I've written quite a few posts since starting our blog a few months back and in a few of those posts I have said that I found the first 6 months the easiest.
The first month of our girls lives was spent in special care. Now, obviously that wasn't easy. Suffice to say that was and will always be the hardest, most toughest part of being a parent.
At present, twin daddy and I are experiencing another tough phase that many, many parents the world over face...sleep deprivation.
It's used as a form of torture for good reason!
Our girls were great little sleepers for the first 6 months. They would have a bottle of milk following a bath, and we would put them both down asleep and swaddled. We cut out the 230/3am dream feed within the first 4 months and it was heaven having two babies who slept all night, every night.
Then teething, colds and a stomach bug firmly put to pay that!
M, in fairness has been pretty good. Teething and illness aside she would mostly sleep through. R, on the other hand isn't a great sleeper.
The past few weeks, both girls have been waking frequently every night. I put it down to teething at first but I must admit they have both formed bad sleep associations.
1. Being rocked to sleep in our arms and being put down in their cots asleep
2. Having a dummy (the first 6 months they never had a dummy at night - teething kicked in and will power faded)
3. If they wake, they are instantly picked up and rocked/cuddled
I don't believe in crying it out or controlled crying. For starters I find it distressing, so I can't imagine how it makes a baby feel. Having said that, I know this method works for many parents.
Another thing I wish we had never started was swaddling! Yes, it was great when it worked but now R has started fighting it, putting her down asleep in her cot without a swaddle is very hard work indeed and now that her arms are free she pulls her dummy out which wakes her up.
Another down side of the swaddle is that they are both used to sleeping on their backs. Now, without a swaddle, R rolls onto her side or front which also wakes her up as she isn't used to this new sleeping position.
I have rolled up a thick cellular blanket and put it under her sheet, either side of her to try to keep her on her back but it doesn't always work.
I have tried given a comfort item (a little blanket) at bedtime for her to cuddle, which she does but when R wakes in the night she can't settle herself to sleep.
We've tried white noise, swaddle, no swaddle, dummy, no dummy, sheet, no sheet (in case too hot or cold), elevated position, co-sleeping.......argh!
Twin daddy has spent many nights on the sofa with R. I don't know what the sofa provides that our bed doesn't but R simply won't co-sleep in bed. Even on the sofa, she wakes 4-5, sometimes even more times every night.
M, as I said above is pretty good although the past few weeks those good times seem to be getting less and less. I can cope with 2/3 wakes a night for a quick cuddle or to put her dummy back in but rocking and rocking for hours is very mundane, although has done wonders to tone my arms and legs!
I just keep telling myself it won't last forever!