Twinfant Tuesday: Asleepyness

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I first wrote this post when my daughters were 9 months old.  Looking back on it today is a trip, especially because we just survived a 2 year sleep regression with Emma.  Jane has been a wonderful sleeper, but has dropped naps completely at day care!  Here’s where we stood 2 years ago.

How do you survive the first year of motherhood?

“Sleep when they sleep,” they said.

“Nap when they nap,”  they said.

But what do you do when they rarely sleep OR nap???

It feels like it’s been WEEKS since I last slept through the night.  Between the girls being sick and their 9 month sleep regression (yes, that’s a real thing!), I don’t remember the last time we got a good night of sleep.  Or a good day of sleep, come to think of it.

Needless to say, we are exhausted.  And running out of steam.  Quickly.

So I went on a search desperately seeking sleep advice.  I visited various websites, made about 473 phone calls to doctors and nurses and grandmas and friends.  I felt like I was on a quest for the Holy Grail.  And I may have found some solace.

I stumbled upon a sleep blog where the author’s words caught my eye and made me really think:

“Sleep deprivation… UGH. There’s a reason it’s commonly used as a form of torture!”

SHE’S SO RIGHT!!!  I’ve definitely been suffering from the effects of sleep deprivation.  I’m normally a pretty logical person.  I have a short fuse and sometimes I can be pretty ditzy, but I would say that I can make sense of things and think on my feet for the most part a majority of the time.

But lately, I’ve been feeling sluggish, extremely short-tempered, angry, and desperate.  I realized a couple of days ago that after 9 months of NO SLEEP, I am beginning to suffer from sleep deprivation.

Here’s what I found out.

1.  Everyone goes through this.

2.  It’s all my fault.

3.  It can be fixed.

Let me explain.

We (people) have sleep associations.  When we go to bed at night, we lay our head down on a pillow and pull the blankets up to our chins.  Throughout the night, we wake several times, even if we don’t remember it.  We readjust the blanket, fluff our pillow, and fall back into Sleepyville with little issue.

Now imagine you’re a baby.  To fall asleep, you need your wooby, a blankie, a pacifier or a bottle, and maybe even a session in a rocking chair.  All of these things are supplied by the adult in charge of you, and have been since you came home, since you can’t figure out how to get your little legs to rock the chair or how to make your hands bring your choopie to your mouth.  So your adult provides you with all of these things to help you get to sleep.  Thank you, adult!

In the middle of the night, you awaken, find that your choopie is gone, or that you can’t fall back asleep.  You look for a bottle, but it’s not there.  You try to find your choopie, but that’s missing, too.  And for the life of you, you cannot make your crib rock!  So you cry out, and hope and pray that your adult will bring you one of the things that you have come to depend upon to fall asleep.

I’m totally guilty of doing this to my poor littles.

Luckily, this is a habit that we can break!  It’s not too late!

After speaking with our pediatric sleep specialist, she confirmed all of the information that I had found on the internet.  It is time to readjust our bedtime routine, and take away those sleep props.

Last night, we ate dinner at 5:00, had some fruit at 5:30, and took a bottle at 6:00.  From 6:00-7:00, I changed the sheets on their beds, put them into their pjs and nighttime diapers, and then read them a bedtime story.  Finally, Hershey and I braced ourselves for a fight.  We knew that putting them down in their crib without that bottle that they fall asleep on every night was going to be a war.

We turned off the lights, kissed them goodnight, and placed them in their respective cribs.

They were both asleep before their little tiny heads hit the beds.

Now, we did NOT have a restful night of sleep.  They woke up several times throughout the night.  BUT the awakenings were over by around 2:30-3:00.  I woke up at 5:00 thinking, What did I miss?!

At 5:55, Jane and Emma woke up for the morning.  They seemed happy and refreshed.  Both went down for a nap at around 9:00.  Jane is sitting next to me right now, just finished her mid-morning bottle.  Emma is still sleeping.

I’ve also discovered a couple of other things.

One size does not fit all.  It seems like Emma sleeps longer in the morning, and needs less of a nap in the afternoon, while Jane needs a longer afternoon nap and sleeps for a shorter time in the morning.

Limiting toys with flashing lights and music before sleepy time really does help them to unwind.  Think about if you went on a rollercoaster and then tried to lay down to go to sleep.  Probably wouldn’t work out too well for you.

If they wake up after 20 minutes, play with them quietly for 10, and they will usually go back to sleep.

During this time, they are going through the biggest brain development phase of their lives.  They are busy in their cribs at night practicing new skills in their heads.  Provide lots of time during the day for them to practice their new skills, and once they master those skills, they will sleep better!

