I shouldn’t have been so smug. Not sanctimommy smug. Or tell-you-how-to-parent smug. Just smug in the way a mom can be when she’s worked her butt off to get not one, but TWO babies falling asleep independently. It’s no easy feat, as I’m sure you can appreciate. Starting at six weeks, I introduced positive sleep associations to my twins; blackout shades, a white noise machine, swaddles. I followed age-appropriate wake times and put them down drowsy, but not asleep. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t quick, but I was diligent. I figured if I put in the effort now, I could avoid a “sleep regression” later.
Gradually, my twins and I fell into the routine we had created. Nap time sorted itself out first, and bedtime quickly followed. My husband and I would lay those sweet, swaddled bundles down (drowsy, but not asleep, remember?), kiss them goodnight, and high-five each other as we closed the nursery door. Our little boys cooed quietly to themselves and drifted off to sleep, waking once or twice in the night to nurse with barely a peep. It was, dare I say, easy..?
This Means War
Their four month birthday passed without incident, but just as I was patting myself on the back, thinking “hey, maybe my babies didn’t get the memo about a sleep regression…” BAM. There it was.
It started innocently enough, with a short nap. Then a slightly rougher-than-usual bedtime. It was war zone by the next day. My once angelically sleeping babies had become monsters overnight. They woke up cranky, so they fought their naps. They were so overtired by bedtime that there was no hope of drifting peacefully off to sleep. My husband and I took turns shushing and patting, and when that didn’t work, we upped the ante. We rocked. We sang. I nursed myself dry. Nothing worked.
Sleep Regression x Two
I found myself wondering how many days a human could survive without sleep, and if moms somehow defied that science. After a week straight of little-to-no sleep, our entire family was a mess. There are a lot of amazing things about having twins in your family, but let me be the first to tell you, a surround-sound sleep regression is not one of those things. It wasn’t just the babies who were suffering; it was all of us. I was picking fights with my husband, impatient with my older son, and the mere thought of bedtime was enough to make me start twitching.
Our family-wide sleep regression was capped off in the form of bad colds for the twins, which somehow made the complete lack of sleep slightly more tolerable. After spending so many nights with no clue how to help my babies, I finally had something tangible to do. I suctioned noses, filled the humidifier, and patted little backs until my arms were sore. I cradled them against my chest and silently forgave my babies for trying to drive me absolutely crazy.
And finally, they slept.