(Closed) Will I ever sleep again (by a ftm of twins)

posted 5 years ago in Babies
Post # 2
7431 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

Oh man, that’s tough! I have a 16 month old who is a terrible sleeper and has been since birth. I tried all sorts of ways to get her to sleep, but she ended up needing to bedshare for a very long time. I had to do it to keep my sanity and at least get a little sleep. If I remember correctly, she dropped her middle of the night bottle when she was about 12-13 months, and started sleeping in her crib for portions of the night and for naps around 14 months. It’s still a major work in progress, but some nights she sleeps in her crib all night. I feel like we’ll get there eventually!

Maybe continue giving him bottles at night if that’s what he needs? I feel like in time he will learn to be a better sleeper. I really feel for you with having twins. I can’t imagine it!

Post # 4
3009 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

fresitachulita:  No real advice here as it sounds like you have done some good things already (they just haven’t worked!) Every baby is different so you shouldn’t beat yourself up about things not working for one of your sons. My 8 month old son is just not a good sleeper, either. There are some days (after a night of no stretches longer than 2 hours for me) that I am so exhausted that I just want to cry, and sometimes do. I just kinda feel mad at the universe about it and I hate those people whose babies sleep 12 hours/night. I’d love 6 hours! You are not alone and it sounds like you are doing a good job. I can’t imagine twins! Something that we did that helped quite a bit was calling one of those baby sleep site consultants. We filled out a questionnaire about our baby, his schedule and sleep habits and our parenting styles. The consultant gave us a plan that we followed and it DID help.  Things are much better now, at least. One more thought- could you teach him baby sign language? Just some simple signs for milk, water, etc? Then maybe he could tell you what he wants? Just a thought. Anyway, best of luck to you! I so hope you get some quality sleep- I know how hard it is! Hang in there.

Post # 5
1401 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I’m really sorry, that sounds awful. Our twins were always good sleepers, but around that time they did have some disturbed sleep as they were getting in about 4 teeth at once! It was hard because obviously if they are sharing a room, one wakes the other up and then you’re in hell trying to get both back down again. 🙁

i have no advice other than that it may be time to hire a sleep consultant. I have a few friends who have had poorly-sleeping twins and they have all said that the consultant was the best money they ever spent to get things sorted out. Is that a possibility?

Post # 6
212 posts
Helper bee

I am not a mom but I have been a nanny for many years and I have actually worked with two sets of twins (in addition to other children). I have helped multiple families to sleep train their children and I actually just helped a family get started with their 12 month old.  It went surprisingly great, and I know there will be a light at the end of the tunnel for you and your 11 month old!


How long are you able to let your son cry for before you rush to pick him up before the other twin wakes up? It sounds like they are sleeping in the same room from what you said. 


I’m sure you realize, but every single time you pick him up you are reinforcing the idea that as soon as he wakes up someone will be there immediately. In my experience, 11 month olds do not generally need milk in the middle of the night. What I think is happening is that he wakes up and is overstimulated because he does not know how to self soothe, so he cries for a bottle (or cuddles) as comfort. Does he happen to have a blanket or a small stuffed animal that he is attached to? Letting him sleep with a security item can help him as he transitions to being able to self soothe.  Also, is there any way that you could temporarily separate the twins during the night? Maybe you could move the twin that sleeps better into the living room or somewhere else for a couple of weeks while the twin who wakes up learns to self soothe? 


If at all possible, I would NOT rock your son to sleep or put him to sleep by giving him a bottle. I don’t know if you are doing this but I figured I should mention it. What happens is they fall asleep all warm and snuggly, but when they wake up in the middle of the night by themselves they freak out because they never learned to put themselves to sleep in the first place. Instead, try putting your son down while he is very tired but still awake. He most likely WILL pop back up into a standing or sitting position and start to heavily cry. If necessary, make your presence known to him by briefly opening the door to his room so that he knows he is not alone but do NOT pick him up. In my experience, the winding down process will generally take 20-30 minutes on the first try. If you allow him to cry you will most likely find that after a few minutes (any where from 5-15) he will start to take little breaks from his crying. He may calm down and start examining a blanket, mobile, or some other near by item. Then he will suddenly burst back into tears until calming down again. This process will repeat until the “quiet” periods are getting longer and he may start lying down in between crying fits. Eventually he will get bored (and remember he is tired anyways since you put him in his crib when he was already worn out) so he will lay down and go to sleep. Remember that at that age crying is his only method of communication, so while it sounds devastating to adults, he really IS going to be OK! You only need to pick him up if he starts to do that heavy scream-like cry. Otherwise he is just frustrated because he is not getting what he wants.  