And finally, the piece of information that rocked my world the most — THERE IS NO SCIENCE BEHIND STUFFING THEM TO MAX CAPACITY BEFORE BED.  Just because you give them a bottle and put them to bed doesn’t mean that they will happily sleep through the night with a full belly.  In fact, the opposite may take effect (they may be sensitive to pee-pee diapers, in which case they will waken to a sopping wet diaper, begging to be changed).
I hope that you find this helpful, and that you (and I) find some peace soon!  Remember to be patient with them — I often find myself losing my temper because I, too, am exhausted, and I have to tell myself, “They are going through SO MANY changes in those little bodies, and every change is a change to their routine and need.  BREATHE!”

This, too, shall pass.

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Twinfant Tuesday: Sleep Training Twins

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Training one’s baby to sleep through the night can be one of the most challenging aspects of parenting a newborn. With twins, this gets even harder as there are twice as many babies to change, feed, burp, and tuck into bed every night. Also, you can’t just close the door and quietly sneak through the house wearing only socks knowing that only a loud sound will wake your baby, because with twins you’ll always encounter that classic problem of one baby waking the other.

Though there’s really no way to get your little ones to sleep through the night before 2 to 3 months of age (at that age they will still require 3-4 hourly feeds), it’s a good idea to get prepared and put yourself into routine for when sleep training is required. Even with a couple of bumps along the road and the odd teething nightmares, we managed to have our twins sleeping through the night (08:30 pm – 07:30 am) from 3 months of age.

Here’s a list of the things we did.

The Nursery


For the first few weeks the boys shared a bassinet in our room, but as soon as they started waking each other by either moaning or slight movement, we moved them each to their own crib in their nursery with a baby monitor so we could hear whenever they awoke. This already made a huge impact on their quality of sleep. Our own movements and sounds were no longer waking them and neither were they bothering each other.

We also placed heavy curtains in the room to block out any early morning sunlight, which helped them sleep a little longer in the mornings. Not only did it help at night-time, but also naptime during the day. The twins soon learned that a darker room was meant for sleeping and would fall asleep quite easily as soon as we lay them in their cots.

As far as sound went, we had two choices; a white-noise machine or music. Having grown up with music surrounding me, it was the obvious choice to find some soothing classical pieces that the boys would fall asleep to each night. A white-noise machine would probably have worked equally as well.

The music helped the twins in two ways:

Firstly, it provided a steady and soothing background sound that blocked out other noises – car doors, dogs barking, thunderstorms – that might have woken them.

Secondly, we only ever played their classical music at bedtime, signalling to the boys that it’s time to sleep.

Swaddling was one of our go-to things for the twins as newborns. It was our only safe way of providing them with a blanket for warmth and replicating the comfort of the womb.

There are many different ways of swaddling a baby and also some truly amazing products for swaddling like The Miracle Blanket , Aden + Anais muslin swaddling blankets and Swaddle Blanket by JJ Cole, but if like us your budget seems to have shot through the roof, opt for some breathable  receiving blankets and a good swaddling method.

The Bedtime Routine

Babies tend to thrive on routine. It gives them a way of mentally preparing for what comes next. Following the same steps, in the same order at around the same time each night allows you to form a habit thereby easily remembering what to prepare ahead of time. It also provides a series of cues to your little ones stating that it is time for bed.

A nice warm bath – Some parents opt to only bath their babies every second night or so, and I won’t lie, there has been some nights where I simply gave mine a little rub down as well. For us this made a huge difference in the twin’s quality of sleep. They never slept as deep and long if we skipped the bath and would always wake up a couple of times on those nights. So for our bedtime routine, a nice warm bath is a definite must.

Relaxing massage – When putting lotion on our babies, we always gave them a little body massage. It doesn’t have to include essential oils and a massage class (even though that would probably be even more beneficial), but just rubbing their little arms, torso, legs and feet with a slight pressure and a bit more meaning warms them back up and relaxes their limbs.

Soft Pajamas and a Clean Diaper – Dressing each twin in comfortable, soft  and breathable pajamas as well as a clean diaper will allow them to sleep more comfortably.

Full Tummy – Whether your little ones are still only breast or bottle-fed and whether they are already eating solids, always make sure they have their last bottle just before they go to bed. This will allow them to sleep longer and more soundly. Some babies might not like this, but warm milk also has a positive effect on your baby’s sleep.

Bedtime Story – For the first couple of months this turned out to be more counterproductive than anything else as the twins would fall asleep drinking their last bottle of milk and would then wake up as I started reading. However, from about 8 months we were able to include a bedtime story in our routine while the boys were drinking their milk and would then quite easily get tucked in and go to sleep.

Things are bound to change and get a bit chaotic when it comes to bedtime, so if there’s a spouse or an extra set of hands around, take advantage of that.

