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Putting twins down with one pair of hands

(8 Posts)
zaarin2003 Wed 27-Jul-11 10:30:28

I've been off work for weeks now with stress and will be returning soon (arrgh!). My DW will then have sole charge of our twin DS (9wks old) during the day.

The problem is that they can self sooth and won fall asleep on their own. No matter how tired they are they will lie awake, wide eyed and kicking or closed eyed and crying. Why doesn't something so tired sleep?!?!?!

Anyway, our solution has been to hold them and rock them to sleep, one each. It works fine, and although they often wake shortly, they do sleep.

My question is; how does one person get two babies to sleep at the same time if they have become used to being rocked and held ro sleep??

We've tried bouncy chairs etc without success - They just kick and cry after a while. They do sleep in a sling but obviously you can only wear+carry one at once!

Cerubina Wed 27-Jul-11 13:16:15

Have you got any kind of wind-down routine in place for when you want them to sleep? If not, I would definitely consider introducing one. 9 weeks is a good time to introduce it, but you may need to be prepared for a battle - probably best tackled while you are still at home rather than when your wife has to do it single-handed.

The routine typically suggested is bath, feed, story/song, cuddle, bed. The bath you may not want to do every night (I only bath ours twice a week) but the rest of it would be every night, as close to the same time every night as you can manage. All to take place in a calm environment, so dim lights, nursery rhymes or soft music playing, quiet voices, no toys except soft ones. And do try to make sure they are sleepy but not asleep when you get them into bed - if that means you have to skip the story, fine. Then a kiss, a few quiet words (eg night night, sleep tight) and tell them that you'll just be downstairs.

We introduced this at about 6 weeks' adjusted age (which was 14 weeks chronologically) and took the pain for only a couple of days before they got the message and dropped off when laid down. They did scream relentlessly the first couple of times we tried it, it was horrible and I doubted it would ever work. To be fair, I had not got into the habit of cuddling them to sleep, but they had been in the downstairs rooms with us and got used to more noise/light around them so that was still a habit that had to be broken.

Now - touch wood - they go down really quite easily every night, and for their daytime naps. They are used to their room, don't even need it to be pitch black in there as some books suggest, and intervention from us is very minimal. The key, I think, is to make it all very predictable i.e. reassuring but also dull so they're not incentivised to stay awake.

Another thing that may help is to lie their heads on a muslin, which we only introduced to catch possets but my DS (the more agitated of the two when he wakes up) has begun to use it as a comforter and it seems to help him self-soothe if he does startle for any reason.

And my final recommendation is a CD of womb sounds called Babysooth, which my Mum got me. I think it suggests you should introduce it before your baby hits 12 weeks because it will be more successful then, and I have to say it works like a charm. If they wake up early and I need them to go back to sleep but they are resisting, I put this on and even now (5 months) it is like baby opium to them. You can get it from Amazon for a tenner. Well worth it.

Whatever you try, don't assume it hasn't been a success if it doesn't work immediately. Give it a go for several nights - they need to get used to something and not have things switched too quickly.

Good luck, and I hope your stress is improving.

throckenholt Wed 27-Jul-11 13:25:54

don't let them get too tired - put them down before they are showing signs of tiredness.

With my twins once they got overtired they were hell (in the kind of way only overtired twins can be !).

SuzysZoo Wed 27-Jul-11 15:54:08

Buy one of those rocking chair/swing things. It takes up half the living room, but well worth it IMO! My boy twin would only sleep in that until he was 6 months old! He's fine now, and goes to sleep in a bed.....

zaarin2003 Wed 27-Jul-11 23:35:41

Throckenholt - Amen to that. Funny thing is, our twins would literally stay away all day if we didn't actively make an effort to put them down. If they get too tired they'll stay up eyes wide even in a darkened room. They do become a nightmare!

SuzysZoo - we've got two of those rocking chairs. Really good idea, we use them for feeding as in the morning its really easy to prop up a bottle to their mouths in one of those and it keeps them quiet. However, they have never slept in one yet!

Cerumbina - thats a lot of very good advice. I particularly like the idea of womb sounds! We do have a wind down routine which is a feed and bath in our room (where the cot is) and with lights off, a muslin put down for their heads, swaddling and eyes drooping with tiredness, we try to put them down. The second their backs hit the cot they wake up!

I suppose though my question was really about how your routine changes if your on your own. Its not so hard when there are two of you and you have a baby each to sooth and put down. But what about if theres just one of you? What I mean is - do you leave one crying whilst you try to soothe the other? Or do you put them both down quickly and try to soothe them both? Ours wake and get angry quickly if they're not being held you see - I don't know if thats a product of us holding them to sleep too much, but they do like being held to sleep, so we put them down once they've fallen asleep in our arms. So, if there is only one pair of arms, what do you do?

throckenholt Thu 28-Jul-11 07:25:52

Try and keep the routine similar for daytime naps and nighttime sleep. Ie same room, same sleeping bag, pull the curtains, maybe same music (or white noise). Try and get them to associate the environment with sleeping.

My DS1 it took me a few months to pick up his tiredness signs - as a result he wouldn't sleep for 10 hour stretches during the day in the first couple of months. We were both totally exhausted by it ! By the time I had the twins I was very much more aware of the subtle signs of tiredness - by the time they got to the yawning stage it was getting too late.

DrownedGirl Thu 28-Jul-11 11:47:23

I coslept with mine so would just lie down on the futon cuddling them both till they dropped off

MamaChocoholic Thu 28-Jul-11 14:10:36

I had a rocking chair (adult one) and I would sit in that and hold them rocking, then transfer to cot. or put them both in a double buggy and walk. in the early days mine couldn't last more than 1 hour awake before needing another 30 minute nap. it was an exhausting constant round of feed/sleep but it gets better.

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