I think that your son will realize fairly quickly that he can not expect you to show up whenever he wants with a bottle and a snuggle waiting for him. After a few nights of this you should see that he begins to put himself to sleep and you may occasionally catch him on the monitor stirring, opening his eyes, and then settling back down in the middle of the night or in the middle of a nap.  If you are concerned about “traumatizing” him, remember that in the long run this is actually better for his emotional stability because he knows exactly what to expect during the night and he knows that he is safe in his crib. He knows that morning will come and he will get all of the love and affection he deserves, which will reassure him and allow him to put himself back to sleep. 


Try to utilize “white noise” for both of your twins. Do you have a white noise machine, or could you put an iPod on repeat with a white noise sound track? 


If there is absolutely no way for you to temporarily separate the twins I do have some other ideas but that would be optimal. My goal would be to keep the twin who wakes up in the normal sleeping area so that he learns how to settle down in that exact spot. 


Anyways, I hope this is somewhat helpful. I know you said you have read tons of books and that you have talked to the doctor so much of what I said may be reduntant. Let me know if it is not applicable or if you have any questions. 



Post # 7
7310 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

DS didn’t consistently sleep through the night until he was 5. Yes, you read that correctly. The good news is that he is now 17, sleeps great, and has no ill effects from that time. He has ADHD and mild aspergers syndrome. Because he is wired to be so highly sensitive to stimulous, the smallest thing would interrupt his sleep. I only know this because he was eventually able to put into words what was bothering him. DS is very sensitive to touch, so a fabric or a seam or a tag in his clothing… something so small to me was a huge irritant to him. DS also had chronic ear infections. His sleep got about 50% better once he had tubes put into his ears. The other 50% of the improvement came with time and him being able to verbalize what was bothering him.

I know I’m not offering any solutions. I wish I could. But sometimes you just have to hang in there and keep trying. It will get better eventually. He won’t go to college still needing a bottle of milk in the middle of the night.  

Post # 8
7778 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

Neither of my children are good sleepers. My older daughter was about 6 before she slept through the night. My younger daughter is 3 1/2 and she still doesn’t sleep through the night. We tried many things- but I think some kids just don’t sleep.

Post # 9
214 posts
Helper bee

I’m so sorry that your twin isn’t sleeping.  DS wasn’t a great sleeper and we night weaned him at 9 months to sleep through the night.  This was our third time sleep training him (previously to fall asleep and then an attempt to night wean that got interrupted by teeth and illness).  The only thing that made the 9 month sleep training work was separating feeding from sleep.  Before we fed right before putting him down and he would wake and associate feeding with going to sleep so I would have to feed him.  We moved feeding to 30-40 minutes before bed and while it was rough at first he started sleeping through the night consistently.  

Right around your sons’ age DS had a sleep regression and would stand in his crib for all naps and anytime he woke in the middle of the night.  It was awful and lasted two weeks.  On top of that he got really sick (104 fever) and would wake because he needed medicine for his fever.  The only way we could get him to sleep was to put him in his stroller (in his nursery).  Luckily it was short lived but it was rough.  

I hope that he figures it out soon.  My only advice would be consistent in whatever you choose.  DS might have regressions but as long as you pick a plan and stick with it he won’t be confused and will figure it out.

Post # 12
212 posts
Helper bee


First things first, I have to respond to what you said here. “ I feel like I spend so much time tending to their basic needs I miss out on the chance to encourage good habits/behaviors throughout the day…It makes me feel like an utter failure.”

Please do not think of yourself this way! You are a mother to TWINS! That is an exhausting and often overwhelming job! In many twin related situations there is only so much you can do and certain things will have to slide at times. Seriously! Sometimes it is just a matter of survival.  (I just wrapped up a two weeks of my “nanny” twins, their 3 year old brother and myself taking turns with the stomach flu… I promise I know what its like to only have the capacity to tend to basic needs!) Remember that this phase will not last forever. Like a PP said, her baby was a difficult sleeper but grew up with no ill effects. You are not failing your children. The only thing that may end up failing is your health if you cannot manage to get your twins to sleep normally. Having one baby is hard enough, but worrying about two waking up in the middle of the night? That is torture. I am sorry to hear that you are lacking support. As an exhausted mom support is crucial! Hang in there!