The Knitty Gritty

Once you’ve got your nursery and bedtime routine set, it’s time to get to the actual sleep training. I’ve never been a big fan of the cry-it-out method and it breaks my heart every time I hear one of my babies cry. So due to that I could never let my kids cry for hours and possibly fall asleep thinking I deserted them. What worked for us was tucking them in, saying goodnight, closing the door and then waiting a couple of minutes. If they were struggling to settle, we would go in quietly and without talking, re-tuck them, reinsert pacifiers if necessary and then leave the room again. Thereafter we stretched the period between going into their room by an extra five minutes each time, until they fell asleep. It took a couple of weeks for both us and the twins to get used to this, but in the end they managed to fall asleep by themselves with maybe one or two “visits” from mommy or daddy.

This way, your little ones learn that you are always there to settle them, but you also give them a chance to settle themselves by extending the period in-between each “visit”. The key factor is to get your babies to fall asleep by themselves without you rocking them, swinging them or any of those other wonderful methods of making babies sleep.

What if one baby starts crying?

We used to be so scared of one baby waking the other that we would dash into the room, scoop up the crying baby and sneak back out, only to have the other one wake up anyway. Little did we realise that it was actually the sudden absence of the crying brother that woke the other. Twins almost immediately become accustomed to each other’s movements and crying and even find it comforting knowing the other twin is near. It was only once we realised what we were doing and waited a while before rushing in that we found that the sleeping baby never even woke from the crying and that by giving the crying baby that tiny little bit of extra time, he learned to self-sooth and fell right back asleep.

What if both babies start crying?

This scenario can be tough on any mommy or daddy, especially when there is no spouse or extra set of hands around. We found that the best way to handle this was to replicate the bedtime tuck-in routine by going in, reassuring each one, tucking them back up and then leaving the room. This is not really something you can try for the first few months as your babies still need regular feeds and would be waking up because of that fact. However, once you have them sleeping through the night or onto 6-hourly feeds, this is a good way of reassuring them and getting them to fall asleep by themselves again.

The Bottom Line

Setting the stage, following a good bedtime routine and knowing what to do in the case of your little one’s not settling are all methods you can use to sleep train your twins. We used all three methods and it worked wonders. I do however realise that each set of twins are different and that all the above might not work out, so in that case, find what works for your twins and follow that as a routine. If you have one really bad sleeper, place his crib closest to the door so you can sneak him out without causing the other baby to wake. If reading makes them more active, skip the story, you can always read to them at another time of day. If you find another means of relaxing your babies other than a massage, then use that. The point is, sticking to a routine that your twins will come to expect and accept.

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A Reluctant Farewell to Naps

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In truth, my girls haven’t had a nap in the past couple of months.  I’m just now ready to admit it, to see that reality written in black and white.

Since they were infants, our girls have been champion sleepers.  I credit so much of our success to the BabyWise methodology.  We are very schedule-oriented.  I took to heart the BabyWise thinking, that “Mommy determines when naps start, and when naps are over.”  There were times when the girls’ needs would shift for whatever reason, and I’d have to find that new “sweet spot” window of magic during which I could easily get them down for a nap.  Sometimes it took a little experimentation, but I was always able to get back to blissful rest (for them) and blissful quiet (for me).

My unspoken goal was to keep the girls napping until they started preschool, at age 3 ½.  That felt feasible, judging by my mommy friends.  Some kiddos dropped their naps as early as 2 ½, but others were napping until they were four.  [I laugh as I write this, knowing the best-laid “plans” of parenthood are so often laid to waste!]

We went through a rough patch when the girls started preschool at 3 ½.  I can only guess that my Baby A decided that meant she was a “big girl” and so she no longer needed to nap.  My B continued to sleep willingly, though, and A was pretty compliant with my “quiet time” rules.  I would ask every few days if A wanted to nap, and she always said no…until the day – that glorious day! – after Thanksgiving.  She said she wanted to nap…she napped…we celebrated…and she napped every day for the next eight months!

There was no great schedule shift over the summer, but the girls did start talking a bit after I put them to bed at night.  It wasn’t long after that that they simultaneously refused to nap.  It’s hard to recount…one day, they napped, and the next day they played in their beds the entire time.  That went on for a couple of days, to the great stress of this mommy.  I finally asked the girls, “Are you going to nap today?”  They both said no.  I established rules for “quiet time”, and we moved on.

The stress of trying to “enforce” naps was really tough for me.  Although I really missed MY quiet time during the afternoons, holding rules for quiet time is much easier in comparison.

