Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sleep...and what we WISH we had done.

There are a million and one sources of advice on sleep and probably 5 times that many opinions on the subject out there.  Here is just one mama of twins telling you what I WISH we had done.  Some of it might be controversial and some of it might seem like stating the obvious.  Maybe it will help someone.

Causing sleepless nights...who, me?

  • Co-sleep...a bit.  My husband is a heavy sleeper and our bed would've been a little crowded with four.  We also know about the dangers.  That being said, I wish I had gotten rid of my paranoia and realized that every now and then, it would have been fine to have one of the boys snuggle on my side of the bed, especially during those particularly fussy periods when nothing else seemed to work.  
  • Proximity.  In lieu of the above, I wish we had either purchased a co-sleeping attachment-style crib and put it on my side, or at least rearranged the furniture in our room so that the pack 'n' play the boys slept in at first was closer to the bed.  There was just way too much getting in and out of bed.  When you're recovering from a C-section and have 2 restless babies, that was a big waste of time and energy.  
  • The Pause.  It's a phrase from one of my favorite parenting books: Bringing Up Bebe.  We responded instantly whenever the boys cried.  For months.  Once I finally started pausing, and waiting to see what would happen, they started sleeping for longer periods of time at a stretch.  Sometimes babies are just adjusting, or shifting from one phase of sleep to the next, and they cry.  Pause and see if they will go back to sleep.  As the boys got older we waited for 5 minutes at a time before going in to check on them.  Once they were 6 months old, we added a few more minutes while sleep training.  
  • Differentiate day and night sooner.  For months we just had a cycle of eat, diaper, hold, sleep that seemed to repeat without end.  It might have helped both the babies and myself to expose them to more sunlight and fresh air during the day and try to stimulate them a little bit more between feeds and naps.  
  • Make a hard decision.  Breastfeeding and/or formula is a whole other discussion.  But trying to do both of those things and pump was madness.  There was no rest.  No one but you can make the decision of what to do.  But I could have decided to do only pumped milk or formula bottles at night,  and then pumping, or only breastfeeding during the night, while pumping during the day between feeds.  Don't try to nurse, bottle feed, AND pump at 2 a.m.  Pick one, at most 2, strategies for nighttime feeding!  
  • Preparation.  If you are doing formula, pre-measure the powder and just shake it up with pre-measured water in a bottle the minute you need it.  If you're doing bottles of pumped milk, you will have to keep them in the fridge, so either accustom your child to drinking it cold, or go ahead and invest in a quick bottle warmer.  (Click here for BabyGearLab Bottle Warmer Reviews.)  Waiting for water in the tap to heat up and then a bottle to heat up in the water in the middle of the night isn't fun.  If you're only nursing during the night, have the boppy or double nursing pillow (I had the Brest Friend double) ready to go!  

And I promise, some day, this will happen.

Best wishes and sweet dreams!

2 comments:

  1. I love your blog, Katie! I also often felt like I didn't get enough cuddle time with my twins. It was like we were always in "get-'er-done" mode with feeding, diapering, burping, etc. that there was never time to just sit and enjoy some sweet cuddle time. We have always been really good at "The Pause," which I think has been super helpful in developing good sleep habits with our kids. Love the blog!!

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    1. Thank you, TK! That's very well said! Did you find that anything else in particular helped your children sleep?

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