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Please help - sleep problems

(12 Posts)
Arscal Tue 24-Sep-13 00:53:37

We're stuck in such a terrible cycle of bad habits and poor parenting and I just don't know what to do.

DTS 16 months wake all through the night. We pick up and cuddle, ssssh and pat. Eventually we end up with one in bed with me, DH on the sofa with the other and giving them milk to settle them. Even then, they'll continue to wake! Ultimately they wake DD (3yo) and we end up in yet another day of sleep deprived grumpyness.

They don't nap unless being walked in pushchair or in the car. Although I could cope with the lack of daytime sleep if we got any sleep at night.

Tonight we've tried to sit by the side of the cots when they woke, without making eye contact etc and they have cried for an hour and a half so far. I'm now in with DD because of course the noise has awoken her.

We don't have an issue initially getting them down but they'll wake 1/2hr later and continue to wake until its time to start the day got nursery/work.

I cannot carry on but I don't know how to help them sleep now. I now we've caused the problems as we were always trying to prevent the waking each other and DD.

Can anyone offer any advice?

Arscal Tue 24-Sep-13 11:43:04

OK, so I'm a little calmer than I was at 1am so may make a more sense now!

Any tips, advice, shared experiences would be very gratefully received. smile

Twicethehugs Tue 24-Sep-13 13:48:28

No advice but empathy! I'm glad you feel a bit better this morning. Mine are nearly 8 months and co-sleeping works best for us at the moment. I'm breastfeeding and they wake a lot and as long as I'm in bed for a long while without having to get out of bed it's good enough. Some more time on my own in the evenings would be nice though! Sometimes I think the same about bad habits etc e.g. Are they waking so often because they're next to me - but I reckon we just do what we do in a sleep-deprived haze to get by so try not to give yourself a hard time. Every so often I think I should try cots again but it's not easy to find a good time when I have the energy and I don't have an older one to think about.

Hope someone comes along soon with some good advice.

Cheeka Thu 26-Sep-13 19:47:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

toomuchpink Thu 26-Sep-13 22:13:06

I don't have any brilliant answers but mine are four, two and two and sleeping is on the whole going well. I stressed about mine waking each other all the time too, but the reality is that that has not happened much. It sounds to me as though you do need to persevere with some kind of controlled crying regime. You might want to seek some help from your health visitor or another expert about how best to attempt this.
Don't be hard on yourself for the situation you are in though. Having twin babies and a toddler is very, very demanding. You and your husband found a way to get through the nights, that solution doesn't feel right for you any more, so you are looking for a new one.
Once you decide what to do - patting and hushing for a few minutes, leaving the room for 5-10mins - returning to pat and hush, leaving again etc (or whatever system you go for) - try to stick to it. I hope it gets easier.
If it is any help I found the day times with my twins really started to improve around 20 months.

Nancy54 Fri 27-Sep-13 10:57:30

Really don't beat yourself up about this, it's not your fault, you've just been doing what you can to get through! My twins are 1 now and we've had periods of horrendous sleep too so I don't know if I'm the best to advise. They often sleep through now but sometimes. We bring them into bed in the early hours if ness because that way everyone gets more sleep.
I would try not to give milk during the night though as I think it encourages waking. We do give it as of 5am if someone wakes as it usually means an extra two hours sleep!

mrsdaisaku Tue 01-Oct-13 21:12:57

Hi I just wanted to say that you are doing a fab job and well done. My twins are nearly 10months old and have thankfully slept through since 4months old (phew), but that was through alot of sweat and tears. Please shoot me if the advice i'm about to give isn't what you would like to do, it worked for me and still works when the babies decide to go through a phase of waking up (I did the same with my 9yr old). Firstly definitely take milk off the cards at night time, it definitely encourages them to wake up more. When they wake up, go settle them without talking to them, as soon as they go quiet walk out of the room, leave them for 5 mins, if they are still crying go and settle them and slowly increase the amount of time that you leave them by 5mins each time, its really important to not put a light on or interact with them if you can help it (alternatively you can try longer increments of time, it depends what you're comfortable with, some people, understandably, can't stand their babies crying). It will be horrendously hard for the first few nights, but by the end of 7 - 10 days they will soon start to realise that they won't get the attention they want by waking. Explain to your older one what you are doing and that if she hears them, not to worry, that they are just learning that night time is sleep time. I hope this is useful to you. Best of luck!