Here’s how I’m keeping things in perspective…

  1. My girls napped until they were 4 ½, which is a full year past my “goal”.
  2. After a (relatively painful) adjustment period that lasted two or three weeks, I am comfortable that my girls are getting the rest they need at night.  Their temperaments are pretty good, which I think is a fair indication.
  3. There’s a lot less pressure to keep our schedule running like a well-oiled machine.  I still value our schedule, framed mostly by mealtimes and bedtime these days, but I didn’t even come close to hyperventilation last week when we were running a full hour behind getting home one afternoon.  Just a few short months ago, I would have been tempted to break the sound barrier getting home in time for the girls to settle down and read books and start nap.  These days, we do the best we can, but it’s not the end of the world if we get caught up doing something else.
  4. There’s less commotion at bedtime.  The girls are ready for bed, so I’ve heard less talking over the monitor and I’ve made fewer treks upstairs.
  5. I’m not quite as stressed out about transitioning the girls to regular beds in the next couple of weeks.  I’d said I didn’t want to make the switch from cribs until they dropped their naps, thinking it would be too tempting for them to stay in bed with the lure of being able to get out.  It seems the stars agree with my game plan.
  6. I feel less guilty about doing housework when the girls are awake.  Particularly when the girls were taking two or three naps a day, I reserved all my housework for their nap times.  It’s not feasible that everything waits until bedtime, so the girls are more involved than ever in laundry, dishes, and cooking.
  7. The girls often choose to do artwork during at least part of their quiet time, so my refrigerator is fuller than ever with their creations.

So…would I love to have an uninterrupted hour to myself every day?  I’d be lying if I didn’t say yes.  But an uninterrupted day with my baby girls does come with its perks, and I’m choosing to focus on those.

Are your kiddos still napping?  If not, at what age did they give up naps?  Was it a smooth transition?  How did you cope? 

MandyE is mom to 4 1/2-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures and her journey through motherhood at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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Twinfant Tuesday: Co-Sleeping

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Here we are in the second week of the new “Twinfant Tuesday” series where different HDYDI authors reminisce about the first year with twins. Today’s topic was inspired by a girl I knew in university. We lost touch over the last few years and recently got back in touch when I heard she is expecting twins! They may very well be here by now.

As any mom-to-be of multiples, particularly as a first-time parent, she was scouring the Internet looking for advice and tips on how to handle two at once! One very important question she had was sleeping arrangements in the early days with our twins.

I had to push back some cobwebs to get to that memory of Little Mister and Little Missy’s newborn days and nights. What I do recall was, for the first 6-8 weeks they were in a Pack n Play bassinet together, then in the same crib until 5 months.

As for co-sleeping with a parent, during those first few months (until they were about 3 months old), we would have one baby in a Close & Secure Co-Sleeper and the other swaddled in the crib with a tent-like cover to block cool air. It was the first winter in our house and freezing at night, so we wanted them to be warm.

Myself, I would often co-sleep with one at a time depending on who needed the attention. Usually it was Little Mister because Little Missy slept through the night at a very early age (4 months!)

I would not recommend having both babies in your bed at the same time, even if it is a King side bed. Since I was both nursing and giving a bottle, one or both of us had to get up anyways for feeding time so exclusively co-sleeping in the bed would not have changed anything.

It didn’t take us long to realize that quality of sleep with a baby (or two!) in the bed or nearby crib is not the greatest. But snuggling up with a cuddly newborn (or two!) is worth it… most nights.

Ambereen’s boy/girl twins are now 2.5 years old and she although she still enjoys snuggling up with her toddlers at bedtime..more often than not, she finds herself trying to tiptoe out of their rooms without waking them up.

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Twinfant Tuesday: How I’m Rocking Year One (so far!)

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I was having a completely awful day a few months ago. After I put Jack and Mara down for their nap, I grabbed my computer and googled “when do twins get easier” and “first year help with twins” and “getting through year one with twins.” Through that search, I found this website, and for the next hour I absorbed article after article, tip after tip. I felt as if I had found a whole new and amazing twin group of moms to talk to and get reassurance that yes, things will ultimately be okay. Because during the first year, that is so important to hear.

That being said —  ten (!) months in, I am so close to that amazing milestone – my twins will soon be turning one. Granted, I realize I titled this post “rocking”, and there have been many, many days early on (and many times even now!) when I was definitely not “rocking” anything and am really just surviving day-to-day, but overall, I think I got this whole twin thing down for now. At least at this age!

Here are some things, looking back, that have truly helped me so far this first year.

Remaining positive about having twins

I am sometimes taken aback about how negative some parents of twins can be about having twins. I have heard parents say they cant help to think what if their situation was different, or wishing out loud that had both children but at different times.  In a recent article I read on raising twins, a mother commented that she wished she only implanted one embryo, not two. How sad!

Trust me – I do understand that twins can be incredibly challenging, but not once have I ever let myself go down that line of destructive thinking. If I let myself worry about whether the grass would have been greener with a singleton, I would miss out on what I have. My babies are blessings and I truly believe twins (and multiples!) in general are incredible blessings. I think my positive attitude has had a lot to do with how well my first year is going.

