7.25.2008

This week...

...has been a little rough for us - at least as far as sleeping. The girls seem to be adjusting so well to their life here, with one exception, they are not quite getting the sleeping thing down. Putting them to sleep is usually fairly easy, although there are times when they fight it, but keeping them asleep is a challenge most nights. After a couple of nights this week of us getting up countless times to comfort the girls, Tuesday night I decided to sleep on the floor in their room (which I have done before), hoping that would help - it didn't. Not only did they wake up just as often, but I got no sleep listening to them and anticipating their cries. The next day we were all tired and cranky. We have tried everything we can think of to no avail. They go down, sleep for an hour or so, and then the hourly wake-ups start. It's usually Eleanor, but LilyKate has been known to wake a time or two as well. They are teething, so I am sure that is part of it, but I think they are just still unsure of their surroundings and us. They usually finally stop around 1:00 or 2:00, when I am sure sheer exhaustion sets in. When we returned from China they slept in our room, but we moved them to their room, when it was clear that that our being right there did not make sleep any easier, and it made our getting good sleep impossible. On Wednesday night, they went down with a little fuss, but woke up once and then slept until 7:00 am! We thought it was a breakthrough, but last night found us up and down from about 10:00 to 1:00 again.   Then Eleanor was up at 5:30 and it was a struggle to get her back to sleep for another hour or so.

They nap twice during the day, which they definitely need, and usually sleep for about an hour to an hour and a half. I know it will get better, but it's hard to get through the day and do your best when you are sleep-deprived. We have their schedule down pretty well, including a nighttime routine of quiet time, bath, bottle and then bed. We are going to the pediatrician next Friday, so I will see if she has any helpful hints for getting them to stay asleep. Some nights we are up as many as ten times, others maybe 2 or 3.  I am thinking of getting a white noise machine, as I have heard that can help - anyone out there had success using one?  

Anyway, apart from sleeping (or not sleeping), the girls are just so darn cute and funny.  They make us laugh every day and we are so completely besotted with them! Besides Monday's photo extravaganza, it's been a light picture week, but here are a few to keep you all happy :)



Eleanor


LilyKate


This is how they looked yesterday morning after getting about nine straight hours of sleep. I think Eleanor is still sleepy...


Grandma Betty came for a visit last night. That's Eleanor with the green bow in her hair.







19 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your twins. They are so cute. I had the same struggles you sound like you are having when my youngest came back from China. The sleep deprivation was BRUTAL. Its hard to know what will work. I wonder if your twins used to sleep in the same crib together in China? and if it would help to let them sleep together where they can touch each other. I am sure you have already tried this, but I thought I would ask.
    Hang in there. It gets better.
    Take care. CTG from RQ

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  2. The girls are so cute and look like they are doing well!

    I can totally relate to your nightly sleeping issues, except I only have one crying baby, not two....

    We have some sleep issues of our own with our little one....she will not sleep alone...ugh...nothing has worked and we end up giving in!

    My son loved the white noise machines when he was little, I would give it a try.

    Every child is different, talk to your pediatrician and see what they suggest.

    Good luck and I hope that you all can get some rest!

    Lisa

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  3. Mae still has to have a white noise machine. In fact our entire family has one. And we have extras at the lake and in our suitcases. I would certainly try that. Also, they may be used to sleeping together. We have friends who adopted twins when we adopted Mae. They had to put them in the same crib and then when they were too big for one crib they put the matresses on the floor and let them sleep on the two mattresses pushed together.

    Sleep deprivation is BRUTAL and what you are describing is exactly what Mae did. It slowly got better. Until about 6 months ago I was still having to lay down with her in room in a seperate twin bed until she fell asleep. Now that Jane is not in a crib they are sleeping together.

    The hard part of all this is sorting out what is attachment issues and what is just baby/toddler issues. IAC can help! You can email or call them for tips!

    Hang in there and if you can take naps when they do. Don't worry about the house or laundry it can be done while they are awake.

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  4. Your girls are absolutely beautiful. Trust me when I say it WILL get better.

    We went through the same thing when we came home with our girls. It took them about 2 weeks to get the sleep thing down. I had finally given up one morning after another sleepless night on the floor in their room and just let them sleep all day long. That seemed to do the trick. After that night we were sleeping 12 hours. That certainly doesn't happen every night because we are still dealing with teething, but it happens most nights. We have a humidifier and chinese instrumental music that we picked up in Guangzhou that plays when they go to sleep as well.

    Congratulations again! You're in for the best rollercoaster ride of your life.

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  5. Maybe the girls aren't sleeping because they are already so beautiful! No beauty sleep needed for them. :)

    All 3 of my kids still sleep with a white noise maker in their room..Rob and I do too. It helps to drown out little sounds that may startle them at night. I'm guessing with twins if one makes a sound it triggers the second one. When I put my kids down and forget to turn it on, they will remind me that I need to turn the fan on.

