Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sleep Associations

Today, I made myself a PB & J (it was a bit over-zealous...there was pb and j everywhere, but I digress). It was delicious and filled me up just like I wanted it to, and then came the inevitable orange juice.  Every time I eat a pb and j, I want orange juice.  For some reason, they go together.  For as long as I can remember it's been this way. 

You notice how you have those associations?  When I'm sick, I want my mom's homemade vegetable soup, without fail.  When I have a nice steak, I crave a good, bold cab to go right along with it (that one's a more recent development, I assure you). And when I lay my head on a fluffy pillow and cover up with a sheet or blanket, I think sleep. I have some trouble sleeping else where without a good pillow and blanket unless I'm dead tired, and I know that about myself. 

For my twins, a nap and the swing or bouncy chair and a binky go hand in hand.  In order to nap, they need these things it appears.  Sometimes, they'll fall asleep in our arms, but honestly, a lot of the time there's too much excitement in that and/or the looking around at new sights when in said arms. 

Granted, there are the occasional sleepy car rides or stroller excursions but they need movement in order to fall asleep or stay asleep in these apparatus. 

So, I need some help. 

I've read five too many sleep and parenting books and now I'm just confused (ps, if you have multiples, please don't read the Dr. Sears "Baby Book"...I thought I had capped out my mommy-guilt capacity until I read this book.  It took me two weeks to stop feeling like I was permanently damaging my babies by not holding them enough or carrying them enough or letting them cry too much cuz their sibling is being tended to).  One thing I've surmised for certain is that we need to try and let go of the sleep associations of the swing or the bouncy chair.

Here's the caveat.  I feel INCREDIBLY lucky in that our twins are pretty stellar sleepers past 11pm and I hate to mess with that...but before 11pm, it's tricky.  Here's how things work (obviously this changes a bit from day to day, but it's usually something like this):

10am- first "awake" feed (I KNOW, wow am I lucky that I can do this right now since I'm not working...this is where one of my dilemma comes into play- read on)
10:45- play time
11:15- first nap (swing for Caleb, bouncy for Grace- sometimes with the vibration on- binkies in place, and replaced multiple times.  Caleb usually will sit in the swing for about 15 minutes checking out the sights before getting really tired and falling asleep- I usually put them down for this nap when I first notice sleep cues like eye rubbing or sometimes a yawn)
12:00- first nap wake-up (try to put them back to sleep for the next hour, sometimes successfully, sometimes not)
1pm- second feed
1:45- play time
2:00- second nap (swing/bouncy as before, same 45 minute intruder usually)
4:00-third feed (usually B is there to help)
4:30- play time
5:30-7:00- This "nap" is hit or miss...sometimes its catnapping, sometimes it's fussing, sometimes there is a long nap here, oy
7:00- bath if it's bath night then pj's and bottle, or immediate pj's then bottle
7:30- quiet time, placed in bouncy/swing to fall asleep (this is a big problem time in our household.  We usually will have screaming from about 8pm til 10pm or so, which is why we've resorted to the bouncy and swing at bedtime. When we've tried to swaddle them and put them in their cribs at this point, it's an epic fail meltdown).
11:00pm- dreamfeed then swaddle and placed in cribs without binkies- they usually wake up a bit, but go back to sleep fairly easily even when put in the crib awake
11pm-6am: I hear them waking up sporadically and sometimes fussing a bit, but they always put themselves back to sleep if I don't bother them
6am- middle of the night feed, re-swaddled and no binkies in cribs, usually put down awake

Then it starts all over. 

So, you see, I get awesome sleep from about 11pm until about 6am, and then another great stretch until somewhere around 9 or 10am!

I hate messing with that, but we've got a couple problems.

1) Mommy is dying for a little down time at night without screaming babies...although we're working with Caleb having colic, so hopefully that will resolve soon and things will be totally different
2) They need to be able to sleep where there isn't a swing and vibrating bouncy chair (i.e. Nana's house)
3) They will be starting daycare at a center in about a month and a half, and I'm terrified that they won't sleep AT ALL during the day and then epic meltdowns will ensue.  They need to be able to sleep in cribs, cuz that's what they'll have at daycare usually (there is a swing, but I'm sure Caleb won't be able to sleep in it all the time).
4) I can't for the life of me understand how this whole binky thing is supposed to work.  I've banned binkies from nighttime because oh my gosh they spit them out every five minutes and then wake up because of it.  I keep hearing of other babies who spit out their binkies when they are falling asleep.  Ours spit them out, then wake up like "OMG WHERE IS THAT SUCKY THING I JUST HAD?!?!".  WTF?

So, plan of action (now that everyone in the house is healthy, including me), is to try and get them in their cribs for naps...binky or no binky, I'm not sure.  Swaddle or no swaddle, I'm not sure (although we're going to have to wean off of the swaddle too soon, which is also scaring the bejeebus out of me).


How do I transition them from the swing/bouncy in the well-lit living room with me to the crib in their nursery?  Every time I've tried, they freak out.  They drop their binkies a billion more times than they do in the living room and just can't fall asleep. 

This was an incredibly long rambling post.  I know, I apologize.  I'm panicking.  I don't want to mess with a good thing, but I also don't want to totally traumatize them when they go to daycare and have to go cold turkey on their beloved sleep associations. :( Poor little luckies.

Any advice would be awesome!!!

ETA: They used to sleep in play pins when they were newborns and then in their cribs for a while after that, but when the 45 minute intruder hit, I found that the swing and bouncer helped them have longer I started that, and now I can't break it. If I do happen to get them to fall asleep in their cribs during the day, it is never for more than 30-45 minutes and then screaming ensues and they can't fall back asleep, even with lots of rocking...or being placed in the swing.  The nap is officially over. :(


  1. Can you swaddle them every time you put them down to nap, and then slowly introduce one more nap at day in the cribs, but always swaddled for consistency?

  2. If the binkies are a problem.... why not just get rid of them all together? My girls never had them at all and do just fine without them (although one of mine is a thumb sucker!) Mine also enjoy the swings and bouncy seats. One of my girls actually sleeps in hers at night (usually without it turned on though). Could you start putting them in the swing and then turning it off part way through the nap? Maybe they wouldn't need the motion eventually. ALso, what about a noise machine? If they are used to having noise while they are sleeping maybe it would help! Good Luck!