Getting help in the beginning

A fellow twin friend told me that one of her friends (also a mother of twins twins) had cashed out her 401k to get round the clock help during the first few months. While that initially sounded like an extreme situation, I can relate to the importance – and almost the sheer desperation – of getting help.

I am fortunate that both of my parents are retired, and that my husbands entire family lives within ten minutes of us. I could not have gotten through the first three months without help from our families. My mother lived with us for the first three months, for four days out of the week. She cooked us delicious meals each day, did our food shopping and most importantly, helped take care of the twins. I could not have done it without her. My mother in law would stay with us the remaining three days those first three months. She was also a saint. My husband’s father and step mother have been truly amazing as well.  And now, almost a year later, they continue to be an incredible support for my husband and I.

I understand I was fortunate to have so much (free) help from family members. My advice for others expecting twins would be to enlist the help of friends, family, baby-sitters, neighbors, mother’s helpers – anyone willing to help. Take anything you can get! And don’t be shy about asking for what you need, whether it’s an hour alone to run errands, or someone to grab groceries for you, or even let you have a few hours of sleep. I remember my sister-in-law and her husband watched the twins for me for two hours when they were about two weeks old so I could get some sleep. I couldn’t have been more grateful.

Dry shampoo

Yes, I know this is silly but trust me, its been a huge help for me, especially this year. Using dry shampoo, I am able to extend my hair washing to three days. When you don’t have a ton of time to wash and style your hair, this comes in handy. I was able to catch up on more sleep, get my house in order, gleefully waste a few precious moments trolling for celebrity gossip on the internet, cleaning bottles – anything instead of washing my hair. Gross? Perhaps, yes. But sooo useful.

Being able to carry two babies at once

My husband recently watched Jack and Mara for an afternoon while I ran some errands. When I returned, I asked him what the hardest part was – feeding, changing, nap time. He replied, “carrying them up the stairs at the same time.”

Really? I guess by now its second nature to me. I scoop up each baby and cradle them under my arms, almost in the nursing “football position” but back up and stomach down. I’ve gotten incredibly comfortable with the dual-carry which has saved me from transporting two babies upstairs at different times. I am sure they will soon be too big to do this, but it has really helped me this first year.

The schedule

One of my all-time favorite bloggers, Pam Kocke, author of Pyjammy’s Triplets wrote one of the my favorite blog posts ever on raising multiples, delightfully entitled “Are three kids easier than one?” (Check it out here.)

In explaining why sometimes having multiples is easier than a singleton, Pam describes why having a strict schedule has enabled her to get all three of her boys on track. She also shares that her boys sleep better than a lot of singletons she knows.

Jack and Mara have slept through the night since month four or five, and continue to take two consistent naps a day. I take pride in this, and almost feel like it was a reversal of fate after a really super hard beginning four months. Jack and Mara sleep better than any of the singleton babies I know around the same age. Why? We have been adamant about keeping them on a schedule. I NEED that hour or two during the day to myself. Its my sanity. The babies now know when its nap time and bed time. I don’t have another one of me to rock two babies to sleep, or coddle them into snoozing. By putting them down awake (my only choice!), they have successfully learned to self soothe.

My jogging stroller

I was one of those twin moms who gained a TON of weight – probably close to 75 lbs. While the first 65 came off pretty easily, the last ten were very stubborn. Trying to fit in trips to the gym and working out at home was pretty much impossible. When the twins napped, all I wanted to go was nap. So this left me with little free time to exercise.

I purchased a jogging stroller in January, when the twins were four months old. As the weather got nicer, I began to take them out once a day. I am the first to admit I am not a runner by any means. However, I began to really enjoy jogging with Jack and Mara. It was a way for me to get some exercise, it allowed the babies to get some fresh air and a change of scenery, and it gave us another “activity” to do during the day. A few of my friends purchased the highly coveted double BOB strollers, but I opted for the Schwinn Jogger, which was about half the price and still continues to do the job just fine.

Lowering my expectations about what I can handle …

When Jack and Mara were born, I left my job in corporate communications to be a stay-at-home mom. I was recently offered a pretty great consulting gig — one that I could do from home. While I initially accepted it, I had to turn it down. Why? I just can’t juggle it now. If I tried to take on something that time-consuming, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my new, main job – raising the twins. It would stress me out and put me over the edge. So, I said no. It was a difficult decision but in the long run, I know my sanity is most important. I can’t do everything right now, and I’m okay with that.

… and lowering my expectations about nursing

I went into my pregnancy gung-ho about breast-feeding. I would tandem nurse both babies each day exclusively. I hired a lactation consultant to help me in the beginning and put me on the right path. I rented a hospital grade pump to help with my milk production. I bought every book written that included sections on nursing multiples. Yadda yadda yadda. I WOULD DO IT and I WOULD BE SUCCESSFUL.