thegirlinthesassyspace Wed 09-Oct-13 13:48:17

Have you tried using a white noise machine? We've had ours on for nighttime sleep since day one. I also never interacted with them if they woke,and tried to be consistent with how we handled each waking (it was sometimes hard as was so tired, and once I was literally up ALL night sat by the cot doing the same thing, but it paid off).
We never gave them milk once they were past the newborn stage, so I agree with mrsdaisaku you should maybe take that off the table.
If you want I can send you a link to the white noise machine on amazon. It stays on all night, and I know white noise worked for mine, as before I had it on for naps they would only nap by the washing machine or tumble dryer.
I hope the advice on here helps XX

Swanhilda Wed 16-Oct-13 23:00:39

just an idea, could you try tackling day time naps first, because it might be easier to cope with them crying in day than at night? Presumably there is a time of day they sleep when in the buggy or car? That is time to practise letting them settle in cots. Try one baby first, so that you are not overwhelmed. Darkened room, musical cue (lullaby) leave to settle. If baby surfaces after half and hour, resettle. Eventually will get the message of 2 hour afternoon nap (in our case about 1.30-3.30 after waking at 7am) I had one twin that took a while to learn this resettling - it is not automatic, it is a learnt habit. Don't try it on both babies at once or you will lose heart.

Then see if you can get the first block of nightime sleep to work. ie: 7 - 10pm. Tell yourself you will pick up after 10pm but until then you will let them resettle themselves. You know they aren't hungry, as you fed them at 7pm, so don't feed them anything in that period.

I can't remember as it is such a long time ago, but there is a wonderful book called How To Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Ferber which explains why babies find it so difficult to settle themselves initially when they have lost the knack of self settling.

I had twins and a toddler who I never did controlled crying on, but they slept 2 hour in afternoon in cots, went to bed at 7.30pm and woke once or twice in night for a short feed or cuddle sleeping till 7am. We co-slept sometimes, sometimes not. They did know to self settle and think that was the difference between sleeping deeply and endlessly resurfacing. Ds2 (Dt2) was a difficult sleeper, and he was a baby who surfaced much more easily AND I certainly wouldn't say he slept through consistently till 2yrs but it was quite easy to cope with only one nighttime waking/short breastfeed, but I really made an effort to give him good quality naps in day, and bedtime routine as they affected his nightime sleep. He also ate well in day, was v active.

You are NOT a bad parent, some babies are much worse sleepers than others temperamentally and all you can do is mitigate the tendency. But it can be sometimes a question of improving the situation rather than cracking the problem completely, small improvements rather than a complete change. With twins it is much more serious to be sleep deprived as you have two grumpy babies so the stakes are much higher, but it is quite usual for babies to wake at this age in the night, so you shouldn't feel you have failed. The question is, do you want to tackle problem, if so it can be done; plenty of parents are happy to live with a singleton waking them occasionally, it is just with twins it is unbearable and you shouldn't have to put up with continual waking!

Swanhilda Wed 16-Oct-13 23:14:39

I've been reading other people's messages, and I don't think giving one bottle of milk per twin in the night IS a big deal (after all it is natural for babies to feed and co-sleep in the night with mothers) You may need to do that to feel you can cope with them crying, as you know they are not crying from hunger/thirst. I certainly fed my baby when he cried, as I had milk on tap it seemed silly not to. But that was just once a night waking at 6- 16 months. You don't need to break the babies.

But you can teach them to self settle most of the night without milk, and that is the main thing. Ferber explains about the sleep cycles, although he probably disapproves of giving milk at all hmm I think there is a medium way. Babies cry in the night, they may need to be comforted and reassured, but not being able to self settle at all is bad for them, not just for you. Comfort objects like knotty rags or woollen cloths which smell of you are all good ways to associate sleep with self settling. You are the ultimate comfort object atm, and they don't have any other association, but they can learn to make a new association - lighting, music, smells, surroundings. Another thing I remember was realising the baby (say 8 months onwards) was longing to be left in peace in his cot, and that I was causing him to wake by being this very stimulating presence - sometimes putting him back in his cot was the chance for him to sleep deeply, after a very short protesting squawk (2 mins crying?)

very best wishes to you

Aliwithtwins Wed 16-Oct-13 23:29:08

It's so hard isn't it! The sleep deprivation makes everything hard work, I felt like I was walking through treacle most of the time. We gave up with our twins, bought a super king sized bed and we've been co sleeping ever since (they're now 20 months). This really works for us, mainly because we don't care about anything else as long as we get sleep! They also don't go to bed until 9pm but then sleep till 8.30/ 9, which suits us. I think the key is to find a pattern that works for you and your babies. Hope you get a better nights sleep tonight.

Swanhilda Wed 16-Oct-13 23:32:52

I wanted to add, yes, BIG BED!
Co-sleeping made us much more relaxed about nightwaking, and if a baby fidgeted and didn't settle, they went straight back in cot!

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