Anyways, thank you for clarifying some of the things that I either missed in your original post or that I was wondering about. You mentioned that he often has that “blood curdling” type of scream; that is definitely when I would intervene and help him out. I might still try to refrain from picking him up, instead “shh-ing” him and giving him some gentle pats. I might try to back away for a bit, but if he continues on with that scream I would definitely pick him up to console him. If that happens, maybe try again once he settles if you feel comfortable with it.

Do you place your twins in daycare or with a nanny or do you stay at home? I’m wondering if nap time might be a better place to start. I mentioned that I recently started helping a family with a 12 month old (we will call him “J”) to sleep train and because I do not live there we started with nap time. J had been waking up and screaming during the night and the parents were absolutely exhausted. They typically rocked him to sleep for both naps and bedtime and the daycare he attends uses a swing to help him fall asleep. Basically, he never learned to settle himself down. I waited to put J down for his nap until he was good and tired, and JUST before he was ready to drift off I laid him down. He almost looked like he was going to fall asleep in his crib until his eyes popped wide open and he stood up to cry. I used soothing words and then exited the room. After a couple of minutes he was starting to do that scream so I poked my head in the door to let him know that he was not alone. He continued to cry until he got distracted by pushing a button on his mobile, and then the cycle continued and eventually winded down like I described in my previous post. His mother was shocked that he actually went to sleep, and the coolest thing was that he woke up 45 minutes later and played quietly in his crib until we came to get him. Normally he would wake up screaming from his naps. That night his “winding down process” was even shorter, and it continued to shrink over the next few days.

I’m not saying that things will go this smoothly with your son, but it is a very similar age and situation so I will keep hoping. I know that having the other twin around is an additional complication for you which is why I wonder if nap time might be a better way to ease into it? Your mother in law will not be disturbed during the night and you will be awake anyways.

One other thing that I have seen parents do is leave a sippy cup with water in the crib. That way if the child wakes up they can soothe themselves by sucking on the water cup without you having to intervene with milk. I don’t know how effective that would be for you, but it is an idea.

I just want to say that while I have been a nanny for a long time, I am not technically trained in this; everything I am saying comes from my personal experience with the various families that I have worked for over the years. If you continue to have serious and drawn out problems I second PP’s suggestion for hiring a trained sleep consultant. While your baby will survive, YOU need the sleep to function in a grown-up world.

Last but not least, you aren’t ready to apply this suggestion yet but it is something to keep in mind for the future. My first set of “nanny” twins were not sleep trained either when I first started. Their mother was having a horrible time with the twins waking up WAY too early in the morning (like 4:00am). She eventually started setting an alarm in their room for the time she WANTED them to get up, and as soon as the alarm went off she would get them out of the crib. I believe that she eased into this, gradually setting the alarm for a later time each morning. The twins quickly learned that they were not going to be picked up from the crib until the alarm went off, so if they had not heard the alarm they would settle themselves back down or keep themselves occupied until the proper waking time. I thought that was a very cool idea.

Post # 14
8440 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

Have you considered speaking to a sleep consultant?  I’m a mom of twins and it’s definitely something I looked into before my boys arrived.  I don’t have experience with using one (luckily my boys are pretty good sleepers), but it might help to get a professional involved.

We have always put our twins in their cribs to sleep (from the day we came home from the hospital), we moved them into their own room at 12 weeks, and we put them down drowsy but awake.  They’ve always shared a room and they rarely wake each other, even if one is screaming.  Also, I nurse my boys just before bed and I’ve heard that the melatonin in breast milk helps them sleep, so I’m not sure if that contributes to them STTN.  However, if you pump, it can’t hurt to try giving them the milk from “night time” pump sessions.

Post # 15
214 posts
Helper bee

fresitachulita:  So a couple things.  Teaching your son how to fall asleep on his own may be the first step to helping him sleep better.  If you put him in his crib when he is fully asleep he doesn’t know how to put himself back to sleep when he wakes up in the middle of the night (and since he fell asleep in your arms he also wonders why he’s not there when he wakes up.  (http://www.troublesometots.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-sleeping-through-the-night-part-i/)  

While CIO worked my for my DS it may not work for all babies.  This arcticle was helpful to me. http://askmoxie.org/2011/01/tension-increasers.html If your son is a tension escalator he may respond better to other methods like the sleep lady shuffle (where you move farther and farther away each night until you are no longer in the room when he falls asleep).

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by  sailgrl18.

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