Celebrating Small Victories

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Categories Behavior, Feeding, Infants, Routines, Sleep

Day 10 of sleep training twins. As babies are simultaneously napping after being bathed and fed (and myself showered), I am typing this post. It helps greatly that the grandparents came to take Toddler for the afternoon, but things are looking up.

My journey began last Sunday night, when I finally decided to separate my babies for sleeping, after having enough of the craziness. Since then, things have slowly been improving. Baby Boy had been suffering the most. Because his sister kept waking him up by kicking and screeching during nights he was capable of and wanted to sleep through, putting him in his own room finally allowed him to get some unbroken sleep and has improved his mood/naps dramatically during the day. Baby Girl sleeps in the co-sleeper with me, because she still has not been able to go through the night without a peep as her brother has.

But… baby steps. Though I feel bad that I haven’t been able to fully figure out how to make her happy, things are starting to turn around for her. Instead of waking multiple times a night, she is down to just once. I still don’t really know for sure why she’s waking up, because I’m both weaning her from the pacifier as well as that 4am feed.

My new theory is that Baby Girl actually needs more sleep than she’s getting, even though she never acts sleepy until it’s too late and she’s already hit her second wind. She probably needs even MORE sleep than her brother, not less– which is confusing because he’s getting about 17 hours a day, already on the high end for a 4mo. We’ve always been working under the assumption that she not only needs less sleep but she’s also a night owl. Whereas her sister is in bed by 7:30 and her brother is asleep by 8/8:30, she was often very happy to stay up with us kicking, cackling, and playing until 10. And then she would crash and there would be up to an hour of screaming before she would finally fall asleep. Then, she’d sleep in for the morning after waking up a couple of times to cry and possibly eat during the night. Trying to coordinate both babies under that assumption was just plain not working. Their schedules did not match any time of the day, so it was extremely hard to keep track of who needed to sleep or eat, resulting in both babies suffering from the a-little-bit-here-and-there sleeps and feeds.

The problem is, and has been, that she just loves to play. Even when she is visibly tired, if we make eye contact with her and smile, she will smile back and sleep is put off for a while. If Toddler accidentally opens her door while she is napping, she will awake and not be able to put herself back to sleep. If there is something going on (and when is there not with a 3yo around?) while she is eating, she will stop and crane her neck to see. I can no longer pump in my bedroom because she was waking up every time I did. I have even moved to the other side of the bed at night, because I have a feeling she can sense me nearby, or at least, my movements throughout the night were waking her up.

I seem to be describing a fussy child, but really she’s not. When she gets a good nap, she wakes up happy. Doesn’t cry, is very interactive, full of smiles for everyone. She’s ahead of her brother with gross motor and fine motor skills. Her sense of humor is already emerging as she will laugh if someone else is laughing, and her sister’s antics always make her giggle. She is definitely not like the other two. Baby Boy is a carbon copy of his older sister, from looks, to sleeping/eating habits, to temperament. He and Toddler are textbook babies. I never had to consult a baby book for either one. This Baby Girl is opposite in almost every way, and she’s really testing my problem solving abilities.

Two days ago I was ecstatic to the point of almost jumping up and down when she went down for naps and bedtime without crying for her paci. Then, last night, crying and crying and crying. Most days, though, naps have been coordinated to within a half hour. I’ve worked especially hard at synchronizing a midday nap for all three kids so I can get a break usually 12-2pm. Feeds are starting to regulate. I noticed just today that every 4 hours can work for both babies. If I don’t feed them at their every cry (to rule out hunger), I can make sure they are hungry when I really want to feed them.

Definitely still a work in progress, and I am well aware that just as I figure it out, everything will change (!!!).

lunchldyd is mom to an almost 3yo, a 4mo boy twin, and a 4mo non-sleeping girl twin. She hopes that all her children will be good sleepers soon. In the meantime, she is celebrating the small victories.

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lunchldyd is mom to 3 year old boy/girl twins and their 5.5 year old sister. She is now teaches part-time to juggle the needs of her young children. When not at work and the kids are asleep, she is addicted to watching TV and sometimes sacrifices sleep to read in bed. She lives in the Los Angeles suburbs with her husband, three kids, and two dogs.

4 thoughts on “Celebrating Small Victories”

  1. On the paci – we keep it until they were 18 months old but ONLY for naps and bedtime. It honestly made sleep training (and teething) easier. And I think I took it away at 15 months for my youngest- no big deal for any of them. You’re doing a lot so if you need to keep a comfort for her (she should be getting closer to being able to put it back in herself – certainly within a month or so) I won’t judge! Also try putting her down BEFORE your toddler bedtime if you are right she needs more sleep an earlier bedtime will help. She probably has a third nap now but if it is from 4:30-5 then she’ll still go down by 7 pm. We were on 7 pm bedtime for the kids by 3 months. Good luck!

  2. We also let the girls keep the paci for naps and bedtimes. Now at 18 months, if they try to take it out of their cribs we say, “Do you want to stay and take a nap?” They drop it immediately because they know they won’t get to get out of bed if they keep that paci! But it definitely helped for nighttime self-soothing.

  3. I agree, don’t take away the pacis just yet! My 5 1/2 month olds are on the brink of sleeping through the night and without the pacis it would be a lot harder to get through this time. I think the word you may be looking for to describe your daughter is “social”. My son sounds a lot like her — he loves people, wants to be around the action, laughing and flirting with everyone. We are working now on his self-soothing skills. He has gotten a lot better at playing by himself in his crib until it’s time to wake up in the morning, but it hasn’t been easy. Repetition is key! Hang in there!

  4. Thanks for the advice, ladies! As you can see from my latest post, a lot of these issues have been solved, but I did consider everything you wrote.

    On the early bedtime: Yes! I know Toddler went down early at this age too, but somehow we just couldn’t manage to get everything to click around here till recently.

    On the pacifier: I wanted to let her keep it since she was so so pitiful without it, but I just couldn’t hang in there till if/when she decided to fetch lost paci’s on her own.

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