To Nap or not to Nap… that is the Question

I think I am slowly losing my mind.  You see, originally, we had the boys napping in their swings.  We’d swaddle them, plunk them in there and they’d sleep for 3-4 hours at a time.  Sweet.  But a few weeks ago, I decided they need to start napping in their cribs and learn how to sleep on their own.  As I type this, they are in their swings, so perhaps that gives you an indication of how it’s going…

I have been following The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer which I really like.  I had also read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and the Ferber book (I can’t recall the name), and I like the Baby Whisperer best.  It’s pretty basic — you keep the child(ren) on an “EASY” schedule, which stands for Eat, Activity, Sleep, You time.  The basic premise is that by always having an activity between eating and sleeping, they stop associating eating with sleeping and can break the habit of nursing to sleep.  It also promotes the idea of a routine (not a schedule, per se) so that the baby can predict what’s next and more readily accept sleep.

We’ve gotten to the point where I can put them down in their beds and they drift off with little to no fuss.  They usually just roll over and doze off.

The problem?  They wake up after 1/2 hour.

As you can imagine, working from home, there’s not much of anything I can get done in 1/2 hour.  I’ve tried running up at the first peep and trying to soothe them back to sleep, I’ve tried taking them out and starting the routine over (which ends up in me nursing them 10+ times a day and putting them down for 6 naps a day), I’ve tried letting them figure out how to soothe themselves back to sleep (which results in them wailing until I rescue them) and I’ve even tried the “wake to sleep” approach where you gently rouse them just before they normal wake on their own, and then they go back to sleep, starting a new sleep cycle and (supposedly) sleeping longer.

Nothing works.  Nothing.

I am overtired, stressed out and falling severely behind with my work.  I don’t know what to do with them.  As I said, they are back in their swings right now — which I know is bad as it’s just setting me back further — because it’s the only thing I can do to keep from screaming sometimes.

It’s even worse on the days Calista is home, as she will keep coming into their room and talking as I am trying got soothe them, or dances around in front of them and says “Hello!  Did you wake up?” when they should be trying to go back to sleep.

Now is the first time I’ve really felt I need help.  I need another person to help me get these boys sleeping properly because I can’t calm them both at once — I just end up running back and forth between the cribs trying to keep them both calm, but they both end up screaming and I end up exhausted.  And then, like now, I give up and stick them in their swings.

I need sleep.  Actually, what I need is to clone myself so one of me can sleep while the other does my work.

12 Replies to “To Nap or not to Nap… that is the Question”

  1. I’m sitting here (upright when I’m not supposed to be) taking notes. When you figure this out, let me know as I’ll be going through the exact same thing.

    Hang in there. Miracles or not, twins are not always easy!! No shame in needing help!

  2. I’m so sorry you’re having nap troubles. I believe this was the exact age that I starting stalking websites (including the Baby Whisperer one) trying to find any advice to help lengthen their naps. Alas, nothing worked except time. They just lengthened on their own. Good luck — hope you can find some help in the meantime!

  3. Sommer~
    If there is anything I would tell myself if I could go back in time and talk to the me that obsessed about sleeping habits with dd, it would be this… Do whatever works. When it stops working, then worry about what to do next! KWIM? Let them sleep in their swings while it works, and when it stops working, then start worrying about training them to sleep in their crib. It will happen in time. (((Hugs)))) to you. I remember thinking that whatever it was that I was doing was wrong, but now I know I just worried too much!

  4. Sommer-
    My twins always slept better in the swing, so when it was time for the crib transition, I ran into the same issue. What worked for us was figuring out that they slept better in the crib when they were reclined (like the swing). So we would swaddle them, plop their boppy in the crib, and lay them in the boppy…they slept much better.

    If you have a bouncy seat for them, try getting them used to napping in that first, in the same spot as the swing. Then eventually, after they get used to napping in the bouncy, put the bouncy in the crib, and let them nap like that for awhile. By then, they will be used to their nursery, the crib, etc (we use a white noise machine too)…and you can try letting them nap in the crib, in the boppy. I’m sure it sounds silly, but it worked! I think getting them to sleep has a lot to do with not only what their used to sleeping IN, but also the familiarity of WHERE they are.

    I follow HSHHC, and my girls are 21mos and have been sleeping from 7am to 7pm (in the same room) since they were 5mos old. I hope this helps you!!

  5. I agree with Reba. If they sleep well in their swings, let them do it. I was all about doing it the “right” way with my first, but with the second, it was “whatever works”. For sanity’s sake!

  6. I remember how tough one baby can be when they won’t sleep, but two! You are doing a great job. I agree with Reba. Do what works. If the swings work, use them….if swaddling works do it. You won’t be putting them in the swing when the are 10 so don’t worry about it. All this having to “teach” them how to sleep on their own is hogwash (in my opinion). I have nursed all three of by babies to sleep, co-slept and held them in my arms to nap (when needed), and my older two (5 & 3) go to sleep, in their OWN bed, without us laying down with them, and without nursing to sleep. My youngest (1 year old) I still co-sleep and nurse to sleep.

    Do what works for you…don’t worry about what the books say! Hugs girl. You are doing great!

  7. Oh, forgot to mention that my baby (now 12 months) is still swaddled at night! Without it he kicks his legs and wakes himself up.

  8. yep, i agree with Reba..i never have had twins, but i had fussy fussy babies and i let them sleep when and where they would so that mommy could do and sleep to keep herself able to go on! :) you do what you can to be able to work and keep sane and don’t worry about the routine, it will come! hugs to you, you are doing an AWESOME job!!!

  9. Add me to the list of do what works! After three kids I finally got the hang of that. ;) If they’re sleeping well in the swing don’t mess with that! It’s not hurting them and they WILL learn to sleep elsewhere eventually.

  10. I was feeling like what I posted was particularly unhelpful last night after I read through it, but I feel a little better now that so many agree with me LOL.

    I also agree with Jenn, too. I let dd sleep in the bouncy many nights just for sanity’s sake. Then I started placing the bouncy in the crib, and soon, she was sleeping in the crib. She was always a bad sleeper, though, and I did what I had to do to get her to sleep, KWIM?

  11. I think the only RIGHT way that you should be concerned about is whatever will save your sanity. If you lose your mind over the boys wacky napping habits.. oh dear for the whole family. I see lots of great suggestions listed above and hope that some of them work for you. Good luck Sommer!

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