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August 11, 2010

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Good Thing I’m Not Really Going Crazy

After my break down post a month or so ago, I started taking some much needed steps to take care of “me”.

This would not have been possible without the sleep/nap training. Knowing that you have a guaranteed chunk of time every day really helps you feel in control and that you can plan something for yourself.
The first thing I did was make napping a priority for myself. The nanny arrives at 8:30am and for the first couple of weeks I would go out on a walk with her and the boys would nap in the stroller. I did this for a couple of reasons (a) she was a stranger and I needed to get comfortable and make sure she didn’t kidnap my kids. (b) I felt guilty about not being with my babies 100% of the time and even after I was quite confident of her skills and that she was not going to steal my precious cargo, I continued to go on these walks.
The day after my breakdown post, I helped her strap the kids in the stroller, told her to stay out with them until it was time to eat again and went and took a nap.
OMG. It was like I had died and gone to heaven. A completely quiet and dark bedroom and the bed all to myself! I now do this every single day and get a good 1.5 to 2 hours nap. It has changed my life. I don’t feel so exhausted and crazy and overwhelmed. Sleep oh glorious sleep.
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Nap Training for Six Month Old Twins (read previous post on sleep training first)

NAP TRAINING:

After around 2 weeks of sleep training they started dropping their 3rd nap. I think it’s because they were getting such good sleep at night, but maybe it was just time/age appropriate. At this point, we started nap training. This was MUCH, MUCH, MUCH harder. Dear God, it was hard.

I’d heard from other twin moms that nap training could take up to a month. I didn’t believe them. It did. Only in this past week has W2 starting “getting it”. Most days, he still cries, but he’s getting it. Grunter got it after a week or so–no surprises there.

We saw a morning nap emerge at 9am and they both sleep for 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. W2 seems to need a longer morning nap than Grunter. The nanny wheels them out of the house at 8:30 when she arrives and guess who goes back to sleep? ME!!!! It’s fucking awesome.
The stroller napping is not the best habit, but it’s one I’m willing to re-correct down the line if it means I get some much needed sleep at this point.

Their afternoon nap emerged at 12-12:30. Somedays even a bit earlier depending on the length of the morning nap. This one is strictly in the crib. What we discovered was that Grunter needs a LOT more sleep than W2 in the afternoon. We put them down for the same time and W2 is pretty consistent with 1.5 hrs. and there are quite a few days we have to WAKE UP Grunter after 3 hours!
For this nap, we try to wind it down about 20 minutes beforehand with a book, going into the bedroom where it’s nice and dark, putting on their sleep sacks to signal it’s sleepy time and singing them a song and doing a bit of cuddling. At the first of the month, resisting sleep and smart as a whip–they screamed as soon as they went in the dark bedroom but now, there is only fussing (sometimes) in the crib. Every day is different, but every day it gets better.

Again, I kept a very strict nap log which really helped when it looked like it wasn’t getting any better. It’s reassuring to be able to look back and SEE the progress.
Of course, nothing is constant and yesterday was a spectacularly crappy afternoon nap day, but today we are back to normal. You just have to go with the flow.

I don’t think I can adequately express how much this past month to month and 1/2 has changed my life. I don’t feel crazy anymore and much of that has to do with the boys going to sleep so easily. I can do this by myself now and totally handle them on my own. There’s no way that was possible before.

The fussiness from W2 has all but disappeared. It’s amazing. I honestly believe he had no other way to say “Hey Ladies, I’m fucking tired!!!” because he was getting such lousy sleep. Especially naps. Now, he is an absolute JOY, Grunter is great and we are all so much happier.

Questions? I hope this helps some of you out there struggling with the same issues. Sleep. Oh elusive baby sleep.
I’m so glad we did this.