4 months

Milestones this week: William rolled from his tummy to his back. Emilia too, but it could’ve been the way I placed her on the mat. Unlike William, she didn’t do it again.

I’m on the brink of a meltdown this week. The periods between the boys’ night wakings got shorter and shorter. They wake every 1-1 1/2 hours after 12am. I fall asleep around 8-8:30pm, and get up around 12:30pm-1:00am, roughly. I get between 3-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Then the madness begins…from both me and the boys. I guess you could say they get it from me. I’m a terrible sleeper. And one of those people who needs 8 hours to do anything requiring a bit of thought, like school-related stuff (a.k.a., my job). I’m totally unproductive since all live-in help left, and only have the nanny 50 hours a MONTH. When she’s here, I plan to work, but I’m so tired I end up sleeping instead.

When Jason wakes, he goes right back to sleep, no problem. But because he’s such a hard sleeper, he doesn’t wake to the babies, monitor or not. One night on my sleeping shift (with my door shut and the fan blocking noise, i.e. crying), I woke to a baby crying anyway. My super-hyper brain couldn’t rest until the crying stopped. And it didn’t. After 10 mins, I got the baby and brought him to the living room, where Jason was. The baby was crying loudly, but there was Jason, on his shift, fast asleep on the couch. LOL Talk about exhausted. He didn’t even wake when I brought the crying baby in the same room! (Of course, this has never happened before; Jason does an amazing job with the babies, and he’s the reason we live so well:)

I have the exact opposite problem. When trying to sleep between wakings, I hear crying when there isn’t. Every noise sounds like a distant baby cry. Just as I start to drift, I hear something (anything – the fan, Jason) and my brain becomes fully awake until I determine (9 times out of 10), it’s not a crying baby. I get up at least once a night to find it completely silent in the babies’ rooms.

They should make alarm clocks that sound like crying babies. Something about that noise makes it impossible to sleep in.

So back to the nights. Here’s what happened Wed. night:

6:00pm: Everyone ate (as much as I can get them to eat, like every daytime feeding).

7:00pm: Everyone went down for the night (HAHA).

8:00pm: I headed to bed; Jason took over.

11:30pm: Both boys woke. Jason fed Jackson 4 ounces, William, only 2 ounces.

12:30am: Jason woke me. Jackson was crying loudly.

12:30am: Jason climbed into bed as I climbed out.

12:40am: I got Jackson and he gobbled down 2 ounces.

12:50am: I went back to bed, but couldn’t sleep. I took a sleeping pill, hoping for another hour of sleep, at least. Instead, I tossed and turned until…

2:00am: William started crying loudly. I fed both William and Jackson 2 ounces, hoping neither would wake soon, and I might sleep.

2:40am: No such luck. William woke again, only 40 mins later. He wouldn’t be soothed, wanting to eat. I fed another 2 ounces.

3:00am: I was frustrated. I took another sleeping pill, desperately hoping for an hour of sleep myself. But, instead, I again tossed and turned in frustration until…

4:00am: Jackson woke crying loudly, wouldn’t be soothed, and ate 2 ounces.

4: 20am: 10 mins after I finished feeding Jackson, William woke, and started crying. I gave in and fed 2 ounces, thinking they may as well be on the same schedule.

4:30am: I went back to bed, but decided it wasn’t worthwhile. So I got up and worked on this blog, and things related to school. If I can’t sleep, at least I can be somewhat productive.

5:30am: Emilia woke screaming. I fed her 2 ounces, thinking she may as well (roughly) be on the same schedule as the boys.

6:00am: Both boys woke and start crying. I decided to get them up, instead of trying to sooth or feed. They usually wake at 6:30am anyway. Emilia was awake, but stayed quiet in her crib until I got her around 6:45am. The day begins. Maybe a total of 1 hour until the last feeding at 6pm do all babies sleep at once again.

You can see how screwed up our nights are. It’s CRAZY I’m feeding so much and so often at night. It’s demand-feeding gone terribly wrong. I made two poor decisions. First, I assumed night waking meant they wanted to eat, so I always fed. Second, I cut back on the amount. This resulted in a) babies who can’t go back to sleep w/o a bottle, and b) babies who nibble all night because they never get enough. Not good.

I need to sooth instead of feed. To be fair, I do try soothing before feeding. I rock and offer pacis. Occasionally it works. I’ve tried swaddling, too, but it doesn’t make a difference. The boys wake up crying, very difficult to get back to sleep. After 15-20 mins of soothing w/o feeding, I give in and feed just a little, as I’m hoping to sleep myself (HAHA).

Obviously a wrong turn. I must correct. Thanks to everyone’s suggestions, I’m devoting nights to soothing and holding them off, and only feeding if all else fails. I’ll accept some crying (but not crying-it-out yet). Starting tonight, I’ll sooth as long as I can before offering only 1 ounce (instead of 2). If they’re really hungry, they can come out in the living room with me and eat. No more feedings in the rock-n-plays/cribs. I’m trying to break the association between the bottle and sleeping. Any other advice would be much appreciated! Thanks everyone!

