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Twins - apparently sleep gets easier. But when!?

(6 Posts)
zaarin2003 Fri 15-Jul-11 03:37:59

Hi all,

If I have the parlance of this site sorted, then I'm a DH of two 8 week old DS's. If I haven't then I'm a guy, with two male kids.

They're not sleeping properly. Or rather, they can, but only when you do things... unatural.

Basically, we have this odd routine where we bathe them at 7, feed them their 150ml of formula or expressed milk and then put them down to bed in the cot downstairs in the living room, where my wife and I remain to eat dinner and watch porn (not really - just the TV). We keep the lights and sound on low.

The problem is that our little urchins have a problem with getting to sleep in their cots. We originally tried taking them upstairs and putting them in the cot in our room, but all that happened was that as soon as they leave our arms, sleeping nicely, their back literally touches the matress and they start screaching. Consequently we were either sitting in the bedroom soothing them in our aching arms in silence all evening every evening until the following day, or running up and down stairs when the baby monitor kicked off.

They still take ages to settle when we're downstairs and then only sleep for an hour maximum, but at least we can sit and watch the Apprentice on the sofa.

About midnight we take them upstairs to their cots in our bedroom when they've settled and we're ready for bed ourselves. Eventually they will sleep in their cots upstairs with us in the room, but only for about half an hour - an hour max.

What we've found works a bit better is using our child car seats. The DSs love them and settle right away. Unfortunately theres the apparent 2 hour limit they recommend you limit a baby's time in the car seats for. Also, we're wary about getting them used to sleeping in a child car seat as they might need to commission a giant one be built when they're grown up.

The upshot of all this is that we go to bed fairly late, not looking forward to the restlessness of the night, and then only manage to get 1-3 hours sleep a night as they fuss. If all else fails we use the car seats.

I suppose my question is... when does it get better? We hear all the time that by 3 months a baby should be sleeping through the night, say for about 6 blissful hours.

How accurate is this? Do babys sleep more during the night at this stage? Is it a myth? Will we sleep again?

What are your experiences?

And if anyone has twins and has advice on how to get them to sleep or some horror stories simply to make me feel better through schadenfreude then I'd love to hear it!

Many thanks

JoinTheDots Fri 15-Jul-11 13:26:52

Matt, congratulations on the DTs!

Firstly,, you will sleep again, and it does get better. I just can't tell you exactly when...

In my experience (with one baby, a girl) sleep was actually at its worst at 8 weeks. DH and I had a similar routine to yourselves, then at 8 weeks I caved in and co-slept with DD (following all safety guidelines) we all slept better this way. No idea how practical this is with twins though.

A couple of things to try...

swaddling. They prefer the cocooned feeling of the car seat to the big empty cot

using an item of clothing as a sheet. It smells of you, can be reassuring

propping the cot up slightly. Recreating a bit of an angle, helpful if they ever get reflux, wind or are a bit sicky, and is more like the car seat

Use a warm hot water bottle on the cot before you put them down so its not such a shock to go from lovely warm arms to a cold cot

use a moses basket, not cot, so they are again, more enclosed

white noise. If they sleep slightly better downstairs with a little noise, try it through the night (not loud so as to really bother you though)

some babies sleep a lot better at 3 months, some are a little less textbook...

I dont think you want to know this bit, but my dd is almost 11 months and is just one of lifes bad sleepers, she gives me 3 hour stretches usually, sometime I get 5 or 6 in a row, but if she is having a growth spurt, developmental leap or teething it can go back to 2 hourly waking for a few nights. They have a lot of growing to do when they are young so you might notice hunger waxes and wanes - follow their cues as much as possible.

Congrats again though, and well done on picking up the lingo smile

Iggly Fri 15-Jul-11 13:33:08

I agree with the previous poster - I don't have twins but DS sleep went a bit haywire around 6-8 weeks in the evenings. Part of the problem was that he got overtired so if we missed his evening window of tiredness there was hell to pay.

Have you tried putting them in the cot next to each other? Ive heard this can help with twins. Also when you do put them to sleep, try using sleepbags (if they're big enough) and put them down after they've been asleep for 20 mins. Def have some white noise or radio 4 on very low so it's not too quiet.

juneau Fri 15-Jul-11 13:44:23

I'm sorry to tell you that there is no magic age at which a baby will suddenly sleep through the night. For some children it's about weight - they achieve a certain mass and after that they can go longer between feeds, for others it's about age and developmental stage, but many hit those same milestones and still don't give you the sleep. Bottom line - some babies are good sleepers and others aren't and it's largely the luck of the draw which you get.

Having said that, I've found that swaddling definitely helps in the early weeks - and so does having a routine. It might not seem like it's doing anything at the moment, but it will pay off in the long run and soon your babies will associate the routine - bath, food, cuddle, lights out - with sleep.

My second DS is 9 weeks old and he's definitely getting into a kind of routine. I feed him on demand during the evening and he gets gradually drowsier until I put him in his cot (swaddled) at around 9-10pm. He'll then give me five or six hours of solid sleep before he needs to be fed again. He's a big boy though and I think that helps.

Peetle Fri 15-Jul-11 14:10:57

I too am the father of DTs - identical girls in our case, who've just turned four (that must sound like a lifetime to you zaarin, but I can assure you it doesn't to us).

What worked, sort of, for us was routine and swaddling. Our girls slept in moses baskets, propped on a slight incline and together in a large cot-bed for their first six months or so. Bath, bottle and bed at 7pm was the thing and while I remember night feeds I don't remember the details. One thing about twins is that there are no "turns"; you both get up and you both do every feed/change, etc.

One tip someone gave me was that if (when) they wake you up wanting something, you do both of them; if you don't the other one will want the same thing shortly afterwards, just as you're nodding off again (after about 10 seconds).

I seem to remember getting as much as 6 hours sleep after six months once they'd started on solids and since then they've been alright, with the odd nightmare as I'm sure everyone will experience. Nowadays a lie-in is 7am, but that's just four year olds I think.

Personally I'm glad we had twins, there are advantages and disadvantages but on the whole I think I prefer having two at once. But then I didn't carry them.

zaarin2003 Wed 27-Jul-11 05:45:29

Thanks for all your advice! I'm definitely finding that swaddling is helping, thank you. They don't wake so often with that jazz-hands reflex.

Things have changed slightly now. Our routine, if you can call it that (it's a sort of primordial routine), is to bath them at 6:30 in our room which is nice and quiet (we leave the radio on as one of you suggested) and feed them in there. Once fed ad burped it's bed time, where we try to settle them in their cot which is also in our room.

Their portion of the routine now is to then kick off ten mins later during Eastenders (I tend to kick off then too if something better is on which I miss ;)). We are forced to either sit up there in silence indefinitely, comforting and resettling over and over again, or, what we do do, which is to bring them down and settle them on the sofa with us. Remarkably they sleep there for a good 3 hours until 1. We cam then rake them up to bed with minimum fuss.

They now only wake at 3 and 5. Our night nannie, who we will have for only 4 nights in total (how do people afford such things!?) tells us that the 5am feed is unnecessary and that she soothes them back to sleep instead. In my experience this is b@llocks. Right this minute, 5:39am, they have so far had 100ml and counting. A baby would drink that much, and as if their lives depended on it I might add, if they weren't hungry!!

I find they settle after 5 on our bed, sort of propped up on the duvet.

It's a word situation, but seems to work!

You know, it's a relief just to hear we're not the only ones!

Definitely going to try wearing mothers tops as suggested. If it helps them sooth then that's a bonus! ;-)

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