Ugh. I’m so boring, I even bored myself just writing bits of posts in my head. Sigh.
It’s just the same old thing– this parenting gig is hard sometimes. Yes, I know there are tons of people who would give almost anything to find that out for themselves, but my appreciation for being a parent doesn’t diminish it’s difficulty. I wonder often about whether I’m doing the right thing with my children. I mean, in general, I know I’m not doing any grave harm. They’re fed, and growing, generally happy kids, but what I think I mean is that when things don’t go the way I might expect them to, I wonder whether I need to try other options for managing various issues.
For instance, I’ve been wondering how much longer I can keep tandem breastfeeding the boys. They are getting to a stage where they’re increasingly squirmy, and quite handsy with each other. They’re also at a stage where they like to stop nursing periodically, just to smile or yell or whatever. So our nursing sessions have become a circus of limbs (mine and theirs) flailing about as I try to stop them from scratching each other’s eyes or pushing each other’s foreheads or as I repeatedly relatch someone who has decided to spit the nipple out (again) to shriek or shout or smile. It’s sweet and wonderful– I love that they interact with each other more, and who doesn’t love when a baby smiles at you?– but it’s really hard to get them to settle in to nursing. (And then, of course, they fall asleep, but more about that later…)
Additionally, sleep issues continue to plague us.
(Let me stop here and say that I know that various different versions of the cry-and-check method have worked for many of you, and I appreciate that they have worked for you, but for now, I’m still not comfortable leaving the boys to cry at bedtime. There’s too many points throughout the day when their care has to be comprimised because they are twins, when they end up crying because I can’t hold both at the same time, etc., so I don’t want to leave them to cry at bedtime. To me, they are still way too young to understand that me “abandoning” them at night is somehow beneficial for them, or that they are somehow able to understand that I still care for and love them when I don’t respond to their cries at night (or that I will eventually respond but only after 5, 8, 15 minutes whatever) . That’s fairly sophisticated emotional logic, and I just don’t think my 4 month olds are capable of that– I don’t think *I’m* capable of that…)
Anyway… sleep issues continue to plague us, and I know that in part this is due to the fact that they’ve developed a nurse to sleep habit. They nap, but only while on the nursing pillow. They (well, really just Henry) wake up multiple times a night, unable to get back to sleep, and ultimately only go back to sleep after I nurse them. They still nurse often during the day, so it could be that they really are hungry, but I know they are more than capable of going 3-4 hours without eating. So, you know– If we’re sleeping 8 hrs a night, they shouldn’t be up more than twice, right? Yet last night found Henry awake no less than 4 times (I think I nursed them on 5 separate occasions last night, though once was when Jack was the one to wake), and I know he was up at least another couple of times when I didn’t nurse him and H got up and rocked him back to sleep.
I think I know what the solution is, but I’m having a hard time enacting it. They need to:
1. Sleep in cribs (in our room, or not– just not in our bed). They slept much better in their bassinet, where they weren’t disturbed by our movements, etc. but sadly, the bassinets got too small, and it seems the cribs are too big. We put Jack down in his crib dead asleep last night and he immediately woke up, flipped himself onto his stomach and scooted himself, bit by bit, to the far end of the crib, whereupon he cried because he bumped his head on the rails. I know bumpers are verboten, but what else can I do? I mean, ideally, he’d have the nest-like atmosphere of the bassinet, only bigger, but I don’t know how to make that happen without creating a suffocation risk.
2. Nap someplace besides on the nursing pillow. This one is hard for me because the only time I have to connect with the outside world (via the internet, of course…) is when they nap, and they won’t nap anywhere but on me. It’s hard to say, “oh, I’ll spend the next week or two (or three or whatever) in virtual isolation while I work to get them napping somewhere new…” But, I really think that’s what I’ll have to do. They need to nap better and longer, and I need to be able to do other things (like nap myself).
3. Break the nursing to sleep habit. This is probably the hardest, because nursing is an almost surefire way to get them to sleep. But, it’s not the greatest way to get them to STAY asleep. And, you know, they nurse all the time anyway– I can’t just stop nursing (nor do I want to!). I mean, I know we could switch to formula, and that would change the eating dynamic, such that the mechanism by which they ate would become strictly a way to get calories, not a means of comfort, and thus break the habit, but to be honest, for the most part, I really like nursing. I just wish our arrangement were slightly different such that they didn’t associate it with sleeping.
I think if I go back and try working through the No Cry Sleep Solution, I might get some answers there, but honestly, I don’t know whether it can address our specific issue (sleeping on the nursing pillow vs not sleeping at all). I’ve just felt like a giant failure lately because my boys are not even close to sleeping through the night. It seemed like they were on track at one point, and then they outgrew the bassinet. And when I talk to or read blogs by people with babies close in age to mine (singletons or multiples), most have babies who sleep through, or if they wake, it’s only once, maaaybe twice on a bad night. And for us, waking only twice is a really good night!
And I know (I really do) that you cannot compare your kids to others’. Babies are just different– they do things in their own time. But, it’s gotten to the point where I feel like my only option is to use some form of CIO (which just makes me want to cry– it goes against every fiber of my parenthood being) or to just suffer through the endless nights of waking every couple of hours to feed a kid who isn’t even hungry, all the while building poor habits for them.
Sigh. I just feel a little down today, like no matter which way I turn, the options are not good.
What about you? Ever feel like you don’t stack up? Ever wonder if you’re going about things the wrong way (with your kids or with life in general)?