Thursday, August 9, 2012

the ever elusive Sleep

Sleep is a popular topic with parents of babies.

"Is she sleeping through the night yet?" no.
"Sleep when the baby sleeps!" Say that again and I might strangle you.

It was hard early on. Rough. Nothing really can prepare you for sleeping just a few interrupted hours for weeks on end. I am sure this is a hard adjustment for any new parent (except those people I slightly curve under my breath who have babies who sleep 7 hrs at 2 months old. Trauma lasts a while.). Not that I have other experience, but I'm going to guess the sleep adjustment is especially hard for a) preemie parents (because they're newborns for extra long) and b) parents of multiples. It does get better with time, but it's still hard.

We have had some good weeks. Weeks where they woke once to eat, or for a day or two, slept until 5 without waking. We've had some very bad weeks. Teeth. Ear infections. Hand Foot and Mouth. Two weekends, at the ripe old age of 1 Year and 21 hours old for the babies, we took a drive as a family at 3 fucking 15 in the morning because they had been that much screaming for so long. Maybe it was 4:15. I can't even remember. They'd both been crying for something like 2 hours and we just ran out of ideas (and yes, they'd been drugged with Motrin and teething tablets and milk). It worked, not surprisingly.

Crying it out has had limited success here. It is fine for bedtime, and we've had some luck overnight if the waking is just waking for the hell of it. More often than not though, ignoring crying leads to more crying. Hysterical crying. Crying for 2 hours. So if it goes on, we give them milk, sometimes meds...and on it goes. We're getting into a better cycle it seems, knock on wood, and are back down to one overnight waking each. They're almost 16 and 17 pounds, and a friend told me her son dropped his 4 am-ish feeding around 18 lbs, so maybe it's on the horizon. It DID get better at 10 and 12 pounds, which were also relayed to me as milestones for feeding/sleep.So we'll see.

I have come to the conclusion a lot of overnight baby sleep is luck, baby temperament, and size. My girls have never been good night sleepers by the "standards" for STTN, but they started sleeping significantly more/longer at 10 lbs and 12 lbs (as I mentioned), so there is hope.... They are rather small for their age, so this had led to a lot more night feeding than I'd prefer but it is what it is. We did the same things and worked to establish good routines (for the most part, outside of our sickness/teething setbacks), and one of my girls consistently sleeps more soundly than the other, hence my opinion on temperament.

I'm still tired a lot, and I do think this affects me a lot in other aspects of my life, but it is improving, and I know this stage is fleeting. Heck, we're already a year into parenthood and have technically toddlers (though they're not quite toddling!).


  1. Just breathe and remember that this too shall pass! I know I am one of those parents you are talking about who's little ones slept for 8 or more hours at 8 weeks (currently the 3 month old outweighs your two at almost 16 pounds, and she sleeps from 9:30-5:30 consistently) - so I don't know what it is like to have 1 year olds that wake up - but remember that this is a phase and it will be over quickly - too quickly - and heck, we are on our 3rd kiddo! Love reading about your little girls :)

  2. well you know I empathize with you! Now that I have 2 children, I empathize even more because if we do cry it out here, the crying might wake the sleeping child and then where would we be??

    I most related to you where you describe how your constant state of tired affects the rest of your life...I feel like the traits I see in other parents that I MOST envy are regular workouts and camping trips. I want to believe I can return to being a person who exercises and camps, but I am truthfully just too tired most of the time to waste spare energy on workouts and camping seems like it would be a disaster for finicky sleepers and their camping neighbors.

    So here I am with you on this journey! I'll have to let you know if 16 pounds makes a difference for F--he is still up 2 to 3 times at night, but is a very restless sleeper such that his tossing and turning has me up more times than that worried that I'll need to feed him. My issues, not his, I know!