    As far as sleeping in the room with them or getting them when they wake up..I had to learn this the hard way. When Tyler was young and he was my only baby, I wanted to hold him all the time and especially to get him to sleep. When he got to be about 6mo old it was harder to get him to sleep when he was nursing or by rocking him, so Rob said I needed to put him down in the crib and let him fall asleep on his own. The first night was torture. Rob told me to let him cry it out. It was hard, but I'm so glad I did. He is still my toughest to get to sleep and he's 7 now. He fights bedtime even though he's completely exhausted. When Lauren was little, I started putting her to bed/nap as soon as I saw the first yawn. I guess the saying goes after you see the first yawn, that is your signal. When you see the second yawn you better have the kid close to bed. By the time you've seen the third yawn, you've missed your window because they are too tired.

    Mark is now 6mo and he's an excellent sleeper. He's been putting himself to sleep since he was about 4mo. If he doesn't fall asleep nursing, I put him to bed when I know it is time for him to sleep. He's at the age that he doesn't need a nighttime feeding, so if he wakes up, I let him roll around and find his thumb and get himself back to sleep. I think the hardest thing to do is to let your kids get themselves back to sleep even if it requires them to cry a little. They need to learn to be able to comfort themselves. Once they learn to do that, you and they will sleep a lot better. I'm not sure how much of this is still the adjustment period and you'll have to use your own judgement for that, but I would try to let them go back to sleep by themselves.

    See you tomorrow at the birthday party!

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  6. Hello,

    Our daughter is from Shanggao also (May 2007) and we had the exact same situation. She was teething in China and it felt like she didn't stop for an entire year. Once the teething stopped we all got some sleep. It was a long year but we survived it!

    BTW your daughters are absolutely beautiful.

    Karen

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  7. Susanita,
    Since I was pregnant I played a CD with soft thunderstorms on it...the rain was really soothing and, when Steven was little I played it for about 3 years.
    Steven would only go to bed if I stayed with him after his bottle. He would go off to sleep in a few minutes. Luckily, once he turned one this stopped.
    Try everything...warm milk and honey, soothing nature sounds or white noise and sleeping with them until they doze off. Once they are asleep put them in their cribs...
    Hope this works. love you all!

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  8. OH...I so felt your frustration and anxiety with this post. Sleep was our MAJOR issue with out Lia. I just remember feeling bone crushing, running into walls tired and cranky for the longest itme. I changed her diet (cut out dairy...didin't help), cut her daytime naps short (what was I thinking??), tried to let her cry it out (for only one night...couldn't hack it as it didn't feel right). After about three months we were down to one or two wake ups a night and then after a year..she started sleeping straight through.

    I don't have a lot of advice, but I have heard white noise helps and I plan to have a machine in teh house for our next baby! I had to FORCE myself to forgo those few hours of quiet adult time in the evening to literally go to sleep when Lia did. Same with naps. It was so hard because I just felt like I wanted some down time...but I really needed sleep more!

    You've had them home so short a time...I think they will get much better in the short term...but ask for help...have someone come int he afternoon so you can sleep uninterrupted for a few hours...even a couple times a week will help you catch up what you are missing. Eat right (I was so tired that sleep sounded better than eating at the time). Get them outside in the sunlight. Forgo the morning nap. Get on a schedule and be strict about maintaining it until they are in a good routine. We also gave Lia gas drops efore bed and that seemed to help a little as she was eating such a different variety of food.

    You are doing a great job. Things will settle down...just give yourself a few months and you will see a whole new world!!

    Kate

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  9. Hi, I'm a lurker who found you thru RQ and let me say as everyone else has said....you're girls are precious! As for the sleeping thing. Our daughter had some issues too. We played a cd of lite instrumental music all night to create some background noise (she was 10 mos old when she came home). She's 4 1/2 and we still use it. All tho' it's turn way down now. But I was told that the babies are so use to noise at night and even more so if they were in an orphanage like our DD was. Total quiet is not what they're use too. We also used Chamomile Calm for kids. Got it at the health food store and put it in her nighttime bottle and it really did the trick. We noticed it when we ran out especially! It just helps to settle her down. We used it up until she went off the bottle and then quit. hang in there. Remember the old adage "sleep when yuor baby(s) is sleeping" helps a lot too. I'm sure you like to get things done while they sleep but for now sleep is WAY more important! You guys haven't been home that long. I think we had sleep issues on and off the whole first year. Yours are just doubled :-) and seem worse right now. But most of us China mommas can so relate. Sweet dreams! and Good Luck!
    Momma to a Guixi sweetie ...Susan
    www.munsingerfamily.blogspot.com

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  10. We have been home about a month with our Jenni Lin and we used a white noise machine while in China for ourselves and she slept so good with that on. So once we came home we used a fan (since it is so hot)and it works great. She now actually gets sleepy anytime she hears a fan going. The bad thing is once the fan is off she will alot of times wake right up but it is worth it to us as she sleeps very well with it on and we don't have to worry about being so quiet. She occasionally wakes up but is usually comforted easily and goes back sleep fairly quickly. Also, we also give her a full bottle and make sure she has a clean diaper before bed which I am sure you probably already do! We love your blog and your babies are beautiful!!