To make a long story short, I was able to nurse and pump for about three and a half months before I gave up. It was a difficult decision to throw in the towel, but in the end, it was the right decision for myself and my family. I tried not to be disappointed in myself for only lasting three and a half months. Instead, I was proud that I was able to last that long. I did my best, and that’s all I could do.

My nap nanny

Oh, nap nanny – why did you get recalled?!!?? A fellow twin friend introduced me to these amazing devices when my babies were just a few weeks old. This slanted foam seat was my savior the first eight months. In the beginning, my twins napped, relaxed and even slept in them (on the floor, buckled)  as they dealt with some pretty typical baby reflux issues. I would use them for dual bottle feeding, to anchor one baby while I bathed the other. I took them to other people’s homes as a place for the baby to sit while I tended to the other. Although they got recalled in December, around the time my twins turned three months, I happily continued to use them (with no issues!). At ten months, Jack and Mara wont sit in them for more than a minute or two, but man, they really were a lifesaver to me during this first year.

What has helped you parenting multiples during year one?

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Baby Sleep Books: A Review

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Categories Books, Infants, Napping, Overnight, Products, Routines, SleepTags , , , 2 Comments

This post has been put on hold for quite a while. First, it was because I was in the depths of sleep training hell, then when that got better I was waiting to finish up several chapters, and after that, well… I guess I just started to feel like I was writing a book report for school or something. But though I know these books have already been reviewed in the archives of HDYDI, I think the insight I’ve gained from them may possibly help some new MoMs. So here we go:



This is the book I started with, because it is more specific to twins, and I just needed a refresher since I already read a friend’s copy before the babies were born. It’s a very easy read, comprised of extremely intuitive advice that completely makes sense to me. I think it helped validate exactly how I’ve always felt about sleep for babies. There are a couple chapters in the beginning regarding his research and theories that are very interesting. If you’re looking for a quick fix for a common problem (e.g. how to create a schedule for both babies, how to stop bedtime crying, etc.), this is probably a good book to start with. The best gem of this book: “Sleep begets sleep.”



I bought this one because I wanted to get a perspective that wasn’t “cry it out” related. This book is geared towards parents who are opposed to letting their babies cry themselves to sleep. I was never really one of those parents, even with my first singleton, but now that I have two more babies, Pantley’s strategies really wouldn’t work for me. This book requires creating some pretty extensive sleep logs and QUITE a bit a patience. By that I mean, probably no one desperate for sleep would be able to hang in there for what may take weeks, if not months. But if the sound of your child crying is making you miserable, or if your baby requires a slower approach, you might want to give this a try. It really is a much gentler way.



This is by far the most comprehensive book of the three. It includes very detailed information about sleep and virtually every sleep disorder there can be. Definitely some interesting reading in the later chapters (head banging, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, etc.), but you really only need to read half of Part II and Part III (Chapters 4-6, 9-12). Ferber is known for “cry it out”, but in his book it’s called “progressive waiting”, and I don’t find it particularly harsh at all. In fact, this method is probably the one that works the best and quickest. It’s written in a case study format, with some great charts for reference. There are also some great instructions for shifting nap schedules. I think this is the one I will come back to if I run into trouble transitioning my babies to new schedules in the future.


So, while going insane with my babies not on any kind of feed/sleep schedule, I scoured the internet and bought these 3 books after reading some Amazon reviews. I believe they pretty decently represent the different schools of thought that are out there (except Sears’ attachment parenting, which I am not interested in). A word of warning: Most of the content of these books can be found on the internet, often even verbatim. I’m sure it’s copyright infringement, as the text is not quoted or cited. I probably could have read enough online to piece together what I needed, but the books definitely lay it out nicer and I feel better that I didn’t “steal”. Ultimately I cobbled together a bit from here and there. I don’t really even know what came from where because I took what made sense to me from different sources and internalized them. I think once you read enough you just start to allow your instincts take over.

The other thing I’ve noticed that really helped with my babies was when became able to find their own sleep positions around 4 or 5 months. Both my babies are stomach sleepers. More often than not, they will find a comfortable position face down sucking on a blanket (Baby Girl), or the two forefingers of his left hand (Baby Boy). And for those of you following my sleep training journey, she’s been good through morning for well over a month now. And they do sleep day/night in side-by-side cribs in the same bedroom. We’ve come a long way from these days. Fellow new MoMs, there is hope!

lunchldyd is mom to 6mo b/g twins and their 3yo big sis, happy to take compliments on her now-well-sleeping twins.

