i put him in his cot as I sorted out DTD and came back to him asleep and he is still asleep!!! Still stunned. I did give them lots of bfs this afternoon as they were really moody and hungry so that might have helped. it's all so random at the moment. It's interesting what you say about equal treatment. I was just thinking maybe I ought to give up bfing if one twin switches to formula-feels like it isn't 'fair'..But like u say,if both are happy...
I too would have thought at 5mths they could go longer inbetween naps but they get so tetchy, even after 1hr awake. I always think they can't possibly be tired but I start rocking them and they do fall asleep. Wonder why they are so tired...

DigestivesAndPhiladelphia Wed 28-Aug-13 10:02:02

Hi Cheeka,

I hope things are going better for you. I don't have any bf advice (I only managed about 10 days before moving mine to formula) but I do have 8 month old twins.

I think you are in the hardest part at the moment. When my twins were 5/6 months, I was at absolute breaking point a lot of the time. We have a toddler as well. By the time they were 7 months, things seemed to change and suddenly get so much easier.

Now, my babies can both sit up and play with toys for periods of time. They can sit up in highchairs, they have three meals a day (and can self-feed some things) and they usually sleep through. I can't believe what a difference the last few months have made. What I'm trying to say is: just hang in there flowers grin . I know lots of people say it, bit it really does get easier.

Swanhilda Wed 28-Aug-13 23:29:51

hi Cheeka, I dont know how it happened but by six months the twins were much easier. I think solids helped, their naps were better, they were more engaged with the world, and that tired them out quite a lot too. Breastfeeding dramatically improved after six months and far from giving up then, you might find it is your magic weapon against squalling. I think I stopped tandem feeding except at bedtime and even then it became clear that the twins had slightly different sleep patterns so naturally they ended up feeding at subtly different times. I don't think dealing with twins is an exact science, and whatever works at a particular time is the right approach. I mixed fed till six months for the record, so have nothing against formula or bottles. I only know that bfng them after six months seemed a doddle, and was foolproof way to deal with them out and about, when they woke at night and sundry miracles. I had a toddler son too btw. You sound like you are doing brilliantly. Someone once said to me that twins get very jealous of each other bdng, and for some reason this cheered me up tremendously as I realised they were crying not because they were desperately hungry or in pain but just because they were jealous. And obviously then I gave them loads of cuddles too..

Swanhilda Wed 28-Aug-13 23:33:16

One of my twins needed far more sleep than for example Contented Little Baby might have suggested (stimulation from being a twin perhaps?) and one of my twins needed far more feeds than the other. So it is just a case of doing what works for you and twins and not paying that much attention to other people's ways of doing things, if what you are doing Works!

cheeka Thu 29-Aug-13 00:45:54

Hi digestives-that makes me feel better because I feel at my lowest ebb at the moment. I was striving to make it past 3mths so it's come as a huge shock that the whole twin thing has been getting steadily harder. I look forward to the next couple of months!
Swan-it's really enlightening to hear that some twins get jealous because I swear that my DTD gets positively territorial over her bit of the bf cushion!soon as I tandem, she either thrashes around or starts poking DTS in the eye grinshe seems to need a lot more sleep than he does too...

Margetts Thu 29-Aug-13 15:30:29

DTD being territorial over the cushion could just be personality. Even when my twins were weeks old I always had to BF DTS first otherwise he would just scream. They are now 6 and he is still as impatient and always wants me first. His darling TS will give into him rather than listen to him scream.
Although I gave them one bottle a day, I carried on BF until my DTS was 16 months old, his DTS had weaned herself by this point. I only did one feed per day first thing in the morning, but this was much easier than getting out of bed to make a bottle!!
After the DT started weaning they slept much more and were far more settled. I think they were a bit hungry for the first 6 months!
My DT are now 6 and are the best of friends at home. Every morning they rush into each others rooms and start playing. It does get much much easier!

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