26 comments

  • CG says:

    I know this isn’t what you were hoping to do….but crying it out really does work.  If Jason ever has a couple days off in a row (weekend?), perhaps have him try it with the 5-10-15 minute plan (soothe after 5 min first, then wait 10 min, etc.).  It kills me to do it, but they really do eventually sooth themselves, and after a few nights, they don’t cry as much at all when they wake!  And they might not need to feed at all at night either. 

  • Anna Culp says:

    Perhaps your advice tank is full. I am sure you get loads of advice whether you ask for it or not. I already passed on my advice via Jenna, but if I were to throw out another piece, it would be to do something different at “bedtime” to make it clear that it’s not naptime/daytime. When my daughter has naps, she eats, then maybe reads a couple of books, gets her pacifier, and is laid down. At bedtime, we put on pajamas, read, and brush teeth, and then I sing a lullaby, the same one every night for her entire life, and only at night, only once. It took a few months, but she made the association, I think. But I am inexperienced at night soothing. She only wakes up at night when she’s cutting a tooth. I am not to be disturbed while sleeping, so she never got much in the way of patience or cuddles from me in the middle of the night. Shushing, exasperation, and a lullaby are about all I can crank out. I used to feed her with my eyes closed, and would sometimes wake up wondering at what point she stopped eating. One night last month she was having a rough time, and I yelled, “Stop screaming! Be quiet! Mommy is sleeping!” in an unfriendly tone. That woke my husband (who rarely hears crying). But I felt guilty that my motherly patience wears so super thin between midnight and seven in the morning. It is amazing you can even get up that many times! I hope the best solution for you all snaps into place soon!

  • Sarah says:

    I’m not going to offer up any advice but I just wanted to say that recently I’ve heard that many moms, including moms of multiples (which i am!), have used the moms-on-call program. One of the ladies  who runs it is a mom of twins, and I’ve heard such great things. I wish I had heard about it when our twins were babies…. may be something to look into if you are feeling completely frustrated! 

  • Howes514 says:

    One noteworthy piece of information is that infants go through a sleep cycle every 45 min-1 hr. So the boys may be waking during a transition into light sleep. My son did this during nap at the same age. I would give about 5 min before going in, and he would settle down on his own. Just a thought

  • Lori says:

    You created a bad habit (and know it) and need to break it.  Generally I would not say CIO with 4 month old babies, but you might need it.  First, never feed before 3 hours.  Stay firm on this.  The boys think they can snack whenever now and you need to break that habit.  If you really truly think they need the overnight bottles then backtrack.  When one boy wakes up at or after the 3 hour mark, feed both boys full bottles.  Hopefully with full bellies they will sleep for a while and you can get some sleep.  If you think they are capable of  making  it through the night or maybe with only one feeding, then try it.  Generally, you will have a few bad days with any transition but then the babies will either get with the program or you will discover that they really aren’t ready for what you are tying to do.

  • Chelsea says:

    If you’re not ready for CIO this is a good option for you to try. She also gives helpful ideas on how to cut down on night time feedings. http://www.amazon.com/Sleep-Ladys-Good-Night-Tight/dp/1593155581/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317502991&sr=8-1

  • Kim says:

    Have you tried Dream Feeding at around 10:30-11pm?  We have 3 year old GGB Triplets and this helped when they were about 2-4mths old and this would get them thru until 5am when Emelia would wake and have boob and drift back to sleep until 7am.  We stuck by the Eat, Play, Sleep, You method so we tried never to feed them to get them to sleep and put them in their cot/s awake.  Stella slept through the night from 8 weeks (she has hemiplegia Cerebral Palsy didn’t know this until she was 18weeks old though), Emelia was 5 months and Jack was 8 months they were all so different you will know within yourself when you’ve had enough to do it on your terms, but I had to use the CIO with him but it only took 2 nights and I did it when my husband was away as I had refused to feed him thru the night yet my husbo would give in.  My reasoning was the girls weren’t physically requiring it and for Jackie it was a comfort thing.  I found that when I didn’t get outside I would have really difficult days and so would the kids, we also had a 2 year old son Harry, try if you can and I know its difficult, but try to get yourself and your babies out for a walk in the afternoon, been in the fresh air can make babies very tired and make you refreshed.  It doesn’t have to be a huge walk just a chance for you to regroup and for the kids to see other things, embrace peoples interest in you having multiples it is a truly life changing experience for yourself and the rest of the community, most people just want to help if they can and yes you’ll probably get the wankers who sit there and stare at you but they will never know your life only another parent of multiples can.  Smile at them it will make them wonder what you’ve been up to.  You are doing a terriffic job, you are doing the best job you know how to do.  Much care and thoughts xo Kim  PS:  We still have weeks with Jack and we don’t know why he wakes up, you go in and ask him whats wrong and he replies I JUST LOVE YOU MUMMA, Jack I love you too but its time for sleep, BUT MUMMA I LOVE YOU MOST xo.