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When One Twin Doesn't Want to Nap

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Categories Difference, Discipline, Napping, Preschoolers, Routines, SleepTags , , , , 10 Comments

Since my twin daughters’ birth, one has been a better sleeper than the other, even though they were put on the same schedule from the beginning.  While they were both good to me at a young age and slept through the night, if someone were to get up at night, it was Lisa, and still is Lisa.  If someone were to take a long time to fall asleep, it was her as well.  But, my other daughter, Alison, almost never gets up at night.  Alison can sleep through her sister’s night wakings and subsequent crying and bedroom door opening and closings.  She really only gets up if she is sick or something.  It is wonderful.

At nap time, Alison is generally much quicker to fall asleep.  She just needs her special blanket.  And she can then sleep for at least two hours but has been known to sleep for up to three, or, on a rare day, even longer.  Her sister Lisa on the other hand, fights taking a nap with tears, requests for books, drinks of water, and protest of, “I don’t want to take a nap!”

So, my husband and I have tried numerous thing to coax Lisa to nap every day – rewards for taking a nap; punishments for not taking a nap; loving words; threats; sitting in the room until she falls asleep; ignoring her; giving her books or a toy; moving nap time back; and so on.  But, that girl can happily roll around her bed for an hour, and still not fall asleep, frustrating her parents to no end at the same time.

Lately, Lisa is hit or miss with napping.  It seems more often than not, she does not take a nap.

So, my question is, to all the seasoned MOMs out there – what do you do when one of your twins seems to be done with naps?  I am stubborn and still try putting her down for a nap every single day, at the same time that her sister Alison goes down.  I know my girls are now three, and that maybe I should just be grateful that they’ve napped as long as they have, but naps are precious to me, especially as I have a newborn and desperately want to take a nap each day too!  Plus, she gets destructive and defiant when she doesn’t nap, and is then ready for bed much earlier at night than her sister.  I really don’t like them on different schedules.

So, when did your twins stop napping?  How did you encourage a stubborn napper to sleep? Or what did you do with them once they stopped napping?  Quiet time?  And what did that quiet time look like?


ldskatelyn is a wife and mother of three kids, including a set of three year old fraternal twin daughters and brand new newborn son.  She works hard to mantain balance in all things as she stays at home with her kids and runs the household, supporting her grad student husband.  She blogs about her life and other things over at

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The 4am Feed

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Categories Breastfeeding, Feeding, How Do The Moms Do It, Organization, Overnight, RoutinesTags , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

I confess. I am lazy.

That’s the secret to my efficiency. For example, I’ve got the 4am feed down to a 20-minute science. It took some tweaking for the babies to cooperate, but now most days they do. Actually a lot of what I’m doing now is what I did with Toddler, only I had forgotten until I had to rediscover it all over again. So, if you must do a middle-of-the-night feed, here are some tricks I’ve found that work great for me.

First, not part of the efficiency thing, but greatly helpful to set your babies up for sleep, dim the lights down to one very low wattage bulb. I think mine is 10 watts. It sits in the corner of the room farthest away from the babies. The babies get a clean diaper, swaddled, then placed in their spots in the cosleeper. I sometimes play soft music from my iPhone for them (Pandora’s Lullabye station). Then…

1. Feed babies as much as possible before going to bed. In our case, babies load up before sleeping for good, often 6 ounces over a couple of feedings starting at around 9:30pm. They’re usually out by 11pm.

2. Before going to bed, get all bottles and pump accessories for the night/early morning ready. For me, this means putting nipples on and labeling all bottles. I usually have two bottles of formula made also, as backup. All pump flanges and bottles are clean and screwed together, ready to use.

3. Pump one last time and go to sleep at the same time as the babies. It’s tempting to watch a little TV or get things done while they’re asleep, but I’ve noticed they sleep better with me nearby and I really value my own sleep. I’m sometimes already drifting off while they’re still rustling to settle in.

4. Do not get up before they’re supposed to. If they loaded up on milk before going down, they don’t need to be fed until 4am. Usually all I have to do is replace the paci for the rustling baby and they’re back out before they can really wake up. Toddler never took a paci, so I would just jiggle her bassinet a little and she’d go back to sleep.

5. When the time does come to feed, pop a bottle in the mouth of the hungry one and prop it with whatever you have (I use their blankets). Then do the same with the other one, even if he/she is still fast asleep. They’re still swaddled, so no chance of waving arms knocking the bottles out. My babies will eat while asleep and keep sleeping afterwards without even waking up. I also no longer burp or change them (unless there’s poop) in the middle of the night.

6. While they are eating, pump. There’s a way to secure the flanges with the insides of your elbows by resting the bottles on your thighs, so that you can read your iPhone or reprop a bottle  when necessary. When I’m done, babies have finished eating and have probably also fallen asleep. All I have to do is retrieve their bottles. I leave the flanges on the bottles I just pumped, and everything is left on the nightstand until morning.