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  11. Our twins had sleep issues too and I hate to say it, but they turn two tomorrow and are just finally sleeping through the night. The white noise helped, the Chamomile Calm was what finally I think got them in the habit of sleeping all night. I really think for my two we went through a spell of teething and such and never got out of the sleepless rut.

    To cope with lack of sleep, Brian and I took shifts. When it was really bad we would each take a night and then switch. When it got a little better he took weekends and I took weekdays (I usually tried to nap with them too if the older two gals had a movie or something to settle down to.) That really was what worked so far as us being able to cope, though it was not easy and I do not wish it on anyone.

    My best wished to you in getting some sleep. If there is someone who can come for a night and take care of them just so you two can get one good night's sleep take advantage of it. We didn't have anyone around that could do that and there were weeks that I would have paid good money for someone to do that!

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  12. Hello! Just wanted to comment on the sound conditioner. Yes yes yes!!! We took ours to China so both of my girls haved slepted with it from night one with us. They are wonderful! I highly recomend them. (We put ours on the rain sound.)
    Anyway, we also used Calms forte 4 kids which i believe is similar to the Chamomile Calm and is also available at the health food store. It really helped!!
    The only other thing I do every night to help go to sleep and stay asleep is to sprinkle a few drops of lavender oil in the crib just beofore I put Lili in. She even asks for it now.
    It sounds like you guys are doing well. Sometimes these initial sleep issues just take time to work through. It will get better!!
    I also have to agree about getting someone to come over and handle the girls during the night so you can get an uninterupted night sometime! We did that and it made all the difference in the world. That, and always sleeping when they sleep during the day...no matter what!! :-)
    Hang in there...this too shall pass. Your girls are just beautiful!!
    Blessings to you and your family~
    Shelley
    Mamma to two Jiangxi empresses
    www.wildnoodles.blogspot.com

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  13. Hi, congratulations for your children, they are really pretty. I´m Inés, from Córdoba, Spain, I have just left a prize for you in my blog. Plase, pick it up when you can.

    Kisses

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  14. Hi, having been in your place to a degree last year (only one baby) I feel that I should tell you that it will get easier...it may seem fare far away, but you WILL SLEEP AGAIN and they WILL BEGIN to SLEEP through the night, I promise. Just when you think that you can't take it anymore, they will begin and you will be the one that sleeps like a baby!!!!
    Enjoy,
    Amy

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  15. Hi!
    I found your blog linked on someone else's. The girls are adorable!!! We just adopted our daughter from China June 10th. She was having the SAME sleep problems and somebody told me about the white noise machine and I thought, "what they heck?" and got one. IT has made an AMAZING difference! She's slept through the night almost every night since I got it two weeks ago. One morning she slept til 7:30, another she slept til 8:30!!!! It has made such a difference, not only for us getting more sleep, but she's also just a much happier baby in general.
    Hope you try it if you haven't already! I'm glad so many people have found relief with them too. Another hint, don't be afraid to keep it pretty loud so it drowns out all the little noises that can wake them.
    I sure hope you get some good rest! I know how miserable sleep depravation can be with only one baby, so I can't imagine caring for two!
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

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  16. Try white noise and also I think with 2 they can wake each other up...have you thought about separate rooms...last resort. Teething tablets are awesome and for us if there have been a lot of people over or we have been out alot we may have a small bit of what you describe. I think limiting other people holding and keeping things very neutral and calm helps tremendously, also I have found if she falls asleep prior to being burped she always wakes up several times about 50 min apart...has only happened twice but both times she burped several times and then was out and slept straight...they could have tummy trouble too. Good luck.
    Emily

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  17. We brought our little girl home in April. She was 8 mos old. She was having sleep issues too. I actually started swaddling her (I got a large Kiddopotamus swaddling blanket) and turned on a white noise machine. She sleeps great. She won't sleep now without being swaddled and she "helps" me by automatically putting her arms to her side. She just turned a year old. She is an EXCELLENT sleeper now. And hardly ever wakes up in the night.

    Congrats on your beautiful girls. I have been following your site for awhile, because we named our daughter Lily too.

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  18. Your daughters are absolutely STUNNING, and so photogenic! Congrats!!!!

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  19. I used the humidifer because her skin gets dry and this provides the
    white noise sound and she's 4 and we still use it every night.

    Plus I got a ladybug light from Amzaon.com it's a ladybug that puts the stars and half moon on the ceiling and goes off after 45 mintues. and she loves it.

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