Thursday, January 5, 2012

who needs sleep?

Our babies were not those miracle babies who sleep through the night at 8 weeks (though I always wonder for those people who brag about that, are they talking medical sleep through the night (STTN) of 5-6 hrs, or legit STTN of reasonable bedtime-reasonable wakeup time?).  The first couple of months with these two was exhausting. Like physically painful, could barely lift the bar at Crossfit exhausting. I imagine it was a level of tired no one without multiples or a VERY bad sleeper can comprehend. I have no idea how anyone can manage triplets+ without a serious amount of full time help.

It HAS gotten better though. Right around the time Chris went back to work (they were 3 mo old, and the date escapes me, but they were around 10 weeks adjusted which  I think is super relevant for sleep issues), they started STTN from the medical perspective on occasion. Who decided 5 hrs was through the night is beyond me. Of course, they never slept for 5 hrs at the SAME time.  For a while, we put them to bed around 7:15, and would feed around 11, 1, 3 and 5, give or take a little bit. Obviously/Thankfully, we are no longer feeding the SAME BABY that much overnight, so we ended up alternating. Someone with a colicky baby once told me that once you sleep four hours in a row, the rest is icing, and I tend to agree. I am very functional with 4 hrs + some icing. Not ideal, but function. Under 4 hrs and I might as well crawl into a hole until I have my IV of diet coke drained.

Recently - very, very recently, like the last 10 days - we've been blessed with legit STTN medically, and are getting so close to a more practical definition. Its not consistent, and some nights we're up a lot.  This is especially true with Avery, who is totally in what the internetz calls the 4 Month Wakeful - she HATES going to sleep and gets pissed off when she falls asleep because WHATIFIMISSSOMETHINGOMG. But, last night Quinn slept from 7 to 3:30 and Avery from 8:30 or 9 (I'm not sure when as I had thrown in the towel and was reading, but  she went to bed after Chris gave her an imprompto bath last night) until 5. Not bad. We could get used to this. Of course, poor Chris is still up overnight to pump...

They won't be 6 months adjusted until the end of February, so that's the earliest we'll think about true sleep training, but I'm crossing my fingers this is a sign of good things to come (and that we can avoid having to sleep train in a serious way).  I will admit we do a light modified Ferber now... We try not to rock them to sleep for practical reasons, so we usually let them fuss for 5 or 10 minutes to see if they can self sooth. Quinn is a champ. In fact, she'll often shreak with exhaustion until in her crib where she'll promptly pass out. Avery...well....if she's not ready for bed and isn't out in 5 or so minutes, so ends up in hysterics. I am a sucker for letting Avery fall asleep on me, as it less painful than the yelling, and I am hoping this also resolves itself a bit before we have to just let her cry it out someday.

bonus points for long + disorganized post.


  1. And once you get 8 hrs of sleep (and it will happen, I SWEAR), you will not believe how you ever were able to function on so little sleep. L and I still marvel at the fast we survived that first year with 2 kids who hated to sleep. It will get better!!! :)

  2. So, we actually have those 'dream sleepers' Teagan started sttn at 10 weeks (12 hours per night) and Quinn was doing about 10.5 hours at that point. BUT, we worked really hard to get to that point! While we didn't sleep train, we tried to develop good habits from day one. We've had a few hiccups along the way with teething and other random wakeful periods. Whenever we go through those things, we use a modified Ferber method too. While hearing them cry is awful, it solves the problems SO quickly. We broke Quinn of her pacifier addiction in just two nights. Like Avery, over the holidays, Teagan was falling asleep in my arms too. I was totally coddling her, but it reached a bad point because I had to do it in the middle of the night a few times. A few nights ago, we decided that it was time to go back to the crib to soothe herself to sleep. She screamed for 10 minutes the first night, 5 for the second night and by the third night, there were a few whimpers but no crying!

    Anyways, it sounds like you're doing a great job! Sorry for the long comment!

  3. Ashleigh, your girls always give me hope ;) I do think we've done well with the bedtime routine but we have had some inconsistency in daytime with different caregivers which is hard. They're going to day care soon too so I guess its irrelevant and not going to change.

    Avery just passed 12 lbs and Quinn 11, and it seems to be working wonders for their sleep (aside from Avery hating to GO to sleep, she's good once she is there).

  4. We did Babywise for both our kiddos (and will use it for Madison when she arrives), but we had kiddos that slept 8 hours at 8 weeks - and it just got better :) Hang in there - you WILL get your sleep back :)

  5. I thought this was a great post! Obviously, I can relate to your pain. I can tell you that things have been going really well here in the sleep department. Hardly, hardly ever more than one waking per night, and even that is pretty non-stressful. I generally feel like a rested person. So it will happen for you. And you know this. And you are fully validated in needing to vent until it happens :)

  6. Beki, we're just not into such regimented schedules - I went back and forth with this a lot, wanting to simplify things, and it just wasn't a good fit for us (plus our babies can just now handle eating every 3 hrs during the day. The came home pre-term and under 5 lbs and eating every 2 hrs.

    The little one was 4lbs4oz when she came home and gained more in a week at home than 17 days in the NICU where she was on a 3 hr schedule.

    We still do feed on demand for the most part (though as always, generally at the same time or back to back) and they are naturally adapting to longer sleep as they get bigger. They're 11 and 12 lbs now and their longest stretches last night were 5.5 and 9 hrs, so I think its starting to come together now that they're physically capable of eating less often.