Saturday, January 28, 2012

Musings on Sleep

I think a lot about sleep. I like sleep a lot, actually. It all started back when I was pregnant...I slept as much as I could. Naps when I got home from work, staying in bed all day on weekends when I didn't feel good. Then came the lack of started as soon as the boys were born. The boys were born at 10 and 10:30 pm, and by the time Alex and I were back in our room for the night, it was probably 1:30 or 2 am. The nurses have to check on you every hour or so, so forget a good rest there. After that, I was supposed to pump or go feed the boys as often as I could. When they stayed in the hospital, we tried to make it to the 9 pm feeding and then be back again for the 6 am feeding. We tried to enjoy those last few hours of uninterrupted sleep!

When the boys came home, as can be expected, they needed to eat every 3 hours. So I'd be up feeding them on the couch multiple times in the night. They first started sleeping in our room, in the little bassinets my mom got them. After they started spitting up, they started sleeping in their carseats to help keep them inclined. I moved them out to the living room, since I fed them on the couch anyway, and having two babies in our room kept me up even more! To help them get to sleep a little easier at night, we started swaddling them in the swaddle sacks. The round the clock feedings lasted for the first month or two. Alex did his best to help me when he could, but he needed to get some sleep once he went back to work.

We finally moved the boys into one of the cribs, still in the carseats, still swaddled. They loved looking at the mobile, and I started nursing them one at a time in our chair in the nursery. The boys started sleeping longer stretches at night, four or five hours between feedings. Henry especially was still spitting up, so I wondered if we'd ever get out of the carseats! After Christmas, when we had a few days Alex would be home, I finally decided they needed to stop sleeping in the carseats. We still kept them in the same crib, and they were still swaddled at night. At this point, we were getting even longer stretches, sometimes 6 hours, so I hated to mess with some decent sleep! They didn't enjoy sleeping flat at first, but they got used to it in a few days. So, all in all, I wasn't complaining! I was getting a 5 hour stretch of sleep most nights. I didn't really expect them to sleep through, since I think they still need the extra calories from the night feeding. And honestly, I don't mind that one feeding in the middle of the night. They're quiet and cuddly, and I get to hold them for a few minutes as they go back to sleep on me.

Once they were flat in the cribs, they started wiggling around. This became the fun part of going in to see them in the middle of the night or in the morning. We'd lay them down next to each other, then they'd wiggle to some crazy position! It was always cute when they scrunched up next to each other, and then sometimes we'd wonder how they flipped completely around while still in the swaddles! Or they'd break their arms out from the swaddles and be banging into each other as they woke up.

But then things changed again...After the four month shots, the boys seemed extra fussy. They started getting up more frequently instead of less! It was always frustrating for me to go to bed around 10 and not know when I'd have to wake up; it could be 12:00 am or 1:00 am, or sometimes (rarely) they'd sleep until 5:00 am! One night Holden ate at 12:00, Henry ate around 1:00, and they both ate again before 5:00 am! I thought I was going crazy. I started worrying again, wondering if I'd have to start sleep training or start a day time schedule. Or maybe it was just a growth spurt? Either way, it was a difficult few weeks! So last night we tried something different. We finally put Holden in his own crib, and we used the sleep sacks instead of the swaddles. That meant they had their arms free, since Henry is starting to comfort himself by sucking his thumb. And they actually slept until 3:30 again, and after that feeding they slept until after 8 am! I have no idea if the changes we made are related to them sleeping longer, or if they just had a bad week and are back to normal. But I think they're big enough that the separate cribs are here to stay. That way they have all the room to wiggle they want without waking each other! (And we have two mobiles, so no one is deprived of their nature sounds and projector.) I still need to snap a picture of our new arrangements.

So in conclusion, I'm sure I'll be writing and worrying about sleep again in the future. Perhaps the very near future! I'm sure the transition to beds will be an interesting one, since they have a playmate to chat with every night. But hopefully, for now, we're all getting (some) of the sleep we need to function. (Oh, and don't get me started on the day time nap schedule...we're not even close to figuring that one out yet!) I'll end with a quote from a Barenaked Ladies song. It seemed appropriate.

"Who needs sleep, well, you're never going to get it.
Who needs sleep, tell me what's that for.
Who needs sleep, be happy with what you're getting,
There's a guy who's been awake since the Second World War..."

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