7. I can usually do this while still half-asleep myself. Sometimes I will get up to drink some water, pee, and read my phone for a bit in bed before sleeping again, but I can just as easily go right back to sleep. My babies will sleep until 9am, if I replace the paci for them a couple of times starting around 7am. I am usually up by 8ish to watch Toddler after Husband leaves for work, so I can get in a pump and have breakfast with her before they wake up.

Another plus to this is, they usually wake at the same time! That means the day starts off with them on the same schedule. It usually doesn’t stay that way, and I’ve given up imposing a strict togetherness, but sometimes they can stay within a half hour of each other all day.

I’m looking forward to them sleeping all the way till morning and taking regular solid naps (Toddler did it before she was their age), but I think this is as good as it gets for a middle-of-the-night feeding (for twins). But I’ll gladly take any other suggestions to streamline things even further!

lunchldyd is mom to an almost 3 yr old daughter and 4 month old b/g twins, taking whatever sleep she can get!

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Awaken Imagination

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Categories Routines, School-Age, SleepTags , , , , , , , , , 5 Comments

Everyone in our family has to wake up painfully early for work and school. M has been struggling particularly hard this week. Her environmental allergies have left her completely exhausted, poor thing.

I’ve used all the tried and true techniques to get her to wake up happy. I’ve climbed under the covers with her and wiggled her toes. I’ve played her favourite music at her bedside. I’ve put her socks on her while she sleeps to grant her a few extra moments of sleep. I’ve asked her about her dreams. None of this have kept her from tired, self-pitying tears and anger at having to go through the morning routine.

This morning, something finally worked. I asked M to tell me not about her own dreams, but about her stuffed toy du jour’s. She has a Care Bear, the music one, that she has named Fuey. (The naming of toys is a discussion for another day.) She was instantly awake.

“Fuey had a dream about going to my school, which is my work. She is going to my work to participate in my choir club. She’s going to be the audience. She dreamed of wearing her Easter dress and sitting with Caitlin who is her favourite my friend because Caitlin loves her. Mommy, I’m awake! I’m ready for the big light! I need to brush Fuey’s teeth. I will squeeze the toothpaste just to let air out which is imaginary toothpaste and brush her teeth!”

That’s the little chatterbox I had been hoping to see! She finished breakfast on time, managed to navigate a disagreement over shoes without tears, and got on the bus cheerful and ready for her Friday. I’m just hoping she’ll remember to turn her homework in.

What helps you get your kids out of bed in the morning or, for those you with early birds, keeps them in?

Sadia and her 5-year-old twins wake at 5:30 Mountain Time in El Paso, allowing Sadia to start telecommuting to her job at 8:00 Central Time. She gets easily confused about what time it is.

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Governed by Clocks

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Categories Routines, WorkingTags , , , , , 4 Comments

Robin Williams is credited with saying, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!'” Last weekend’s “spring forward” time change here in the US was a major party pooper. We groaned at the prospect of a 23-hour day as we dutifully turned all our clocks forward an hour.

We’re a routine-bound household. Between my 40-hour work week, my husband’s much longer and less predictable hours — nights without a text or two from work between midnight and 5:00 am are a rarity — and our daughters’ school schedule, there’s not much wiggle room. We expect J and M to be under their covers at 8:00 pm precisely; “Eight zero zero” was the first time they learned to read on a digital clock. We don’t vary bedtime on weekends, staying up past 8:00 only for very special occasions, like the first night that the grandparents arrive for a visit.

The hour time change pushes the girls’ wakeup time from the horrendous 5:45 am to what our bodies tell us is the even uglier time of 4:45. On Friday and Saturday, we shifted lights out to 7:30 pm to prepare for the switch, but wakeup time on Monday morning was brutal. Poor M reported that there was “something wrong with [her] eyes,” as she struggled to start her day. J just wrapped her blankie around herself and stared at the floor as she waited for her brain to switch on.

Things weren’t much better for the girlies the rest of the week, and waking up wasn’t any easier for me. I may have hit the snooze button a time or 5 this morning.

The logic behind Daylight Saving makes some sense: get an extra hour of evening sunshine. The problem at our house, though, is that the morning is what sets the mood for the day. If we start our day grumpy, tired, and out of sorts, we’re not too likely to think much of the afternoon sun. In addition, we live in Texas, where summers get very hot, so Daylight Saving actually means less outdoor time at the end of the day.

When J and M were younger, I had an elaborate plan to adjust their bodies’ clocks, 15 minutes per day over 4 days. This year, we threw them in the deep end, and we’re all paying for it.

Good night. My clock says it’s bedtime even though my body doesn’t.

What are your feelings on Daylight Saving? Do you have any techniques for making the switch easier on your kids? Do they even notice?

Sadia, her husband and their 5-year-old twin girls live in El Paso, TX. He is a soldier, she a software geek, and they first graders.

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