    • Esther says:

      What a sweet comment, thank you so much for sharing with me. And 2 of our triplets have the same name! You even spell Emelia with an E. Our Emilia was my great-grandmother’s name. We feed the boys whenever they wake between 11 and 12 am. Emilia stays down till 4 or 5 or maybe 5:30 from the 6pmish feeding. Not sure what I’m going to do yet, but thank you for the suggestions. If it comes down to CIO, then it does. I’m going to try everything else first, and probably wait another month or so. We’ll see!

      • Kim says:

        Hey Esther, how are you going today?  You have been on my mind and I was talking to my husband last night about your predicament and we both had that A-HA moment in the foggy memories of their first 4months.  Like you ours were spontaneous (we had four but lost one early) and we didn’t have any help plus we live on a 20,000 acre farm 65km from town so I was isolated in a whole lot of ways.  We were talking about it last night and we both recall how my fogginess lifted the day I got my bush pram and I could get about with Emelia, Stella and Jack and also Harry who was 2 when they were born even just out to the chooks and around the garden, my world felt like it had opened up.  Now I try to go for a walk by myself after Ben gets home and just have 45mins which are just for me and I don’t have anyone asking me for something, but it has taken 3.2yrs for me to get to this point, throw the books away and go with your instincts, we had nil books as there weren’t many available in Australia for HOM.  By the way  AWESOME names you’ve chosen.  Emelia (Original Spanish Spelling)is a combination of Emily and Millie, the little town near by Husbands Families Farm, Jack was after 2 inspirational Great Uncle Jacks and Stella didn’t even come on our radar until she was born and made the biggest cry  of PUT ME BACK IN when they took her out, she needed a strong name, we didn’t know the sex of our babies until they were born.  Keep up the great work, you doing a fine job, every day is a new day and the sun will rise again, take each new day as it comes.  Sometimes you just wish you didn’t have to see the sun rise xo

        • Esther says:

          I love your stories! Yes I wish I didn’t have to see the sun rise anymore..LOL. We have quite a few followers from OZ. Did you know I lived and worked in Sydney for a while? I travelled the entire continent, too. I know OZ better than the U.S. Haha! Just curious where you live.. 

  • EAM says:

    Have you read either Baby Wise (it sounds like you have because you mention eat/play/sleep) or my favorite Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child?  It is a very positive book that does eventually encourage you to cry-it-out, but it’s for you and your sanity and does not make you a bad mom!  You must sleep!  But you also have to be ready, or you will cave before it works!

  • no advice from me b/c i have no idea, but hang in there honey! i don’t like hearing about you taking TWO sleeping pills in one night. :( i can only imagine that causes crazy sleep hangover during the day.

    you, jason, and the bebes are in my thoughts! if you can ever get a free moment, you might try one of those hydrotherapy tanks… where you lay in a dark enclosed egg thing full of water. my friend in SD is always buying groupons for them and she says its the most relaxing time where she can put everything out of her mind. you’ll always be a mom, but remember you’re also still Esther Mabel, a woman worthy of some independent time to herself.

    • Jason says:

      Fully agree with you Laura. Trust me I know. It’s hard for both of us. For her it’s sleeping/relaxing among other things. For me it’s the driving, working, driving, taking care of babies before their bedtime & at midnight so Mom can sleep, working (freelancing) more at night while babies are sleeping (hopefully) etc etc. Rinse and repeat. ;-)

      But, as you can imagine, raising one 4 month old baby for the 1st time is hard. Multiply that by 3 and that’s what we’re experiencing. It does seem to get better each day which is the bright side. When they were brand new it was crazy to say the least. Now, at four months, it’s totally different. They are getting into the day/night rhythm more and more. Are they perfect and sleeping through the night? Not even close. But, they are sleeping in the evening and at night and for quite a few hours in a row. They still get up at night for whatever reason but I know that will pass eventually. When they’re ready that is…

      Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts. Esther is a super-mom and the babies are healthy and happy because of her. We both work hard to make it all work as a family. And, in my opinion, I think we’re doing great! So far the babies are doing what babies are supposed to do and they seem happy and they’re definitely healthy.

      • Esther says:

        Without you Jason, I couldn’t do it!!! Both of us stepped up and we’re thriving because of it! And the babies are doing wonderful!! I love you!!!! I miss sleeping at the same time as you, and YOU. But this too shall pass. What we really need, is a long honeymoon!! xoxo

        • Jason says:

          Agreed. I can’t wait until a) I get the time banked up for a vacation from work b) We find someone to watch the kids for a week so we can go to Hawaii (or where ever we want). ;-)

          I love you too (more and more each day like always). I really believe we’re doing better than just  “OK”. We’re doing great… Especially with 3 infants and not just one. I know plenty of people who have one and are horrible parents. We’ve got three and they’re all doing great and are happy/healthy. Again, mostly due to you my dear…

    • Esther says:

      Whoa! Those tanks sound awesome!! I can’t even think about relaxing, not yet, but I’m almost there! any week now and I’ll be sleeping like a normal person! I can see the end of the long, long tunnel!! I miss you, Laura! I hope to see you again soon!!

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